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Bermuda's 2019 January History and Newspaper Reports

Events that made headlines in the first month of this new calendar year

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

telecommunicating with Bermuda Online

Benefit of website linkage to Bermuda Online while traveling

See at end of this file all our many History files

Bermuda's only newspaper, the Royal Gazette, is not published on Sundays or Public Holidays but sometimes has some Sunday and/or Public Holiday news online.

January 31

paragraphVisitors to Bermuda can now complete an immigration arrival card online before they fly, saving time and making their experience through the airport more frictionless, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said today. “Meantime, the move improves business intelligence gathering for marketers and could result in greater visitor spending by alerting travelers to events, activities and experiences while they’re on the island,” the BTA said. “The digital Visitor Arrival Card launched with a test phase in mid-December of 2018. So far almost 500 travelers have taken advantage of the new option – about one-third of those have already travelled to Bermuda. From visitors and airport officials the feedback is positive. Making it easier to get out here and get around the island is a major part of the new National Tourism Plan,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority Chief Executive Kevin Dallas. “Our objective in the infrastructure section of the plan is to work closely with partners to encourage the use of technology in a way that improves the visitor experience. Bermuda’s Minister of National Security Wayne Caines and the team at the Department of Immigration have embraced the idea of frictionless and have our sincere thanks for a successful phase one launch.”

new Bermuda Digital Visitor Arrival form 2019

Specimen of hardcopy and electronic Visitor Arrival Card

The BTA explained, “Currently visitors who fill out the Visitor Arrival Card online at BermudaArrivalCard.com must print it and bring the document with them when they travel. In the next phase, the process will be paperless, allowing travelers to show their completed form on a smartphone.Tourism marketers see the move to a digital airport arrival as a big win for the industry. It’s the first time the Bermuda Tourism Authority has access to detailed information about specific visitors before they arrive. Currently, with a handwritten form, the information isn’t physically entered into a database until days after the visitor has left. And sometimes there are data entry errors due to illegible handwriting. Now, with accurate information from visitors in advance, tourism officials can send pre-arrival marketing messages via email, if the visitor has opted in. In the future, travelers can receive topical messages on where to eat and which events to attend while they’re out here. The potential positive impact on visitor spend and experience is substantial. Hoteliers, event planners, business meeting planners and other tourism stakeholders are encouraged to include a link to the arrival card in their email communications to visitors. Newstead is one local hotel already advising their guests of a more frictionless Bermuda travel experience.” Newstead General Manager Bushara Bushara said: “A smooth pre-arrival process is a critical part of a successful stay. That’s the reason we added the digital Visitor Arrival Card to our pre-arrival communications with guests. It lessens travel stress for them and fits neatly with the airport transfers, Island Tour Centre experiences and other things we encourage guests to set-up before their trip.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority notified its database of visitors about BermudaArrivalCard.com and will be working with hotels, airline partners and tour operators to request travelers receive a link to the online card when they make their reservations. Meantime, the existing hardcopy form is still available to travelers to fill out on the plane or when they land at L F Wade International Airport. Bermuda residents do not need to present a Visitor Arrival Card when arriving at the airport.

paragraphThe Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) this week hosted members of the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch who facilitated a workshop offering guidelines to the local aviation community on what to do in the event of an aviation accident or serious incident occurring in Bermuda. Representatives from BCAA were joined by Skyport, the Bermuda Airport Authority, Airlines, CI2, Bermuda Police Service, HM Customs, Bermuda Hospitals Board, the Bermuda Red Cross and several other organizations and spent two days learning the latest techniques in uncovering the causes of accidents - including those of illegal drone flying. The AAIB is the organization appointed by the Governor of Bermuda, who is responsible for carrying out air accident investigations, to perform these services. Under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention on Civil Aviation, States must establish and appoint an organization responsible for air accident investigations, which is separate and independent from the Civil Aviation regulator, which in Bermuda is the BCAA. The aim of any air accident investigation organization is not to apportion blame but to uncover the root cause of any accident so lessons may be learned and improvements can be made to prevent similar issues from recurring. The presentations invoked much discussion and were followed by practical exercises of various scenarios in the local area.

paragraphMinister of Finance Curtis Dickinson said tax increases included in the Pre-Budget Report were being considered, but were not guaranteed. However, he told an audience at a public meeting last night that if taxes on commercial and residential rents were introduced, the threshold would be higher than the figure floated in the report. The report proposed that the tax would not affect properties with an annual rental value of less than $22,000. Mr Dickinson said: “The rental tax is still under consideration. The Tax Reform Committee suggested $22,000. It will be over $22,000.” He later said the threshold would be more than $22,800, but emphasized that a final decision about the tax had not been made. Mr Dickinson said: “We presented the idea to get your feedback. I have not decided on whether to implement the rent tax or at what the threshold rent tax will apply. My decisions will be informed by the input I get from you and other stakeholders.” The minister also said the Government’s system of collecting taxes owed was “antiquated”, but the ministry would continue to look at ways to address the issue. Mr Dickinson said: “Collection and enforcement are a priority of this government and we accept that we need to do a better job of it. We have hired more resources to help us tackle this issue and we are going to stay consistent on it until we collect as much of the past-due taxes as possible.” About 1,000 people filled the Goodwin C. Smith Hall at the Heritage Worship Centre in Hamilton last night for the meeting, intended to receive feedback on the Pre-Budget Report.

paragraphBermuda’s shifting population demographics over the next seven years are expected to present significant challenges for the island’s business community. As outlined in the recently released report, Bermuda’s Population Projections, 2016-2026, the island’s population will both decline by 111 people by 2026 — and get appreciably older. Based on current projections, the report says, the proportion of the population 65 or older will rise from 16.9 per cent in 2016, to 24.9 per cent in 2026. One in nine of us will be 75 or older; the median age will be 49. The impact of shifting population demographics has wide implications for the business community. Population decline is expected to result in a lessening demand for the sector’s goods and services. “For local businesspeople, it will become more and more difficult to maintain the level of activity they have now — or grow it,” says Don Mills, chairman and senior partner of Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates and a partner in local firm, Total Marketing and Communications. “There’s no way it will be different than that — it’s simply a numbers game.” Meanwhile, an increase in the number of retirees creates a corresponding decrease in the number of people in the workforce. In combination with declining fertility levels, businesses will have more difficulty finding enough qualified young Bermudians to fill the positions made vacant by retiring baby-boomers. Compounding the issue, as those people retire there will be fewer of the well-educated and skilled workers left in the workforce that make Bermuda attractive to foreign investment. That scarcity of labour will increase costs for both local businesses as well as potential investors in the island due to increased competition for good employees. The expected labour shortages will occur across the economy, Mr Mills says. Businesses in the service sector will continue to find it difficult to find Bermudians to work in the area, and those issues will migrate to the retail sector because younger workers are not drawn to that type of work. “There are a lot of challenges,” Mr Mills says. On the expenditure side, healthcare costs for employers, who are legally bound to provide a health insurance programme for their employees, are expected to increase due to greater use of the health care system by an ageing population. Referring to Bermuda’s unfunded pension liabilities and spiraling health care costs, the island’s Fiscal Responsibility Panel wrote: “Government has to be concerned that the impact on wage costs of financing the various social insurance schemes does not jeopardize the attractiveness of Bermuda for employers, particularly in the international business sector.” Meanwhile, businesses on-island are continuing to digest the impact on their bottom line of the living wage legislation announced in the 2018 Budget. Initially pegged at $12.25 an hour, it may rise to above $18 an hour by 2021. They are also awaiting news, in the 2019 Budget to be delivered on February 22, of any new or increased taxes that might impact their profitability. Among the new or increased taxes recommended to Government by the Tax Reform Commission are: commercial residential rental tax, general services tax, withholding tax on managed services, withholding tax on dividends and interest — plus reforms to a variety of existing taxes including payroll, owner-manager declared dividend, customs duty, excise, land, financial services, foreign currency purchase, as well as international company fees and immigration fees. “Viewed as a package, the recommendations would significantly increase the overall tax burden, while shifting the tax system to some extent from taxes on employment income to taxes on other forms of income and consumption, in particular rents and services,” the panel wrote. "As with any tax increase, there will be an impact on the cost of living and doing business in Bermuda. While we recommend that the Government accepts and implements the package, or something like it, we also acknowledge that it will face a major challenge in explaining the need for the measures to the population and to business. It would clearly help if the tax increases could be matched by actions on immigration — as also recommended by the TRC — and by equally firm actions to improve efficiency in the public sector and to cut or at least to prevent future increases in costs, particularly in the health sector.” It perhaps comes as no surprise that there has been a decline in private sector business confidence, according to a recent survey. “Such surveys, while not definitive, can be leading indicators of developments in the real economy,” the panel wrote. John Wight, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “In order to grow, businesses need to increase revenues and without increased demand for their products and services from more people working in Bermuda, it is difficult to see how they will be able to generate increased revenue at a time when there are so many increases in the costs to operate a business. “Government has rightly talked about the need to grow the economy. It is difficult to see how we can do that without more people being based and working here in Bermuda. Our ageing population is a concern. Economically, we lost between 6,000 and 7,000 people between 2010-14. Now, we have seen what impact those individuals had on the economy — paying into the tax system, renting units from Bermudians, eating at Bermudian-owned restaurants, taking Bermudian-owned taxis. Their impact was substantial. Their departure is one of the causes of our current economic situation, where we have a national debt of $2.5 billion and we have the challenge of producing a balanced budget.” Mr Mills said: “After the recession, you lost people who were the highest-spending consumers. The value of their spending was disproportionately higher than their actual numbers. When you lose almost 10 per cent of your people, it’s going to affect consumer spending. It’s hard to make up when the highest-spending cohort left the island. It’s a hard part of the economy to replace.”

paragraphBlue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Ltd made a net loss of $24.9 million, or $2.84 per share, for the fourth quarter. The net loss for the year was $28.6 million, or $3.27 per share. The combined ratios for the quarter and year were 308.8 per cent and 191.6 per cent. The increase in the combined ratio was due to a significantly higher loss and loss adjustment expense ratio. The fourth quarter’s loss and loss adjustment expenses of $33.2 million reflected 2018 losses related to the California wildfires and Hurricane Michael and additional estimated losses related to Typhoon Jebi, which occurred in the third quarter, and Hurricane Irma which occurred in the third quarter of 2017. Reinsurance premiums written for the current quarter were $9.1 million increasing by $2.4 million over the same period a year ago.

paragraphRenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. recorded a net loss of $83.9 million, or $2.10 per diluted common share, in the fourth quarter of 2018. That compared to a net loss a of $3.5 million, or nine cents, in the same quarter in 2017. Operating income available to RenaissanceRe common shareholders was $1.2 million, or two cents per diluted common share. Kevin O’Donnell, president and chief executive officer, said: “In the quarter, we reported positive operating income, while rapidly paying claims to customers facing significant losses from Category 4 Hurricane Michael and a second consecutive year of record-breaking wildfires in California. “For the year, we outperformed on multiple metrics, posting a strong operating ROE, delivering robust top-line growth, and executing effectively on a number of key initiatives, including the formation of our latest innovative joint venture, Vermeer and our pending acquisition of Tokio Millennium Re. Looking ahead, at the recent January 1 renewal we laid the foundation for a successful 2019 and ongoing shareholder value creation.” The company reported an annualized return on average common equity of negative 7.8 per cent and an annualized operating return on average common equity of positive 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. Book value per common share decreased $1.08, or 1 per cent, to $104.13. Tangible book value per common share plus accumulated dividends decreased 40 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $117.17.

paragraphThe 100th anniversary of the island’s first trade union is a “vital” milestone, the organizer of an event to honour its founders said yesterday. Glenn Fubler said that the anniversary was important “not just to the BUT, but to the whole community”. He added: “There’s nothing more important than education today.” Mr Fubler was speaking as the union organized to celebrate its centennial. Several former presidents and the present head of the BUT gathered at an event at the Bermuda National Gallery. Mr Fubler, who served as president of the BUT from 1983 to 1985, said that creation of the union was “fundamental to the transformation that happened in Bermuda” in the decades after. Edith Crawford, Matilda Crawford, Adele Tucker and Rufus Stovell founded the BUT on February 1, 1919. Mr Fubler said: “These founders brave and unselfish action a century ago was key to strengthening the teaching profession and providing the framework for a sustainable public system to meet the needs of the 20th century. Their persistent and principled actions contributed immeasurably to a Bermuda in which there was an increased access to opportunity for all segments of the community — the black community in particular.” He added that it was important to honour the union’s founders by “committing to work together across our diverse interests to nurture the capacity of our whole society”. He added: “The best way of observing this iconic anniversary would be to commit towards fostering an open and collaborative society, which recognizes, respects and promotes the potential of all.” Mr Fubler read a list of names who had thanked the founders of the BUT. It included church and union leaders, social services providers, island teachers and others. Shannon James, president of the BUT, was happy to hear of the support. He said: “It lets me know that the community is really involved in education and supports teachers, and in turn supports our children. It’s a wonderful thing. It is a true community effort.” Mr James said that to be at the event with past presidents and other community members was “a humbling experience”. He added: “A lot of times when you’re in the class, you feel like it’s just you. To see the faces of the many people that support — it’s encouraging. It lets you know that you’re not alone. We all are in it together, and we all are interested in our children.” Ellen-Kate Horton, BUT president from 1979 to 1981, said that the union “must have a say in education going forward”. She added: “It cannot be just a government decision.” Ms Horton would like to seem more gatherings of the profession. She said: “I’m hoping we can keep it going — because we are the people who must make a difference in education. We can’t leave it to persons who have no idea about education.” Ms Horton felt the BUT was not seen by some as being as important today as it had been in the past. She explained: “The fact that you can make decisions about education and not sit down at length with the union, and educators, and teachers, is mind-boggling. I wish we could take education away from this political football.” Ms Horton added that former teachers could help get the island’s education system back to the top of the class. She said: “We have a web of knowledge that we can draw upon to try and bring us back to where we should be.”

paragraphThe family of a man shot dead has lost a legal attempt to recover $5,000 seized by US Customs officers a year before he was killed. The Supreme Court heard that Morlan Steede was stopped at the airport on January 22, 2016 as he tried to fly to Jamaica via Miami. He showed officers a forged document that appeared to be from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, which said he was not in the Jamaica criminal database. But Steede, a Jamaican national, was denied permission to enter the US after the US officials discovered he had served six months behind bars for drug possession. Mr Steede also told officers he had $3,000 in cash on him, but a search revealed $7,000 in US cash without any supporting documents to explain the purpose of the money. The money was subsequently seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Mr Steede later told police that his wife, Martseeyah Jones, had given him $5,000 to make a down payment on a house in Jamaica for her and her sisters. He said the remaining $2,000 was a gift from his father, Richard Steede. But Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said in a written judgment: “It cannot be ignored that Morlan Steede willfully attempted to deceive the US customs officers about the sum of cash on his person when he was at the airport. It is certainly inconceivable that he was genuinely mistaken about the fact that he was traveling with $7,000 cash.” The judgment, released this month, added: “The dishonest conduct of Morlan Steede did not stop there. He clearly presented a fraudulent document to the authorities with the purpose of making the relevant officers believe that he had not previously been convicted of a criminal offence.” Mrs Justice Subair Williams said: “The irresistible inference is that his efforts to conceal and deceive were deliberate and pre-calculated.” Mr Steede, 30, from Hamilton Parish, was shot in the Deepdale area of Pembroke on November 3, 2017. The seized money case was considered by Magistrates’ Court six months later and prosecutors asked for the money to be forfeited. Magistrates’ Court heard at the time that Ms Jones told police that she and her sister, Rita Jones, had each given Steede $2,500 for “investment purposes”. Richard Steede told police he had given his son $2,000 to give to his son’s mother to support a bus transport business. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo ruled the $2,000 should be returned to Richard Steede but that the $5,000 remainder should be forfeited. However, the family launched a legal action in the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn the judgment. Neither Martseeyah or Rita Jones took part in the hearing, but Richard Steede appeared as the representative of his son’s estate. Mrs Justice Subair Williams said in her judgment that the evidence that the $5,000 was intended for criminal conduct was strong. She added that the conflict in stories about the $5,000 made the claim that the money was intended for investment “unworthy of belief”. But Mrs Justice Subair Williams said there was some doubt about the $2,000 and upheld the magistrate’s decision to return the money to Richard Steede.

paragraphKirsten Badenduck, an insurance executive who became a champion for the disabled, has died. Ms Badenduck was 69. She was confined to a wheelchair after she suffered serious injuries in 2002 car crash while on holiday in Northern California. But Ms Badenduck remained independent and became a campaigner for others who faced similar problems. She joined the National Accessibility Advisory Council in 2007 to push for better treatment for the disabled. MeChelle Smith, who was one of her caregivers after she returned to the island from medical rehabilitation, said Ms Badenduck refused to lose hope. Ms Smith said: “She put her best foot forward and smiled through it all. It never failed.” Ms Badenduck loved art, music and theatre, and with the help of friends she acquired the equipment to make herself as independent as possible. Cindy Swan, co-founder of the transportation charity Project Action, said Ms Badenduck relied on their service to get to her job at Ace. “She was a very positive person — I didn’t know her before her accident and can just imagine the spirit that she had, being incapacitated with her disability. She was a go-getter spirit, very much alive and well.” Tore Badenduck, her older brother, said Ms Badenduck got a wheelchair that could raise her to eye level and could fit into a car, which she could operate herself. With the help of Ms Smith and carers Simone Trott and Apol Lo, she was also able to exercise by swimming. Mr Badenduck said: “She had confidence and courage. Surgeons forecast that she would live two years, a maximum of ten, but she almost made 17. She had a huge amount of friends and was lucky enough to continue to live in her house in Smith’s with good caregivers. It all helped — it was cumulative. Her standout features were her smile and her persistence. It goes back to our mother, Anna Marie, who was a very determined individual, as well as from her being an immigrant. She also had success, and success breeds more determination.” The family were originally from the Norwegian capital, Oslo, but moved to rural Quebec in Canada in the early 1950s. Ms Badenduck was the youngest of three, with two older brothers. Mr Badenduck said: “She came out not speaking English and grew up in a small town where English and French were the ‘two solitudes’, as the expression goes.” The term, from the title of a 1945 novel by the Canadian author Hugh MacLennan, described the divide between the country’s English and French-speaking peoples. The family later moved to Montreal, where Ms Badenduck studied psychology and library science at McGill University — and met a Bermudian, Brian Luckhurst, who was studying marine biology. They married and moved to Bermuda and Mr Luckhurst became the senior fisheries officer at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Mr Badenduck said: “She said ‘This is my kind of place’. The couple, who had no children, later separated. Ms Badenduck, who preferred the Norwegian version “Shishten” for her first name, started work the Bermuda National Library. Frances Marshall, a friend and colleague from her library days, said her former boss was “a very intelligent, very engaging woman” who loved swimming and sport. Ms Marshall, who befriended Ms Badenduck in 1981, added: “She didn’t wait for things to come to her. She took lemons and made lemonade.” Ms Badenduck moved on to become a medical librarian at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. A turning point came in 1985, when she joined the insurance giant Ace Bermuda. Mr Badenduck said his sister was “in the right place at the right time with the right mix of talents”. Ms Badenduck started out researching companies in the firm’s information services department and climbed the company ranks, becoming vice-president of properties. Mr Badenduck said his sister left behind a large selection of equipment and accessories for the disabled, which the family wanted to pass on to others. Ms Badenduck died in her sleep on January 14, and will be buried at the family grave in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in Quebec, Canada.

paragraphA social inquiry report was ordered on a teenager caught in possession of cannabis with intent to supply. Jah’Dimon Parkes, 17, admitted the offence at Magistrates’ Court this week. The court heard that Parkes, from Pembroke, was arrested in the parish on a separate matter on July 25 last year and searched. Police found a plastic bag with 18 twist bags inside that contained a gum-like substance, later found to be cannabis. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe adjourned the case until March 15.

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January 30

paragraphThe insurance-linked securities market is seeing “convergence of convergence”, according to Willis Towers Watson. The reinsurance broker and risk adviser said in its ILS Market Update that the market had reached $93 billion of outstanding non-life capital by the end of 2018, despite a slowdown during the fourth quarter. The report stated that lines of demarcation within the ILS space were blurring, as ceding companies and intermediaries look to the range of catastrophe bonds, sidecars, and other collateralized ILS, to identify the best tools to meet specific challenges, continue to develop new solutions, and refine existing structures. This blurring of categories should help the ILS market to overcome concerns including prompt loss reporting, valuation accuracy, collateral release and rollover, and increasing volatility, the report contends. Two-way transparency both for ceding companies and investors is key, and solutions to many specific challenges seem close at hand. “We are seeing the convergence of convergence,” says William Dubinsky, managing director and head of ILS at Willis Towers Watson Securities. “The overall ILS figure is today a much more meaningful measurement of market size than focusing on cat bond and sidecar issuance alone. ILS capacity and products are growing organically and dynamically as gaps between different products and subsectors fill in, and innovation and market necessity create new capacity and products. Our confidence in the speed that new solutions will emerge gives us a favourable outlook for ILS in 2019.” The report said that in the face of multiple smaller catastrophic events in 2018 and a meaningful series of catastrophes in 2017, non-life cat bond issuance remained strong. About $9.2 billion of new capital was delivered, marking the second most active calendar year ever. Of $535 million in bonds issued during the fourth quarter, $125 million provides protection from California wildfire liability, $200 million grants peak multi-peril protection, and $210 million covers US earthquake (workers’ compensation).

paragraphPreparations for the 22nd Bermuda International Film Festival [BIFF] are well under way, promising to make it event to remember with a spectacular array of films, with the BIFF Academy again set to hold two programs aimed at students. Nicky Gurret Artistic Director of BIFF and in charge of the BIFF Academy said, “BIFF will take place from 10 March to 17 March, 2019, and it has an important education purpose. As part of the festival delivers two programmes designed to inform and inspire the Island’s younger generation through the imagination and attention-grabbing medium of film. The BIFF Academy is comprised of the Books to Film initiative targeted at primary school children and the Reel Talk documentary screening aimed at middle and senior school students. The programme is free to students and their teachers. Book to Film for P1- P4 students will take place on Wednesday, 13 March and Thursday, 14 March from 8:30am to 10:15am and Thursday, 14th March from 8:30am to 10:15 and 10:30am to 12:15pm. The screening takes place at The Earl Cameron Theatre. The Wednesday and Thursday program are full however Tuesday has a few seats left. The Books to Film programme is the Festival’s initiative focusing on visual literacy learning in primary schools. Classes from Primary 1-4 are invited to come experience an exciting programme of reading and film. Story books are read to primary school children followed by the screening of a film adaptation. The format is designed to encourage enthusiasm for both reading and high-quality films. BIFF introduces the films and leads discussions. Reel Talk for middle and high school students will take place on Friday, 15th March from 8:30am to 10:30am. The screenings take place at The Earl Cameron Theatre. Reel Talk offers an exclusive opportunity for middle and high school students to attend the screening of a socially relevant documentary film during the Festival. Reel Talk aims to stir students’ interest in film making, to encourage creative expression, provide a new perspective, and develop interpersonal skills. There are over 500 student and teachers signed up thus far with 1,000 expected for both programmes. All public and private school are invited. Any home schools that would like to attend can e-mail director@biif.bm or call the BIFF office at 293-3456. Artistic Director Nicky Gurret said, “We are pleased with all the schools that have signed up so early and if there are any home schools that would like to attend please contact us at the email address or telephone number shown above.

paragraphThe Women’s Resource Centre and BELCO recently partnered to host a workshop entitled ‘Use Less, Save More’: How to Reduce your Electricity Bill. The one hour Free Lunch & Learn was sponsored by BELCO. The objective was for women to gain tools to lead energy efficient households and learn new methods to reduce their electricity costs. BELCO delivered a comprehensive understanding, in very understandable terms, of the kinds of electricity that we utilize in our households every day. The presentation included how to dry clothes more efficiently and how to lower your electricity bill by utilizing appliances such as heaters, microwaves, refrigerators, light bulbs and computers more efficiently. Other topics included how to make our homes energy efficient by simply cleaning and checking our appliances regularly. Elaine Butterfield, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said, “It was a tremendous workshop. Attendees, including myself, learned how to make sustainable life choices while reducing our electricity bills in a safe and practical way. Considering the high cost of living in Bermuda, every chair should have been filled. This workshop was for everyone. We are excited to be partnering with BELCO and will definitely be repeating this soon.” BELCO’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Manager, Jamil Rahemtula, remarked, “We are grateful to the Women’s Resource Centre for the opportunity to share energy efficiency tips with its members. BELCO makes a concerted effort to promote energy efficiency throughout the community and one of our favorite ways to do this is by speaking directly to people about how simple changes can lead to big savings. The ladies in attendance were very attentive and asked excellent questions. We look forward to returning to the Women’s Resource Centre in the near future. In the meantime, anyone interested in energy efficiency tips can visit belco.bm or search #BELCOefficiencytips on Facebook.” All attendees were treated with takeaways on tips that were shared and a delicious light lunch compliments of BELCO. For further information about the Women’s Resource Centre’s Awareness & Education quarterly Calendar of workshops, please visit our Facebook page at Women’s Resource Centre Bermuda or contact us at wrc@wrcbermuda.com or call us at 295-3882.

paragraphA burst pipe at the Fairmont Southampton caused flooding over the weekend. A hotel spokesman said the incident happened overnight on Saturday in the kitchen of the Jasmine Lounge restaurant. He said: “The resort experienced a burst water pipe which resulted in some flooding that was immediately handled. Jasmine Cocktail Bar and Lounge did not experience any disruption in service and we look forward to welcoming all our local clientele.”

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paragraphAn “insulting nickname” led to the knife murder of a 17-year-old Bermudian in Britain, an English judge has said. Lyrico Steede, a Bermudian student living with his family in Nottingham, was targeted by a rival group of teenagers who had been dubbed “the Athlete Gang” as a taunt that they ran away from confrontation. Mr Justice Lavender, who sentenced the five last Friday, added that “drill rap videos” had also played a “prominent role” in the attack on Mr Steede in February 13 last year. He told the group: “You and your associates were given an insulting nickname. You were called the Athlete Gang. You were called athletes by people who suggested that you ran away from fights. The people who made that suggestion included Lyrico Steede.” Kasharn Campbell, 19, was sentenced to 20 years for murder, and Christian Jameson, 18, was jailed for 16 years. Three others were sentenced for manslaughter for their part in the attack. Remmell Miller-Campbell, 18, was jailed for nine years and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to 7½ years. A 16-year-old girl, who also cannot be identified, was jailed for six years. Nottingham Crown Court was told that Campbell, Jameson and Miller-Campbell wanted revenge after they were mocked by Mr Steede and his friends. Campbell appeared in a rap music video filmed two days after the attack, with lyrics that included “anyone screaming Athlete Gang gonna get rambled up” — a reference to stabbing. The judge told them it was “a case about stabbing, and so much of that music is about stabbing”. Mr Justice Lavender told Campbell he was “sure” that CCTV footage from the night of the attack showed him “putting on rubber gloves to keep Lyrico Steede’s blood off your hands”. He added the three who accompanied him were there to add “strength of numbers. He ran and you all chased him, running past the homes of people who had no idea that there were killers on the loose just outside their front doors.” The judge told Campbell, the oldest, that he had stabbed Mr Steede with the intention of killing him and that Jameson was his “right-hand man”. Miller-Campbell was said to have played a smaller role and Mr Justice Lavender said he believed he and the 17-year-old did not take part in the stabbing. The girl was told she had played a “crucial role” at Campbell’s instigation. Mr Justice Lavender said: “With remarkable cynicism, you then sent Snapchat messages to Mr Steede pretending you knew nothing about the ambush and claiming that you were yourself a victim, in that your iPad had been stolen, when in fact you were a party to the crime. The jury were not sure that you intended that Mr Steede should be caused really serious harm, but they were sure that you intended that he should be stabbed.” Mr Steede died in hospital on February 18, five days after being lured to a park in the Bulwell suburb of Nottingham to meet the 16-year-old girl. He was chased and stabbed after he arrived for the meeting. Mr Justice Lavender said the victim’s injuries included stab wounds to his lungs. He added a stab to Mr Steede’s right leg damaged the victim’s femoral artery and caused “significant bleeding”. The court heard that Mr Steede had a heart attack, which deprived his brain of oxygen, as he was rushed to hospital. Mr Justice Lavender added that his mother, Keishaye Steede, had given a “very moving statement”. He told the five: “What you have inflicted on her is, as she has said, a mother’s worst nightmare.”

paragraphDeloitte Bermuda has been confirmed as a Platinum Sponsor of the AXA End-to-End event. This will be the third year in a row that Deloitte has participated in the fundraising event, which will take place on May 4. The company previously hosted a water stop next to the Somerset Bridge. John Johnston, CEO at Bermuda and Caribbean Region, said: “We are delighted to be one of two Platinum Sponsors for the AXA End-to-End 2019. This sponsorship provides us with the opportunity to express our commitment to making a positive contribution in the communities where we live and work. The charities that have been selected by the End-to-End over the years align to Deloitte’s Corporate Social Responsibility pillars — children, education, elderly, and environment. This event brings out the best in Bermuda, and Deloitte professionals put their passion, determination, and skills to use for the benefit of others.” Anne Mello, chairwoman of the End-to-End Charitable Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Deloitte as our Platinum Sponsor of the upcoming AXA End-to-End event. “As one of the most highly regarded companies in Bermuda, Deloitte’s support brings the event needed funds, enhanced community recognition and an active corporate team of participants.”

paragraphA lead figure in a fintech company that was the first to be approved to launch an initial coin offering in Bermuda under the island’s new regulatory regime, has a history of court judgments and tax liens against him in the US. A new report by the OffshoreAlert website has highlighted the judgments dating back to 2007. In addition, the report features court judgment details relating to shareholders, officers and directors of Bermuda-based cryptocurrency exchange and coin company Arbitrade. Oscar Garcia is the founder and chief executive officer of Uulala Ltd, which has stated its mission is to provide access to financial tools to the under-banked and unbanked. In October it was hailed as the first company to meet “the stringent Bermuda fintech standard to launch from the jurisdiction”. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, at the time said: “For Bermuda to go from just the legislative concept nine months ago, to our first ICO now, with Uulala, is magnificent.” Uulala aimed to raise $50 million from the sale of its crypto tokens during an initial coin offering that took place between November and the end of December. Its white paper also mentioned a private sale of tokens undertaken earlier last year. The Royal Gazette yesterday attempted to contact the company to find out if the ICO had met expectations, and also for a response to the report that lists a number of court judgments and tax liens involving Mr Garcia and previous companies with which he has been associated. These include judgments and tax liens against Market 2 Millions Direct Inc, where Mr Garcia was CEO between 1996 and 2008. While some of the judgments were made after he had left the company — as indicated by the timeline on his LinkedIn profile — he is named in a later 2010 judgment. State and federal tax liens against Mr Garcia are also listed in the report, as is a 2013 failure to repay a loan judgment against 2GO Industries Inc and Mr Garcia, who was CEO of that business for three years. Since 2007, the judgments and tax liens that reference Mr Garcia or companies he was associated with total $540,000. Further tax liens and judgments were made against e-commerce business Lucrazon Global. Mr Garcia does not list this company in his LinkedIn profile, however he did appear in a Lucrazon promotional video where he introduced himself as its executive vice-president. The report also mentions an ongoing court action brought by a former business partner against Mr Garcia and a company called Uulala Inc that was formed in Delaware. Elsewhere, the report highlights Arbitrade, which established its global headquarters in Bermuda last year. Details are given of shareholders, officers and directors of the company who have been subject to lawsuits, judgments, liens and regulatory action. 

paragraphAscendant Group Ltd is considering putting itself up for sale — and one potential buyer has already revealed an interest. Twenty First Century Utilities, the US company that had a bid for Ascendant turned down last April, would consider trying again if the company decides to seek a buyer. Joe Garcia, senior adviser on TFC’s management team, told The Royal Gazette last night: “Yes, we are interested. We made a bona fide offer, based on the information that was publicly available. If the information provided in this process adds to that, we will again consider making an offer.” Ascendant, the owner of power utility Belco, said in a statement yesterday morning that its board of directors has “begun a process of evaluating strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of Ascendant Group Ltd”. Trading of Ascendant shares on the Bermuda Stock Exchange had earlier been suspended “pending an announcement” from the company. In a statement, Ascendant said: “Among the range of alternatives we see ahead, the company, with the assistance of its financial adviser Guggenheim Securities LLC, is exploring the potential benefits that a new owner of Ascendant can bring to Bermuda — including greater access to capital for domestic investment and the infrastructure development expertise necessary to accelerate the next phase of Belco’s evolution.” TFC offered $15 per share for Ascendant last April. The offer was flatly rejected by the Ascendant board, which a month later described it as “an unsolicited, highly conditional, expression of interest”. The statement added that “it is in the best interests of Bermuda and Ascendant’s customers, shareholders and employees, to continue to execute on its existing strategy”. Since then, the company has begun construction work on the new North Power Station, a $107 million project to replace some of its ageing fleet of generators. Also, strong public support for greater use of renewable energy sources than is envisaged by Belco emerged, when the Regulatory Authority sought feedback on alternative visions for the future of electricity in Bermuda. Belco favours using liquefied natural gas as a principal fuel for electricity generation. An alternative vision submitted by BE Solar entails a more aggressive shift to renewable energy sources, and received the most support during the RA’s consultation period that ended last November. The plan included an offshore wind farm. Ascendant said yesterday: “With respect to regulation, the mandate is to lower rates through increased competition in electricity generation, as well as to ensure renewables play a larger role in the island’s energy mix. Renewable energy is the future, but there is currently a gap between that future and today’s need for reliable and affordable energy.” 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. 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. In explaining its decision to “evaluate strategic alternatives”, Ascendant said: “The company understands that its responsibility is to a broad group of stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, and regulators. Each of these stakeholders brings to bear on the company a wide range of perspectives and expectations. Furthermore, the industry in which we operate is facing unprecedented change, and — with change — we must have the ability to explore and leverage new opportunities for the betterment of Bermuda.” The statement added: "Ascendant’s share price had risen from $5 to $17 over the past five years. The company has been aggressively buying back its own shares and last traded last week at $16.75. The market value remains well under book value. We know our Belco customers want lower rates and we are actively focused on reducing these through finding efficiencies in how we operate every aspect of our company. We have laid the groundwork for Bermuda’s energy future with flexibility at the forefront, so the island can pursue any energy mix that is appropriate. Current infrastructure improvements to the electricity system include replacement generators that will ensure a cost effective, reliable supply of energy for the foreseeable future, irrespective of any additional generation sources. Through the commitment and hard work of our employees, we are modernizing the grid and installing advanced metering infrastructure island wide so that Bermuda can pursue the most advanced energy technology in the future. We are also mindful of the needs of our employees. As we strive to become more efficient, we are committed to balancing the needs of employees against the need to reduce electricity prices for our customers. We remain enthusiastic about the future prospects of Ascendant, to the benefit of all of our stakeholders.” As well as Belco, Ascendant owns AirCare, iFM, a facilities management company, and iEPC, an engineering and construction business.

paragraphIn the second of a five-part series examining the impact of the ageing of Bermuda’s population, we look at the outlook for pensions. Bermuda’s shifting population demographics have serious implications for the future long-term economic prospects of both individuals and the wider economy. The recently released report, Bermuda’s Population Projections, 2016-2026, reveals that, based on current projections, some 24.9 per cent of the population will have reached the pensionable age of 65 in seven years’ time, while the overall population will decline by 111 people as the number of deaths exceed births. The demographic shift based on age will result in more retirees taking money out of the pension pot, while a reduction in the number of people in the workforce will mean fewer people will be paying money in. The island’s Fiscal Responsibility Panel, in a report issued in November, said that a 2016 actuarial review for the year ending August 2014 showed that Bermuda’s Contributory Pension Fund, funded by private sector workers and employers, is dramatically underfunded, although it said estimates of the actual amount range from $500 million to $1.8 billion depending on assumptions made as to the magnitude of future accrued benefits and contributions. Moreover, the two public-sector pension schemes, which benefit government employees (PSSF) and Ministers and Legislators (MMLPF), have an unfunded liability of some $975 million as of March 2018, the panel wrote, adding: “Unless tackled, this will be a burden on future budgets.” Addressing both shortfalls, the panel wrote: “Debt reduction needs to be complemented by actions to address these deficits.” Of particular interest to anyone who is aged 35 or younger is that the actuarial review of the assets of the CPF revealed that it is likely to run out of money by 2049 unless steps are taken to address the long-term viability of the plan. In its Pre-Budget Report, released last week, Government said its “policy of increasing contribution rates by 2.5 per cent above the rate of pension increases has allowed a significant level of fund to build up and thus the plan is partially funded, which provides further security of benefits”. At September 30, Government says, the fund had total assets of more than $1.9 billion, which is approximately 11.7 times the annual value of benefits paid in the 2017-18 fiscal year. “The 2014 actuarial report of the fund indicated that the viability of the fund in the short to medium term is good, with the fund being positive for the next 25 years,” Government said. “However, recognizing the long-term challenges of the fund, the ministry will continue to closely monitor its performance.” The island’s fertility rate — the rate at which women of child-bearing age (15-49) give birth ­— is a major contributor to the issue of underfunded pensions. In order for a couple to replace themselves, and account for infant mortality, a country’s fertility rate must be 2.1, the population report says. Between 2016 and 2026, Bermuda’s fertility rate is expected to remain constant at 1.4 children per woman. The report, citing the World Bank as a source, said that “many developed countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom also had sub-replacement level fertility in 2016. The reduction in fertility rates had a great impact on Bermuda’s demographic profile,” the report says, noting that the island’s crude birth rate, which is the number of live births per 1,000 population in a given year, plummeted from 30.4 in 1950 to 9.3 in 2016. It is projected to decline further, to 7.3, by 2026. The decreasing birth rate trend, the report says, aligns with a decline in the proportion of the population that are females aged 15 to 49 from 22.5 per cent to 19.9 per cent over the projection period. “The decline in the number of births ... has far-reaching consequences for pay-as-you-go type pensions such as the CPF,” the population report says. “This is because the contributions that are paid into the fund in a given year by workers are generally paid out as benefits in the same year. “The financial viability of this type of pension scheme can be problematic if the number of pensioners is rising at a faster rate than the number of workers.” Financial analyst and The Royal Gazette columnist Nathan Kowalski, said: “Bermuda suffers from a ‘denominator problem’ – its obligations continue to rise while this amount is getting divided among fewer and fewer people. Without a rising denominator (contributors to the CPF) the numerator (retirees and pensioners) will eventually swamp the fund’s ability to pay. Plain and simple, the declining population is and will continue to be a major factor that places entitlements at risk.” The fiscal responsibility panel said it urged action on the underfunded pension liabilities in its 2017 report. “We said it would be important to address this over time with a range of measures that should certainly include, as in other countries, a rise in the retirement age — a measure that also has the merit of increasing the working-age population. “Our 2017 report also noted that the 2016 actuarial review might have understated the potential risks that could arise if the financial environment fails to deliver an adequate real rate of return on pension investments. The latter possibility is also a risk faced by Bermudians reliant on privately managed pension returns. While the Government is not legally obligated to cover any CPF shortfall (let alone shortfalls in private pension schemes), the CPF system plays too significant a role for the retirement income support of many elderly for the Government to allow it to fail. Adjustments in the contribution and benefit formulae and the age of eligibility for CPF benefits remain an urgent priority that needs to complement the announced policy to maintain an annual COLA (cost of living allowance).” The fiscal responsibility panel warned in 2017 that many people wholly dependent on CPF pensions will fall below the poverty line. This will be particularly relevant for elderly women, the panel wrote, because they are likely to have “a greater need for assistance with services such as income maintenance, housing, meals, transportation and healthcare because they have less financial resources. Addressing this through financial assistance is a contingent risk on the budget.” The fiscal responsibility panel report praised “outstanding proposals” from the previous Government’s Pension Benefit Working Group, which said that reforms of the PSSF might require increases in contribution rates by both Government and its employees, an increase in the retirement age for unreduced pensions, a shift to a final five-year average salary as the basis for calculating the pension, and application of actuarial reductions on early retirement prior to age 65. Government has announced that it is considering increasing the retirement age to 67 on a voluntary basis and will examine what impact that might have on the plan. Government’s actuaries have prepared a 75-year baseline projection to assess the implications of instituting the PBWG’s proposed policy changes, the panel says. According to Government’s Pre-Budget Report — released last week — that actuarial report has been delivered and is being reviewed by the Government. “We have little doubt that [the report] will reveal that the assets of the system are at risk of being depleted within the next couple of decades and that the Government will have little option but to implement the types of reforms suggested by the PBWG,” the fiscal responsibility panel wrote. “Achieving the Government’s targets for explicit debt would not provide fiscal resilience unless the pension debt overhang is also addressed.” While Government has no legal obligation to ensure the viability of the CPF, it would be “politically untenable” to let it fail, says Craig Simmons, senior economic lecturer at Bermuda College, who takes the view that the CPF shortfall will result in an “intergenerational injustice”. Taxpayers will shoulder that burden, but not current taxpayers,” he said. “Instead, future taxpayers will, resulting in an intergenerational injustice. The taxpayers of the future have no chance to vote on these issues — but the burden will be dumped on them. They will be making contributions to the pension scheme without any guarantee of getting money out of it.” In the 2018 Throne Speech, Government announced that Bermuda’s social insurance system will be changed from a fixed-rate contribution to one based on a percentage of income. As a result, finance minister Curtis Dickinson said recently, “contribution increases will be delayed until the actuary completes the modelling to effect this policy objective. The actuary is currently working on the 2017 actuarial report for the CPF and it is anticipated that this report will be completed in the second quarter of 2019 at the latest. Contributions were last increased in August 2018 by 4.2 per cent”. The fiscal responsibility panel praised Government’s intention to introduce measures to increase the progressivity of CPF’s financing, thereby ensuring that the most vulnerable among us will carry a lesser share of the burden. “We support this movement away from a flat rate to a more progressive system and would hope that this is achieved, not only by a cap on the level of contributions by lower-wage Bermudians, but by progressivity in the rates applied to higher wage earners,” the panel wrote. If you make more money, you’ll make bigger contributions,” Mr Simmons says. “If you make less, you will make smaller contributions. That is a fairer and more sustainable way to address the problem. Sustainability is the priority of pension funds — we can’t afford to let them run out of money.”

paragraphA surprise message from the Queen added a special touch to a 65th wedding anniversary celebration. Quinton and Marjorie Talbot were given the message from Buckingham Palace on Sunday night — the day before their anniversary. Mrs Talbot said she and her husband were “ecstatic” when they were handed the card by family members at a celebration dinner at Waterlot Inn in Southampton. She said: “I couldn’t even open the card — my fingers were trembling.” The Queen offered her best wishes and added: “I hope your day will be filled with happy memories.” The Talbots plan to frame the card and give it pride of place on a wall at their Somerset home. Mrs Talbot said: “It is a beautiful picture of the Queen in royal blue, carrying a bouquet of white roses.” The 86-year-old added that the monarch turned out to be only a few months older than her husband. Mr Talbot was born in September 1926 and the Queen was born in April the same year — making them both 92. Mrs Talbot said the secret to a happy marriage was love — and hard work. She added: “It’s something you have to work on. It’s not always easy. With a long marriage you have to give a lot, take a lot, and just try to love it up.” The Talbots thanked Government House and the Cabinet Office for their help in organising the card from the Queen.

paragraphBermuda football has lost another one of its ambassadors who played the “beautiful game” hard but fair. Troy Berkeley, the former Somerset Trojans and Bermuda winger, passed away at the weekend at age 56 after a long bout with illness. He won numerous league and cup honours during a highly successful career playing under various coaches at Somerset where he rose up through the youth ranks before making his mark at senior level. “Troy just wasn’t a team-mate, he was a lifelong friend,” Dennis Brown, the former Trojans captain, said. “I met Troy when I was about eleven in the youth programme at Somerset. We played in the senior team together and also in the national under-16 youth team and senior national team together so we have not just been team-mates but friends for ever.” Brown said his late team-mate was a player who always showed up when it mattered most. “Troy was a big-day player,” he added. “He wanted to be in the big games and a lot of the big games we won he contributed hugely in those games. I can remember a game we went to Dandy Town and we were a point behind them [in the league] with two games to go. We had to beat them at St John’s Field and Troy popped up and scored a brilliant goal from outside the box. We ended up winning 1-0 and went on to win the league. The other game that stands out to me was the 1987-88 FA Cup final replay at Somerset. We played Devonshire Colts and Troy scored both goals and we ended up winning 2-1. That was the first time we had won the FA Cup for about eight years. Troy was a huge contributor to the success of our team in the 1980s. We won the league three years in a row undefeated. Troy was a very vibrant person and always full of energy who is a big loss, not just for the Sandys community, but Bermuda as a whole. He’s like a brother to all of us and we always kept in contact. Just two weeks ago he came to my house and we were talking about life and he mentioned he was tired of suffering and stuff like that. A bunch of us sat around at the hospital the other night just reminiscing about what he brought into our lives, not just for football, but life in general.” Norbert Simons, one of the coaches Berkeley played under at Somerset, described the late player as “exceptionally talented”, “passionate” and perhaps above all “humble”. Simons said, “Troy was an exceptionally talented player who had two good feet and could play on either wing. He was a passionate and humble player but you never saw him go over the top. He would score goals and not make a lot of fuss — and he scored some really important and good goals for Somerset over the years. One of his outstanding performances for me outside of league play was when he played against Arsenal at Somerset in 1987. He played on the flank and we lost that game 1-0 to an 86th-minute own goal; he was really outstanding. He was really serious when he played his football, but get him in the changing room or in other settings and he was always the life of the party.” After hanging up his boots Berkeley gave back to the sport by creating opportunities for up-and-coming players. “Troy was a professional agent and got a lot of children scholarships to school and professional trials,” Larry Hunt, the former Trojans defender and coach, said. "He worked at the Department of Youth and Sport for a few years and even coached Ireland Rangers when he finished playing for Trojans. He went back and put something back in the community of Dockyard having started at Ireland Rangers before coming to us after we older Trojans were just finishing. Troy was always a die-hard Ireland Rangers man. He came over to Trojans with a bunch of guys from Ireland Rangers, which was more or less a farm club for us. He was a good right winger who loved the game and was also a strong Tottenham fan like me. This is a big loss to the community. Troy stayed right across from the club and very rarely missed a game until later years when he got sick. He’s going to be greatly missed in the community and football fraternity.”

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January 28

paragraphCurtis Dickinson will answer questions about the Pre-Budget Report at a public meeting. The finance minister will be joined by his deputy, Wayne Furbert, at the event in Goodwin C. Smith Hall, Heritage Worship Centre, Dundonald Street, on Wednesday, at 6pm. The report provides some insight into the Government’s plans for the next fiscal year, which will be expanded in the annual Budget Statement, which Mr Dickinson will deliver on February 22. Proposals include possible taxes on homes, where the main function is for rental to tourists or to employees in international business; a 5 per cent general services tax on goods and services; and a 7.5 per cent tax on professional services. The Pre-Budget Report can be found at www.gov.bm/prebudgetreport. Send comments to openbudget@gov.bm.

paragraphThe Ministry of Public Works is advising that during the week of 4 February, 2019, septage disposal operations will take place. Works will be conducted daily between 7.30am and 4.00pm, and it’s anticipated that weather permitting, the disposal operations will last a week. These operations may result in unpleasant odors being experienced in the residential areas surrounding the Marsh Folly Composting Facility. Despite the unpleasant odor, the Ministry assures there are no environmental risks to area residents. The public is reminded that the Tynes Bay Septage Receiving Facility collects residential and commercial cesspit waste from around the Island. Every six months, the Facility is required to remove these waste solids, and transport these to Marsh Folly. The Ministry uses best health and safety and environmental practices while executing these procedures. The Ministry would like to thank the public for their patience, co-operation and understanding while these necessary works are conducted.

paragraphThe Royal Bermuda Regiment bid farewell to Corporal Ricardo Gibbs on Saturday with a military ceremony at the New Testament Church of God in Hamilton. Mr Gibbs, who served with the RBR for more than 20 years, died in a bike crash on Harbour Road on January 16, aged 40. His sister, Sanya Gibbs, 38, told mourners: “He was a proud soldier and he took pride in serving his country. He was humble, always smiling and never had anything harsh to say about anybody.” She told Mr Gibbs’s three children: “He always made sure he called you guys. He showed up. You guys really made him proud.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, RBR commanding officer, said Mr Gibbs had spent most of his RBR career in the Regimental Police, which is responsible for discipline, security and also plays a major role in ceremonial duties. He said: “Like many of us who have served our country in the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Corporal Gibbs found a place of belonging, a place of purpose and a place of pride in the regiment. Like no other organisation in Bermuda, we draw strength from our diversity. In the Royal Bermuda Regiment, our soldiers’ country of origin, religion, economic or educational status, their sexual orientation and their lived experience foster a shared respect and mutual understanding across our ranks. "Colonel Curley added: “We get along and we are family. Corporal Gibbs was all we could hope for in a soldier. He was a man who embodied the values and standards of our regiment. Selfless commitment, courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. Corporal Ricardo Gibbs did his job, he did it well, he did it with pride and a smile and also with respect and love.” Mr Gibbs’s coffin was taken to the Dundonald Street church on an RBR gun carriage and was carried by fellow soldiers. The cortege was led to St John’s churchyard in Pembroke by the Regiment’s Band and Corps of Drums, escorted by an honour guard. Mr Gibbs was born in Jamaica, but moved to Bermuda as a child. He served in the Junior Leaders for more than two years before he joined the RBR just after he reached the age of 18. He was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals during his career in the regiment, and assisted with hurricane recovery efforts in Bermuda and Grenada.

paragraphAscendant Group Ltd is considering putting itself up for sale. The owner of power utility Belco said in a statement yesterday morning that its board of directors has “begun a process of evaluating strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of Ascendant Group Ltd”. Trading of Ascendant shares on the Bermuda Stock Exchange had earlier been suspended “pending an announcement” from the company. In a statement, Ascendant said: “Among the range of alternatives we see ahead, the company, with the assistance of its financial adviser Guggenheim Securities LLC, is exploring the potential benefits that a new owner of Ascendant can bring to Bermuda — including greater access to capital for domestic investment and the infrastructure development expertise necessary to accelerate the next phase of Belco’s evolution.” The announcement comes as the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda considers proposals for the future of the island’s electricity generation. Belco has put forward plans for using liquefied natural gas as a principal fuel for electricity generation, in the Integrated Resource Plan, a document that will detail the island’s long-term electricity plan. Others have put forward alternative visions. The plan filed with the regulator by BE Solar as an alternative to the IRP, entailing a more aggressive move to renewable energy sources, received the most support during the RA’s consultation period that ended last November. The plan included an offshore wind farm. Ascendant said yesterday: “With respect to regulation, the mandate is to lower rates through increased competition in electricity generation, as well as to ensure renewables play a larger role in the island’s energy mix. Renewable energy is the future, but there is currently a gap between that future and today’s need for reliable and affordable energy.” Belco is building a new power plant in Pembroke to replace some of its fleet of ageing generators, many of which have gone well beyond their expected lifespan. In April last year, Ascendant was the subject of a takeover bid from US firm Twenty First Century Utilities. The $15-per share bid was about 50 per cent more than the company’s share price at the time. Joe Garcia, a senior adviser on TFC’s management team and a former US congressman, said at the time TFC’s approach was based on investing in energy efficiency and renewables, creating a decentralized grid that was shaped by the preferences of customers. An attempt to contact Mr Garcia for comment yesterday was unsuccessful. Ascendant stated: “The company understands that its responsibility is to a broad group of stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, and regulators. Each of these stakeholders brings to bear on the company a wide range of perspectives and expectations. Furthermore, the industry in which we operate is facing unprecedented change, and — with change — we must have the ability to explore and leverage new opportunities for the betterment of Bermuda.” The statement added that Ascendant’s share price had risen from $5 to $17 over the past five years. The company has been aggressively buying back its own shares and last traded last week at $16.75. “The market value remains well under book value,” the statement added. “We know our Belco customers want lower rates and we are actively focused on reducing these through finding efficiencies in how we operate every aspect of our company. We have laid the groundwork for Bermuda’s energy future with flexibility at the forefront, so the island can pursue any energy mix that is appropriate. Current infrastructure improvements to the electricity system include replacement generators that will ensure a cost effective, reliable supply of energy for the foreseeable future, irrespective of any additional generation sources. Through the commitment and hard work of our employees, we are modernizing the grid and installing advanced metering infrastructure island wide so that Bermuda can pursue the most advanced energy technology in the future. We are also mindful of the needs of our employees. As we strive to become more efficient, we are committed to balancing the needs of employees against the need to reduce electricity prices for our customers. We remain enthusiastic about the future prospects of Ascendant, to the benefit of all of our stakeholders.” As well as Belco, Ascendant also owns AirCare, iFM, a facilities management company, and iEPC, an engineering and construction business.

paragraphRepresentatives of two leading island health insurers have backed calls for changes in the way that medical services are regulated and delivered in Bermuda. John Wight, chief executive officer of BF&M Ltd, agreed with a recommendation by the island’s Fiscal Responsibility Panel that the private medical care sector must come under some form of regulation. The panel expressed concerns about both the cost and quality of the care provided, of diagnostic testing and of pharmaceutical products (see main story). “It is important to examine where costs come from,” Mr Wight said. “If we don’t regulate medical service providers, then we are not addressing certain drivers of healthcare costs in our community that may result in residents paying co-pays that are unaffordable for many people to pay, for example. Regulation is appropriate for health insurers and, correspondingly, it is appropriate for medical practitioners. It is one of many areas where transparency is necessary to reduce the cost of healthcare. In and of itself, regulation is not the complete answer but it is one of the many parts of the healthcare delivery model that needs to be addressed.” For example, he said, patients should know in advance how much the provider will charge, and what the copay will be. “Different physicians charge a wide range of prices for the same procedures, which many people don’t realize. A person’s out-of-pocket expenses can vary due to a lack of transparency in pricing between medical practitioners. The better the transparency, the better off the consumer will be.” Mr Wight’s colleague at BF&M, Michelle Jackson, said regulation would have an impact on healthcare costs. “Good quality medicine and good quality care is often the most effective way of managing the cost of healthcare,” said Mrs Jackson, senior vice-president, group lines, health and life, at BF&M. “Quality care means not re-treating people, not redoing treatment. We have to look at prevention and managing care instead of dealing with unmanaged care. We talk about managing costs, but quality care goes hand-in-hand with that. From an insurer’s perspective, good quality care is often the most effective care.” Peter Lozier, executive vice-president of group at the Argus Group, said that managing the delivery of healthcare services is critical. “If there is broadened coverage, but you don’t manage utilization, the result is actually an increase in costs,” Mr Lozier said. “By proper utilization, I mean ‘how many times do you need to go to the doctor? How many laboratories are needed on the island? How many x-ray machines do we require?’ Because if you have 50 extra x-ray machines, they are going to get used, and that means you have over-utilization if you don’t put controls in place. You put management around that coverage in order to ensure that utilization is appropriate. We don’t have a Bermuda standard of care for services. We have physicians who have trained in different jurisdictions and they may differ, for example, about how many ultrasounds are needed in a particular case. We don’t have a regulatory body to say what that right number is. What we have is overcapacity and duplication of services. When you have those two things, healthcare costs will rise.” Mr Lozier called for active case management of a patient’s medical needs. “Private insurance companies do it,” he says. “Argus has full-time case managers. If a person comes to us and says they are overweight, or diabetic, we put them into active case management — our nurse might put them into a weight loss programme or a diabetes reversal programme. On an island-wide basis, we need to actively put the most at-risk individuals into a programme, help them gain access to the right services, and the overall cost to themselves and the system would be reduced dramatically.” He also called for changes in the reimbursement model for medical services from the current fee-for-service model to what is known as “value-based pricing”. “Today, we go to the doctor and we pay a fee or the insurance company pays a fee,” Mr Lozier explained. “In a value-based model, service providers are reimbursed for the outcome of the services they provide. If you make people healthier, you earn more. Such models exist virtually everywhere but Bermuda. All jurisdictions in Canada give a bonus for outcome data. There are a series of measurements for the health of the population and if you do a good job in a region, you receive a bonus. The same is true for doctors — they earn more fees for outcomes.” However, not everyone is convinced that there is a policy answer to rising healthcare costs. Don Mills, chairman and senior partner of Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates and a partner in local firm, Total Marketing and Communications, says demographics will have their say. “You’re not going to prevent the cost of healthcare from rising on the island with an ageing population,” Mr Mills said. “Costs will go up significantly in the next ten years. They will skyrocket; no other outcome is possible. It’s a numbers game. The number of seniors cannot go up by 50 per cent and there not be significant increased cost. There’s no way to avoid it.” Mrs Jackson said the island must take steps to address rising costs — only then will we find out whether they work. “We can’t afford not to,” she said. “The question is whether we can take the actions we need to address the issues now. Will healthcare costs be lower in 2026? Will the system be sustainable? If we don’t take action now, the projected costs will be higher. There is not one magic silver bullet. A variety of things must be done, you have to look at the system as a whole. That means each member of the system, each stakeholder. We receive premiums, and pay claims, so we are part of the system — and so are the hospital, doctors, dentists, government.” Mr Lozier said: “There is no place on the planet where healthcare does not have an inflationary factor. Bermuda, along with every other developed nation, has healthcare inflation and it often outpaces the economy. But by taking steps — case management, value-based fees — at least we can keep it in check. We can’t stop it, but we can keep it in check.”

paragraphAlways striving to meet and exceed international standards, Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre has announced that the Centre has successfully earned the Bermuda National Standards Committee (BNSC) Certification for a second time. The Centre first received this achievement in 2014. The BNSC certification programme demonstrates a high level of operational and programmatic management. “The Senior Management team and Board of Directors felt that embarking on the BNSC Certification process was vital to ensure that we were operating at the highest standards,” says Lynne Woolridge, Chief Executive Officer. “With a new management team in place and expanding services, it’s important to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to excellence.” The BNSC offers accreditation and certification to non-profit organisations and government services to create opportunities to strengthen their operations and programmes to demonstrate that they are operating at an international level of best practice and strengthening sustainability. The purpose of certification is to help charities and other private organisations that are seeking government and community funds to demonstrate through compliance with a set of internationally recognized standards of practice that they are effectively and efficiently operating. The Bermuda National Standards Committee (BNSC) is a public-private partnership focused on supporting increased accountability, programme evaluation, and formal recognition of those organisations that meet or exceed the standards required for accreditation and certification.

paragraphPride Bermuda in partnership with the Bermuda Coalition saw about one hundred and forty people fill the theatre with standing room only, at The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for the screening of its inaugural documentary entitled “Marijuana: It’s Complicated, Our Problem, Our Solution” on January 16, 2019. PRIDE Bermuda initiated the making of the documentary to take an unbiased look at the complexity of marijuana use in Bermuda from a social, legal and medical perspective. “We were very pleased with the turnout” said Interim Executive Director of PRIDE, Mrs. Truell Landy. “Many people are concerned about the impact of marijuana use from all perspectives.” The panellists were engaged throughout the entire session to address parent concerns about their children and how to best advise them. Many people were focused on understanding the medical benefits of the ‘cannabis plant’ and the legal consequences of all forms of use under the new laws. The community is definitely ready to engage in open discussion and we are happy to provide the opportunity for open dialogue on this crucial topic” states Ms. Landy. “We plan to make the documentary available throughout the year to provide opportunities for community discussion on this very complex topic.”  PRIDE and its prevention partner, The Bermuda Coalition, is raising community awareness about the complexity of marijuana use from a social, legal and medical perspective. While decriminalization removed the criminal offenses for possession of small amounts of marijuana, it is still illegal to smoke it in public and private places. Although doctors have been given the consent to prescribe medical marijuana, Bermuda is only allowed to legally import one gram of marijuana for medical purposes per year. Persons, who suffered social injustices under former policies, will soon be granted first dibs on licenses to cultivate medical marijuana in Bermuda. So, in the midst of all of the complexity, how will our children and adolescents be impacted? Will their perception of harm diminish and use increase? What are the potential risks associated with adolescent use? For more information about hosting a screening and discussion of the Marijuana Documentary, call PRIDE Bermuda on 295-9970 or 703-8129 or email info@pride.prevention.bm.

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January 27, Sunday

paragraphFinance minister Curtis Dickinson will answer questions about the Pre-Budget Report at a public meeting. Mr Dickinson will be joined by junior finance minister Wayne Furbert at the event in Goodwin C. Smith Hall, Heritage Worship Centre, Dundonald Street, on Wednesday, at 6pm. The Pre-Budget Report provides some insight into the Government’s plans for the next fiscal year, which will be expanded in the annual Budget Statement which Mr Dickinson will deliver on February 22. Proposals outlined include possible taxes on homes where the main function is for rental to tourists or to employees in international business, a 5 per cent general services tax on goods and services and a 7.5 per cent tax on professional services. The Pre-Budget Report can be found on www.gov.bm/prebudgetreport. Send comments to openbudget@gov.bm.

paragraphA public meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation to discuss an emergency evacuation plan for Ferry Reach was called a success by organisers. The meeting, at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science’s Hanson Hall, was intended to discuss what would happen if there was a serious incident at the Ferry Reach fuel farms. Steve Cosham, National Disaster Coordinator, said: “It is critical to involve the public in the process of developing emergency contingency plans. This helps ensure everyone has a vested interest in them, and should the need arise, be committed to implementing those plans.” Along with members of the public, the meeting was attended by Graham Redford, Rubis managing director, Jonathan Brewin, SOL general manager and Wayne Furbert, the Acting Minister of National Security. One of the subjects discussed at the meeting was the potential introduction of liquid natural gas and the hazards it could present. Jeane Nikolai, Government’s Director of Energy, said: “The independent Regulatory Authority of Bermuda is in the process of creating an energy generation strategy in the form of an Integrated Resource Plan or IRP. When completed, the IRP will guide us in employing future technologies.” Volunteers agreed to represent Ferry Reach residents at future meetings, with the goal of completing contingency plans by the end of the year.

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January 26

paragraphA former Progressive Labour Party minister will represent Bermuda in the heart of the European Union, it was announced yesterday. Renée Webb’s new post was revealed as David Burt, the Premier, opened the Government’s new office in the Belgian capital of Brussels. Mr Burt said: “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in European affairs and I am confident she will accomplish the goal of deepening ties. Additionally, through our internship programme, a Bermudian young person will have an opportunity to shadow Ms Webb here in Brussels, thus gaining invaluable experience on the world stage.” Mr Burt added that the new office had been set up because constant engagement with the EU was needed instead of “shuttle diplomacy”. Ms Webb, a former tourism minister, graduated from Queen’s University in Canada with a BA in political studies and went on to Paris for a master’s degree in international relations. She studied international human rights law at the Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and was picked for an internship at the Unesco human rights department in Paris. Belgium has three official languages, French, Dutch and German, but French is the most-spoken in Brussels. Mr Burt said Ms Webb had been hired for a year and her duties would include managing the Belgian office, advising the Bermuda Government on all relevant European matters and liaising with the island’s London office. She will also represent the Government in meetings, conferences and on other occasions when necessary. The Premier welcomed guests to the official opening of the office yesterday and said the Government’s presence would deepen its relationships with EU institutions, member states and European businesses. He added: “Bermuda has a long history of constructive engagement with the European Union, which is crystallized by the fact that we are one of but a handful of jurisdictions that have EU Solvency II equivalence. The past year has witnessed constructive engagement on the issue of economic substance, which culminated in Bermuda passing into law the Economic Substance Act 2018. This important piece of legislation addressed economic substance concerns raised by the European Union’s Code of Conduct Group. We are confident that this legislation meets the criteria necessary to keep Bermuda off any list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and reaffirms the positive relationship between Bermuda and the EU.” Mr Burt said: “As we continue our efforts to protect and strengthen Bermuda’s economy and drive economic growth, I am sure our presence here will do just that. We are looking forward to the added value our Brussels office will provide.”

paragraphFines and warnings for failures to bag garbage in line with recycling rules could be introduced if ministers make greener trash collection compulsory. Talks are under way with government lawyers to establish if they would prosecute people who failed to comply. A government spokeswoman said it was considering punishments for people who did not follow the rules if recycling became standard. She said: “Penalties and warnings will need to be executed if mandatory recycling is implemented.” A meeting with government lawyers was arranged for earlier this month to discuss their “willingness to prosecute for non-compliance” but it was postponed. The ministry said that legal meetings were “ongoing”. A tender process that closed last week sought companies to uplift reusable items and told interested parties the Government was “actively considering mandating recycling”. Collection arrangements were not expected to change but a government spokeswoman said earlier this month that the Ministry of Public Works was looking at several possibilities for recycling schemes. She added: “Before implementing any of these new options, feasibility studies and cost-benefit analysis will need to be carried out. Recommendations will be considered by the minister after completion of relevant studies.” The Progressive Labour Party Administration in its 2017 Throne Speech promised to consult on mandatory recycling after a voluntary policy failed to reach “the level of success originally intended”. The Government also pledged to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022 in last year’s Throne Speech and said that “the intervening years will be spent educating the community about recycling and reusable items”. A spokeswoman said last month that the ministry was committed to ensuring recycling in Bermuda was a priority. She pointed out that Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, had announced the Government’s intention to produce a discussion paper on the issue before any decision was taken to make recycling mandatory. A recent request for quotations for recyclable materials collection outlined the procedure for how crews would be expected to deal with incorrectly bagged waste. It said teams would examine the contents of blue bags for tin, aluminum cans and glass bottles to check if more than 5 per cent was unsuitable for recycling. The document added: “If an excess of non-recyclable material is in the bag, it should be left at the collection area, the location noted and an explanatory sticker applied to the bag.” The Government would be notified of cases of non-compliance. A spokeswoman said it was believed that the public backed recycling but were unaware of what were acceptable items. The RFQ also advised: “Proponent should be aware that the Bermuda Government has intent to promote more recycling and volumes may increase sooner than predicted in the scope of works.” It said the average weight of recyclable materials set out each week was about 18 to 20 tonnes but the volumes could increase to up to 65 tonnes by the third year of the contract. Vendors were warned the figures depended on participation rates and whether the contractor was successful in selling its services to commercial entities, which was an option open as long as the ministry was advised and it did not incur extra cost to the Government. The RFQ added that the Government was considering the use of wheelie bins or crates for residents to dispose of their reusable materials. Recyclable goods will be collected from households throughout Bermuda as well as public docks, schools, government institutions and about 80 bus stop bins under the agreement. The waste will be taken to the material recovery centre at the Government Quarry in Hamilton Parish. Metals such as steel and aluminum will be shipped to the United States, where they will be melted down into sheet metal and reused. The government website said: “Recyclables are subject to market fluctuations, so the ability to hold these materials on island aids the ministry by allowing shipments when market prices are high. Glass is used on-island as a drainage medium in road works, backfill and landscaping projects.” It was estimated that companies would offer quotes of about $250,000 a year for the new contract, which is due to start at the end of next month. Jonathan Starling, an environmentalist and former executive director of environmental organisation Greenrock, said increased recycling would improve efficiency at the material recovery centre and at trash pickups. He explained: “At the moment, with people putting recyclable materials into the regular trash, it increases the overall amount of trash needing to be collected, which, with an already stressed fleet, can lead to inefficiencies. By those materials being put out as recyclables the trash collection can be more efficient overall, leading to better waste management.” Mr Starling backed compulsory recycling but said consultation was needed. He added: “There might be some hiccups initially but after a couple of weeks I think we’ll all adjust to it.” Colonel Burch met senior members of the waste management team on Wednesday to review survey responses from frontline workers and hear information on weekly collection figures, waste production levels and an overview of the recycling schedule. He said a full update about waste collection plans for 2019 would be released soon.

paragraphThe island’s only vehicle emissions test firm will be left in “chaos” when it is stripped of its contract to carry out checks for Transport Control Department, it was claimed yesterday. Staff at Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd, which employs 13, said they were in the dark over job security after the Government takes over responsibility for the work next Friday. A transport ministry spokesman said most of the team will be offered employment under the new arrangement, which was expected to save $400,000 a year. A source insisted no promises had been made to the workforce and that the business would be “crushed”. Bob Richards, the former One Bermuda Alliance finance minister and deputy premier, added that the Government’s decision was a “squandered opportunity” to generate work for garages across the island.  BECL started emissions testing and roadworthiness checks for all vehicles in 2009 after it was awarded a controversial multimillion-dollar deal without an appropriate tender process. The five-year contract was later extended on shorter-term deals by the former OBA administration. The contract was last renewed for a year in early 2018 by the Progressive Labour Party government. A ministry spokesman explained: “As of February 1, 2019, TCD will take over the responsibilities previously held under contract.” He said the company signed a year-long deal in early 2018 and it was warned then that it was unlikely to be renewed as the Government considered whether to give responsibility for carrying out pollution checks and other vehicle tests to TCD or to outsource again. The spokesman added: “With regard to BECL staff, as part of the transition process, Government is extending employment opportunities to most of the existing staff and is prepared to transition them to TCD immediately upon expiry of the BECL contract. We would like to take this opportunity to thank BECL, and its staff, for their hard work and dedication.” A source close to the company said yesterday, employees were unsure what will happen after the switch and claimed there had been no discussions with the workers. He said: “It’s going to be very chaotic. Government is the only BECL client so, once they take over, they’re going to crush another Bermudian business.” It is understood the firm has eight test inspectors, three administration staff and two managers. The source said: “Everything is up in the air right now; they are not guaranteed anything. Nobody’s job is safe.” A government spokesman added: “Those BECL staff members that expressed an interest in working at TCD have been invited to complete the necessary paperwork for a February 1, 2019 start.” The Government also said the cash savings would be made through bringing vehicle inspections and emissions testing under TCD control. A spokesman said: “As a result of this, the only change affecting the public, will be having to make vehicle inspection appointments through TCD.”

paragraphTwo teenagers who murdered Bermudian student Lyrico Steede were given life sentences today in Nottingham Crown Court. Kasharn Campbell, 19, was jailed for 20 years and 37 days, and Christian Jameson, 18, was jailed for 16 years and 36 days. Remmell Miller-Campbell, 18, was jailed for nine years for manslaughter, and a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to 7½ years, also for manslaughter. A 16-year-old girl, who also cannot be identified, received six years for manslaughter. Mr Steede, who was fatally stabbed in Nottingham on February 13 last year, died five days later in hospital after being lured to a park at Stock Well, in the Bullwell area. The 17-year-old was attacked after being chased through the street, in what Detective Chief Inspector Hayley Williams described as the culmination of a longstanding feud. The five were convicted by a jury in Nottingham last month. The victim’s mother, Keishaye Steede, provided a victim impact statement to the court, in which she described feeling fear since the murder at hearing ambulances. Ms Steede said she had “never experienced such devastating pain”, adding: “I’ve watched my elders in Bermuda lose their sons to murder, even my own cousin and children’s uncle. Each time I heard of another murder my whole heart would crumble. I hated to see my family go through that. I always wished it would never happen to me.” Her statement continued: “Carrying my baby for nine months, bonding and growing with him during pregnancy, to then give birth and for him to spend life on earth, watching him grow for 17 years for others to decide that they want to brutally end his life. This has by far been the worst experience of my entire 36 years of living. Losing my son has shattered my family.” Ms Steede said that her son had come to Britain to live with his father, and that she had moved to the UK at his request. She added: “Rico didn’t ask for much at all. It was very rare he asked and for that reason I would try my best to get what he asked for. His love for his family was nothing less than amazing.” Ms Steede told the court: “I promise you only the most high is pulling me through this and the fact that Lyrico would want me to keep my head high, my heart in love and keep moving forward. I hate to see my daughters and parents hurt from this.” Her statement included a call for tackling knife crime, “as I would hate to see another mother lose her son”.

paragraphOpinion. By Leah Scott, Deputy Opposition leader, the Shadow Minister of Tourism and Transport, and the MP for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30). "There have been bus cancellations all during the month of January, ranging from three routes being cancelled to up to 26 cancellations. A Canadian consultant has been paid copious amounts of money to come up with a workable roster that clearly is not working. What is really going on here? This is completely unacceptable. Mr and Mrs Bermuda, and the public in general, deserve so much better. On December 13, with much fanfare and ado, we were informed that a new winter bus schedule would take effect on January 7 this year. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert hailed December 13 as a “great day”, as the attempts to complete a new bus schedule have spanned the Progressive Labour Party and One Bermuda Alliance administrations, and go back to 2001. This new bus schedule would, purportedly, reduce the number of buses required on a daily basis to a sustainable level, which should have resulted in a more reliable public bus service. On January 4, the Department of Public Transportation announced that the winter schedule that was to be launched on January 7 would now be introduced on January 21. On January 11, it was reported that, although the effective date for the bus schedule would not be January 21, the 2019 winter bus schedule will remain unchanged and information regarding a new effective date would be forthcoming. It is now January 26, and the silence regarding what the effective date will be is louder than the posturing on January 13 by Mr Furbert, transport minister Zane DeSilva, and Roger Todd, the director of the DPT. I would say they were making much ado about nothing! If Mr DeSilva believes that the new bus schedule could be sustained with the existing fleet of buses, and that this new schedule is the best way to ensure an efficient and reliable public transportation service, why is it not in place? When will Mr and Mrs Bermuda be able to enjoy reliable, consistent public transportation instead of the litany of broken promises by this government?

paragraphThe director of child and family services is to return to work after an investigation cleared him of misconduct. The Ministry of Legal Affairs said yesterday that Alfred Maybury would be back in the job on Monday after five months. A spokeswoman for legal affairs said Mr Maybury was put on paid “administrative leave” after “allegations from an external party stated that Mr Maybury had not performed his role in accordance with the ministry’s policies and procedures as they relate to the care and safety of children in residential treatment services”. It was also alleged that he had not followed financial instructions. The spokeswoman said: “The investigation involved a series of interviews with staff members, a detailed review of the department’s practices and procedures, and a review of the financial activities within the department.” She added: “These claims leveled against the director were not substantiated.” But the spokeswoman said the review had uncovered “weaknesses in some of the operations” at residential treatment services, which were now being corrected. She added: “Steps will always be taken to ensure that the care, welfare and wellbeing of the children is addressed with sensitivity and respect.” The investigation was launched after allegations that Mr Maybury failed to follow up on complaints of mistreatment of children in care by child and family services staff.

paragraphSix confirmed or suspected cases of flu have been treated at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital this week, the Bermuda Hospitals Board said last night. A spokeswoman said four confirmed or suspected cases were reported on Monday, with one confirmed or suspected case each on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, she added: “We only report on what we know in the hospital. We don’t know what is happening in the community. Government have our information and also any reports from the community.” Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, this week warned members of the public to get vaccinated against the flu virus. She said: “We are in the midst of flu season and there is a rise in numbers and in the severity of flu cases recorded on the island. I cannot stress enough how important it is to the public to protect themselves from the flu with vaccination, especially children, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. These persons are strongly advised to seek medical attention early if they have any flu-like symptoms.” The minister said that symptoms included fever, a temperature of 100.4F, headaches, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches or feeling very unwell and tired. She advised anyone with signs of flu to remain at home and rest until at least 24 hours after the fever has passed. Michael Richmond, chief of staff and acting chief executive at BHB, said this week that flu cases had jumped and that the speed and virulence was a concern. He added: “We have gone from zero patients with suspected flu complications in the intensive care unit to four confirmed and three suspected cases over just one weekend.”

paragraphFailure to identify and manage children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder could have lifelong effects, the head of a local health organisation said yesterday. Simone Barton, the chief executive of the Bermuda Heart Foundation, said that her son, who was later diagnosed with ADHD, had enjoyed his first days of school decades ago. She said: “The first, he was happy. The second day, he was elated.” But Ms Barton said that the situation soon changed. She explained: “By the end of the first month, my son wasn’t speaking. He was withdrawn and I couldn’t figure out how this kid that started off so happy and excited all of a sudden went to depression and didn’t want to go back to school.” Ms Barton said that she learnt from one of her son’s classmates that the teacher made her son sit in the hall by himself. She added: “That framed my child for the rest of his life. How do you tell somebody that they’re somebody when their initial entry into school told them that they were a nobody? We’re still putting these types of issues on kids and we need to learn not to.” Ms Barton was speaking before a seminar, ADHD: Truth, Myth & Management, was held last night. She said that a lot of factors contributed to heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes, including stress and anxiety, and that she wanted to bring attention to the link between mental health and physical wellbeing. Ms Barton explained: “If you’ve got a family member who’s got stress on the job, stress with dealing with our current economic situation, and they’re dealing with a child with ADHD, you’ve got a recipe for some really challenging medical issues. Our philosophy at the BHF is that change begins in the mind long before it’s manifested into action.” Ms Barton said that the problems she had finding help for her son 25 years ago still existed for parents. She added: “They’re not as draconian as they were back then, but they are still the same issues.” Atlantis Psychiatry, a private practice in Hamilton, has estimated that 550 children and 1,200 adults have ADHD in Bermuda. Last night’s event at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club was aimed at parents, teachers and others interested in learning more about ADHD. It featured a keynote speech from guest speaker Lourival Baptista-Neto, of New York City’s Columbia University Medical Centre. Dr Baptista-Neto is an expert in child and adolescent psychology, depression and anxiety disorders.

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January 25

paragraphA fintech-friendly bank is to set up on the island and David Burt will be revealing details next week, according to a media report out of Switzerland. The Premier made the revelation in an interview today with the BBC’s Priya Patel at the Consensys Lounge in Davos, Switzerland, where he is heading the Bermuda delegation at the World Economic Forum. “I’m proud to say that next week we’ll be making an announcement revealing that a bank will be set up in the country that will start accepting crypto and blockchain companies,” Mr Burt said in the interview, according to a report on the CCN website. The discussion featured on the importance of focusing on quality over quantity when accepting businesses, CCN reported, adding that this was an issue which Mr Burt said was the main focus for Bermuda looking at crypto and blockchain companies. The island’s banks have shied away from fintech start-ups, proving an obstacle for the fledgling industry. In July, the Bermuda Government made amendments to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999 to create a new type of restricted licence for banks catering to the fintech industry. At the time, Mr Burt said: “Despite the robust regulations put in place, to date our four local banks have been unwilling to offer services to newly incorporated fintech and distributed-ledger technology companies. “This is a problem that we must fix or else Bermuda will not be able to realize the possibility of economic growth that can come from a fintech industry on our shores.” Last October, Mr Burt said he had met in New York with “a number of banks that we’re looking to entice into the Bermuda market, who might have an appetite for this type of asset”.

paragraphCompletion of roofing on the airport’s new terminal building was marked yesterday with a traditional roof-wetting ceremony. Aaron Adderley, the president of airport operator Skyport, said the event was a “magnificent milestone”. Construction on the new passenger terminal building at LF Wade International Airport began in March 2017. Mr Adderley said: “It wasn’t that long ago when we broke ground, and here we are, steadily moving along towards a completed, state-of-the-art facility. Thanks to the excellent workmanship on the site, the project is on schedule and due for completion next year.” Steve Nackan, the president of developer Aecon Concessions and chairman of Skyport, added: “Bermuda is now one step closer to having a world-class, modern airport terminal for Bermudians and visitors alike to enjoy. I would like to thank our partners on this project, including the Government of Bermuda, Bermuda Airport Authority, the Government of Canada, all the subcontractors, workers and the Bermuda community at large.” Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, Martin Zablocki, the president and chief executive of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, and Frank Ross, the executive adviser with Aecon Infrastructure, also attended the event. A special bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum was used for the ceremony. Structural work was completed last November and was marked with a steel-topping ceremony, a Canadian tradition. The building is expected to be finished in the summer of 2020.

paragraphThe sky’s the limit for one island business as bids were opened for the rooftop terrace of the new Bermuda Tourism Authority building on Hamilton’s Front Street. The BTA has advertised for “bold and authentic” proposals from businesses for the prime site at the building on No 1 car park on the waterfront. A spokesman for the BTA said: “In almost every opportunity we present to the public, we target entrepreneurs because we think Bermuda’s tourism resurgence presents a good opportunity for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to start up or grow. This request for proposals is no different.” The spokesman added: “That being said, all applicants are welcome, even if they don’t fit the definition of an entrepreneur.” He was speaking after the RFP was published on the BTA website yesterday. The business will operate from the top of the soon-to-be-opened Visitor Services Centre overlooking Hamilton Harbour. Bermuda Visitor Services Centre Ltd, the operator of the facility and subsidiary of the BTA, said it planned to have visitor information on the ground floor of the centre and a space for events on the second floor. The concession will take up the open-air third floor. The centre was created from about 30 shipping containers and was used as the Artemis Team base at Cross Island in the West End for the 35th America’s Cup. The BTA said that “Bermuda-inspired entertainment, art or food and beverage concessions are named as suitable ideas for the space”. It added: “Decision-makers are open to additional ideas as well.” The BTA said that the Front Street operation was part of the quango’s strategic approach to boosting visitor spend “by more seamlessly connecting them with the experience offerings of tourism entrepreneurs around the island”. It added that applicants for the concession must show their proposal was “customer driven in its approach and meets the standard of innovation as described in the National Tourism Plan”. Expressions of interest must be submitted by Wednesday and full proposals have a deadline of February 13. The spokesman said the timeline was short, but that the BTA thought it was manageable. He explained: “We had so many inquiries before the RFP was published. Our sense is that the keenest entrepreneurs have already been preparing their ideas.” The pop-up will operate from April to December. It must be open for at least six days a week and be open from 10am to 5pm at a minimum, weather permitting. An online presence to market the business must also be created and sales and consumer statistics have to be reported to the BTA every month.

paragraphA chance to boost small businesses across the island was wasted when the Government decided to take control of vehicle emissions and roadworthiness testing, a former finance minister said. Bob Richards, also deputy premier in the last One Bermuda Alliance government, said the work could have been parceled out to several garages after the contract with Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd comes to an end on Thursday. Mr Richards added he had wanted the work to go out to tender to multiple garages rather than come under government control when the contract was up for renewal under the OBA. He told The Royal Gazette: “It wasn’t clear that BECL was doing anything constructive; they were testing vehicles for emissions, but there were no legal standards, so you can’t fail a test or you don’t know where the fail mark is because there’s no fail mark. The whole thing seemed to be just a make-profit programme for certain individuals. I did not want to turn that into a make-work programme for civil servants.” Mr Richards said the Progressive Labour Party government decision to bring vehicle emissions and other tests under TCD control was “a bad idea”. He added: “It’s something that was outsourced improperly in the first place, but the solution is to outsource it properly as opposed to bring it back inside government.” Mr Richards said: “It’s an opportunity that has been squandered. I think this is a wasted opportunity to support smaller business and to encourage that sort of activity. It’s not something that has to be done by the Government. We have examples in the UK, which is so much bigger, so much more complex — they’ve outsourced it, I don’t see why in Bermuda we can’t.” A government spokesman said last night: “With regard to the claims from a former MP, the Transport Control Department issued a Request for Proposal for the vehicle safety inspection and emission testing programme on December 2, 2015. There was only one respondent.” BECL had been in talks with the Government dating back to the 1990s. A Commission of Inquiry report published in 2017 said assurances given to BECL in 2001 and 2003, as well as contracts between 2005 and 2009, were handed out without the appropriate tender process. A PLP Cabinet, led by then premier Ewart Brown, agreed in 2008 to give the company $2.4?million a year to run three new testing centres. The five-year contract was criticized by the Opposition and Mr Richards claimed it was awarded because the business was part-owned by Donal Smith, a cousin of Dr Brown’s. The deal expired in 2014, when the OBA was in power, but was later extended for another 12 months. Mr Richards said it had also been proposed then that BECL operations should be taken over by the transport ministry, but he was opposed to that idea. He added: “I wanted to put it out to tender and, more specifically, I wanted to basically change the system.” Mr Richards said the arrangement in Britain, where suitable businesses can become authorized transport ministry examination sites, was a model that could be adopted in Bermuda. He said: “I thought that would be a great opportunity to put that business outside of Government and it would be increased business for the private sector. It came back through the civil service that nobody in the private sector had interest in it, which I found to be an answer that lacked credibility. That’s what I was told on more than one occasion by people in the transport ministry.” The BECL contract was last extended for a year in early 2018, but it will end on January 31 when TCD will take over. Mr Richards said: “I still think that outsourcing that to private garages is an excellent idea. Nobody tells me they have too much business, particularly some of the smaller garages. In today’s world, when you have online computer connections and solutions, you could make the whole paperwork thing disappear.” A transport ministry spokesman said: “With regard to Bermuda’s emission controls and/or limits, currently a vehicle can fail for emitting smoke or odor and every year some vehicles do fail. Although emissions standards are not yet enacted in Bermuda, car manufacturers generally produce cars with better engines and emission controls.” The spokesman added: “The Transport Control Department issued a Request For Proposal for the Vehicle Safety Inspection and Emission Testing Programme on December 2, 2015. There was only one respondent.”

paragraphPolice launched a hunt yesterday for people to join an advisory group to be set up to improve service to the public. Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said reputable and committed people from different backgrounds were needed for the Independent Advisory Group. Mr Corbishley added: “The only way that the BPS will become a great service is by having community members involved and talking to us in how we shape our services.” He said: “The advisory group seeks to bring together volunteers from different backgrounds, different groups, particularly hard-to-reach groups, to sit down with us and advise us in the way in which we deliver our policing on a day-to-day basis.” Mr Corbishley added: “The type of policing that we deliver is not one size fits all. It should be responsive to the needs of different people whether it be seniors, young people or hard-to-reach groups, the gay lesbian transgender communities and other parties.” Mr Corbishley said he hoped that the IAG would give people confidence that the police understand their needs and advise police on how to demonstrate transparency. He added: “When significant incidents take place, an advisory group is extremely valuable for the police to be able to understand and hear the concerns of the local communities and to respond.” Mr Corbishley said some people had already said they wanted to join the advisory group, but more were needed. It is expected up to about 20 people will form the group and the first meeting will be in March. For more information, visit www.bermudapolice.bm.

paragraphPolice will enforce a 24-hour closure on the Docksider bar after an “antisocial incident”. The Front Street pub will be shut from 10pm tonight until 10pm tomorrow, the Bermuda Police Service announced today. Officers are using powers under the Liquor Licence Act. A spokesman said: “It is imperative that liquor licensed premises take social responsibility for the safety of their patrons and the conduct of those person who threaten that safety, which has a profound effect on the community that they are a part of and Bermuda as a whole. The Bermuda Police Service will be responding to any antisocial behavior linked to liquor licensed premises with all of our law enforcement options, which includes but is not limited to, the temporary closure of offending properties. Liquor licensed premises must ensure that the antisocial behavior of a few does not affect the responsible socializing of the many responsible patrons.”

paragraphCharles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, hit back yesterday after a company that lost out when it loaned millions of dollars for a new hotel in the city said that American firms should avoid doing business in Bermuda. Mexico Infrastructure Finance wrote to US Consul General Constance Dierman after the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to proceed to trial against four people, including former mayor Graeme Outerbridge and Michael MacLean, head of Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences, the proposed developer of the city’s Par-la-Ville car park, on a string of charges. Ed Benevides, the secretary to the Corporation of Hamilton, and Mr MacLean’s wife, Yasmin, also charged in connection with the failed hotel deal, walked free from court as well. Scot Fischer, a spokesman for MIF, wrote to Ms Dierman and said the company had taken a heavy loss. He said it had “done nothing other than provide, in good faith, financing to support a hospitality project fully endorsed by the Corporation of Hamilton and Government of Bermuda”. Mr Gosling told Ms Dierman in a letter, also sent to The Royal Gazette, that MIF “took a calculated commercial risk and it did not pay off”. The mayor said that “MIF conveniently failed to mention MIF were only too well aware that there were concerns regarding the Corporation of Hamilton’s capacity to provide the security they were seeking”. Mr Gosling said the firm had disregarded concerns raised by island lawyers that the Corporation might not have the capacity to enter such an arrangement — and that MIF had also “sought out insurance to cover any loss arising from the Corporation of Hamilton lacking this capacity”. He added: “To put this financing in context, MIF agreed to lend $13 million to PLVHR properties and in six months to receive back $18 million. This was a highly lucrative deal and MIF were well aware of the risks.” Puisne judge Charles-Etta Simmons said on Wednesday that she found no grounds to proceed with charges that Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides corruptly agreed to obtain property for the benefit of the MacLeans through the release of $15,449,858 from an escrow account at the Bank of New York. Mr MacLean, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides were also accused of dishonestly obtaining MIF’s money from the account. The MacLeans were charged with stealing $13.7 million from MIF and using proceeds of criminal conduct. Cindy Clarke, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, said last night that the Crown awaited the written reasons for Mrs Justice Simmons’ decision and would consider whether to appeal the ruling. Ms Dierman declined to comment on MIF’s attack on the island. She said: “As this matter has been before the courts and an active case remains in New York, I can offer no comment.” Mr Gosling refused to comment on whether Mr Benevides, who had been put on administrative leave, had returned to his job at the Corporation. The Privy Council in London on Monday ruled in a civil case that the Corporation of Hamilton did not have authority to give the guarantee for the project. Mr Gosling, whose administration inherited the problem after it won municipal elections in 2015, told the US Consul that the Corporation had offered to provide MIF with opinions of leading counsel that the city was not liable for the money for the firm “to consider in order to avoid the cost of litigating this matter”. He added: “MIF refused this offer. MIF’s assertion in its letter that the Corporation ‘refused to honour its guarantee’ is thus utterly wrong and misleading and MIF knows this, having lost on three separate occasions in three separate courts. There was no guarantee in law and the Corporation could not pay it without rendering its officers liable for breach of their duty.” Mr Gosling wrote: “Sometimes the courts make decisions one doesn’t like or agree with.” However, Mr Fischer said the mayor’s letter “refutes absolutely nothing of substance from our letter”. He said: “We interpret that by failing to do so, he inherently accepts those facts as accurate, and, of course, we stand by the full content of our letter.” Mr Fischer said that a separate court case in New York would continue.

paragraphMarvin Pestcoe has been appointed executive chairman and chief executive officer of Langhorne Re Bermuda. Langhorne Re was launched in January 2018 by Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA) and RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. The company targets large in-force life and annuity blocks. In his more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, Mr Pestcoe has had a broad range of executive roles including leadership positions in profit centre management, investments, corporate strategy, data analysis, and risk management. In his new role, he will be responsible for leading Langhorne Re’s strategy and operations. Most recently, Mr Pestcoe was chief risk and actuarial officer at PartnerRe and served on the company’s executive committee. Before that, he held a number of senior management positions at PartnerRe, including CEO Life and Health, chief investment officer, and head of strategic ventures, and he represented the company as a director on multiple independent boards. Mr Pestcoe is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Langhorne Re has a website at langhornere.com.

paragraphBermuda’s Unesco World Heritage Site of St George is unappreciated on the island, the mayor of the Olde Towne has claimed. Quinell Francis said: “I feel that we don’t actually value it the way that many other people around the world do. It’s not had the resources required to ensure that we keep it up, and maintain it, and develop it as well. It’s something that I think has gone by the wayside.” Ms Francis was speaking at a public consultation session on the management plan for the historic area on Wednesday night. It was the first public event hosted by the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee. The organisation said it wanted more public views as is prepared to draw up a five-year plan to cover from next year through 2025. Ms Francis said the event was a great idea and that she was pleased by the turnout. She added: “It takes us all to make sure that the World Heritage Centre is cherished, it’s managed correctly and that it will be there for the future generations.” Ms Francis added that the meeting was a good place to start. She said she wanted to see young Bermudians engaged in the process and encouraged people to attend future events. Ms Francis added: “Everyone’s opinion matters. St George’s is where Bermuda all started.” Kristin White, who led the meeting, said that she did not know much about the historical significance of St George’s when she moved to the East End in 2003. She told the meeting: “I just didn’t care. It was just an affordable rent in a very nice neighborhood.” Ms White said that her opinion changed as she learnt more about its people and their stories. She explained: “I began to not only care, but fall in love.” Ms White, a local businesswoman, said that she hoped more Bermudians would learn to appreciate the Olde Towne and its world status. Cheryl Hayward-Chew, the chairwoman of the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee, told the meeting: “The people of the town and the World Heritage Site are the biggest stakeholders. So, we need to hear from you so that we know that we are representing the World Heritage Site correctly.” Ms Hayward-Chew said that the creation of the new draft plan for the site was an “extremely large undertaking”. She added: “What we’re wanting to do differently this time is to really get input from the community.” Renée Ming, the Progressive Labour Party MP for St George’s North, said that it was important that local people’s views were heard. She added: “Collectively, there is strength in numbers. If we work together, we can have St George’s where we think it needs to be.” Ms Ming said she was impressed by the turnout for the event, and said it showed the commitment of community members to work together. She added: “I also think it shows that people believe that St George’s is, in actual fact, relevant and has strength in its community.” St George’s, founded in 1612, and its nearby forts were recognized as a British World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2000.

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January 24

paragraphA $20 million increase in health spending failed to deliver a healthier Bermuda, it was feared yesterday. The 2018 National Health Accounts Report showed the total public and private expenditure neared $723 million in 2016-17. Bermuda was third behind only the United States and Switzerland in a list of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries when compared by health spending as a percentage of GDP. However, the $7,220 outlay per person resulted in a life expectancy at birth of 81.3 — lower than several other countries that spent less. The report noted: “Bermuda falls below the trend for health expenditure and life expectancy which suggests we are spending more without achieving greater health outcomes. “This is further supported when we compare Bermuda to other jurisdictions of similar affluence [per capita GDP] such as Norway, where health expenditure is less but life expectancy is higher. Switzerland, also of similar affluence, has a higher per capita health expenditure but also has a longer life expectancy.” Data published on the BHeC website showed the OECD average spend for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, was $3,996 per person and average life expectancy was 80.5. Expenditure per head in Norway was found to be $6,647 but, at birth, people there can expect to live to 82.4. In Switzerland, the health cost for each person was $7,919 but their life expectancy was 83. The report found Bermuda’s health spend was 11.5 per cent as a share of its GDP, behind only Switzerland at 12.4 per cent and the US at 17.2 per cent. The OECD average was 9.08 per cent. Tiara Carlington, a BHeC policy analyst for data and research, said yesterday: “This report provides us with a basis for looking at the bigger picture of how policy decisions can affect our health system’s success. Looking at the findings of these reports over time, it is clear that we have to move away from the expectation that more expensive care means better care. Instead, we need to be more sensible about how we spend and align our spending with our system’s long-term goals — once we make that change we can begin to expect more.” The National Health Accounts Report identified trends in the health system finances and looked at how the island compared to other jurisdictions. The BHeC said in a statement: “As has been the general year-over-year trajectory, total health financing and expenditure increased. This increase of $20 million in spending represents a 2.26 per cent uptick, which supports what is expected as the population ages and our communities learn more effective ways to prevent and manage the existing burden of chronic disease.” The BHeC said there was a small change in the typical distribution of financing, with a drop in health insurance as a portion of funds overall and a rise in out-of-pocket payments. It added: “To better understand the cause of this shift, and its impact on the sustainability of the health system and individuals’ access to care, we are moving towards greater enforcement of the Claims Regulations’ legislation. The existing legislative requirement supports provider reporting of their full charges for health products and services including the insurance covered portion and the total out-of-pocket co-payment.” Ricky Brathwaite, the BHeC’s acting chief executive and director of health economics, said: “This report also demonstrates an important opportunity for Bermuda’s overall financial flexibility. We must seek to create initiatives to encourage economic growth while simultaneously working diligently on reducing health expenditure.” Kim Wilson, the health minister, welcomed the report yesterday and described it as “essential data and analysis. The trends reported are helping to inform policy decisions about how to address healthcare costs for the public and employers, and it provides vital insights into the health financing problems to guide and inform solutions.” Ms Wilson said the ministry continued to assess feedback from stakeholders who reviewed two health insurance models last year after they were first mooted in 2012. She added: “We will be in a position to share next steps in the coming months.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the One Bermuda Alliance’s shadow health minister, said yesterday: “This government can talk all it likes about different insurance systems, but unless, or until, it is prepared to take some tough decisions, until there is better control of what is used and how often, until we are able to get more people on the island to spread the cost of healthcare, the reality is that costs will just continue to rise. It should really alarm people that healthcare costs for a community the size of a small US town are forecast to reach $1 billion.”

paragraphThe Bermuda Tourism Authority’s groundbreaking collaboration with Google has earned a prestigious industry award. At the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Adrian Awards this week, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and its marketing partner Miles Partnership won a Platinum Adrian Award for digital marketing innovation in 2018. Judges honored the Google Destinations Project with the highest award in its category. They were blown away by the project’s ability to create a comprehensive digital footprint for Bermuda and literally put it on the map for web users around the world. Thanks to the work of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Miles Partnership, Bermuda was the first island destination to have its entire jurisdiction on Google Street View. Hundreds of photos, video and 360 images were uploaded by the team – viewed more than 8.4 million times since the launch in June 2018, showcasing the island to thousands of potential visitors researching the destination. Digital Marketing Manager Jamari Douglas accepted the award on behalf of the Bermuda Tourism Authority team along with C.A. Clark from Miles Partnership. They both donned Bermuda shorts on stage at the gala event in New York City on January 22. “In Bermuda we like to be trendsetters and receiving this Platinum Adrian Award is confirmation that as a tourism marketing team, we are living up to the island’s reputation of innovation,” Mr. Douglas said. “It was an incredible privilege to accept the award on Bermuda’s behalf. And the next day, along with Miles Partnership, we went back to work to stay ahead of the competition.” Bermuda took home two other prizes at this year’s HSMAI Adrian Awards. There was a Gold Adrian Award for public relations as a result of an America’s Cup feature in Ocean Home magazine, won in partnership with TURNER PR. A second Gold Adrian Award was presented for the buzz-worthy “Bermuda’s Calling” cooperative video campaign with JetBlue. This is the third consecutive year Bermuda has been in the winners’ circle at this prestigious industry awards gala, including its epic 2017 win for Best of Show. Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism & Transport Zane DeSilva said: “Congratulations to the Bermuda Tourism Authority team for three years of success for our destination at the Adrian Awards, including the latest platinum prize for marketing innovation. This consistent level of high performance is not only making a big difference here at home for our tourism industry, but also winning the respect of the world’s destination marketing industry. Well done!” While this week’s Platinum Adrian Award for innovation was given for work completed in 2018, the effort to increase Bermuda’s Google presence began in 2017. The first step was getting local buy-in from stakeholders to claim their Google My Business listings. This was a major focus of the 2017 Bermuda Tourism Summit. Simultaneously, there was a labour intensive process to clean up inaccurate and outdated content in Google listings. After that, the final step was truly innovative as Bermuda’s team and Miles Partnership mounted a 360-degree camera on a taxicab to map the island from east to west.

paragraphAbout a third of the staff at Tokio Millennium Re’s Bermuda operation will be let go after the company’s takeover by RenaissanceRe Holdings. About two-thirds of the 69 employees have been offered new deals or transition opportunities, RenRe said yesterday. “Starting this week, we began communicating with employees of Tokio Millennium Re about our intentions regarding personnel once our acquisition closes,” RenRe stated in response to our questions. In Bermuda, we extended offers of full-time employment or meaningful transitional roles to just over two-thirds of the organisation. Additionally there are a number of open positions at RenaissanceRe available for TMR staff to apply. We placed a hold on hiring new positions immediately following the announcement of the deal to make available as many roles as possible. Mergers and acquisitions frequently create overlaps in roles and functions, and RenaissanceRe and TMR are both reinsurance-focused organisations. We undertook a thoughtful process to arrive at our personnel decisions, and our analysis has focused on identifying redundancies and planning for the needs of the combined organisation. This has only furthered our appreciation of the excellent franchise TMR has built, and everyone at RenaissanceRe is looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues once the transaction closes. Our combined company will be a larger, more diversified global reinsurer with broader reach and extended capacity to serve clients worldwide, while grounded in our Bermuda roots and committed to our island home.” The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year. TMR, which is headquartered in Switzerland, has a branch office in Bermuda, based at offices in Chesney House on Pitts Bay Road. RenRe said at the time the deal was announced that it expected to achieve “material synergies” within the first two years — language that normally refers to cost reductions. It is understood that some of the positions made redundant were in Tokio Solution Management Ltd, TMR’s Bermudian-based fronting and third-party capital management unit. Kevin O’Donnell, RenRe’s chief executive officer, made clear in last October’s third-quarter earnings conference call with analysts that this part of the business was not a good fit for RenRe. Mr O’Donnell said at the time: “The transaction includes TMR’s fronting business, which is a very different business than our third-party ventures business.” Lovitta Foggo, the labour minister, said last night that the Department of Workforce Development was ready to help those made redundant with the offer of services including resume development, interview preparation, career guidance, sponsorship and funding for retraining, assistance with obtaining professional credential, networking and job search assistance. Ms Foggo said, “Although this acquisition may create avenues for new job opportunities for some, I remain extremely sympathetic to those experiencing redundancy or career disruption and the anxieties that they and their families might be feeling.”

paragraphA company that lost millions in the failed Par-la-Ville hotel project has urged businesses to avoid the island in a message to the United States Consulate for Bermuda. A spokesman for Mexico Infrastructure Finance Ltd wrote to Constance Dierman, the US Consul General, urging her to warn other companies from “doing business with and in the jurisdiction”. The company said: “MIF has incurred a multimillion-dollar loss of principal, plus substantial litigation expenses, including those of the City of Hamilton, having done nothing other than provide, in good faith, financing to support a hospitality project fully endorsed by the CoH and Government of Bermuda. Although the CoH and PLV were undeniably responsible for releasing the MIF loan proceeds to their immediate theft, the CoH has unjustly succeeded in shifting the monetary loss consequences of those actions to MIF. While MIF will continue to seek justice, in addition to a lawsuit already in course in New York, we believe it is important that other potential investors in, and lenders to, Bermuda be aware of the above facts and actions by the CoH.” The message came after London’s Privy Council ruled against the company in a dispute over a loan guarantee issued by the City of Hamilton. The municipality has signed an agreement in 2014 to guarantee an $18 million bridging loan from the company to Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd. When PLV defaulted on the loan, the city initially accepted a consent judgment and began to arrange financing. But the municipality later appealed the judgment on the basis that it was not empowered to issue the guarantee as it was not for a “municipal purpose”.

paragraphCriminal charges were dismissed yesterday against former Mayor of Hamilton Graeme Outerbridge, city secretary Ed Benevides, developer Michael MacLean and his wife, Yasmin MacLean. The four had been charged with offences related to a failed hotel development on Hamilton’s Par-la-Ville car park. Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled yesterday that there was not enough evidence against any of the four to proceed to trial. She dismissed all of the charges against the group and released them. Mexico Infrastructure Finance, the complainant in the case, said legal actions over the dispute continue in New York. MIF immediately fired off a letter to the US Consul General urging that business contacts in Bermuda be discouraged. Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides had been accused of agreeing corruptly to obtain property for the benefit of the MacLeans by authoring the release of $15,449,858 from an escrow account at the Bank of New York. Mr MacLean, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides were also accused of dishonestly obtaining the money in the account, belonging to Mexico Infrastructure Finance. The MacLeans were further charged with stealing $13,749,858 belonging to MIF and using stolen money knowing that it “in whole or in part directly or indirectly” was the proceeds of criminal conduct. Before the group were required to enter pleas to the charges, they filed applications on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence for the matter to go before a jury. Mrs Justice Simmons delivered a decision in Supreme Court yesterday, in which she said there was a “paucity of evidence” against Mrs MacLean. She told the court: “It seems to have been a presumption by the prosecution that because her name is on the account, and because her husband was involved in business arrangements, that she committed the offences with which she has been charged. “No reasonable jury could make a finding of guilty in the circumstances.” Mrs Justice Simmons said Charles Richardson, who represented the MacLeans, argued there was no evidence they acted dishonestly. She said: “He contends that lawyers for the relevant parties were advising them, that the principal of MIF himself had legal advisers, that three opinions from eminent law firms were required and were received.” Mrs Justice Simmons agreed there was insufficient evidence of dishonesty, therefore the allegations of corruption against Mr Outerbridge or Mr Benevides could not be stood up. She similarly dismissed the charges of money laundering and theft against both MacLeans. Mr Outerbridge and the MacLeans declined to comment on the decision yesterday, while Mr Benevides could not be reached yesterday Mr Benevides has been on administrative leave from the City of Hamilton since he was charged in May. The Royal Gazette asked mayor Charles Gosling for comment about the ruling and Mr Benevides’s status, but did not receive a response. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, did not respond when asked about the possibility of an appeal. After yesterday’s ruling, an MIF spokesman said: “Whether the actions are deemed criminal or not in Bermuda does not change the fact that they occurred and were extremely damaging to MIF.” All of the charges related to a 2014 bridging loan from MIF to Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences, which was guaranteed by the City of Hamilton. As part of the agreement, $18 million was placed in an escrow account at The Bank of New York Mellon. The sum was released to PLV in October 2014 after PLV entered into a financial agreement with Gibraltar-based Argyle Limited. MIF has claimed the agreement was not a permanent loan funding agreement as required, but instead a “Trade and Profit Share Agreement”. London’s High Court heard in 2017 that PLV transferred $12.5 million through a trust to Argyle UAE Ltd, run by businessman Robert McKellar. It is alleged Mr McKellar used the money to buy a luxury Aston Martin car, an engagement ring and two countryside properties in the south of England. The developer defaulted on the loan in December 2014 sparking a series of legal actions in Bermuda and elsewhere. MIF launched legal action against the City of Hamilton and The Bank of New York Mellon in the Supreme Court of New York alleging the money was withdrawn through “fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations”. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company has filed a writ in the Supreme Court against Bermuda law firm Trott & Duncan claiming that it became involved in the failed hotel project because of advice it was given by the firm. Delroy Duncan, partner at Trott & Duncan, said the proceedings were “without merit” and would be “contested vigorously”.

paragraph10 finalists have been named for a top teacher award set up by a charity that supports public schools. The Bermuda Education Network unveiled the contenders in the running for its Outstanding Teacher Award 2019. They are:

Candidates were nominated by their peers earlier this month. Finalists were then selected by a committee. The winner is chosen based on classroom observations. Becky Ausenda, the executive director of the BEN, congratulated the teachers “for your exceptional teaching ability and going above and beyond for your students”. She added: “We received a record 50 nominations this year and wish to thank everyone who took the time to send in a nomination. BEN looks forward to honoring these inspirational teachers at our coming event.” The winner will be named as part of the charity’s annual fundraiser, a Chinese new year celebration. The event takes place at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on February 8 at 7pm. Tickets cost $175 with proceeds to benefit the BEN’s work “supporting both students and teachers and providing experiential learning opportunities in the arts, social studies, science and sailing”. A silent auction will also be held at the event.

paragraphAirCare has installed Bermuda’s first nitrogen-generating plant. Nitrogen is used frequently for installing, testing and cleaning air-conditioning systems as well as in specialist fire-suppression systems. AirCare, which is owned by Ascendant Group, said today that prior to installing the new plant, obtaining nitrogen on island was “not only costly but also could be unreliable”. The company stated: “The idea to buy a plant to produce their own nitrogen was discussed among staff and after considerable investigation and discussions with manufacturers, a North Carolina-based company built the nitrogen plant that is housed in a standard shipping container and located at the AirCare facility. AirCare is based on Serpentine Road. “The nitrogen produced is very high quality, 99.9 per cent pure, which is termed ‘medical grade’ nitrogen so can be used in medical facilities such as the hospital.” The plant is seen as a critical investment for the company as without it, installing large-scale HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems would be very difficult. “Having a ready supply of nitrogen is also critical for our customers who have fire-suppression systems,” AirCare stated. “If a fire suppression system is discharged there is a liability in the period between the discharge and when it can be refilled and ready for another fire. Having a readily available supply of nitrogen on island ensures minimal down time and reduces liability for AirCare’s customers.” Nitrogen is non-flammable and the system was commissioned by the manufacturer who gave AirCare staff on-site training on the system.

paragraphLegal Opinion. By Attorney Jennifer Eve. Counsel in the Corporate department at Appleby.  "Today’s column addresses the substance and impact of recent amendments made to the Investment Funds Act 2006. The Funds Act was amended by the Economic Substance Act 2018 and the Investment Funds Amendment Act 2018. The Substance Act became operative on December 31 and I expect that the Amendment Act will become operative during the first quarter of this year. The Funds Act is the primary regulation for open-ended investment funds, which were previously divided into Authorized Funds, Exempted Funds and Excluded Funds. Authorized Funds were split into four categories: Institutional Funds, Administered Funds, Specified Jurisdiction Funds and Standard Funds, while Exempted Funds were split into two categories: Class A Exempt Funds and Class B Exempt Funds. There was only one category of Excluded Funds, being Private Funds, and often these terms were used interchangeably. The recent legislative changes impact Exempted Funds and the Excluded/Private Funds. Exempted Funds will now be known as Professional Funds to reflect a shift away from the self-certification process to launch in relation to Class A Exempt Funds and the application for exemption for Class B Exempt Funds. The term Excluded Funds will be dropped from the Funds Act. This makes sense given that Private Funds will no longer file notification to the Bermuda Monetary Authority that they qualify for exclusion from the requirements of the Funds Act. Going forward, Professional Funds and Private Funds will collectively be known as Registered Funds. These funds now must apply to the BMA for registration and approval before commencing trading. Professional Funds will continue to have two categories like the existing Exempted Funds, but they have been renamed as Professional Class A Funds and Professional Class B Funds. Professional Class A Funds must meet the same requirements as Class A Exempt Funds to be registered under that category. This includes being open only to qualified participants, appointing a licensed investment manager or having gross assets under management of $100 million, or being part of a group that does, appointing an officer, trustee or representative resident in Bermuda, appointing certain service providers and preparing financial statements in accordance with IFRS or GAAP. The main difference will be in the application process, which will entail an application and satisfaction by the BMA that it meets the criteria before it is registered as a Professional Class A Fund. Professional Class B Funds must meet the same requirements as Class B Exempt Funds to be registered under that category. This includes a similar requirement to the Professional Class A Fund except that there is no licensing and gross asset requirement in relation to the investment manager. Instead, service providers must be fit and proper to perform the relevant functions. In relation to Professional Class B Funds, the BMA must notify the applicant in writing of its decision within ten days from the date of application and if not, the BMA shall be considered to have granted registration. This is similar to the previous exemption requirement. Both Professional Class A Funds and Professional Class B Funds must appoint a custodian. This requirement may be waived in relation to a Professional Class B Fund if it satisfies the BMA that alternative arrangements have been made. The Amendment Act once operative will also allow this for Professional Class A Funds. Private Funds, instead of filing notification that they qualify for exclusion, now must register under the Funds Act. In addition, they must appoint a local service provider authorized and regulated by the BMA. The definition of “service provider” includes corporate service providers and as such, most funds will meet the local service provider requirement through the engagement of a Bermuda corporate service provider. Private Funds are also required to appoint a custodian however this requirement may be waived if the fund meets certain requirements set by the BMA. This is useful for certain funds, including ILS funds that invest in an underlying reinsurance company. Private Funds also have additional annual filing requirements. The operators of a Private Fund must certify annually that it continues to satisfy the qualifying criteria. Additional information that must be filed annually includes information on the net asset value and its underlying assets, a copy of the fund’s management account or audited financial statements and information on any material changes that took place during the year. The Substance Act has also given the BMA greater powers of supervision and enforcement over Registered Funds and the power to make rules concerning investor disclosures and related matters. Funds existing at December 31 have six months to comply with applicable provisions of the Funds Act. Therefore, any operators of Class A Exempt Funds, Class B Exempt Funds and Private/Excluded Funds should take steps to ensure that they comply. The implementation of an application for registration brought about by the Substance Act strikes a good balance between regulatory oversight and the commercial needs of flexible investment vehicles. We anticipate that these vehicles will continue to be popular with those looking to set up funds in Bermuda.

A copy of this column is available on the firm’s website at www.applebyglobal.com. This column should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Before proceeding with any matters discussed here, persons are advised to consult with a lawyer.

paragraphA whale calf was found dead in the waters off Devonshire Dock yesterday. Bystanders spotted the juvenile male short-finned pilot whale floating near the dock on North Shore early in the morning The whale, which was 7.2ft in length, was hauled on shore before staff from the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo removed it by boat. A bystander, who asked not to be named, said it had initially been mistaken for a floating tree or a shark until the body got closer to the shore. He said: “We threw some rope around his tail and pulled him out, then called the aquarium. “We’ve seen a lot of stuff come around here but not no whale.” Another bystander added: “He came in on his side with his fin in the air, then he hit the rocks and the current washed him back into the dock.” A spokeswoman for the BAMZ said that sickness was unlikely as the cause of death. She added: “Because the teeth on the lower jaw had not yet emerged, BAMZ determined that it must have still been nursing and therefore dependent on a mother. BAMZ is going to look to preserve the whale’s skeleton for educational purposes.” Samples of the calf will be studied to determine cause of death. The spokeswoman said pilot whales were not normally found within the reef line. She said: “This animal was likely separated from his mother and found itself lost and stranded with the complex structures of reefs.” The short-finned pilot whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus, is not classed as endangered. The animals, which are found worldwide in warm waters, are members of the dolphin family. Adults can grow from 12 to 18ft depending on sex, and can weigh anywhere from 2,000lbs to 6,000lbs. The short-finned species has a stocky body, a bulbous forehead, no prominent beak, and long flippers sharply pointed at the tip. They are typically black or dark grey. Ian Walker, the principal curator at BAMZ, said that short-finned pilot whales were not usually spotted around Bermuda, although the island falls within its habitat range.

paragraphAn elderly American couple have been terrorized in their room at the Pompano Beach Club. The offender brandished a blunt object and demanded cash from the victims, a 75-year-old man and his 73-year-old wife, between 3.15am and 3.20am on Sunday. He then escaped with an undisclosed amount in US currency. The man, described as 6ft, black and in his mid-twenties, was wearing a dark, hooded top. The incident is the second violent theft at the Southampton resort in little more than a year. A robber stole cash after threatening four female staff and the manager with a knife in December 2017. Anyone with information should call police on 247-1744.

paragraphA Bermudian first-year student at a top US university has made the dean’s list for academic excellence. Halle Teart, 18, scored a 3.68 grade point average — above the 3.5 threshold for inclusion on the list at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The former Bermuda Institute pupil from Southampton is studying for a degree in sociology and Africana studies, with a double minor in anthropology and social policy. Ms Teart said: “Hopkins is supposed to be a very challenging school, but I will say that it has not been as challenging for me as I thought it would be. I don’t want to say that I had it easy, but I worked hard, attended all of my classes, studied hard, and just did what I was supposed to do.” Ms Teart added that she kept track of her grades and calculated the results throughout her first semester, so the dean’s list announcement this month was not a surprise.  “I sent the letter to my mom and she was very excited and congratulated me. I also sent it to my teachers. I didn’t expect them to respond, but they did and said ‘I’m not surprised, I didn’t expect anything else’.” Ms Teart added the key to her success was hard work. “I set high goals and expectations for myself.” I know what I want to do, I know where I want to be in life, and I know what I want to achieve. I remind myself that if I’m going to go where I want to go then I have to do x, y, and z to make it there.” Ms Teart added that she used her determined mindset to get through a difficult linguistics course on language and the mind. “That class was just a lot of information compressed into such a short period of time. I had to actually dedicate my time and stay focused on learning the information and preparing myself.” Ms Teart said that her next goal was to boost her grade to a 4.0 GPA in the new semester. She hoped to work for the United Nations as a policy analyst after graduation. She said: “I want to make sure that I did what I had to do and I can look back at the end of the day and say ‘I tried my best’.”

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January 23

paragraphBermuda is not a place of brass-plate businesses, a visiting international diplomat said. David Gill, the German Consul General in New York, added: “Bermuda is real business.” He said: “There’s business going on here. It’s not like one of these other islands where you have just a brass plate. That, I’m very impressed by.” Mr Gill was speaking as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the island on Friday. He said the trip to Bermuda, his first, was to forge good relationships and “show that Germany is interested in what’s going on here”. Mr Gill added: “For Germans, Bermuda has always been this exotic island in the middle of the Atlantic. There are Germans who fell in love with this island, and stayed here, and founded businesses.” He said the island was “very important” to the German insurance industry, including Hannover Re and Munich Re, the country’s two biggest German reinsurers. He said that he had visited Hannover Re, on Hamilton’s Victoria Street. Mr Gill added: “I was very impressed to see how dedicated and devoted they are to their business here.” He also met David Burt, the Premier, as part of his trip. Mr Gill said the two discussed Bermuda’s relationship with the European Union, as well as the Economic Substance Act and “what it means for the Government here, for the lawmakers, and what there is to be discussed with Brussels”. He added that the pair also talked about apprenticeships, football and Mr Burt’s affection for Berlin. Mr Gill said: “He’s very familiar with Germany. It seems he likes Germany and the Germans.” He added that he had also met Walter Roban, the deputy premier, to discuss clean energy. Mr Gill said: “He was very interested to see if we can build new ties.” He also met also met John Rankin, the Governor, and Sir John Swan, a former premier. Mr Gill said he planned to holiday with his family in Bermuda before he returned to New York. The diplomat, who has been Consul General in New York since 2017, serves an area that includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as Bermuda.

paragraphThe historic Perot Post Office on Hamilton’s Queen Street reopened yesterday after a major refurbishment. Walton Brown, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said the renovated post office will now be the home of the Bermuda Philatelic Bureau, which used to be housed in the General Post Office on Church Street. Mr Brown said: “We view the philatelic bureau’s relocation as a natural transition, as Perot Post Office is considered one of Bermuda’s most iconic historical visitor attractions. We anticipate that this move will result in added revenue from the purchase of special edition stamps offered by the philatelic bureau.” The minister added that stamp collection remained popular and several commemorative stamp series released last year in Bermuda were a hit. Mr Brown said: “Last year, the bureau released three popular commemorative stamp series. In March, it released the 50th Anniversary of the Bermuda Turtle Project. “In May, it released stamps commemorating the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and in June, the bureau issued a stamp series recognizing Bermuda’s cedar-handle bags. We’ve found that individuals who engage in the popular hobby of collecting stamps do so because it represents a piece of history, and teaches and educates about art, culture, geography, the environment, science and technology, transportation, entertainment and more. So, we expect that the philatelic bureau will prove to be a popular addition to the Perot Post Office.” Mr Brown added: “During the renovation period, we were extremely careful to ensure that the upgrades did not affect the historical building status of Perot Post Office. We are pleased with the outcome, and are also pleased to officially reopen the Perot Post Office with the new addition of the Philatelic Bureau.”

paragraphAlmost $9 million worth of contracts covering a four-year period have been handed out by the Bermuda Hospitals Board, it has been revealed. Cleaning and landscape companies, management services and external medical training were all included in the list of contracts published by the board. Details published in the Official Gazette showed information on 22 agreements, some of which run up to March 2021. The total value of the deals listed was $8,973,588.52. They included a three-year contract worth $2,413,800 with Bermuda Cleaning Limited, to cover services at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and its group homes. White Angels Cleaning Service was hired for the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre at $135,000 for the same duration. A $388,260-three-year contract with Ace Cleaning and Landscaping started last October for work at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Lamb Foggo clinic. In another three-year deal, Precision LMT was hired to provide trash removal services across three BHB sites. The figures were posted online as part of Public Access to Information requirements to publish details of contracts valued at $50,000 or more. A deal between the BHB and Johns Hopkins Medicine International, that includes enhanced training opportunities for Bermudian medical staff and students, cost $800,000. The Maryland-based institute was selected for a two-year clinical affiliation agreement after six American healthcare organisations responded to a request for a proposal. A BHB spokeswoman said the contract was designed to gain support in “key areas of quality and education” when it was announced last August. Areas of collaboration were expected to include educational opportunities such as BHB placements for undergraduate medical students and nurses as well as visiting experts. A $100,000 contract lasting four months with Expertise Ltd was for a “clinical business analyst”, or consultant, named Bernie Miller. A BHB spokeswoman explained: “Expertise Ltd has a contracted individual supporting the BHB finance department with final accounts, budgeting and financial systems work.” Other agreements included work to upgrade, service and provide support for equipment, medical records coding services, a software licence, and facilities engineering support. A temporary company secretary was hired on a 13-month contract for $126,000 and a temporary programme manager for the project management office was recruited for a year on $317,000. The full list of contracts can be viewed on the Government’s Official Gazette online or on the BHB’s website.

paragraphCustoms officers handed out snacks and sodas to the public yesterday as part of an attempt to boost the profile of the department’s work. Sharmette Pond, the Assistant Collector of Customs, said that officers had received a “great response”. Ms Pond added: “People were surprised, wondering what’s going on.” The Random Acts of Kindness Day was one of several events planned by customs department staff to coincide with International Customs Day on Saturday. Officers from the 170-strong department were out on the streets in Hamilton and in St George. Lucinda Pearman, the Collector of Customs, said the department played an important part in the island’s economy. She added: “Our mission is to promote compliance with Bermuda’s customs laws through quality service and responsible enforcement, thereby contributing to the economic and social stability of our community. Our staff and officers are responsible for facilitating trade, assessing and collecting revenue and interdicting drugs and other contraband.” Ms Pond said that what started as a one-day celebration of the service in Bermuda had grown into a week of events. The annual CA Smith Run, Walk, Ride Fun Race will take place today. The event was named in honour of Colin Smith, a former senior Customs officer. The race will start at Southside, St David’s at 9am and travel five kilometers to the finish line at LF Wade International Airport. An open house will be held at Pier 6 Terminal in Hamilton tomorrow. The event will provide members of the public the chance to meet Customs officers, as well as experience interactive displays. Ms Pond said that 200 middle and senior school pupils are expected to attend the open house. The second annual Tammy D. Robinson Golf Tournament will be played at Belmont Hills Golf Club on February 2. Ms Pearman encouraged members of the public to attend the open house event which takes place from 10am to 2pm.

paragraphNatural disaster losses cost the world $225 billion last year and the insurance industry picked up about $90 billion of the tab. Aon’s Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insight report for 2018 found last year was the third year in a row to top the $200 billion mark. Although insured losses were well down from the $147 billion logged in 2017, it was still the fourth costliest year on record for the industry. However, with 40 per cent of economic losses covered by either private-sector insurers or public-sector schemes, the protection gap narrowed to its lowest level since 2005. “Both 2005 and 2018 were years in which many of the biggest natural disaster events occurred in the United States, where insurance penetration is higher than in other parts of the world,” Aon’s report states. The Camp Fire, in California in November, was the most expensive event for insurers, racking up $12 billion in claims of the $15 billion economic loss. Hurricane Michael came in a close second with $10 billion in claims, although its economic losses of $17 billion were the highest for a single event. Other expensive events included the typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan, Hurricane Florence in the US, the Woolsey Fire in California, flooding in Japan, Windstorm Friederike in central Europe, plus a US drought and a hailstorm in Colorado. The most costly events in terms of fatalities were an earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, which left 2,256 people dead, and monsoon flooding in India, which caused 1,424 deaths. In total more than 10,000 people lost their lives in natural disasters last year.

paragraphThe Chubb Building on Woodbourne Avenue is the first in Bermuda to be twice re-certified as Leed Gold by the US Green Building Council. Leed, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification programme that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. The Chubb building first received Leed Gold certification under the Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance rating system in 2011. In 2017, the building was re-certified when Chubb became one of the first companies in North America to use the Leed Dynamic Plaque to manage the building’s environmental performance. With its latest re-certification, the Chubb Building received a Leed Gold score of 72, up from 70 two years ago. The Leed Dynamic Plaque, which is on display in the building’s main lobby, calculates and displays the building’s performance data on a 100-point scale across five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience. Other green initiatives that contributed to the re-certification include: installing energy-efficient LED lights, creating an electric car charging station, conducting an annual trash audit, implementing programs to further reduce waste and encourage recycling, and initiating a weekly farmers market. Since 2011, Chubb has reduced energy consumption in the building by 1.024 million kilowatt hours, a 28 per cent decrease. Additionally, Chubb’s annual water purchases for the building have been reduced to 80,000 gallons from an average of 145,000 gallons. Colin Brown, vice-president of facilities and Leed project manager for Chubb in Bermuda, said: “We were proud in 2011 when our building became the first on the island to earn Leed Gold certification, and we’re proud that our continued initiatives to further reduce energy use, enhance efficiency and make the building a more comfortable place to work have earned two re-certification. Our progress in Bermuda reflects Chubb’s commitment to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations around the world.” An important objective of Chubb’s environmental programme is to measure, record and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the company’s own operations. From 2015 to 2017, Chubb reduced absolute global GHG emissions by 11 per cent. The company will continue to deploy successful approaches for GHG emissions reduction, including installing energy-efficient lighting and equipment and increasing utilization efficiency for office space. In addition to earning and maintaining Leed Gold certification, the Chubb Building received the Bermuda National Trust’s Environmental Award in 2015, as well as for Honorable Mention in the 2015 Greenrock Green Workplace Awards.

paragraphThe volatile politics of the US could influence some significant issues for reinsurers this year. That is the view of John Huff, chief executive officer of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers. Mr Huff, on a panel at the Joint Industry Forum in New York, referred to the uncertainties created by a divided Congress and the US Government shutdown, Business Insurance reported. “If you think about the National Flood Insurance Programme and flood insurance reform, this is a critical stage as we go through whether there may be some opportunities to shift some of this taxpayer risk to the private market,” Mr Huff said. Also, the upcoming renewal of the US Government’s terrorism insurance backstop initially created by the Terrorism Risk and Insurance Act of 2002, and better known as Tria, is also a concern. A divided government may have implications “as we go through TRIA renewal at the end of next year and what it might mean for the private sector to take on more of that risk”, Mr Huff said. Earthquake risk, particularly as it relates to the mortgage market, could also be influenced by US politics, Mr Huff said. Crop insurance could also see an impact because of implementation of the Farm Bill, he added.

paragraphA man caught riding a motorcycle with three passengers, including two children, was fined $2,500 and banned from the roads for a year yesterday. Keevon Smith was pulled over by police with another man and the man’s two children also on the bike. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said: “The other adult should be in this court, too. The other adult should be in Family Court. There should be a complaint made against the other adult about putting these children at risk. Absolutely unbelievable.” Smith, 43, from St George’s, admitted carrying passengers unlawfully on Middle Road in Sandys on Monday evening. Smith told Mr Wolffe that the two children had sat between him and their father and that he did not know how old the children were. Mr Wolffe asked Smith: “What would have happened if you went down?” Smith said: “It didn’t happen.” The court earlier heard that police spotted Smith riding near Woodlawn Road with three passengers and signaled him to pull over. Smith rode on and turned onto Woodlawn Road before he stopped at a house and the passengers got off. He tried to ride away, but eventually pulled over, but gave officers a false name and address. One of the police, however, recognized him and officers established he did not have a valid driving licence. Smith also admitted taking a motorcycle without consent in a separate incident last August. The court heard Smith was hired to replace the brake pads on a woman’s cycle on August 8, but never returned. The complainant filed a police report and officers found the motorcycle outside of a derelict building on August 30. Smith was fined $300 each for making false statements, failing to stop for police, failing to give his correct name and address, driving without a licence and carrying passengers in an unlawful manner. He was also fined $1,000 for taking a vehicle without consent, Mr Wolffe also issued five demerit points for each of the traffic offences and banned Smith from driving all vehicles for 12 months, as he had exceeded the 12-point maximum.

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January 22

paragraphNew taxes could be in the pipeline for the 2019-20 Budget, the Minister of Finance said yesterday. Curtis Dickinson said in his pre-Budget report that possible taxes included one on homes where the main function was for rental to tourists or to employees in international business. Other proposals included a 5 per cent general services tax on goods and services and a 7.5 per cent tax on professional services. Mr Dickinson said: “This document will provide everyone with an opportunity to understand the focus on the next Budget and to allow us to hear from you, from the people of Bermuda, your thoughts and concerns.” Mr Dickinson said that the Government’s Budget process was “clear and transparent”. He added: “Our pre-Budget report explains the factors driving the Government’s fiscal policy decisions while giving everyone the opportunity to make their views known. We anticipate that this report will give the public a better understanding of our aims and objectives as well as encourage debate on the Budget strategy and how effectively it copes with current economic and social priorities.” Mr Dickinson said that the Budget would be unveiled on February 22. The rental income tax would be applied as a percentage of the annual rental value of properties, although a proposed level was not suggested in the report. The document also outlined a general services tax of 5 per cent to be applied to “non-essential services, including catering, insurance, vehicle repairs, air tickets and so on”. Bob Richards, Minister of Finance in the former One Bermuda Alliance government, proposed a 5 per cent general services tax in his 2016-17 Budget statement. A managed services tax of 7.5 per cent on “mostly professional services purchased from abroad” was also floated by Mr Dickinson. A withholding tax on island-generated dividends and interest, “substantial increases” in the foreign currency purchase tax and increases to financial services taxes, including bank and insurance fees, were also proposed. Changes to the payroll tax system “to make it somewhat more progressive, both at the company and the individual level” were also included in the report. Possible changes to customs duty were also highlighted in a bid to make “reductions in duties on food and clothing, and increases in alcohol duties”. The bipartisan Tax Reform Commission tabled a report last November which proposed new taxes along with reforms to existing taxes. The commission’s report predicted alterations could boost government revenues by $147 million over two to three years. Mr Dickinson said that a series of meetings would be held with members of the international business community, the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and union leaders as part of a consultation period which will run to the end of the month. Members of the public can send their questions, comments and concerns to openbudget@gov.bm.

paragraphThe Bermuda Business Development Agency is partnering with the island’s fast-growing life and annuity re/insurance sector to promote a strong presence at the industry’s largest US conference this spring. For the first time, the BDA will team up with Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers to lead an industry delegation to the thirteenth annual Refocus event. Co-hosted by the American Council of Life Insurers and the Society of Actuaries, the conference — being held from March 10 to 13 this year in Las Vegas — attracts more than 700 attendees annually and features senior industry speakers, topical panels, and networking opportunities for decision-makers across the global long-term re/insurance sector. “With Bermuda’s leadership position within this industry, it is paramount to have a strong presence at Refocus to continue raising our profile and attracting further interest from prospective clients,” Jereme Ramsay, business development manager for risk solutions at the BDA, said. “The content and audience offer a natural fit for Bermudian-based carriers and service providers, and we’re looking forward to attending and participating in that dialogue.” Long-term insurance and reinsurance, which help protects consumers from underfunded retirement years and unsupported dependents, is a growing market globally. In Bermuda, the sector — comprising a diverse group of companies with more than $300 billion in total assets — is also expanding, with a total of 11 new life re/insurers licensed by November last year, with more newcomers expected in statistics released for December and the first quarter of 2019. Biltir acts as an advocacy group, representing 58 member companies currently, of which 42 are licensed insurers and reinsurers, and the remainder are supporting service providers. “The Refocus conference has grown in attendance since its inception back in 2006, and we are on pace to expand even further,” said Biltir senior adviser Ronnie Klein, a founder of Refocus. “It seems only natural that a country with such a high concentration of insurance executives like Bermuda should have a strong presence at this event.” Some 50 Bermuda-based industry experts and service providers, including Biltir members, plan to attend the 2019 conference. For the first time, the BDA and Biltir will cohost a “Bermuda Lounge” through the event and a Bermuda networking lunch on Monday, March 11. Senior executives from insurance groups with a Bermuda presence, including Legal and General, Global Atlantic, Athene Re, Wilton Re and Hannover Re, will also be featured on the programme — highlighting the growing importance of Bermuda in the life insurance marketplace. Examples include Bill Wheeler, president of Athene Holding, a panellist in a Monday session on mergers and acquisitions, and Thomas Olunloyo, CEO of L&G Re, who will moderate a Brexit discussion the following day. “Bermuda companies have attended Refocus every year, but to have a dedicated jurisdictional presence there takes it to a new level,” Sylvia Oliveira, CEO of Wilton Re Bermuda and a Biltir director, said. “We’re looking forward to showcasing our market, its respected regulation and pool of talent, and our industry’s positive global impact.” Hot industry topics on the Refocus 2019 agenda include Brexit and global trade barriers, the opioid crisis, AI, blockchain and insurtech, uninsured gaps, and the impact of M&A trends. The heightened Bermuda presence at this year’s Refocus event also aims to highlight Biltir’s own annual life and annuity conference — scheduled for Thursday, September 19, 2019 at the Fairmont Southampton. Last year, the Biltir event attracted a record 300 attendees. “We hope the Bermuda Lounge will attract Refocus attendees to our Bermuda conference in September, which some have dubbed the ‘Refocus of the East’,” Ms Oliveira said.

paragraphThe City of Hamilton dodged a $30 million bullet after London’s Privy Council found in its favour in a dispute over a guarantee for a failed hotel project, the mayor said yesterday. The Corporation of Hamilton had guaranteed an $18 million bridging loan, which defaulted, between Mexico Infrastructure Finance and Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd. However, Lady Arden, in a majority decision released yesterday, ruled that the project did not have a “municipal purpose” — which meant the corporation did not have the power to give the guarantee, which voided it. Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said he was pleased by the ruling. He added: “If we had not challenged the guarantee, the city ratepayer and anyone using city services would have had to shoulder, in large part, the funding for the financing of the debt, which, with financial and other charges, could conceivably have totaled close to $30 million.” Lady Arden, in a decision backed by Lord Reed and Lord Briggs, said it was clear the purpose of the guarantee was to help the developer obtain funding. She added: “It is no part of the corporation’s functions to act as banker to a developer. The hotel complex did not provide any service or facility for inhabitants, except possibly for the conferencing facilities, but it has not been suggested that the conferencing facilities alone, doubtless a relatively small part of the total complex, could make the purpose municipal. The guarantee was not capable of being brought within the corporation’s powers by reference to a wider motivation and desire on the corporation’s part generally to promote Hamilton’s economic development.” Lord Sumption wrote a dissenting opinion, supported by Lord David Lloyd-Jones, that argued the Corporation did have the power to guarantee the bridging loan. He said: “‘Municipal purposes’ are purposes calculated to benefit the current and future residents, permanent or temporary, of Hamilton in their capacity as such. That is the relevant limitation. I can see no justification either in principle or in the language of the provision for distinguishing between benefits consisting in the direct provision of services or facilities to residents, and expenditure on the promotion of the city’s economic development which benefits the residents less directly.” Lord Sumption wrote that the city could invest in sports or entertainment facilities, even if they would be mostly used by non-residents. He said: “It would be artificial to say that these purposes, which indirectly serve the economic interests of the city and its inhabitants, are not municipal purposes. These examples, and one could give many others, illustrate the technical, functionally irrelevant and barely workable distinctions which it is necessary to make if the test favored by the majority be correct.” The Corporation of Hamilton backed an $18 million bridging loan from MIF to Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd in 2014 and put up the city’s Par-la-Ville car park as collateral. The guarantee was intended to help the development of a $350 million luxury hotel, to have been built on the site of the car park. But the developer defaulted on the loan and a consent ruling was made by the Supreme Court in May 2015 against the corporation for the full amount plus interest. The city later appealed on the ground that it never had the legal power to make the guarantee, which meant the agreement was null and void. The Supreme Court found in favour of the municipality in 2016 and the decision was later upheld in the Court of Appeal. Mr Gosling said the ruling removed a “potential commitment” from the city’s books, but that the prolonged legal battle gave the city time to tackle a decline in revenues. He added: “We will carry on with that initiative. We still see street parking revenue continuing to fall, even with a reinvigorated collection of parking fines.” Mr Gosling said: “This revenue recovery has greatly lessened the hindering impact of a repayment schedule, but we will continue on that front as well as other issues such as the installation of solar panels where we can promise full power usage for such everyday energy gobbling utilities as our sewerage pumps.” He added that the municipality also wanted to improve sewage treatment in a bid to cut the risk of “grease balls” off South Shore. He said: “Initial studies have been very positive. If our results are reaffirmed, this multiyear project could be started within months — as long as we remember anyone can borrow money. It is the paying back that is the challenge.”

paragraphWith CEOs worrying more about political stability and protectionism around the world, Bermuda needs to keep obstacles to international business to a minimum to remain competitive. That is the view of Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader in response to PwC’s Global CEO Survey, which showed a record rise in pessimism on growth prospects. Nearly 30 per cent of business leaders believe that global economic growth will decline in the next 12 months, about six times the proportion in last year’s survey. Meanwhile, 85 per cent of CEOs agree that artificial intelligence will dramatically change their business over the next five years. Nearly two-thirds see AI as something that will have a larger impact than the internet. Mr Wightman said: “PwC’s annual survey found a sharp rise in those chief executives indicating that global growth would ‘decline’. The threats they consider most pressing are related to the ease of doing business in the markets where they operate, for example, over regulation, barriers to entry or cost. In Bermuda, our hallmarks of risk-based and pragmatic regulation and speed to market clearly count in our favour in a highly competitive, global marketplace. That said, we have to continue to work hard to attract and retain both people and companies. CEOs have turned their focus to navigating the surge in populism in the markets where they operate. Trade conflicts, policy uncertainty, and protectionism have replaced terrorism, climate change, and increasing tax burden in the top ten list of threats to growth. And so, we must be careful to minimize impediments for international companies to do business in Bermuda. Similarly, with economic substance tests we must move fast to take advantage of the undoubted opportunity that has been created.” The survey of 1,300 business leaders was the 22nd Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC and was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. “CEOs’ views of the global economy mirror the major economic outlooks, which are adjusting their forecasts downward in 2019,” Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, said. “With the rise of trade tension and protectionism it stands to reason that confidence is waning.” PwC’s survey found despite the dip in confidence, 42 per cent of CEOs still see an improved economic outlook, though this is down significantly from a high of 57 per cent in 2018. Overall, CEOs’ views on global economic growth are more polarized this year but trending downward. The most pronounced shift was among CEOs in North America, where optimism dropped from 63 per cent in 2018 to 37 per cent. Mr Wightman also commented on the island’s needs for its workforce of the future. “Technological changes continue to disrupt the business world, and people with strong data and digital skills are in even higher demand and increasingly harder to find.  That said, the need for people with soft skills is also critical, which is why business, government and educational institutions need to work together to address the demands of the evolving workforce. The widening gap between rich and poor around the world is also evidenced in Bermuda. The long-term sustainability of the island depends on our ability to narrow this gap and create pathways for everyone to participate in the economic opportunities as they present themselves. Another trend we are seeing is that leading organisations are also responsible businesses. In other words, they believe that doing something good for the world is also good for business. This may indeed be one of the clear opportunities to help shift socio-economic disparities on our island.” The unease about global economic growth is lowering CEOs’ confidence about their own companies’ outlook in the short term. Thirty-five per cent of CEOs said they are “very confident” in their own organization's growth prospects over the next 12 months, down from 42 per cent last year. To drive revenue this year, CEOs plan to rely primarily on operational efficiencies at 77 per cent and organic growth at 71 per cent. The US retains its lead as the top market for growth over the next 12 months. However, many CEOs are also turning to other markets, reflected in the dramatic drop in the share of votes in favour of the US, from 46 per cent in 2018 to just 27 per cent in 2019. China narrowed the gap, but also saw its popularity fall from 33 per cent in 2018 to 24 per cent in 2019. The other three countries rounding out the top five for growth include Germany at 13 per cent, down from 20 per cent; India at 8 per cent down from 9 per cent and the UK at 8 per cent down from 15 per cent. Despite the bullish view on AI, 23 per cent of CEOs currently have “no current plans” to pursue AI, with a further 35 per cent “planning to do so” in the next three years. Thirty-three per cent have taken “a very limited approach”. Fewer than one in ten CEOs have implemented AI on a wide scale. When it comes to the impact AI will have on jobs, 88 per cent of China’s CEOs believe AI will displace more jobs than it creates. CEOs in Western Europe and North America are less doubtful, with 38 per cent and 41 per cent believing AI will displace more jobs than it creates.

paragraphThings are moving in the world of blockchain, and ChainThat sees itself among the forefront of those bringing distributed-ledger innovation to the insurance sector. The company was involved in a blockchain symposium on the island last year, and chief executive officer David Edwards has since made regular visits to Bermuda as ChainThat has refined its insurance sector-focused offerings. ChainThat was founded in 2015 and provides insurtech solutions. It is backed by Bermudian-registered consulting and managed services company Xceedance, with which it works strategically and operationally. It is possible London-headquartered ChainThat might also incorporate in Bermuda. Mr Edwards said: “It’s that community thing. We’ve tried to do things in London, but London is run by committees and it is very hard to make change happen. There are lots of competing thoughts about which way the market should go.” ChainThat is focused on distributed-ledger technologies and privacy. It has a team of 20 developers and uses the R3 Corda blockchain platform. That platform was created for the finance and banking sector. Mr Edwards said: “What they did at the same time was create the perfect insurance platform for us to run on.” ChainThat has been involved with R3 for a number of years, and as a result of that relationship it has been able to focus on business applications and not so much the blockchain layer. Applying the Corda platform to a distributed ledger allows every party involved in a transaction or contract to see the same data and same status at the same time. Those parties could be, for example, brokers, insurers and reinsurers, and a settlement bank. When asked how much benefit this can provide, Mr Edwards said: “There are lots of estimates about the savings that you can get. You are looking at frictional costs — the cost of reconciliation and co-ordination. The market seems to think it is about 30 per cent off the expense ratio — that’s potentially quite an impact on the combined ratio. No one has actually proven that today, so our approach has been [to get companies] to come on-board and try it at low cost — run it alongside or in parallel and put a small portion of business through it and see the benefits for themselves. Do a paper exercise. How many e-mails are you sending, how much time is each person taking to do it? Build that business case, otherwise you are not going to be able to sell it internally.” Mr Edwards said the last four or five months have seen a big increase in demand for its services. “Last year, people started to take note that this could potentially save costs in the industry, and create new business models. In most companies now it is at the board level and everyone is discussing it and no one wants to get left behind.” He said there is high interest in Bermuda at the moment. “We are making traction. Once people get their hands on it and feel the benefit, they then become the champions of it internally and can push it through as opposed to us trying to knock on every door trying to convince everyone.” ChainThat is focused on commercial and specialty insurance and reinsurance at the moment. Mr Edwards said: “We start with the broker, the primary insurance, and we can do the reinsurance and retrocession. We are going to bring ILS and ILW into the platform as well. So we are trying to cover the entire value chain and all the third parties that need to get involved in this. We have been looking at the settlement side. We have been working with a couple of banks as well.” Mr Edwards acknowledged there is a security aspect with public blockchains, and said that is why ChainThat has gone for an enterprise blockchain. He said: “R3 Corda has got it right. Imagine that there are five people involved in a contract, and there are 20 people on the network, only those five people have any visibility or knowledge that those transactions are taking place. It’s encrypted and you have that immutable aspect of it. It’s tamper-proof and it guarantees that what I see, you see.” Mr Edwards said everyone at ChainThat has an insurance background. He added: “We understand this technology. We are doing this offering at very low cost comparatively. We are not a consultancy, we can get you up and running really quickly.” One challenge is getting a number of companies to work together. It doesn’t work only selling it to one insurer, you have to have the trading parties involved and that is always going to be the hard part,” Mr Edwards said. We have seen consortiums come along; they have got people together and then tried to get the ideas together and try to do something. We understand the insurance industry, so we want to provide the platform and then bring the people on. It’s a slightly different approach to what everyone else is doing at the moment, but we think it is a much more effective way, because it gives them a much quicker time to market instead of having to commit lots of resources just to guide where a solution may go.”

paragraphPrimary school children have shared explicit pictures of themselves on mobile phones, a technology expert revealed yesterday. Sloane Wilson, an acting junior analyst at the Government’s Department of ICT Policy and Innovation, said images were distributed by young people “as soon as they have a phone”. She added: “We have received reports of young people in Primary 6 sharing inappropriate pictures and videos of themselves. Ms Wilson said: “It gets worse when they get to middle school.” She pointed out that some posts or content shared on social media can have serious consequences. She said that having on a device a photograph of someone under 18 naked was a criminal offence, and that parents were responsible for their children’s behavior. Ms Wilson warned: “It’s an offence to spread untruths, it’s an offence to tell someone ‘I will kill you’, it’s an offence to threaten someone to beat them up by a text message or Whatsapp. A big one is it’s an offence to have a naked photo of someone under the age of 18. What we try to tell these young people is that, in Bermuda, if you take an image of yourself and you’re under 18, you have just created child pornography. Then you send it to someone else, you distributed child pornography. So it’s important that they understand. A lot of these offences are punishable in Bermuda from the age of 8. I think the biggest issue for us is the sharing of inappropriate content. These young people are not understanding that once they put something on the internet, it’s there for ever. When they go to apply for college, university or to apply for a job or scholarship, these things are out there, creating the digital profile, this is what people see when they look you up.” Ms Wilson said students were motivated by a desire for popularity and acceptance and shared images “because everybody else is doing it”. She added some youngsters had seen adults do the same so they thought it was acceptable. Ms Wilson delivers workshops to schools as part of safe surfing group Cybertips and works with police and other organisations to provide information and skills to use the internet safely. She said children were sharing images of “whatever they find intriguing or interesting”, including pictures of themselves and friends. She added that young people should remember that they lose control of how and where information or pictures are used if they send them to others. “The biggest conversation I have with parents is, I ask them to have an open conversation with their young person as to what is expected of them once they’re given this technology. What rules do they have to follow? What are the consequences for breaking those rules? It’s about the parents leading by example as well. Also, access is a big one. Parents give their children a phone but they don’t know the password to their child’s phone. We try to remind parents that they are legally responsible for their children until they become adults. You cannot register a mobile phone in Bermuda unless you are an adult so the parent is legally liable for that device, therefore they should have access at all times.” She was speaking after Deana Puccio, a social-media expert and former New York court prosecutor, told a local audience last week the average age a child was exposed to pornography is 11. Other concerns related to contact with strangers, both on island and in other countries. Ms Wilson said parents should be aware of their children’s video-game playing, where communication about the game can turn into the sharing of personal information and “escalate from there”. She said: “A lot of people think that Bermuda sits very nicely in this pristine bubble and I tell parents all the time, that bubble has popped. online bullying was also a problem. Watch out for any changes in their child’s behavior, such as a significant increase or reduction in phone use. Other indicators included packed lunches returning home uneaten, missing personal belongings or loss of interest in activities. Every parent knows their child, so any tiny little thing that you feel may be off with your child, just watch it, monitor it, then talk to your child about it, because it could be something bigger than what it may seem to you. A lot of times, especially when a child is being harassed online, they don’t verbalize that very well.” Parents and caregivers can visit the Cybertips website at cybertips.bm  for advice. Ms Wilson also recommended commonsensemedia.org, which reviews media like apps, films and video games to assess their content and suitability. She suggested parents ask if they can look over the child’s social-media accounts together. Ms Wilson said if concerning content was found, adults should make screenshots or printouts. Incidents can be reported to schools, the police’s vulnerable persons unit, or on the Cybertips website, where the information is sent to police, the child and family services department and the ICT policy team.

paragraphWomen’s reproductive rights and the need to combat a culture of “shaming” were championed yesterday at an International Women’s March. Women gathered at noon at Queen Elizabeth Park in Hamilton to celebrate this year’s global theme of #WomensWave, designed to combat domestic violence. It marked Bermuda’s third Women’s March since protests in the United States in 2017 over the appointment of Donald Trump as president sparked a worldwide movement. Dany Pen, founder of Women’s Action, Change, Today support group, said the feminist hashtag also acknowledged the high profile of women members in the US Congress this year. But she warned against “blurring the boundaries” when it came to women’s rights in Bermuda compared to progress in America. Ms Pen said: “People tend to confuse them, but our legislation isn’t the same. Some of our laws are very archaic, even though our culture seems like it’s progressive, the legislation is not.” Ms Pen pointed out that abortion in Bermuda was “essentially illegal” outside the narrow criteria of rape, incest or cases where a woman’s life would be endangered or the child’s life would not be viable. She said: “To get an abortion, you have to go before the hospital board and petition your case. You might hear that women here have abortions, but people don’t know the details. I know of women who have been rejected.” Ms Pen added that an abortion in Bermuda “goes on your mental health record — it’s an unfortunate stigma and it stays there for life”. She told the gathering that the island was still in “desperate need” of a haven for abused women. Ms Pen said: “Women need an emergency shelter where they can go, 24 hours a day, and know they will be safe.” Speakers yesterday included Laurie Shiell, executive director of the Centre Against Abuse, who said that the charity had already dealt with 20 clients since January 7. Ms Shiell said: “People are reporting more, and reporting sooner. We also find that more people are reaching out for their friends. People are being encouraged to speak out and share their stories. We’re not finding that incidents are increasing — people are beginning to see that protection orders actually do something. These are more than words on paper. It’s a living, active document that protects people.” Robyn Swan, a former Opposition senator, said women should support one another to raise the profile of women’s rights. Ms Swan added: “It took me three days to find any statistics of violence and sexual assault on women in Bermuda. I went to the Department of Statistics, to the Bermuda Police Service online, and there was no information. That in itself should disturb every woman, every man and every child on this island.” She asked the gathering to sign up to the Facebook group Move Bermuda Forward, a non-partisan group set up to provide “social, economic, and political resources for all Bermudians”.

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paragraphThe family of a woman killed in a boat crash in Bermuda have launched legal actions in Britain over her death. Mary McKee, 62, from Christchurch, New Zealand, died on June 1, 2017 after the inflatable boat she was traveling in was struck by a speedboat. According to New Zealand news website Stuff.nz, Arthur McKee has now instructed English law firm Stewarts to begin proceedings against Charlie Watson, the skipper who was piloting the inflatable boat he and Ms McKee were riding in. Mr McKee has also launched legal action against the operator of Dream Paix, the catamaran on which the couple were staying in. The case is expected to be heard by the English High Court. Mr and Ms McKee came to Bermuda on the day of the fatal crash to watch the America’s Cup. The Bermuda Supreme Court heard the crash happened as Mr Watson was ferrying the couple across Hamilton Harbour when a second boat, piloted by Bermudian Andrew Lake, rode over them. Mr McKee and Mr Watson both suffered serious injuries in the collision, but Ms McKee drowned after she was knocked unconscious and fell off the boat. Lake admitted that he had been speeding at the time of the crash and pleaded guilty to causing the death of Ms McKee by reckless driving. But the court also heard the boat piloted by Mr Watson was completely unlit and Lake testified that he could not see the boat in the dark. Stuff.nz reported that Mr McKee reached a settlement with Lake’s insurers in 2018, but the sum was limited by Lake’s insurance coverage.

paragraphInfluenza cases have jumped, the chief of staff at the Bermuda Hospitals Board has confirmed. Michael Richmond, the Chief of Staff and acting chief executive at the BHB, said that the speed and virulence was a concern. He added: “This has not been a slow and steady increase. We have gone from zero patients with suspected flu complications in the Intensive Care Unit to four confirmed and three suspected cases over just one weekend.” Dr Richmond said that there had also been an increase in the number of patients with “serious respiratory complications”. He added: “In order to protect our patients, the community and our staff, we are implementing a flu response action plan that focuses our nursing staff on the response and reduces traffic through the hospital from people who may bring in or take out with them the flu virus.” A spokeswoman with BHB said last night that non-emergency surgeries had been postponed “in anticipation of further admissions”. She said that two surgeries had been postponed yesterday. The spokeswoman added: “We will review the status each day to decide on our ability to undertake elective, non-emergency surgeries.” She said that emergency and critical surgeries would continue as scheduled. The spokeswoman said that BHB had also requested a maximum of two visitors per patient per day in all areas of the hospital, including long-term care. She explained: “The incidence of flu to date has come from the community, and has not occurred in hospital. We need to reduce further exposure of other visitors and patients.” The spokeswoman said that all visitors would also be expected to wear masks in the Intensive Care Unit and to wash their hands before and after seeing a patient. She added that persons with outpatient appointments at the hospital who believe they may have the flu should call to reschedule. The spokeswoman also encouraged members of the public to get vaccinated. She said: “The flu season still has a few month to run. It is the most effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu.” The update comes after the health ministry issued a warning yesterday after a spike in the number of flu cases. The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said January was usually the peak of the flu season in Bermuda and a yearly shot was recommended as the first step in protection. It added that anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the end of fever. The Ministry of Health recommends flu vaccinations for everyone aged six months or older as flu viruses will continue to circulate through the spring. Healthcare workers, teachers, essential service workers and pregnant women are priority groups for receiving the flu shot. Seasonal flu vaccination is available at doctors’ surgeries or from the Department of Health at a cost of $10, or free for people aged 65 years and older. The shots are available at Hamilton Health Centre on the city’s Victoria Street. The health centre is open from 8.30am to 11.30am, Monday to Friday, and 2pm to 4pm on Wednesday afternoons.

paragraphThe Bermuda Hospitals Board in experiencing “a high number of people being admitted with complications from suspected and confirmed flu.” Dr Michael Richmond, Chief of Staff and Acting CEO, commented: “What is most concerning is the speed and virulence of the flu symptoms we are seeing in the hospital. This has not been a slow and steady increase. We have gone from zero patients with suspected flu complications in the intensive care unit to four confirmed and three suspected cases over just one weekend. Our Emergency Department is seeing an increase in patients coming with serious respiratory complications and in order to protect patients, the community and our staff, we are implementing a flu response action plan that focuses our nursing staff on the response and reduces traffic through the hospital from people who may bring in or take out with them the flu virus.” BHB is postponing non-emergency surgeries as needed, in anticipation of further admissions. Two were postponed today. We will review the status each day to decide on our ability to undertake elective, non-emergency surgeries. Emergency and critical surgeries (for example, trauma or cancer surgeries) will continue. BHB is requesting a maximum of two visitors per patient per day in all areas of the hospital, including long term care. The incidence of flu to date has come from the community, and infection has not occurred while patients are in hospital. We need to reduce further exposure of other visitors and patients. Long Term Care unit residents in particular are vulnerable to complications from flu. All visitors will be expected to wear masks in the Intensive Care Unit and use gel dispensers or soap and water to wash hands before and after seeing an individual. Only visit the Emergency Department if you need to. This will reduce the chance of you picking up flu from someone who is in the Emergency Department Waiting Room and relieve pressure in the Emergency Department. For minor illnesses and injuries, see your GP or visit the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre in St David’s. If you have an outpatient appointment at KEMH but think you are sick with or coming down with flu, call to reschedule. You will avoid infecting other people in hospital, some of whom may be already unwell and vulnerable to flu. Get vaccinated. The vaccine takes two weeks to be effective, but the flu season still has a few months to run. It is the most effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu.

paragraphA lunchtime march for women’s rights is to be held today. The event is being hosted by Women’s Action and Change Today, and Move Bermuda Forward. A spokeswoman for Women’s ACT said that “people should be safe from abuse, whether it be sexual, physical, mental or financial”. She added: “Since women are most often on the receiving end of such abuse, we are focusing our efforts on this segment of the population.” The spokeswoman said that statistics from the United States showed that one in four women experienced domestic violence. “This is a topic that is often subjected to taboo and silence in our community. Bringing light to this subject is necessary in order to provide the appropriate safe havens and supporting programmes to those who need it.” The spokeswoman said the groups wanted to the creation of refuges for woman and children to escape abuse, bolster support resources for victims and improve public education. Dany Pen, the founder of Women’s ACT, Laurie Shiell, executive director of the Centre Against Abuse, and Robyn Swan, of Move Bermuda Forward, will speak at the event. Sexual violence, women’s healthcare support, mental health, bullying, including online abuse and employment will all be among the topics on the agenda for discussion. It is the third time the march has been held on the island. The free event will start at Queen Elizabeth Park in Hamilton at noon.

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January 19

paragraphEthan Davenport crowned his first appearance at the Front Street Mile with victory in the Elite Male category, beating compatriot team-mate Sacha Smart in a sprint finish. The Canadian track pair, from Toronto, were among a field of four athletes, with Davenport crossing the line in a time of 4:20.20, four seconds ahead of his team-mate Smart, with Ethiopians Suleman Shifa (4:32.78) and Mengistu Tabor Nebsi (5:17.95) claiming third and fourth respectively. It was Shifa who seized the early initiative to lead after the first turn, only for the Canadian runners to reel him in at the halfway stage, before battling it out on the downhill finish, with Davenport pulling clear with about 200 metres to go, to clinch glory. “It was a great race and I’m delighted to win it,” said Davenport, who usually competes alongside Smart over 800, 1,500 and 5km track distances. “I think we went out quite slowly at the beginning but it turned out to be a very fast finish. When that happens it can hard but a sprint finish is always exciting. Sacha and myself train together every day and so it is always nice to be able to compete against one another like that. He is actually ahead of me a lot of the time in training and it can really just depend on who takes to the course better at any given time. Thankfully for me today there was a downhill finish, that plays into my advantage and I managed to just get the better of him. I’ve only ever done straight road races before so this was very different to anything I’ve done before because you have the turns as well as the incline and hills, that makes it a lot more tactical. The two of us tried to stay together but the thing was the two other guys are unknown to us so we really didn’t know fast they would be. Once we pulled ahead we made a really decisive move and managed to pull away. If you go too early in a mile race you can burn all your matches, so we had to be smart about it. I never thought I had the race won because Sacha is really strong and when I sprinted I didn’t look because I knew I’d have to give it my all to beat him.” Smart conceded his disappointment at missing out to his compatriot, but took the opportunity to hail the atmosphere created by of the impressive crowd along the racecourse. “It is disappointing to finish second but it was a great battle with Ethan,” Smart said. “We had to figure out how to take out the other two before the top of the hill and then it was just a straight race between us. I really struggled on the downhill finish, it felt so strange to me. Once Ethan pulled away, I knew I wasn’t going to catch him. That was a lot of fun and it was amazing to have the crowd like that, we really didn’t expect that at all. We don’t see anything like that when we compete on the tracks in Canada and so to compete in a street mile like this was just phenomenal.” Meanwhile, Johndell Cumberbatch put the disappointment of losing his 2018 senior boys’ crown behind him by clinching an impressive victory after moving up to compete in the local men’s race this year. After clocking the fastest time in trials, crossing the line in 4:44, the 18-year-old proved he was the one to watch among his older rivals, all but matching his trial time, crossing the line in 4.44.69 ahead of Seamus Feron in 4.47.14 and Dennis Mbelenzi in 4.51.81. “It does feel good to win, I’m feeling very blessed to be here,” said Cumberbatch on his dominant display. "Not all the competitors were here including Chayce Smith, who really pushed me in the trials. It’s a real shame because I really wanted to race him and be able to prove myself. However, I’m really thankful to have won the race, it’s a great feeling. I managed to match my trial time and so I’m pleased to have backed that up in the actual race and won.” In the male over-40 race, Damon Ming took the honours in a time of 5:15, ahead of Neil De Ste Croix (5:24) and Sean Kelly (5:56) in second and third respectively.

paragraphThere is something about the Front Street Mile elite female race that brings the very best out of Heather Kampf and last night proved no exception as she cruised to an unprecedented fifth triumph in ideal conditions. The American made it all look so easy as she led the field across the finish line in 4min 50.26sec to extend her dominance in an event where she is clearly a cut above the chasing pack. “It’s great to be back and this [victory] was a really special one,” Kampf said. “I’ve been absent for the past two years for altitude training or just an injury, so coming back and being healthy and ready to race again in 2019 is really special. The time was pretty good, but what I’m happy about is how good I felt doing it. I felt really relaxed early on and then pushed a little more at the end. I wish I would have pushed myself a little bit harder on the second half; just to run a little bit of a faster time and make myself really burn it up. But this is my first race in a little while and it’s great to come out with a win. This crowd is so amazing and it’s just so nice to be here in Bermuda and soak up the energy of this place. It’s really special.” Kampf was the overwhelming favourite and relished the challenge of living up to the expectations placed on her shoulders. “If you have that stamp on your back saying, ‘She’s the favourite’, that’s really good to have,” she added. “I’d much rather have that than be coming in and being uncertain of where I can finish, so I just try to play to the expectations.” Kampf’s compatriot Maya Weigel finished second in 4:58.43 with Panama’s Rolanda Bell rounding off the podium in third after crossing in 5:02.48. Meanwhile, also continuing her dominance was Gayle Lindsay who romped to her second straight victory in the adult local female race in 5:34.12. “This is my favourite race out of the whole year,” she said. “It’s definitely an honour to take the title again. I felt good and the conditions were perfect. You couldn’t ask for much better. The start was like a fairly comfortable pace; I really wasn’t pushing it. The second half was faster and I think it was tactical and more about getting a position rather than a time. There was a little bit of pressure coming in defending my title and this win was just sweet. I’m over the moon and next year I’m going for the hat-trick.” Rose-Anna Hoey was second in 5:39.50 and Deon Breary, the first in the female 40 and over division, third in 5:39.99.

paragraphMeseret Basa soaked up the colorful atmosphere as she casually strolled around the National Stadium after claiming the Elite Women’s 10K title in an emphatic fashion today. The 30-year-old Ethiopian stormed to victory in 35min 53sec and was seventh overall. “I’m very excited to win because it was a good time on a very difficult course, so I’m very happy,” Basa said. “There were hills on the course, which I like, and the weather was hot.” The triumph was Basa’s second competing in Bermuda Marathon Weekend, having won the Marathon two years ago in 3:2:39. “I like coming to Bermuda,” she added. “I like coming here because of the weather and the atmosphere. Everything is good.” Finishing a distant second behind Basa and 28th overall in a time of 41:36 was Heather Kampf, of the United States, the 2015 winner. She captured an unprecedented fifth Front Street Mile Elite Women’s title the previous evening. “I honestly just needed a training run, but it’s hard not to get swept up into the moment of the race,” she said. “The weather was gorgeous. I was here three years ago when it was windy and raining and the streets were flooded, so this is a quite a nice change. It seems as though the course is a lot easier than what I remembered. There were a lot of great cheers out there and also some cute dogs.” Maya Weigel completed the course in the same time as her compatriot Kampf to round off then podium. “It was a lot of fun coming off of the mile last night,” said Weigel, who finished runner-up behind Kampf in yesterday’s race. “The [mile race] was a hard effort and today was more of a hard training run. Heather and I ran together and worked together through the whole race. It was a very pretty, scenic route and kind of challenging with all the hills.” Suzanne Socki was the first local woman to finish in 44:16, followed by runner-up Laura Norman in 45:02 and Lucy Ching in third in 45:09.

paragraphA regular visitor to Bermuda is to run all three legs of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend to raise cash for a cancer charity in memory of his wife, Lisa, who died of the disease. Ms Maloney died of cancer in 2016 and husband, Kevin, decided to run to help support the St Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research into childhood cancers, as she fought the disease. Mr Maloney, 54, from Long Island, New York, an insurance industry executive and a frequent business visitor to the island, said it was his fourth trip to Bermuda for the tough “Bermuda Triangle”. Ms Maloney, who was 48 and a supporter of St Baldrick’s, died just after Mr Maloney completed his first “Bermuda Triangle” of races with friend Mike Almskog, from Brooklyn, New York. He said: “Lisa was terrific, she loved helping Mike and me behind the scenes and supporting us for the races. She loved St Baldrick’s and helping children with cancer. I want to help others avoid ever losing someone to this dreaded disease again”. Mr Maloney, a lifelong runner, said he was ready for the grueling challenge. “I’m a pretty big guy; I’m 230 pounds. But I’ve been running since high school. I enjoy it. When I’m out there I feel like I’m communing with nature. That’s why we chose Bermuda, we’re here a lot, we wanted to pick something challenging and we love the weather and love Bermudians.” Mr Maloney, Mr Almskog and another friend, Matt Hansen, started the triple test of endurance with the Front Street Mile last night. The team will continue today with the 10K race, followed by tomorrow’s half-marathon. Mr Maloney said he had already raised $37,000, almost half of his $75,000 target for this year’s event. He has raised more than $200,000 for St Baldrick’s through his participation in the annual race series over the years. When stage-four cancer was diagnosed in 2015, Mrs Maloney had not shown signs of major illness but it had started to spread to her lungs and liver. Mr Maloney said: “Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre did a phenomenal job and kept Lisa going for another 11 months. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, we tried to enjoy every minute together, and our time was pretty good, to be honest.” He added that his wife’s courage as she battled her illness made him fall even more in love with her, and made him determined to make his contribution to the fight against cancer. “Her struggle inspired us. If you’re going to help with cancer, why not help with children? St Baldrick’s also does a tremendous amount to help with research. A lot of their money goes to grants for research to find a cure.” Mr Maloney, 54, is a senior vice-president with Allied World Insurance, which has a major presence on the island. Mr Almskog, 36, works for insurance giant AIG, which also has an office in Bermuda and is headed by Bermudian Brian Duperreault. St Baldrick’s was cofounded by John Bender, AIG’s CEO of global insurance, and its first fundraiser was held in an Irish bar in Manhattan, New York, on St Patrick’s Day 2000. The charity has handed out more $258 million in research grant funding since 2005 and fundraising events are now held around the world.

paragraphEscaping from the winter weather and finding a place to run, build new connections and think creatively are among the reasons why two of the owners of Earth Forward Group are in Bermuda this weekend. “We like that running helps clear our minds of all the other things going on in our busy lives,” said Michele Aquino. “Running helps us drop everything to focus on being in the moment or to think creatively about problems we are trying to solve. After a nice long run, we return home energized and more equipped to focus on our work” He plans to run in the half-marathon, while Diana McCarthy-Bercury, chief executive officer of Earth Forward Group, will be running in the 10K. The founders of the group met during graduate studies at Columbia University. They combined their professional experiences in renewable energy, workforce development, food systems, supply chain management and finance, to form the company in 2015. “Our primary goal is to help clients initiate, improve or increase sustainability practices in their business models and operations. We have offices in Connecticut and New York,” Aquino said. The group provides research, advisory and sustainability management consulting services in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It has worked with clients involved in renewable energy, water services, food production, education and policy issues. Earth Forward Group staff have run casually in various races that support charities. Aquino has been road and trail running about 15 years now, since his college days. He has participated in the Broad Street Run, and the Philadelphia half-marathon and marathon. In May he did the Maine Coast Half-Marathon. When asked why he and McCarthy-Bercury had decided to come to Bermuda to run, he said: “We are big fans of Bermuda, and one of our founding partners has visited multiple times, for pleasure and study. We decided to participate in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend events to take a break from winter weather and to build connections with more people in Bermuda.” Aquino added that Earth Forward Group could help contribute to Bermuda’s social, environmental and economic sustainability planning. He said he and McCarthy-Bercury are looking forward to enjoying the running weekend." As our running has slowed a bit since the college days, we also now enjoy road running as a great way to see new destinations. If we are going to challenge our bodies for a distance race, why not see someplace beautiful at the same time … a place like Bermuda.” For information on Earth Forward Group, visit earthforwardgroup.com or go to Twitter @earthforwardgrp.

paragraphOpinion. By Scott Pearman, Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs and the MP for Paget East (Constituency 22). Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. These emotions, doctors tell us, are the five stages of grief. And the people working in Bermuda’s international business community — “Bermuda Inc” — have experienced most of these emotions since the gunboat of European Union economic substance appeared on our horizon, with consequential legislation passing through Parliament just before Christmas. “Denial” and “Anger” were first out of the gate, of course — just as the cycle dictates. Denial and Anger. Denial, from some, that an increase in required presence for Bermuda Inc will be a bad thing. Deniers suggest legislative change could mean more jobs for Bermuda. Well ... it could. But will jobs gained through enhanced presence outweigh the job losses caused by companies that may leave Bermuda as a result? Anger, that the EU is forcing upon Bermuda the requirement for more physical business presence when the union is not demanding the same of its European members. “Do as I say — not as I do” has been the EU’s mantra thus far. EU demands have focused upon 13 international financial centres, including Bermuda. Yet the EU has elected not to hold its own members to the same standards. Why? Anger that, for now at least, there is no level playing field, no singular global standard — there is only a heavy burden imposed by the EU upon the offshore world. Anger also at politicians: in an extremely perceptive article this month, former One Bermuda Alliance senator Vic Ball expressed his personal views that “our political leaders have failed grossly to prepare us for exactly how [EU substance legislation] is bound to affect every Bermudian in a substantial way”. Anger and Denial. So what does this all mean — and how will this affect us? In simple terms, the 13,000 or so companies and other business entities in Bermuda will, by the summer of 2019 at the latest, face a stark choice. Either companies must comply with EU substance legislation, by ensuring an adequate presence on the island, or those businesses will move elsewhere. Then there’s stage three of grief: “Bargaining”. In many respects, the bargaining is largely behind us — although some may not yet appreciate what has happened. Yes, there is a transition period of six months to ensure relevant businesses implement substance. But the EU has already forced international financial centres to show their hands. Most centres, including Bermuda, have already passed domestic legislation on substance. As a Member of the Opposition, I might be expected to blame the Progressive Labour Party government for being late to the bargaining stage. Being fair, Bermuda faced precious little choice but to comply with EU demands. This was a rare occasion where the interests of our insurers and reinsurers — “Bermuda Re” — did not align with the rest of Bermuda Inc. Given the crucial importance of Bermuda Re to our economy, our Parliament was keen to keep Bermuda off the EU “blacklist”. We shall learn in a few short months whether Parliament succeeded or whether Bermuda is blacklisted by the EU despite our legislative efforts. Last week, KPMG hosted a forum on how the substance legislation will affect Bermuda. No matter what view you may take on the merits of increased substance, one thing is certain: this will demonstrably change our island. The next 18 to 24 months will involve considerable uncertainty. One of the speakers at the forum, Mike Penrose, predicted we will soon see “tidying up [of Bermuda’s substance legislation] to prevent jurisdictional arbitrage”. By which he means that there is now a risk that the differences between the legislation passed in the various offshore jurisdictions may be leveraged against each other to encourage businesses to move. To prevent this, a harmonization of offshore substance laws needs to occur. Because of the way the EU played its hand in the “negotiations”, each offshore jurisdiction was compelled to prepare its own domestic legislation in isolation. This proved a masterful “divide and conquer” strategy by the EU. Offshore jurisdictions were left (largely) uninformed of what concessions other jurisdictions might make. They were bidding against themselves. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the EU adopted an unbending approach to its demands. If Bermuda hopes to minimize the impact, then we must take swift steps to harmonies our domestic legislation with the legislation of other international financial centres to ensure Bermuda remains competitive. At the KPMG forum, the mood was trending towards “stage four” of the cycle: Depression. Contrasting Bermuda’s legislation with other offshore jurisdictions reveals significant differences. But has Bermuda conceded too much? Or, when the EU blacklist is announced, will our island have been sensible to set the bar high? Depression: that the regulatory ground is shifting beneath our feet at a time when we so desperately need to grow our faltering economy. Last week one business leader, who is largely supportive of the PLP government, shared privately his opinion of what the Government needed most to achieve economic growth. The word he used was “courage”. But the steps most needed may not be comfortable ones for the PLP to take, given its historic positions. Consider also the PLP’s proposals at present for economic growth. Cryptocurrency and fintech are seedlings. If they do develop, they will surely have slow growth. They may yet wither. The jury is out on crypto. Some say better to try something than nothing. Others, rightly, underscore the reputational risk and potential for damage to both Bermuda Re and Bermuda Inc if something goes wrong. It is said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The footwork around cryptocurrency needs to be very careful indeed. Fintech — buzzy shorthand for “financial technology” — is a different concept to crypto. But fintech is also amorphous and indefinite — how do you grasp it properly without it slipping through the fingers? And if we set no other rule for ourselves, we must nonetheless abide by this one: Bermuda’s reputation is sacrosanct. Take for example Malta’s recent effort to re-brand as “Blockchain Island”. If you did not see the negative television coverage Malta recently received on 60 Minutes — and elsewhere — then you should. Remember all those memorandums of understanding the PLP government was rapidly signing with “blockchainers” in 2018? Many of them selected Malta instead. After the criticism on 60 Minutes, has Malta benefited? Now to the final stage of grief: “Acceptance”. What does acceptance actually look like for Bermuda? The truth is that it is too soon to tell. Some have forecast the departure of thousands of companies, impacting upon the jobs at local businesses that support those companies. Others have rightly observed that those international businesses that stay will likely enhance their local presence. This may, and probably will, cause an uptick in jobs with those companies. But will those new jobs be the salmon swimming upstream against the flow of departures? Here is my take on Acceptance. I will not be the first, or last, to trot out the time-worn cliché of making lemonade from lemons. But to juice our economy, we must implement immigration and tax incentives. To generate wealth, Bermuda must do all it can to attract wealth generators. Wealth generators who bring with them foreign capital. Wealth generators who spend their wealth within our economy for the benefit of Bermuda and Bermudians. Wealth generators who generate new businesses and create new Bermudian jobs. Sure, there may be a benefit in the latest sexy dot-com moving to our island, but it is far simpler to encourage expansion in our existing sectors. We must strive to “grow what you know”. One of Bermuda’s home-grown success stories is the folks at Orbis: one of the world’s leading investment managers, based right here in Hamilton. What might Bermuda’s economy look like if we could gain even two or three more businesses such as Orbis? And what would it take for those new businesses to move to our shores? Acceptance of grief necessarily means you are prepared to move forward. For Bermuda to move forward from the impact of economic substance, some tough decisions will be needed from the PLP government. Gaining more businesses such as Orbis will require considerable immigration and tax incentives. Note the approach already taken by the Cayman Islands: Cayman now rivals Bermuda with a population of 61,000. Cayman was only half our size in 1995. Our fledgling Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson, is, like me, brand new to politics — he is learning on the job. To his credit, he appears to be a fast learner. And so he must be given the challenges we face. The finance minister, and the Government, must grapple with this new reality. The PLP has the opportunity to chart a bold course on immigration reform. This is needed now, more than ever, to help spur economic growth. We face a future where enhanced substance for Bermuda Inc is the new normal. Let us hope that 2019 will see the “courage” so desperately needed from the Government."

paragraphA minibus operator punched by a taxi driver in a transportation turf war at an island beach said there was tension between the two groups, but that there was enough work for everyone. Larry Franklin Sr said: “Some people feel the minibus is overpowering. It’s not overpowering because when all of those people need to be moved, the minibus can move them. If a family comes out with 29 people they can all move on one bus instead of four taxis. When people come off the beach and say they want a taxi, we don’t put them in a minibus. If they want a taxi, they get a taxi.” He added: “Taxi drivers can tell you that when I’m dispatching, everyone gets work. If people want to go right away as a family, I put them in a taxi.” Dr Franklin, 67, who is a former teacher with a PhD in counselling, was speaking days after cabbie Aaron Scott was fined $1,000 for an assault on him at Horseshoe Beach, Southampton in August last year. Scott, 34, a former pupil of Dr Franklin’s, punched him in the face in a row over passengers in the beach’s car park. Dr Franklin, of Warwick, suffered a cut lip and numbness in his mouth and teeth as a result of the blow. He said it was a busy day at the beach and several visitors had requested a minibus. Dr Franklin added: “I assigned them a minibus and they were waiting on the side. Aaron came over from where the taxis usually stand to the minibus area asking people if they wanted a taxi, but they didn’t need a taxi so I answered they didn’t need a taxi. That is the only thing I said. Seconds later he punched me in my mouth. Dr Franklin added: “I didn’t know what happened. I felt a punch, my glasses came off, my hat came off. He moved away but started to come back as if he wanted to fight me but another taxi driver grabbed him by the neck and held him back. My teeth were knocked back, I couldn’t close my mouth properly and my lip was bleeding.” He said Scott later apologized but did not offer to pay for his medical expenses. Dr Franklin said he was caught off guard by the punch and that he had done nothing to provoke the blow. He said: “I’m a peacemaker. I’m a counselor and an educator. I’m counselling people about their behavior. There is no way I would be an example of what I’m telling folks not to do. Even when I was teaching at the high school level, I counseled with my kids. I’m a counselor first, then an educator. I have never had a confrontations with anyone. No minibus drivers, no taxi drivers. I think the last time I was punched I was 16 and I deserved it.” Dr Franklin said that the island’s tourism industry needed a strong minibus operation as well as a good taxi service. He explained: “We have ships that bring thousands of people to the dock at the same time and they are released at the same time. There are only so many taxis, and they are eaten up just like that. The minibuses can carry anywhere from 14 to 29 people at a time and I have seen times when the people have emptied the yard — every taxi is gone, every minibus is gone and minibuses are coming in a rotational basis just to get people to Horseshoe Bay. Taxi drivers can say they can leave right away and they can leave right away. But a minibus is a shared ride. We’re not leaving with three people. We are paid per person.”

paragraphCity buildings could be brightened with art work if owners put their properties forward for a new public art programme. The City of Hamilton has asked for suggestions on where people would like to see work created in the 2019 Vivid project. Property owners were also asked to offer their sites as possible locations. A total of 15 works by local artists have been installed in Hamilton over the past four years and four more are due to take shape in 2019. A spokeswoman for the project said: “The city is excited to continue installing these beautiful pieces by such talented individuals who often go unrecognized. Of course, we are continuing to add to some existing installation sites such as the Church Street wall by the taxi stand but, as these pieces are for the public, the city found it extremely important to seek input from the public as to where they would like to see the next installation pieces. We also thought there might be some Hamilton property owners who have an interest in offering ‘wall space’ or ‘lawn space’ at their property as we are also planning to appeal for sculpture installations that can be enjoyed by the public. There’s no reason why public art should not extend to private property as long as the work submitted for Vivid is approved both by the city as well as the property owner.” A request for proposals will be issued in the next few weeks to allow artists to submit ideas.

paragraphResidents near a massive gas and oil storage centre are to be asked to help come up with an evacuation plan in case of an emergency. People living near the Rubis and Sol operations in Ferry Reach, St George’s have been invited to a meeting next Thursday to discuss disaster planning. Steve Cosham, disaster risk reduction and mitigation team leader at the Ministry of National Security, said: “Thus far, there has been no incident serious enough to require a neighborhood evacuation, but as public safety is one of our team’s primary objectives, we need to develop a contingency plan. “We are asking members of the neighborhood to be involved, as a collaborative approach will help ensure all inputs are considered to help ensure neighborhood protection and safety.” The meeting was organized by the Government’s Emergency Measures Organisation with representatives of Rubis and Sol. Graham Redford, managing director of Rubis and Jonathan Brewin, general manager of Sol, said in a joint statement: “We want to reiterate that there is no reason for alarm. This meeting is designed to garner input from our neighbours that along with guidance from the key industry and emergency service providers, will allow the team to develop the necessary contingency planning so that the best possible evacuation plans can be implemented quickly and efficiently should an emergency arise.” The Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, the Department of Health, the Department of Corrections, Skyport Corporation, the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority, the Bermuda Airport Authority, the Rescue Coordination Centre, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, the Corporation of St George and area MPs will also be involved. Wayne Furbert, the acting Minister of National Security, said: “Not only is it best practice, it is also vital we get the professional opinions of the emergency and energy professionals, along with the input from Ferry Reach neighborhood residents. We need everyone involved to ensure we create the best and most effective plans.” The meeting will start at 6.30pm at Hanson Hall at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science in Ferry Reach.

paragraphThe sale of foreign newspapers on the island is to end after 90 years, it was revealed yesterday. George Grundmuller, president and chief executive of the Phoenix Stores group, said its Phoenix Express arm, which imported papers from around the globe, will supply its last delivery to customers at the end of the month. Mr Grundmuller said the importation of newspapers was no longer viable in an age of electronic communication, but that no jobs would be lost as Phoenix Express staff would be redeployed elsewhere in the group. He added: “The way news is delivered now has changed dramatically and more and more people are consuming their news online.” He pointed out that people could get their international news on their smartphones. Mr Grundmuller said: “You do not have to go into a shop any more to pick up a paper.” Phoenix Express, the only importer of newspapers to Bermuda, supplied newspapers from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Jamaica and the Azores. Mr Grundmuller said: “We feel sorry that we have to close the business after over 90 years of importing newspapers to the island, but times are changing, especially in the newspaper business We would like to thank all customers for their support over the years and we hope that they will continue to support us in our stores.” He recommended that people get online subscriptions to continue getting the news from their favourite overseas papers. He added: “Some people will probably be disappointed about it, but we have been losing money in the newspaper business for the last two to three years.” Mr Grundmuller said: “Our newspaper business has declined substantially over the last ten years to a point now where it is just not viable any more.” He added the sale of foreign papers had suffered a massive decline over the years from more than 4,000 papers a day to just about 200 papers now. “I remember in the old days when we brought in a truck load of newspapers everyday — thousands of them. Now we have just a few hundred. The papers are already fairly expensive. Seventy-five per cent of the price of the paper in Bermuda is easily freight charges to get it to the island.” He added that importation of newspapers also became more difficult after the 2001 9/11 attacks in the United States. “I remember the days when our trucks just drove up to the aircraft in New York and delivered bundles of newspapers.” He said because of increased security, newspapers had to be at the airport at least four hours before the planes left. Newspapers sold by Phoenix Express included The Sun, Daily Mail, Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Times from the UK and The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, and USA Today from the US.

paragraphA Bermudian dance teacher yesterday relived the horror of a terror attack in her adopted home of Nairobi. Joanne Ball-Burgess, who has lived in the Kenyan capital for eight years, said that the attack on a hotel and office complex which killed at least 21 people and injured many more had shocked the city and the country. Ms Ball-Burgess said: “News started flooding in of a possible robbery at the Dusit Compound, but immediately I said to myself ‘no way’.” She added that she was working from home when news broke of Tuesday’s attack by an extremist Muslim group. Gunmen threw bombs outside the hotel and Kenyan police said one suicide bomber exploded a device in the hotel lobby before the terrorists opened fire on people in the area. Ms Ball-Burgess said that, although she and her family were safe, she had friends who were in the area when the attack took place. She added: “A friend of mine, a dance colleague, he was on the street when it all happened. He said it was quite scary when the bomb went off. I was in various Whatsapp groups where people asked for prayers for the friends that were still stuck there and updated everybody when people came out.” Ms Ball-Burgess said that she had visited the Dusit complex, which was “pretty much around the corner. We went to Dusit as a family for a chocolate festival about two years ago, so it is a place that I go to once in a while. Ms Ball-Burgess said the attack triggered memories of a 2013 attack she was caught in the middle of. She was forced to hide in a bathroom as terrorists from the same Somalia-based Al-Shabab terrorist organisation behind the Dusit attack stormed the city’s Westgate mall. She said: “It was like Westgate all over again. I don’t know if I should have watched the news — it kind of made me think of the Westgate mall attack.” She said that the Dusit complex remained on lockdown as anti-terror forces combed the area and city residents tried to get back to a normal life. “The phrase now is always ‘it’s so good to see you’, ‘I’m glad to see you’, ‘I’m glad you are alive’, ‘I’m glad you weren’t injured’. That will be going on for a while.” She said that people had asked how the Dusit area, which has tight security, could have been attacked. “After Westgate happened, things really changed in Kenya as far as security is concerned, and yet five years later this happened.” She said that she also feared for the safety of her 11 and 13-year-old sons. “I didn’t grow up in Bermuda thinking about terrorism or if I would go the mall and be shot up. Now as a Bermudian living in Nairobi that’s a conversation we’ve had to have. Even today my 11-year-old son asked me ‘is it okay that we go to football practice today? Will we be safe?’” But Ms Ball-Burgess said that she has no intention of leaving her adopted homeland. “Bad things happen all over the world and it’s not necessarily a time to run or move because of that. There are so many more reasons to live in this place.”

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January 18

Employment income declined by 1.4 per cent, and the value of imports fell 15.8 per cent in the second quarter of last year. However, economic data also showed that more Bermudians were employed in the hotel industry at the end of April last year when compared with the corresponding date in 2017. There were 2,608 hotel employees in Bermuda on April 30, a year-on-year increase of 122, with the number of Bermudians in the sector increasing by 90 to 1,765. Hotel gross receipts were $129.1 million for the second quarter, an increase of $11.4 million, or 9.7 per cent. The information is contained in the quarterly bulletin of statistics covering the April to June 2018 period. The data showed that the value of imports decreased to $299.1 million. The largest percentage decline was in the transport equipment category as a result of fewer imports of boats and yachts in the absence of the 2017 America’s Cup. There was a $12.4 million decline in employment income to $851.5 million, with the international business sector a large contributor to that. In the IB category remuneration was down $12.7 million due to fewer stock options. There was also a fall of about $2 million in the employment income for the business services category, while the public administration and defence category was up by about $2.4 million to $107 million. Air visitors increased 5.4 per cent year-on-year to 92,039, although they spent 3 per cent less than in the corresponding quarter in 2017, at $133.7 million. By contrast there were 196,437 cruise ship passengers during the quarter, and they spent an estimated $31.3 million, which was up $5.4 million. Declarations of overseas purchases by residents increased 7.7 per cent to $14.7 million. 

See http://www.royalgazette.com/assets/pdf/RG397741118.pdf 

paragraphSeniors are seeing a 1.4 per cent increase in their contributory pension benefits this month, backdated to August of last year. The increased payout, which is in line with inflation, would normally trigger a simultaneous increase in the mandatory contributions made by those of working age. However that increase is being delayed until August to allow time for the completion of an actuarial report on the Contributory Pension Fund that should be completed by the second quarter of this year, Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said yesterday. The report will be a basis for a policy change for reform of the social insurance system, he added. “The 2018 increase in benefits would normally be accompanied by a corresponding increase in contributions by an actuarially recommended rate of 3.9 per cent,” Mr Dickinson said at a news conference in front of the Cabinet Office. “However, in the 2018 Throne Speech, we announced that Bermuda’s social insurance system will be changed from a fixed-rate contribution to one based on a percentage of income. Therefore, contribution increases will be delayed until the actuary completes the modelling to effect this policy objective.” Contributions were last increased in August 2018 by 4.2 per cent. “As at September 30, 2018, the fund had total assets of over $1.9 billion, representing approximately 11.7 times the annual value of benefits paid in the 2017-18 fiscal year,” Mr Dickinson said. “Considering the relatively strong position of the fund, it is anticipated that the fund can withstand the one year delay in contribution increases. However it is critical that the increased contributions come into force in August 2019.” A 2014 review of the fund projected that there would be nothing left by 2049 in a “best-case scenario”. Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General, has called for policy action to address the issue. Asked about the dire long-term outlook, Mr Dickinson said there would be an update with the publication of the actuarial report this year. He added that the Pension Reform Commission was looking was at “an early stage” of coming up with proposals on how to extend the fund’s life, which could include raising the retirement age. Mr Dickinson was joined at the event by a number of Progressive Labour Party parliamentary colleagues and seniors Valerie Dill and Esme Williams, who each expressed their gratitude for the increase in pension benefits. “The wellbeing of our seniors is very much a priority for this government and we want to make sure that as the cost of living increases, so do their benefits,” Mr Dickinson said.

paragraphThe Department of Parks is issuing its annual advisory regarding bonfire permits and the guidelines for dogs and horses in Bermuda’s National Parks. As a reminder, Bermuda’s National Parks comprise of all public parks and public beaches. And in accordance with the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986, 2009 & 2017 Amendments and The Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988 & 2018, the public should note:

paragraphThe motoring public is reminded that traffic diversions and parking restrictions will be in effect for the 2019 Invitational Front Street Mile running races tonight. The event is part of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend taking place from Friday, January 18th until Sunday, January 20th.

paragraphAnthony Raynor, race director of Bermuda Marathon Weekend, has allayed fears that the annual road running spectacle may not survive because of a lack of sponsorship. The Royal Gazette reported last week that the lack of sponsorship is hindering the Bermuda National Athletics Association’s attempt to offer prize money for elite athletes. However, while Raynor acknowledges that it is preferable to have prize money as an incentive, he also believes the event can survive without it and pointed to the spike in entries this year in the absence of monetary reward. “If the funds were available then the organisers would be happy to [offer it], but I think the perspective has been thrown off,” he said. "The athletes understand that there’s no prize money but they are here [regardless]. We have some elite athletes here and they understand where we are. I had a frank conversation with the [athletes] and said, ‘This is where we are, [I] appreciate it if you can join us’. They totally understand that no prize money will be available to them.” Raynor said there is much more to Bermuda Marathon Weekend than prize money. I don’t think that the event is based on prize money. There’s a lot more to it. Less than 1 per cent of the participants have the opportunity to win, so I don’t think the majority of the people enter because they intend to win prize money.” On Tuesday, running coach Larry Marshall expressed fears that the event may not survive because of a lack of funding. The father of top runner Lamont Marshall also claimed the event has been in decline for years because of “bad administration”. In response to Marshall’s views, Raynor said: “There are two sides to every story and we all have an opinion, but I don’t see this event folding. The Government is in debt but the country didn’t fold because the Government is in debt. They are still going on and taking care of business, trying to manage their way out of the situation — and I will say that the [race committee] is also doing things to manage our way out of the current situation. I’m going to listen to whatever people want to say and try and take the good parts and use it, and the other parts I have to put aside. Is the comment about the demise of the event a fair statement? I would say probably not, but it’s where we are right now and we still have an event this weekend, so I can’t get caught up in somebody’s comments. I’m happy for what we have and there are a lot of people that give a lot. I’m happy and appreciative of those people who give a lot: from the sponsors that we do have, to the Government of Bermuda, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Corporation of Hamilton and the National Sports Centre. Things are coming together and we’ve had a tremendous response to our request for volunteers. I really appreciate that.”

paragraphA flight of Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets touched down at the airport yesterday. A spokeswoman for airport operators Skyport said the visit by the four jets was “a routine stop”. The Typhoons were accompanied by a Voyager Airbus 330 tanker/transport, which is used for in-flight refueling. The Typhoon, which went into operational service in 2003, made its combat debut in 2011 when the RAF took part in the military intervention in Libya

paragraphA social media feud between would-be gangsters in Britain led to the murder of Lyrico Steede, a 17-year-old Bermudian student fatally stabbed last year in Nottingham, England. Nottingham Police traced the killing on the night of February 13 to a squabble over respect amplified by YouTube rap videos. The groups’ rivalry was fuelled by lyrics for drill music, a brand of hip-hop known for violent lyrics about street life and crime. Detective Chief Inspector Hayley Williams, the lead investigator into the killing, told the Nottingham Post there had been bad blood between Mr Steede and his friends and a group of teens around the area of Sneinton and Radford in Nottingham. Last month, a jury found Kasharn Campbell, 19, and Christian Jameson, 18, guilty of murder, and a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, guilty of manslaughter, along with Remmell Campbell-Miller, 18. Police called Campbell the ringleader and said he came to a park in Stock Well, to which Mr Steede had been lured to meet a girl, with Jameson, Campbell-Miller and the 17-year-old boy. Mr Steede, who was stabbed 18 times, died in hospital five days after the attack. Mobile phone evidence was used to track the suspects, Ms Williams said. Mr Steede’s old phone held a Snapchat video apparently showing two of the defendants being chased. In a drill video posted online in November 2017, Mr Steede and friends appeared to mock the rival group. Ms Williams called the groups “kids that are wanting to be gangsters” and said police were aware of earlier tit-for-tat skirmishes between them, characterized by a “knife culture”. Campbell and his gang were said to have posted a video two days after the murder that included references to Mr Steede’s killing. The five are to be sentenced this month.

paragraphQuoVadis, a technology company launched in Bermuda 20 years ago, has been sold to an American firm for $45 million. The proposed takeover by DigiCert was announced in November and yesterday the companies confirmed the deal had closed. DigiCert acquired QuoVadis from its previous owner, Swiss-based WiseKey International Holdings Ltd, which bought the Bermuda-born firm in 2017. Additional QuoVadis data centre assets remain subject to approval of the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda and are expected to transfer to DigiCert in the near future. Meanwhile, WiseKey will provide transition services to DigiCert for those assets. DigiCert is backed and majority-owned by US private-equity giant Thoma Bravo, which manages about $20 billion of investments. Thoma Bravo has led 60 total platform acquisitions in technology over the past 15 years, as well as an additional 125 add-on acquisitions, representing approximately $49 billion in value. QuoVadis was founded in Bermuda by Tony Nagel, Roman Brunner and Stephen Davidson, and was the first Authorized Certification Services Provider under Bermuda’s Electronic Transactions Act 1999, enabling legally valid digital signatures. The company was originally backed by eVentureCentre, a unit of Centre Solutions, later Zurich Financial Services. In 2003, QuoVadis underwent a management-led buyout, backed by KeyTech and US-based private equity firm ABRY Partners. The Bermuda-based company then expanded to Europe, first setting up operations in Switzerland, and later in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, and Belgium. DigiCert is the world’s leading provider of Transfer Layer Security/Secure Sockets Layer, “internet of things” and other Public Key Infrastructure solutions. Under its new ownership, QuoVadis will continue as a European Union and Swiss Trust Service Provider, specializing in qualified digital certificates and related services for Europe, as well as enterprise-managed PKI services. The acquisition aligns with DigiCert’s vision of providing the world’s most globally dispersed and robust PKI-based solutions with local support. “We are excited to welcome the QuoVadis team and technology to DigiCert, as we look to continue to serve our partners and customers with industry-leading solutions,” said DigiCert chief executive John Merrill. “The European market, like many parts of the world, has specific country and regional needs that can best be served with locally based teams and technology. The QuoVadis acquisition supports our commitment to Europe, combining our technology innovation with on-the-ground experts in the region.” With the acquisition, QuoVadis Qualified digital certificates will be backed by DigiCert. QuoVadis qualified digital certificates comply with eIDAS, the EU’s regulation on trust services for electronic transactions in the European single market, and may be used across borders of EU member states and in Switzerland. QuoVadis services include the following:

Under eIDAS, qualified trust services provide legal certainty and increased security of electronic transactions. Beginning in June, the EU Payment Services Directive 2015/2366 will require banking and financial services companies doing business in the EU to use qualified website certificates for stronger identity assurance. Through the QuoVadis acquisition, DigiCert will be able to provide these certificates to help organisations to comply with the Payment Services Directive. DigiCert will also support QuoVadis’s plans to expand its technology footprint with an emphasis on migrating PKI services to data centres in the Netherlands and Switzerland to provide customers with enhanced privacy and data protection services. QuoVadis’s trust centre operations are compliant with international standards and have received numerous accreditations, including WebTrust, ISO and country-specific approvals. Additionally, through QuoVadis, DigiCert will become a leader in data integrity management for electronic records, digital signature technology for banking and e-invoicing applications, as well as remote digital signature solutions to enable signatures from any device.

paragraphThe company undertaking the largest single-site installation of solar panels in Hamilton, is seeing a significant increase in interest in solar energy from the commercial sector. Bermuda Alternate Energy won the contract to install 210 solar panels on the roof of the City of Hamilton’s works depot on Laffan Street. The panels will cover an area of approximately 3,785 sq ft. Roof fittings have been put in place, and the panels are expected to be attached during the coming weeks. It is expected the City of Hamilton will save $37,000 per year on its energy costs. Speaking to The Royal Gazette, Nick Duffy, divisional manager of Bermuda Alternate Energy, said the company has seen an uptick in interest for solar panels from the commercial sector. Advances in technology, and the declining cost of solar panels have made them more attractive as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly option. Mr Duffy estimates that since about 2012 when commercial installations were first rolled out in Bermuda, the power of the solar panels has increased from about 225 watts of power, to 330 watts today. “That’s about a 50 per cent increase in power in the same footprint and a very significant, exponential drop in cost.” In terms of a system paying back its initial capital costs, that is usually achieved with 5½ to seven years. “That is the benchmark. In some cases we beat that. A lot varies with type of roof and how much remediation needs to be done, things like that,” said Mr Duffy. The installation for the City of Hamilton will generate 103,846 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, which will be consumed by the works depot. Mr Duffy said: “In most of the commercial sites, they more or less will self-consume everything they make. These buildings have a significant energy base load, with things like air conditioning running 24/7, and pumping systems.” While storage options for commercial customers are not generally available, residential users can save the energy from their household solar system panels to use later in the day after the sun has gone down. This is done by using lithium storage batteries. “We are doing lithium-ion storage for residential and we are doing that with LG Chem batteries.” Looking to the future, Mr Duffy said battery storage will be the big trend. “The price of storage is rapidly coming down, internationally that is loud and clear. It is going to be the norm before too long that the majority of PV (photovoltaic) systems are going to have storage. The price for battery storage is exponentially coming down, exactly the same it did for PV modules.” The solar panel installation at the City of Hamilton’s works depot is being managed on behalf of the authority by ABM, and it is due to be completed by mid-May.

paragraphIt used to be that local retailers faced competition from down the street or across town — now they’re up against retailers worldwide. With the click of a button customers can order almost anything, any time, anywhere. But brand specialists Natasha Tucker and Eve Godet Thomas think the internet actually provides a tremendous opportunity for Bermuda entrepreneurs. “It’s not so much that Bermuda retailers are behind the times, but there are huge opportunities out there that they could be capitalizing on,” Ms Tucker said. “With a push in that direction, there is a huge amount they could benefit from a business perspective.” The two will be holding a workshop for the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce on Monday, “Cutting Through the Noise: Maintaining a competitive edge in today’s retail industry”. Ms Godet Thomas was born in London to a Bermudian mother, grew up there, and worked for luxury fashion brands such as OutNet and Net-a-Porter. She moved to Bermuda permanently six months ago. Ms Tucker, also a Bermudian, cofounded sustainable fashion and lifestyle company Rêve en Vert in London in 2017. After moving back to Bermuda last year, she founded The House, a co working members space in Hamilton. The workshop came about after the duo met with Bermuda Chamber of Commerce executive director Kendaree Burgess to share some of their experiences working in London. “We were talking about retail here and about how much of my experience is really digital and how that is something that is still fairly new to retailers here,” Ms Godet Thomas said. “It’s obviously having a huge impact on the way people shop, everywhere, not just Bermuda. It felt like something that was particularly relevant for the retailers here.” Ms Godet Thomas thought that some local entrepreneurs were reluctant to set up their own websites because they felt they didn’t need them. “With an e-commerce platform they only stand to increase sales,” she said. “Shops close here at 5pm, and it’s often difficult for people to get there before the store closes. An online store is open 24 hours a day.” When she worked at OutNet peak sales happened at 9pm, when people were settling down after dinner, and at 7am when they were just waking up. “In the workshop, we’ll be touching on how a retailer’s website is just as much a storefront as a physical outlet,” Ms Tucker said. Ms Godet Thomas said these days getting people into a physical store was an art form. “When they do come through the door it has to be about more than a transaction,” she said. “You can shop on Amazon very easily, but it’s not necessarily an enjoyable experience,” Ms Tucker said. Ms Godet Thomas said to be successful, physical stores need to turn their space into an experience that really personifies the brand, down to the type of music that’s playing. “A distinct point of view is important,” she said. She said some people were also reluctant to take their business online because it’s an investment that requires development costs. You can glean so many insights from customers’ user journey online. With a little more education people will be able to understand the value really, really quickly. But they insist having an online store does not cancel the need for a physical storefront. People still love to touch and hold a product, and they love to browse and discover unexpected treasures. And even purely online stores are turning more and more to pop-up stores and physical events to help market their products." Ms Burgess said: The chamber is pleased to be able to provide a forum for businesses with a retail component to gain new and valuable perspective on digital and traditional retail strategies from internationally experienced professionals.”

paragraphThe death of a man after a motorbike crash is a huge loss to both Bermuda and the island’s Jamaican community, the president of the Jamaican Association said yesterday. Ricardo Gibbs, who died after a crash late on Wednesday night, was “a loyal supporter of the Jamaican community and the Bermudian community”, added Roxanne Christopher. Mr Gibbs, a veteran soldier in the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the son of Jamaican immigrants, suffered serious injuries after his motorcycle hit a wall on Harbour Road in Paget, near the junction with Highwood Lane, at about 11.20pm. He was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but died of his injuries. The father of three, who was 40, was the first road death of the year. Ms Christopher said: “He helped with other families in the Jamaican community who had lost loved ones. Ricardo was an advocate for justice, an equality advocate and advocate for everything that is right. He was the best of everything we have to offer. This was a good man, a good person and I am thankful to his family — people like him don’t just happen. He was raised well. I was speaking to another member of the Jamaican Association and we could not remember a time he said he could not assist, he could not support, that he was too busy. The Jamaican community has depended on this man and his grandmother, his family, his siblings are all proud to be members of the Jamaican community and of this country.” Mr Gibbs served as a corporal in the RBR’s Regimental Police and gave more than 20 years of service to the country. Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s commanding officer, said: “He will be a massive loss to all ranks in the Regiment and will be sadly missed.” Colonel Curley added: “I knew him well and he was always keen and enthusiastic. He liked doing his job — he was always punctual and understood what his role and tasks were. Corporal Gibbs was also happy to interact and help the other soldiers in the Regimental Police unit as well. He was dedicated and always went above and beyond. He was the kind of soldier who made things happen in his support role.” Sergeant Major Luis Pereira completed the 1997 recruit camp and the Junior Non-Commissioned Officers’ Cadre with Mr Gibbs and Sergeant Major Kenyon Woods. The three soldiers were the last of that year’s intake still in the Regiment. Sergeant Major Pereira said: “I was always proud to have the three of us as the last members of that year’s JNCO still serving. He added: “Ricardo was one of these people who liked to put on his uniform and cared about what he did — he was proud to do his duty. He was quiet and very caring, but assertive — someone who got on with the job and always had an ear for everyone else. He was a good soldier who enjoyed his service and was a mainstay of the corporals’ mess for many years. They will miss his years of experience in the mess and in the Regiment as a whole. We always had a good rapport, although we took different career paths in the Regiment. We would get together and reminisce about the good old days.” Mr Gibbs was born in Jamaica and moved to Bermuda as a child. He served in the Junior Leaders for more than two years before he joined the RBR just after he reached the age of 18. Mr Gibbs worked at first as a store man in the Training Company, but joined the Regimental Police in 2002, where he remained apart for a brief service break in 2007. He was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals and took part in training camps in Bermuda, Jamaica and North Carolina. Mr Gibbs was among the soldiers embodied for major hurricanes, including Gert in 1999, Fabian in 2003 and Nicole in 2016. He was also part of the RBR’s disaster relief mission to Grenada in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. Mr Gibbs was called up for duty in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US in 2001 and worked as part of the security team for the 2017 America’s Cup event. Police have appealed for witnesses to the accident. Anyone with information should contact Sergeant Preston Gill on 295-0011.

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January 17

paragraphThe Bermuda Monetary Authority announced changes to its Board, which includes a new Executive Chair and Deputy Chair. After nine years on the BMA Board, six as Chair, Gerald Simons has retired as Chair of the Board, and will be replaced by Jeremy Cox as Executive Chair for three years. Mr. Simons said, “Serving on the Board of the BMA has been an honour and a privilege. It gave me a unique perspective of financial services. I have been impressed by the dedication of the Board and the expertise and commitment of staff of the Authority at all levels.” Other departures from the Board include Deputy Chair, Allan Marshall and Peter Hardy, who served on the Board for six and three years, respectively. Mr. Cox thanked the departing Board members and wished them well in their future endeavors. The BMA welcomes its new Deputy Chair, Donald Scott, to its Board,” Mr. Cox said. “As Bermuda’s former Secretary to the Cabinet & Head of Civil Service, and Financial Secretary, Mr. Scott brings a wealth of experience to this important role. Additionally, James Newsome and Francine Mason joined our Board in late 2018. Dr. Newsome is a former Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and was President and CEO of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Ms. Mason is a Certified Public Accountant with two decades experience working in Bermuda’s trust sector. Their blended experience is a valuable addition.”

paragraphA former premier is backing a call to remove the man who claimed Bermuda for Britain from the annual Cup Match holiday and replace him with a former slave who became a hero of the abolitionist movement. Dame Jennifer Smith is supporting a proposal by Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda to drop Admiral Sir George Somers, who ran aground on the island in 1609 and started permanent colonization, and honour Mary Prince, a Bermudian born into slavery whose story was published in Britain and helped fuel revulsion for the trade in human beings. Dame Jennifer, who led the Progressive Labour Party to its first election victory in 1998, is a member of Curb and said that Bermuda was “now ready for a Mary Prince Day”. She added: “Unfortunately, many do not know her story. A day would help to educate all.” Cup Match — a two-day celebration of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834 — had its roots in an 1835 East versus West cricket match and picnic organized by Friendly Societies. It was agreed by the organisers in 1901 to buy a cup to be presented to the winners of the cricket match and the first Cup Match was played in 1902. The two days gained official recognition in 1947 and the holiday was set on the Thursday and Friday closest to August 1. The first day of the holiday was named Cup Match and the second was used to commemorate Sir George. Cup Match Day was renamed Emancipation Day in 1999 and continued the tradition of celebrating the end of slavery and Somers Day continued unchanged. The move came after Dame Jennifer introduced legislation to the House of Assembly to replace Cup Match Day with Emancipation Day, which passed the House, but was rejected by the Senate. MPs later agreed to retain Cup Match as the official name after Dame Jennifer tabled a government amendment allowing Cup Match to remain a legal term, but changing Cup Match Day to Emancipation Day. Curb called for Mary Prince and her work to be marked on the second day of the holiday earlier this month and has included the proposal in its 2019 racial justice platform. John Barritt, a former United Bermuda Party and One Bermuda Alliance MP, was the UBP spokesman for legislative affairs in the 1999 debate in the House. Mr Barritt, whose 1999 amendment to keep the holiday’s official name as Cup Match was rejected by the House, threw his support behind Curb’s bid to recognize Mary Prince. But he said Somers Day should be retained in some form to mark the arrival of Sir George and the Sea Venture, which was grounded off Bermuda on July 28, 1609 after a storm. Mr Barritt added: “I firmly believe that the two holidays should continue to be known together as the Cup Match holiday. It is in so many respects quintessentially Bermudian. Considering the origin and history of Cup Match, I think it right and proper, and reasonable too, to celebrate heroes like Mary Prince, and for obvious reasons. Frankly, I think it would be appropriate to remember and acknowledge others who struggled in the fight for emancipation.” Mr Barritt added: “This presents the opportunity to extract Somers Day from the Cup Match holiday, and to celebrate the day of colonization annually on the actual date. It could become an event of some celebration in the St George’s calendar with a service at St Peter’s and a ceremony of some sort at Somers Garden.” He said it “may not rival the Peppercorn Ceremony at the outset, but have some impact, and be of strong interest to our visitors as well”. Christopher Famous, a PLP backbencher, said: “There is no way that someone who had nothing to do with emancipation should be included with an emancipation celebration. I’m not going to denigrate George Somers, but the reality is that he was anything but emancipated.” He said he had no objection to Somers Day being moved to July 28. But he pointed out that, as Cup Match has no fixed dates, part of the holiday could sometimes fall on July 28. A spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports said that it looked forward to reviewing Curb’s platform and “considering their recommendations to bring about greater equity and a healthier Bermuda for all”.

paragraphHackers are upping their game and many organisations are not even aware of serious holes in their own network defences. That is the warning from Hari Acharya, chief operating officer of Canadian firm PomeGran, which is partnering with start-up CryptoScan Bermuda to offer a new cybersecurity service in Bermuda and across the Caribbean. Mr Acharya said hackers were using artificial intelligence to ramp up their abilities to access data to use for identity fraud, blackmail, theft of money or to break into systems to cause disruption. Cryptography is the foundation of digital security and any weaknesses in a network’s cryptographic architecture present opportunities for hackers. Mr Acharya said in an interview when visiting the island for the launch of CryptoScan last week: “Everyone has some sort of encryption in their infrastructure, but people don’t take a look at it on a regular basis. It might be software, PKI [public key infrastructure] certificates that have been there for many years, certificates that may have expired or that may not be valid — that’s the prime way hackers can get through to the network and your data.” Breaches like that involving international hotel chain Marriott — in which more than 500 million records were released — grab the headlines. But many more cyber attacks impact small businesses. Almost half of US small businesses suffered a cyber-attack within the past 12 months, a report last year by Bermudian insurer Hiscox found. Coral Wells, director of CryptoScan, said cybersecurity was even more critical for Bermuda at this time, given the Government’s efforts to establish the island as a fintech and digital asset business centre. That was one of the reasons she decided to join forces with PomeGran to launch the company. “I know where Bermuda’s going with fintech, blockchain and the digital age. Going down this technology path, we need to make sure we’re all protected. It’s imperative that the companies here are protecting themselves.” Mr Acharya said that identity theft was at the root of much of the fraud being perpetrated these days. “Using details from social media, people can mimic others to get loans, for example. Once someone’s personal information has been exposed, you don’t know where it’s going to end up. I know people whose identities were stolen and there were mortgages taken out for hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on their credit histories. They only found out when they tried to get a loan from a bank.” With hackers constantly improving their abilities to break in, cyber defences will need to keep evolving. Quantum computers would be able to crack all forms of cryptography known today — something that would become a significant security issue during the next five to seven years, Mr Acharya said. Despite the financial and reputational risks of data breaches, enterprises generally are not doing enough to ensure their security, Mr Acharya said. “We’re in 28 customer engagements across North America right now — and we find that cryptography is something people don’t really think about. Many companies do assessments based on policies and procedures, which are very important, but not enough. The challenge is they are subjective tests of where your infrastructure is today, not objective. People are filling in questionnaires under pressure from their managers, without the expertise to do it accurately. That’s where we come in.” CryptoScan’s service will analyze organisations’ cryptographic assets objectively, report vulnerabilities and flag up expiring certificates. The company says its service will reduce the risk of data and network breaches and cut costs by automating complex cryptographic assessment processes and replacing lengthy manual reviews. The service will also help organisations to comply with rapidly increasing data protection obligations, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, Payment Services Directive and Bermuda’s Personal Information Protection Act. Kalai Kalaichelvan, PomeGran’s chief architect, said the island’s digital ambitions made it the obvious place to base the new company, while aiming to service the Caribbean region. “Our vision for CryptoScan is to make Bermuda a centre of excellence for cryptography scanning,” Dr Kalaichelvan said. “Bermuda is moving towards advanced technology industries, so if we make CryptoScan Bermuda the centre of it, it can benefit the region. We’re extremely impressed with what Premier Burt is doing, with regards to digitizing everything and putting Bermuda on the map. It’s a great leap forward for the region and we’re very supportive of that vision for the country.” Ms Wells expects the company to expand in the coming years and build up a workforce. “It would be great to hire some local staff,” Ms Wells said. “How many depend on how well the business takes off.” As the owner of ConnecTech, based in Cedar Avenue, Hamilton, a company that provides technology training for young people and businesses, she sees job creation potential in the technology field. “We see the need for more people in the cybersecurity industry,” Ms Wells said. “I’m really big on making sure that we get young Bermudians trained in the different areas of technology and the biggest thing we see coming down the path from a career standpoint is cyber-security.”

paragraphReading through 100 or more pages of engineering surveys in a matter of minutes, and extracting knowledge and insights in the process, might sound fantastical — but it is a reality for Axa XL. Its risk consultants are able to gain rapid access to such information by using artificial intelligence that automates parts of the review process. Axa XL Risk Consulting is working with Italian software company Expert System, that develops cognitive computing software based on AI algorithms. The company’s platform Cogito, uses AI to identify the correct meaning of words and expressions in context, and understands the relationship between different concepts. This is helping the Axa XL risk consultants to assess property site surveys. “When assessing our clients’ risks, our property risk engineers carry out site visits and review internal and third-party risk survey reports. On average, they go through more than 10,000 of these reports every year,” said Jonathan Salter, head of property risk engineering at XL Catlin, which is now part of Axa XL. “By automating parts of that review process, engineers have more time to understand our clients better and advise our underwriters, who can in turn provide better solutions and faster quotes to our brokers and clients.” Steven Walden, director of strategy operations for global property at XL Catlin, said: “Our risk engineers deal with an increasing amount of data; a trend that keeps accelerating. As a result, the industry is turning to technology to help analyze it. Delivering enhanced data and analytical capabilities, both internally and externally, is an essential element of our journey, and the work completed in partnership with our risk consulting team and expert system adds to the Axa XL tool kit.”

paragraphArgo Group has estimated preliminary pre-tax catastrophe losses of $32 million for the fourth quarter. The losses are primarily related to Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires. Additionally, the Bermudian-based company’s fourth-quarter results will be impacted by higher than expected current accident year losses of approximately $12 million, including a number of discrete marine and energy claims. Argo announced the estimates in a statement, and said the catastrophe losses include claims costs net of ceded reinsurance recoverables and reinstatement premiums, and include losses related to certain aggregate excess of loss contracts. Mark Watson, chief executive officer, said: “Our estimate for catastrophe losses in the fourth quarter of 2018 again reflects the restructuring of our reinsurance program at the beginning of the year to reduce earnings volatility by incorporating a single retention for the combined reinsurance portfolios of Argo and the acquired Ariel Re, and also strategically increases our use of third-party capital.”

paragraphBermuda’s cricket and football communities are mourning the passing of Gladstone “Sad” Brown on Tuesday at the age of 73 after a recent illness. Brown was Bermuda’s first ICC Trophy Tournament captain in 1979 when he led the island team to the semi-finals of the inaugural tournament in England. He was also an outstanding forward for Young Men’s Social Club, one of the island’s top teams during the 1960s when they won three straight league titles between 1963-64 and 1965-66, and three FA Cup titles between 1962-63 and 1964-65 — losing only one game in three years. Winston “Coe” Trott, who played football with Brown at Social Club, cricket with him at Devonshire Recreation Club and also for both the Somerset Cup Match team and Bermuda, was saddened to hear of Brown’s passing. “I had been visiting him but there wasn’t a whole lot we could do, just make sure he was comfortable and let him know we were thinking about him at all times,” Trott said. “He knew he had the support of the other guys, the guys who travelled together or played sports together. We also tried to support the family because they were hurting as well. It’s pretty painful because he was my right-hand man." Trott remembers first meeting Brown in about 1957 when they were members of the North Village junior band. He was a drummer in the band and I was in the bugle section. Most of the time when we travelled together, we were roommates, whether it was with Devonshire Rec, the national team or even when we travelled socially with a couple of our buddies.” Trott opened the bowling while Brown opened the batting in the various teams they played for. Brown led from the front as Bermuda finished top of their group in the 1979 ICC Trophy, then a 60-overs competition, against East Africa, Argentina, Papua New Guinea and Singapore to reach the last four. In the semi-final, when reaching the final would have guaranteed a place in the World Cup against the Test-playing teams, Bermuda suffered their only loss of the tournament, scoring 181 all out, with Brown the second-highest scorer with 34, before Canada replied with 186 for six in 57.5 overs. In the next tournament in 1982, this time under the captaincy of Colin Blades, Brown had the distinction of scoring the tournament’s first century when he finished with 100 in an opening stand of 211 with Winston Reid, who made 128 that day against Malaysia as Bermuda amassed 348 for nine. They then dismissed the South East Asian country for a paltry 64, with El James recording amazing figures of five wickets for two runs in 7.1 overs. “Reid was usually the faster scorer but ‘Sad’ got his century first,” Trott said. “We had a team meeting, it was a little heated, and the next day Reid and ‘Sad’ opened up and ‘Sad’ got to his century first, which was unusual because he was the anchor man. Most good teams are built around a player like that.” Bermuda reached the final at the next tournament in 1982, but with Sri Lanka now a Test-playing country, only the ultimate winner would advance to World Cup. Zimbabwe accomplished that goal after chasing down the 231 for eight posted by Bermuda, led by Brown’s team-high score of 48. “Once he understood the job of opening bat, he was so valuable to the team,” Trott said. “The opposition must have got tired of seeing him; he just stayed and stayed until he got the job done. He was a captain, so he set his standards pretty high, as far as how it should be done and why it should be done this way or that way. He was a good team player. He took the bangs and nursed it along until we had a decent score to work with.” It was a good time for Bermuda cricket, said Reid, who came to Bermuda from Barbados in late 1974 and five years later was Brown’s opening partner in Cup Match and for Bermuda in the ICC Trophy. The double-century partnership against Malaysia was a short-lived record, Reid pointed out. “At the time it was a world record for an opening partnership in a 60-overs match, but it was broken the next day by Zimbabwe. He got his century before me, but we never set out to see who would get the hundred first. Our main objective was to bat. The two of us loved batting and didn’t want to give anybody else the chance to bat. The fact that I played for Somerset and he played for Devonshire Rec didn’t make a difference; we just went about our task. We really gelled together as two national team players.” That friendship continued into retirement when Brown, who later owned his own taxi, would often visit Reid at his upholstery shop in Somerset, cricket often the topic. “We would talk cricket, about the national team,” Reid said. “He was passionate about the national team. He loved cricket and wanted to see Bermuda cricket move forward. He was passionate about the two-day and three-day game; that’s how you build strong teams. Because we both had a good tournament in England [1979], when we came back to play Cup Match, why separate us? That ’79 Cup Match team was a good strong team: we had eight players who went to England, eight guys who ate, drank and slept together for three weeks. When we got back, we took that into Cup Match, while St George’s had a new captain [Gregory Foggo] and we were able to beat them after 20 years. After ’79 the players remained very close; that is what helped the team even more than natural ability. We had some wonderful times. My condolences go out to Brown’s wife and children. I’m going to miss him from the bottom of my heart. We had a great respect for each other, cricketing ability and otherwise.” The eight Somerset players in that Bermuda team were Brown, Reid, Trott, James, John Tucker, Joe Bailey, Colin Blades and Barry DeCouto. Trott, DeCouto and Thomas were also part of a strong Devonshire Rec team that won several titles during that era, harmonizing an older brigade that included Erskine “Choe” Smith, Bergon Spencer, Jeff Abbott, McDonald “Bull” Swan, Gladwin “Dewey” Trott with a youth movement that featured Donald Norford, Anthony Edwards, Paul Perinchief, Calix Smith, Anthony Amory, Darrin Lewis and Albert Steede. Brown went on to serve as a cricket administrator after his retirement, including as first vice-president of the Bermuda Cricket Board of Control in 1997 when James was voted in as president. Brown also served as chairman of the BCBC disciplinary committee and treasurer in 1999. He was also president of the Central Counties Cricket Association and was vice-president of Devonshire Rec in 1998. Lloyd Smith, president of the Bermuda Cricket Board and a young player at Devonshire Rec at a time when Brown, Lionel Thomas, Erskine “Choe” Smith, Winston ‘Coe” Trott, Bergon Spencer and Barry DeCouto, paid tribute to his former captain. “It is a very sad day as we mourn the passing of Gladstone ‘Sad’ Brown, a legend in the local cricket fraternity,” Smith said yesterday. “‘Sad’ played a huge role in the development of our great sport, on the field as a player and off the field as an administrator. On behalf of the BCB, I extend our sympathies to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.” The Bermuda Cricket Board honored the 1979 team during the 2018 awards ceremony at CedarBridge Academy. That full Bermuda team was: Gladstone Brown, Joe Bailey, Winston Reid, Clarence Parfitt, Lionel Thomas, Colin Blades, Barry DeCouto, John Tucker, Noel Gibbons, Clevie Wade, Winston Trott, El James, and the late Willie Weldon and Paisley Caines. “To the players of that team, we say thank you for representing us so admirably,” the BCB said that night. “Your performances were stellar and in the end it was a case of what might have been. Tonight we applaud your feats.” Brown, who made his Cup Match debut in 1969, played his last Cup Match in 1983, scoring a total of 206 runs in 11 innings. He had more notable performances in the Central Counties, scoring 153 not out in a match in 1984 after sharing in an eighth-wicket stand of 284 with Arnold West. He also had county scores of 124 in 1973 and 112 in 1983. “He did wonders for Devonshire Rec as a player, administrator and bingo chairman,” said Carlton “Pepe” Dill, another long-time friend of Brown. “He took Devonshire Rec’s bingo from ‘nothing bingo’ to the best on the island.” Dill played with Brown at Social Club and then in cricket for the Rec as his opening partner after returning from playing profession football in the United States with Houston Stars and Dallas Tornado. “We played in Bermuda’s first high school international, against St Mary’s College from Trinidad, playing one game in Somerset and one game at Devonshire Rec,” Dill recalled. “He was at Churchill, I was at Howard Academy and ‘Coe’ at Bermuda Technical Institute. I left Devonshire Lions as a boy and ended up at Social Club, and ran into ‘Sad’ there. In the three years when we had one loss at Social Club, ‘Sad’ was a part of that team. Police beat us at Nationals — the only time I lost a game when playing for Social Club. We’ve been around each other for quite a while. He and I opened up [batting] together and were on opposite flanks [at Social Club] as well. He was just as good in both sports; he played for the national [football] team as well, He played in the national team before me. He was one of those unassuming people, no real noise made, but was devastating. I have nothing but all high praises for the fella; I’ve lost a good friend. “He was one of about seven of us who completed the building of Devonshire Rec. Those still around the club are going to miss him.”

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January 16

paragraphA social entrepreneur and equal rights campaigner from the US has hosted a weekend retreat on the island. Trabian Shorters, the chief executive and founder of the BMe Community, spoke at the Rosewood resort at Tucker’s Point. He was welcomed on Thursday by David Burt, the Premier, along with government colleagues. BMe’s website said it was a “network of community builders known for defining people by their positive contributions to society”. The organisation carries out training and consultancy work with other groups and said it aimed to recognize as many people as possible as heroes that had helped to shape America. BMe added it used “asset-framing” to define people by their aspirations and how they have influenced other people. Mr Burt said: “It was a privilege to welcome such a prestigious group of black men and women committed to empowerment and doing transformational work in their communities. This group is geared towards building more caring and prosperous communities and it was wonderful to meet them all.”

paragraphPolice are to hold consultations on how to provide a better police presence in the town of St George. But a former mayor said yesterday that there were several buildings in the town that could be used as a police station. Kenneth Bascome, also a former MP for the area, added that some could be pressed into service with “a little modification”. He said: “With the number of residents and the number of visitors in St George’s from April, we need to have a facility for people to go and raise their concerns.” Mr Bascome was speaking after Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley floated the idea of a stronger presence in St George’s, six years after the former police station was closed. The station was shuttered in 2012 for repairs but has not been reopened since and the area is now covered by the Southside station in St David’s. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said in 2017 that the old station had deteriorated so much that it was no longer fit for use. Mr Bascome said the town got about 2,000 visitors a day from April to October each year. He added that a police station would help people to be more relaxed about walking around St George’s. He added: “My belief is that if you have police on a continuous basis, a lot of problems could be nipped in the bud. I live here; I am out in St George’s early in the mornings, late at nights ... It is my community and I would like to see it prosper.” He added that he would discuss his ideas for a police station in St George’s with Mr Corbishley. Mr Bascome said: “Just having the police visible would let the residents feel safer. Sight deters." A police spokesman explained the commissioner was committed to a police presence in St George’s as part of a move towards more community-based policing. The re-introduction of parish constables in the next few weeks is expected to provide better contacts between officers and local communities across the island. The spokesman said that “the commissioner recognizes the challenges in establishing a more permanent police contact point, whether a station facility or a shared location with other partners.” Quinell Francis, the Mayor of St George, was pleased that several options were being explored for a police station. But she also wanted to see a policing plan for the historic town, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Ms Francis said: “The management plan for the World Heritage Site is currently being drafted and it is the concern of the Corporation of St George that a detailed policing and fire plan is required to ensure we maintain our World Heritage Site designation.” Ms Francis pointed out that there has been a decrease in the police presence in St George’s over the years. She added: “It is indeed good news that the BPS is restructuring and will be working with the community going forward. We in the town look forward to working with the police commissioner and the Bermuda Police Service to ensure that St George has the necessary police patrols it deserves.” Mr Caines said in 2017 that the old station on York Street would require huge amounts of work. He added: “None of the many refurbishments have managed to fix the multitude of problems, including the roof and rotting joists.” But Mr Caines said that a police move back to the town would be considered “if a suitable building is found in St George’s and there is a legitimate demand for enhanced police services”.

paragraphA senior police officer with professional standards experience is being sought overseas by the Bermuda Police Service. The BPS posted an advertisement in the Police Oracle in Britain for the one-year post, with an annual salary of $135,000, to “lead and develop its new Professional Standards Department”. The job would include managing complaints and misconduct, as well as protecting the force from corruption, with the department answering to the deputy commissioner. The new job would also entail assisting both the departments of customs and corrections in anti-corruption. According to the advert, the post is scheduled to start in March. The BPS examined routes for modernising their disciplinary procedures in 2015, with Victor Marshall, a British expert on professional standards. It found broad support for “learning and improving, rather than punishment and blame”. Parliament approved the Police Amendment Act 2016 that following July, which included a disciplinary model based on that of England, Wales and the Isle of Wight.

paragraphA top executive at the Bermuda Tourism Authority is to leave after five years in the job. Pat Phillip-Fairn, the chief product and experiences development officer, will step down in April for family reasons. Ms Phillip-Fairn said: “I feel like I’m leaving a family at work. The only way to successfully complete the difficult, important work in tourism is to do it with a group of people who are passionate, committed and working cohesively. Bermuda’s tourism industry benefits from those people, inside and outside of the BTA. I’m truly gratified about what we’ve accomplished at the BTA over the past five years and it was a privilege to do it with a team of people so talented and close-knit. It’s the part of the work I think I will miss the most.” A BTA spokesman said the organisation had started the recruitment process to fill the post, which it previously reported carries an annual salary of between $175,000 and $275,000. Kevin Dallas, the BTA chief executive, added: “While I’m sad to have a valued leader in our organisation depart, pride is what I feel most when I look back at the enormous accomplishments of Pat and her team over the past five years. Under Pat’s leadership, her division has shepherded a new wave of tourism product and experiences that cater to younger visitors who are more adventurous and experiential. This work has proven critical because it not only improves the experience of travelers, but also increases visitor spending, boosts our economy and creates new opportunities for Bermudian entrepreneurs and job seekers.” Erica Smith, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation executive director, said: “Pat and I have worked closely together over the last few years in growing tourism entrepreneurship in Bermuda. She has been a fierce advocate for highlighting and developing Bermuda’s entrepreneurial talent and offerings in the tourism sector, while growing the product and experiences remit by leaps and bounds. Always looking to connect Bermuda’s tourism entrepreneurs with new opportunities, our island’s tourism sector is better off for Pat being in it. She will be a miss in that regard.” Ms Phillip-Fairn joined the BTA in April 14, 2014 after serving as the deputy director of corporate governance and communications at the Bermuda Monetary Authority. In the post, she worked with other organisations to build on the success of the Bermuda Heroes Weekend Carnival, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, the Bermuda Street Food Festival and the Peppercorn Ceremony. She also worked to build Bermuda as a sports tourism destination. She promoted existing events such as the Newport Bermuda Race and worked to launch new ones such as the Antigua Bermuda race. The BTA spokeswoman said Ms Phillip-Fairn was part of the successful bid to host the ITU World Triathlon. She added: “Since winning the bid she has been at the forefront of management efforts to ensure the Bermuda Government, Bermuda Triathlon Association, the International Triathlon Union, Upsolut Sports and the BTA are all working together to put on a world-class event.”

paragraphReinsurers have seen unusual rises in loss adjustment expenses and reopened claims related to the devastating hurricanes of 2017. The trend forced many reinsurers to increase previous estimated losses from Harvey, Irma and Maria, creating a drag on the full-year 2018 earnings that will be announced over the coming weeks. An executive of Bermuda-based reinsurer PartnerRe spoke with Best’s News Service on the rise in loss adjustment expenses. Joseph Hooks, North America property/casualty senior vice-president and North America property catastrophe manager, PartnerRe Ltd said it was a trend the company had been seeing over the past couple of years. “Specifically, on the LAE side it started right away with the multiple events of the year impacting Florida, where you have a number of insurers that don’t have large claims teams,” Mr Hooks told Best’s. “They’re totally reliant on third-party claims handlers, which creates a bit of a bidding war.” Mr Hooks said Irma’s insured losses had risen from $19.5 billion to $22 billion, excluding loss adjustment expenses, as a result of increased severity of reopened claims. “The fee schedule for the claims handlers is unusual,” Mr Hooks said. “From 2005, after Wilma went through Florida, claims that may have been settled for $15,000 to $20,000 in the past, are now a multiple of that.” Mr Hooks noted “where clients were able to make repairs on certain roofs previously, post-Wilma, insureds are now being told they should be getting an entirely new roof. Just to set up a file you’re talking over $1,000 before you even see a claim, which could be below the deductible, excluding a peril like flood. So you incur the cost without any paid indemnity.” This was mainly a Florida phenomenon, Mr Hooks added, something he attributed to large national US insurers not having as high a market share as they have in other states. “They’re the ones with the army of in-house adjusters,” Mr Hooks said. “They can tackle claims quickly and more efficiently than the Florida specialists, which are much smaller operations with a limited number of claims professionals. I think that does make it especially unique.”

paragraphAlmost $230,000 a year is being shelled out to treat a violent child sex offender in Britain, The Royal Gazette can reveal. An agreement reached between the Bermuda Hospitals Board and St Andrew’s Healthcare in England to provide mental health services for criminals runs until 2020. The contract covers people with a criminal background or those seen as being at high risk of committing offences. It is understood the only patient being treated under the deal is Merrick Seaman, who was jailed for eight years in 2011 for a serious sex assault on a five-year-old girl. The news came after a list of BHB contracts valued at $50,000 or more, published in the Official Gazette this month, included St Andrew’s, which is in Northampton. It showed the board agreed a $458,949, two-year contract with the high-security psychiatric hospital, to run from June 2018 to June 2020. A BHB spokeswoman explained: “St Andrew’s has been contracted to provide forensic mental health services. This is a specialized inpatient mental health service for people who have a history of criminal offending or are at high risk of offending.” The contract was not linked to a specific individual, but only Seaman was receiving care under the agreement. The BHB spokeswoman declined to confirm the patient was Seaman. Seaman was moved from Westgate prison last year, but held at the Co-Educational Facility in St George’s for three months. The 33-year-old was first eligible for parole in April 2013 but it was recommended that his release should be delayed until the risk of him committing further offences was reduced. He was given another psychiatric review the next year after he said: “I intend to go on a killing spree when I get out of jail.” Seaman was convicted of wounding another inmate in 2016, which resulted in an additional nine months being added to his sentence. His earliest release date was June 15 last year, but the Government moved him to the Co-Ed facility two days earlier. A Supreme Court judgment released last August showed the Ministry of Health and the BHB sought a hospital detention order to allow Seaman to be moved to a British hospital. Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said Seaman could be sent overseas for care and treatment and that he should be detained at St Andrew’s. She said in a written judgment: “The wider purpose is to protect the community from further harm, which Seaman would likely cause if not further detained and treated.” Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, confirmed in October that Seaman was transferred to “a suitable clinical location in the UK” on September 4. The problem of how to deal with prisoners with psychiatric illness has been discussed for years because of the island’s lack of high-security accommodation in a hospital. An agreement with St Andrew’s was signed in 2017, but the BHB said at the time that “complex legal considerations” still had to be resolved. Parliament passed legislation last June to help those who need psychiatric treatment in a “medium or high-security unit not available in Bermuda”. St Andrew’s, A British charity, said on its website: “St Andrew’s Healthcare provides specialist mental healthcare for people with challenging mental health needs.” It added: “We care for some of the most clinically complex patients in the mental health system, people who could not, in many cases, be treated elsewhere. Many of our patients have been in the criminal justice system and are some of the most vulnerable people being treated anywhere in the health service. We develop innovative ways to help our patients to recover, creating a personalized package of care designed around each individual, which focuses on their physical and spiritual wellbeing as well as mental health.”

paragraphThe rights of children in Bermuda will come under the spotlight at a major conference in Japan next week. Tiffanne Thomas, an independent social worker, has been invited to speak on child protection and the influence of culture on a country’s protection of children at the International Symposium on Social Sciences and Management. Ms Thomas told The Royal Gazette she was recommended to the event organisers by Lonnie Morris of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology because of her research into ethical leadership and the effects of culture on leadership. She said: “I was completely humbled to be recommended and then selected to be a part of this event. We often think that what we do in Bermuda is in isolation but experiences such as this have confirmed that indeed the world is watching. I have been involved in a number of research projects and that work has focused primarily on leadership, specifically ethical leadership and the influence of culture on our behaviors. Next week’s presentation will primarily explore how a country shapes its protection of vulnerable populations, the role of leadership and the influence of culture. These three constructs will be analyzed. The symposium attracts leaders in various fields — technology, medicine, social sciences, to name a few. I am excited to hear how our individual fields intersect and what that means on a global scale.” Ms Thomas has acted as an advocate in court — a litigation guardian — for children in Bermuda since 2014, but in November she withdrew her services from 17 cases and filed a $2.6 million legal action against the Government for its failure to pay her for her services. The Government has also tabled an amendment to the law, which Ms Thomas and others said would erode the right of vulnerable youngsters to independent legal representation in court. Debate on the Bill was postponed late last year. Ms Thomas said international interest in child protection in Bermuda had increased as a result of recent developments surrounding litigation guardians. The conference will be held in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, Japan’s second-biggest island, from January 22 to 24. Ms Thomas’s presentation will be her second on an international stage. She spoke at the International Leadership Association’s Global Conference in Belgium in 2017.

paragraphA taxi driver punched a minibus operator in the face in a row about passengers at a South Shore beach. Aaron Scott, 34, admitted in Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he hit Larry Franklin, 67, because he thought he had tried to poach prospective passengers. Scott, from Warwick, told the court: “I gave him one. I shouldn’t have, but I did.” The incident happened on August 6 in the car park at Horseshoe Beach in Southampton. Prosecutors said the pair got into an argument over passengers leaving the beach. Carrington Mahoney, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, said Scott punched Mr Franklin in the mouth without warning. He added that Scott was pulled away by other drivers. Mr Franklin suffered a cut lip and numbness in his mouth as a result of the blow. Scott left the area before police arrived, but went to Hamilton Police Station the next day. Scott told the court that when he arrived at the beach, there were only two or three other taxis, all of which were waiting for their passengers to return. He said: “I approached these tourists to ask if they needed transport back to Dockyard and this driver says they didn’t need it.” The pair argued and Scott admitted that he threw a single punch. Scott told the court that Horseshoe Bay had become a battleground between taxi drivers and minibus drivers because of the lack of regulation at the popular tourist attraction. He said: “Minibus drivers form a line, kind of like a train, and they squeeze the taxi drivers out of work. They have signs to get people to fill up their buses and taxi drivers are sitting there waiting for work.” Scott said that action needed to be taken to regulate taxis and minibuses in the area as is done at the airport. He added: “People who come to the beach don’t know what vehicle they should get in. With the amount of minibuses on the road, the money is going into their pockets, not our pockets. It just needs to be properly assessed.” Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe fined Scott $1,000 for the assault and advised him to stay away from Mr Franklin.

paragraphA social-media expert is to discuss cyber- bullying and inappropriate online behavior at a talk tonight. Deana Puccio, a former criminal prosecutor in New York, will make a presentation at Bermuda High School tonight from 7pm to 8.30pm. She is the cofounder of The Raising Awareness and Prevention Project, set up to advise young people, parents and youth workers about internet safety and body image problems. The presentation will focus on responsible and irresponsible social media use, likes and dislikes, inappropriate posting of photos and videos, bullying, cyber-bullying and related subjects. A spokeswoman for BHS told parents: “We hope you will be able to attend this important session and come away with some valuable tools to help you as parents empower your children to make wise choices online.” The free talk will take place in the Queen Elizabeth Assembly Hall at the school. Parking is available at the Richmond Road entrance and on the Serpentine Road ramp. For more information, call 295-6153.

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January 15

paragraphFifty-five companies involved in fintech have incorporated in Bermuda and a number of them have started hiring. Waiting in the wings are another 24 companies described as “strong prospects” by David Burt. The Premier provided an update on the island’s advances in the fintech space as he introduced a third member to the Fintech Business Unit. Denis Pitcher, a technology entrepreneur and columnist for The Royal Gazette, has joined Wayne Smith and Gina Tucker in the unit that was set-up in October to oversee the island’s fintech initiatives. “Without a doubt, Bermuda has carved out a pioneering and leadership position in this area. This kind of momentum and activity requires the right resources and support,” Mr Burt said. Announcing Mr Pitcher’s appointment as fintech technical consultant, Mr Burt said: “Denis has extensive knowledge of fintech-related technologies such as blockchain, distributed ledger, and cryptocurrencies and has been a local advocate on this subject for a number of years.” Mr Pitcher is the tech co-founder and chief architect of resQwest.com, a tourism technology solutions provider and has also worked as a trading systems developer for Orbis Investment Management. He is a member of the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s fintech working group and has served as an adviser to on-island bodies on fintech and its potential, including the Fiscal Responsibility Panel. Mr Pitcher said: “I’m very pleased to be given an opportunity to help make a difference for this new industry for Bermuda. It holds a lot of promise and potential for our future.” At a press conference to announce Mr Pitcher’s appointment, the Premier was asked how many jobs have been created by fintech companies coming to Bermuda. He said BitCarbon has been advertising positions, and Alpha Innovations has started hiring. Mr Burt added: “I met a few companies last week who have moved here, so the work is beginning to progress.” The Royal Gazette asked when will the island see companies licensed under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018. The Premier said that was up to the Bermuda Monetary Authority, but he did know that applications have been filed. He said: “The BMA has set up a fintech unit internally, looking at new technologies whether they be on the insurance side or the fintech side more broadly, and there are companies going through that process. The BMA has a remit to ensure that any companies that are going to be operating in our space in an industry that is considered high risk meet all the very high standards that we have set. I’m certain that the companies are very grateful for the high standards, and we are grateful for those high standards. Because we are looking to attract high-quality companies to Bermuda.” Mr Burt was also asked about the Bermuda’s efforts to meet the requirements of the European Union with regards to companies registered on the island having “economic substance”. Mr Burt sad the EU’s standards have been adopted by the OECD and are global standards. He said: “We are not going to telegraph what we are doing to competing jurisdictions. We have a strategy that we are working and executing on. Bermuda is going to maintain its leadership position.” The Premier said the island has more people than it has companies, and that it has always been a place of substance. He added: “We are going to deal with the companies that are affected. It is my intention that we will be successful and see economic growth from this situation. But let us be clear, it is a change in the way the world does business, it is going to be a profound change in the way Bermuda does business. The Government has a strategy to ensure that the companies that may be affected are going to find a way to remain within the rules and in a way that can benefit the Bermuda economy.”

paragraphBarriers to the success of public school pupils must be swept aside, the new head of the education board said yesterday. Tim Jackson said: “While we have a significant number of students graduating from the Bermuda public school system who are doing well, we must also address the roadblocks that prevent some of our students from demonstrating their potential and abilities. As a board, we must work diligently to ensure that students and educators operate in schools that are clean, safe and operational.” Dr Jackson was speaking after he was appointed chairman of the Board of Education. The veteran teacher has more than two decades of public education experience in Bermuda and the United States. He served as head teacher at Sandys Secondary Middle School from 2007 to 2016. Dr Jackson also taught at Whitney Institute and was deputy principal at CedarBridge Academy. He said that the public often heard about the “negativity of public schools, and how they are failing our young people”. Dr Jackson added: “While I have the microphone, I will take the liberty of sharing a snapshot of the countless achievements and accomplishments of young Bermudians who have been educated in the Bermuda public school system.” He highlighted one former CedarBridge Academy pupil who went on to the University of Technology in Jamaica for a degree in mechanical engineering and last year completed a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at Imperial College, London, one of the world’s premier science and technology universities. Dr Jackson added that four former Berkeley Institute pupils are now studying a variety of subjects at St John’s University in New York City, including risk management and underwriting. He said that Bermuda’s Plan 2022 strategy for education insisted that public school leavers must be “well prepared socially, emotionally and academically for postsecondary success. All students will have diverse and engaging learning opportunities. Furthermore, students will not just be exposed to a college-focused curriculum. They will also have access to career-focused training. Plan 2022 will ensure that each child is on an individualized pathway to personal success — a pathway that truly takes into account personal needs and interests.” Dr Jackson said that the board looked forward to “rolling up our sleeves and doing what is in the best interest of one of our most precious natural resources.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said that Dr Jackson had a proven track record as a teacher. He added that a strong board of education was crucial in helping to improve the education system. Mr Rabain said: “We need strong visionaries and people committed to not only providing guidance but willing to hold those leading this reform accountable.” He added that the public education system faced “unique challenges”. Mr Rabain said: “The new board chairman and members have given their commitment to performing the tasks needed to reform education in Bermuda.” He added that the board had been asked to tackle increased incidents of disruptive behavior in classrooms and add its views on the Government’s proposal to phase out middle schools. Ru-Zelda Severin was appointed to the deputy chairwoman’s role. Ms Severin is a senior lecturer of Music and Education at Bermuda College. She has taught from preschool to university level during her 30-year career in education.

paragraphUK Prime Minister's Brexit Deal is voted down in historic massive defeat. See  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46885828 

paragraphExtra legislation to protect the independence of human rights commissioners is needed, it was claimed yesterday. Tawana Tannock, the outgoing chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission, said the organisation was not linked to a government department but legislation had not been amended in line with its remit. She joined the board in 2013 and was appointed after a selection process that was open to the public for the first time because of changes in the Human Rights Act, which came into effect in October 2012. They provided for an independent selection and appointment committee to recruit, interview and appoint the commissioners, at least one third of whom have to be members of the Bermuda Bar. The HRC was removed from the Government’s Department of Human Affairs in April 2016 and became a non-ministry department. Ms Tannock believes the Act should also allow commissioners to help manage the organisation. She said: “If you are going to go from a government department to an independent body, it’s important that change is reflected in your legislation. For instance, you will find a lot of references in the Act about needing the approval or reporting to the minister responsible for human rights, so that should be reviewed. Who should be getting those reports? Who should be laying the reports before the House? What approval needs to be given? Does approval need to be given?” Ms Tannock added that the HRC had experienced no political interference during her two consecutive three-year terms. She said the Progressive Labour Party administration appointed a minister to liaise with the commission, but under the former One Bermuda Alliance government that responsibility was the premier’s. Ms Tannock said: “It should really be something that is specified in the Act.” A new team of commissioners is expected to be appointed by the end of the month and Ms Tannock said there was a need for “a corporate governance body of commissioners”. Ms Tannock said: “One of the things that I think is most important with this new body of commissioners, whoever they may be, is that they are passionate about human rights but they also are skilled in the effective management of an organisation or some aspect of it.” She added: “I think the Act should be reviewed to ensure that commissioners can actively help the executive director and her staff to manage the commission.”

paragraphA lack of leadership on same-sex marriage slowed progress towards equality, the outgoing chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission has claimed. Tawana Tannock said the row was the most difficult subject she had tackled in her six years with the HRC, three of them as chairwoman. Ms Tannock admitted: “I’ve got to be honest and say the same-sex marriage debate.” She said the goalposts were shifted and that residents were unable to “respectfully disagree” on the controversy. But she admitted that she regretted that she had lacked tolerance for people who opposed any recognition of same-sex unions. Ms Tannock said: “I felt, and I still feel, that we have taken two steps forward and one step back. It was difficult because I feel like the goalposts, in terms of what people expected, changed. At one point, I remember we were approached and asked, what’s your position on civil unions? We said we think it’s important that same-sex couples have the same rights and protections afforded to them, however this is managed, whether it’s civil unions or marriage. It was this discussion about whether or not civil unions went far enough, then of course you had the referendum, I just felt like there was never any clear leadership on what, as a country, we should do to protect the rights of some of our citizens. That was very disheartening.” Ms Tannock said the commission supported “legal recognition of rights for same-sex couples”, although the position was more complicated than saying it was for or against same-sex marriage. The same rights that are afforded for mixed-sex couples should be afforded for couples of the same sex.” The corporate lawyer said one person had told her in public: “I’m going to pray for you, I’m going to pray that you change your mind.” However, Ms Tannock said: “I am not, in any way, shape or form, leading the charge on this. There are other people who have done far more work who deserve far more credit for trying to push the ball forward on this, but I thought to myself, this is why people are afraid to stand up for what they believe. If I’m getting this type of response, what must other people be encountering? “It was really saddening to me that people on either side of the argument didn’t seem to respectfully disagree.” Ms Tannock said she experienced “vitriol” she had never seen before. She added that the HRC could have better informed the public about its stance on same-sex marriage. Ms Tannock said: “If I had to change something that I could do differently over that past six years, I would be more tolerant of people who had opinions that I did not agree with. I think what I should have done — myself not the HRC — there were segments of the community that I wish I would have listened to a little bit more so that I could understand where they were coming from. You can be so concerned with what you think is the appropriate thing to do that you fail to understand the point of view of others. I think a lot of times, because I failed to do that, I ended up preaching to the choir.” The Court of Appeal dismissed the Government’s claim last November that former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley was wrong to strike down parts of the Domestic Partnership Act, which was designed to replace same-sex marriage with civil unions. The Progressive Labour Party administration later requested permission to take the case to London’s Privy Council. Ms Tannock said: “I don’t understand why the Government is appealing this decision.” She added she was “very pleased” when legislation was passed to ban discrimination on the grounds of mental illness, but that “the major issue” of employment discrimination on the grounds of age should have been added as well. Ms Tannock explained the Human Rights Act only offered protection based on age in relation to the disposal of premises and goods, services and facilities. She said: “We actively campaigned to have the age of retirement lifted or even reviewed. Preferably, removed altogether, but reviewed in some manner.” The PLP government said in its Throne Speech last year that a change to the mandatory public service retirement age would be considered. Ms Tannock said: “I’m hopeful that maybe we’ll see a change come soon because with the cost of living in Bermuda now and the cost of health insurance, it’s really difficult for our seniors who are not working, who are able-bodied and capable, to have to retire mandatory. I think it’s ironic that it’s not in the private sector that there’s this mandatory age of retirement, but it’s with the Government, who actually should be the ones who are leading the charge.”

Arbitrade gold barsparagraphArbitrade has put 38 gold bars on show to accompany its latest claim about the billions of dollars in bullion it has to back its crypto tokens. It has provided two photographs which show gold bars stacked in front of a card that features Arbitrade’s logo and the names of four of its crypto tokens, including “dignity” the token that is currently in circulation. The Royal Gazette is seeking further clarity on the press release, which mentions a $250 million credit being provided to Arbitrade by its precious metals procurement agent Sion Trading FZE. It also claims that a shipment of $3.8 million of gold bars has been sent to it, through Sion, and that the bullion is now vaulted in Dubai. Arbitrade is a cryptocurrency exchange and coin company that is registered in Bermuda, and has acquired the Victoria Hall office block to be its global headquarters. It is in the process of applying for its subsidiary Arbitrade Exchange (Bermuda) Ltd to be licensed under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018. In November, Arbitrade’s chief executive officer Len Schutzman said the company had “title” to 395,000 kilograms of bullion, which would be worth $16.4 billion today. The company plans to use the bullion to back a number of crypto tokens. However, Arbitrade has not said who has given it title to the gold and under what conditions, or where the gold is, or the name of the “independent public accounting firm” that it says has verified the account. It has stated the reason for this is because it is legally bound by non-disclosure and privacy obligations. In its latest press release, Arbitrade said “Sion has provided $250 million in credit to facilitate these [gold] purchases on Arbitrade’s behalf”. It also said it was “happy to confirm that it has completed the purchase and vaulting of the additional $3.8 million of hallmarked gold bars through Sion”. The Royal Gazette has sent four questions to Arbitrade’s Bermudian-based law firm Trott & Duncan regarding the release. We have asked why Arbitrade is continuing to add to its bullion stockpile after it had stated it already had title to 395,000kg of gold. We asked this, because the previous amount it said it had title to is sufficient to meet Arbitrade’s stated requirements for backing its crypto tokens, based on details it released last year. We also asked why Arbitrade needs $250 million in credit from Sion to make the purchases, and how and when that will be paid back, and why there were only 38 single kilogram bars on show in the two photographs — 20 in one, 18 in the other, representing a value of about $1.5 million. In addition, we queried two mistakes on the Arbitrade card in the photographs, where the crypto token dignity is spelled as “dignaty”, and the sentence below appears to read: “Trade tokens backed by real precious metals for the only real trade”, with the word tokens spelled as “tokes”. Sion Trading holds a commercial licence in the Ras Al Khaimah economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, where its activity is listed as trading non-manufactured precious metals. It is a subsidiary of Scotia International of Nevada Inc, a mining equipment supply company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This month, Sion announced it is set to become a major shareholder of Arbitrade, having entered into a conditional agreement for the acquisition of the shares in Arbitrade Ltd currently held by Leila Holdings Ltd, a Bermuda exempted company owned by Arbitrade founder Troy Hogg. The deal is subject to approval being granted by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. The Royal Gazette is awaiting a response to its questions about the latest gold bullion announcement. We are also awaiting answers to a separate set of questions sent to Arbitrade a month ago. Arbitrade’s dignity token peaked in value at about 29 cents in May, but has declined and is now valued at about 0.6 of a cent per token on CoinMarketCap.

paragraphChanges in the administration of payments to families of elderly war veterans were defended yesterday by the Ministry of Finance. Officials said a new system for the payments, which included processing of claims overseas, was introduced last year to eliminate errors and the potential for fraud. The ministry hit back after the families of veterans complained that the new system had led to delays, which inflicted financial hardship on claimants. But two veterans’ families said yesterday the problems started only when the Government’s changes to the way payments were handled came into effect. The daughter of a veteran’s widow, who is 85, said that her caregiver’s claims, which she submitted to the health insurance department, “used to work fine”. She added: “It would take me a month to get paid. As of last summer, July 1, it changed.” The woman said a three-month backlog left the family $10,000 behind in payments. She added: “It’s now down to two months, which is an improvement, but still frustrating.” She also questioned why she was told by the Department of Ageing and Disability Services last week that she would have to renew her qualifications as a home caregiver to her mother, the widow of a Second World War veteran, who needed round-the-clock care. She said: “It’s a huge pain — I have between February 1 and April 30 to re-register.” Another woman, the 90-year-old wife of a Second World War veteran, said that she did not need a caregiver, but her husband’s medical benefit statements had come each month with a claim that their coverage limit had been exceeded, which was wrong. She said the problem also started last July. The woman, from St George’s, said she and her husband lived at home but needed the income from his war veteran’s payments to cover large medical bills. She explained her husband had dementia and a heart condition and had to take 16 pills a day. The woman said she “panicked” when she received the first warning that coverage had been exceeded, but was later told not to worry and that the medical costs would continue to be paid. She added: “That was a relief, because we didn’t know what was happening. We’re still getting the notices. I have all my faculties, but there are others out there who might be worrying themselves into a panic if the same thing is happening to them.” A spokeswoman for the finance ministry confirmed yesterday that the procedures for veteran’s benefits paid to caregivers were altered on July 1 last year. She explained that the Department of Social Insurance took two weeks to handle claims from caregivers who had not registered with the health ministry’s Ageing and Disability Services. Caretakers who were registered sent their claims for the care of war veterans to FutureCare, the Government’s health insurance scheme for seniors. But she added that the department was unable to vet all time sheet submissions to determine the skill sets and duties of caregivers — leading to the possibility of FutureCare and social insurance duplicate claims. The spokesman said a “flood” of claims had made it necessary to “streamline this process to prevent any potential abuse and duplication of payments”. The departments of social insurance and financial assistance, and the Ministry of Health, overhauled the payment procedure early last year. That included different levels of payments dependent on skill levels, with higher payments for registered nurses compared with unskilled relatives. The spokeswoman added that extra skills were required for all caregivers, including CPR training. She added that “integrity checks” also added to the processing time for claims. The spokeswoman said all claims for veterans’ caregivers were sent to FutureCare and vetted. She added the claims were submitted every week by caregivers and the health insurance department was given up to 30 days to process them. But claims above $7,000 a month — the limit set by the pension commissioners — were sent on to the Department of Social Insurance, which takes up to a week to process them. Claims were then sent to the Accountant-General’s offices for final payment, which could take another week. The spokeswoman said that all caregiver claims covered by FutureCare were sent overseas for processing by the health insurance department. The use of overseas facilities for processing payments originally began in 2010, following an RFP. The arrangement meant that some parts of claims were processed on island and some overseas dependent on whether they were processed by FutureCare or the Department of Social Insurance. But the spokeswoman insisted: “This entire process is now a lot smoother with the improved checks and balances in place.”

paragraphThe Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee is excited to welcome the community to an open consultation session to take place the evening of Wednesday January 23rd, at which the committee will seek public input for the 2020 to 2025 management plan for Bermuda’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee is holding the session entitled ‘What Is Bermuda’s World Heritage Story?’ to involve the community early on in the planning process, which will be followed up throughout 2019 with additional public consultation phases. Participants at the January 23rd session will brainstorm together on the significance of ‘The Historic Town of St. George and Related Fortifications’ as an outstanding example of a “continuously occupied, fortified, colonial town dating from the early 17th century, and the oldest English town in the New World. Our Bermuda World Heritage Site has been designated by UNESCO as being important for all humankind,” said World Heritage Site Management Committee Chair Cheryl Hayward-Chew. “However, for this public consultation session, our committee wants to hear from Bermuda and particularly the St. George’s community, as to why and how our World Heritage Site is important for you and what story we can tell moving forward.” The Minister of Home Affairs The Hon. Walter Roban JP MP said, “The World Heritage Site Management Plan is a critical tool to maintain and utilize our UNESCO World Heritage status. It is important that our 2020-2025 plan for the World Heritage Site is co-created with the community. I, along with MPs for St. George’s and St. David’s, encourage you to attend this month’s session and engage with the other public consultation opportunities we will launch throughout 2019.” In the lead up to the January 23rd open consultation session, the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee will be posting on social media to share information about Bermuda’s World Heritage status and to ask the community how and why the World Heritage Site is important to them using the hash tag #ourbermudaworldheritage. The session on January 23rd will be held at the World Heritage Centre at Penno’s Wharf in St. George’s starting at 5:30 p.m. with parking at Tiger Bay. For more information and to contribute to the management plan process, please see Facebook page “Town of St. George and its Related Fortifications World Heritage Site”. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Dr. Charlotte Andrews at ceandrews@gov.bm or 297-7756 to the open Facebook invite.

paragraphA waterside park is to get a major revamp, the City of Hamilton announced yesterday. The work at Albuoy’s Point off Front Street will include improved lighting, new seats and better access to the harbourfront. A spokeswoman for the city said: “With the vacating of the old Bank of Bermuda building by HSBC at Albuoy’s Point, the perfect opportunity has arisen for the City of Hamilton to carry out a revamp of the park. “The upgrades will include improved seating and shade, uplighting of the existing trees and revitalization of the pedestrian areas for accessing the park as well as the waterfront. A memorial to Second World War armed merchant cruiser HMS Jarvis Bay, based in Bermuda, will also be relocated to a better position in the park. The lightly armed ship left Bermuda in 1940 to escort a convoy to Britain and sacrificed itself in a battle against the powerful German cruiser Admiral Scheer to give the convoy time to scatter. Only 65 of its 254-strong crew survived the engagement and its commanding officer, Captain Edward Fegen, who went down with his ship, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The spokeswoman said the city had worked with architectural firm Cooper Gardner on the project, which will also include moving Against da Tide, a sculpture by Bill Ming that stands near the entrance of the HSBC building to the new-look park. The spokeswoman added: “HSBC has offered to donate the sculpture to the city if it can be suitably relocated. Upon planning approval, the city will issue further public updates about the start of the work and when it is estimated to be completed.” Kendaree Burgess, the chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, backed the plan. She said: “Anything that improves lighting and security can only be seen as a positive.” MND Properties submitted a planning application to transform the old Bank of Bermuda building into shops and offices last year. The application proposed retention of the framework of the almost 50-year-old building and the construction of a new frontage. The applicants said they hoped to begin work in April with a scheduled completion date of December 2020.

paragraphLarry Marshall has expressed fears that Bermuda Marathon Weekend may not survive because of a lack of sponsorship. The Royal Gazette reported last week that the lack of sponsorship is hindering the Bermuda National Athletics Association’s attempt to offer prize money for elite athletes, a dilemma Marshall suggests could be the “death knell” of the annual road-running spectacle. “They have some serious money problems and I don’t know how they are going to get elite runners here if they are not offering prize money,” said Marshall, whose son, Lamont, finished runner-up in the Bermuda 10K in 2015 and 2016. “It’s a terrible position to be in. I think the spectators this year are going to be very disappointed. This event might not survive and I’m not trying to be alarmist. When you can’t offer prize money and you’ve done so for many years, it’s a death knell. I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t last.” Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, is hoping funding can be found to enable prize money to be offered to the top athletes. “We’re still working on it; hopefully we will be able to come up with something. There are some discussions out there so our hope is that something, even at the last minute, will come through. A lot depends on how many people enter. We may end up with extra funds because the entries are up. " Marshall believes that Bermuda Marathon Weekend has been in decline for years because of “bad administration. Going back, you’ve had bad administration for decades and now the chickens are come home to roost. That’s where we are at now and they can make all the excuses they want. For the spectators, this year will be a rude awakening because of the lack of quality and it’s sad for road running and Bermuda. This was a premier event and it has just declined in quality. Every year we’ve just watched it go down.” Lamont Marshall, the reigning Bermuda Day Half-Marathon champion, has opted to skip the Bermuda Marathon Weekend for the third straight year. Marshall will begin the new season instead competing in the 5,000 metres at Boston University’s John Terrier Classic. He ran the fastest time by a Bermudian over the distance at the same event last year. The indoor meet will be held on January 25.

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January 14

paragraphThe European Union will be keeping a close eye on the impact of Bermuda’s Economic Substance Act — and pressuring the island to get tough on companies who lack physical presence. That was one of the clear messages to come out of last Friday’s KPMG presentation on the new law, which attracted hundreds of business people to the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club. The Act came into force at the start of this year and is aimed at addressing EU concerns about tax avoidance by multinational corporations. Those conducting relevant economic activities — including banking, insurance, shipping, intellectual property, headquarters and holding companies — will need to submit data to the Registrar of Companies, who will then decide which fail to make the grade. The criteria include “adequate” staffing, premises, core revenue-generating activities and expenditure on island. However, there is still no numeric definition of what adequate means. Those who fall short will receive notice to address their deemed lack of substance and ordered to pay a fine. A second and third notice can follow, with fines rising to a maximum of $250,000. After that the finance minister has the power to refer the case to the courts, which can ultimately strike the offending entity off the register. Will McCallum, managing director and head of tax at KPMG Bermuda, said the Bermuda Government had not yet offered any guidance on what adequate means. Clearly defined metrics on the number of employees and square footage office space that a specific type of company would need were not likely to emerge any time soon, he added. However, more guidance would become available over time and actions by the registrar and responses from the EU would help to clarify where the goalposts were, Mr McCallum said. “The EU is not leaving us alone. They’ll come back to see that this is working,” he said, adding that their clear expectation was that penalties would be imposed on those that failed the substance test. “We know that the goalposts will move. With time it will be clearer what adequate looks like. We don’t have that information now and for a lot of people, that’s a challenge. The phone started ringing for us in mid-December. People wanted to understand the rules better. If you want to know where you sit in the crosshairs, you really have to start thinking about what adequate looks like. I think you would know when you’re completely inadequate, in terms of people, premises and spend on the island.” In February, the EU is set to announce its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. Bermuda will find out then whether its substance legislation is sufficient to stay off it. The good news for Bermuda’s insurance industry is that the EU is comfortable with the requirements of the Insurance Act 1978 as meeting the definition of substance, Mr McCallum said. The Act requires insurers to have their head office in Bermuda and be directed and managed from the island. This effective carve-out from the substance rules for the island’s flagship international commercial insurers and reinsurers gives Bermuda a key advantage over offshore rivals, Mr McCallum said. “This legislation aligns Bermuda with the new way of the world, the new world standard,” Mr McCallum said. “If it keeps us that off the blacklist, then it’s a good thing.” The OECD has indicated that it will adopt the EU standard, meaning that substance rules will likely be required by the world’s richest economies. Mr McCallum’s colleague Michael Penrose, senior manager, KPMG Advisory, gave an update on what other jurisdictions in the same boat were doing, particularly Cayman and the British Virgin Islands, as well as Crown Dependencies Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, all of which have passed their own substance legislation. While Bermuda has about 16,000 international companies on its register, Cayman with 120,000 incorporations and the BVI with 400,000 have a larger-scale issue with substance. The presentation highlighted two categories that will come under particular pressure from the ESA: entities based offshore to hold intellectual property that is licensed to other parts of its corporate group, and holding companies that store equity offshore without revenue-generating activities on island. Offshore companies falling short on substance would face a choice: to ramp up their operations or move elsewhere. The decision would boil down to not only what made economic sense for the company, but also to the jurisdiction’s capability to accommodate their new needs. “Looking across our peers, I can’t imagine a better place to deal with it, with real people with the right experience, infrastructure and physical presence, than Bermuda,. You look at the core industries of our international business sector and there are real, qualified people here doing real stuff.” Outsourcing of core activities can count as substance, the EU conceded in recent months, Mr McCallum said. However, employees of an outsourcing firm would have to be properly qualified to take on the responsibilities outsourced and could not be counted multiple times by multiple companies, Mr McCallum said, adding that it was not yet clear how this would be calculated. One of the EU’s concerns was “that we’re worried that one firm could effectively manage two dozen banks with three people, or their people and their office space could be double counted. The EU wants to know that this a real outsourcing arrangement.” KPMG believes one of the implications could be changes in the corporate services sector and the development of “super CSPs” equipped with experts to carry out the core activities required for a company to meet the substance rules. Mr McCallum gave the example of the island’s shipping sector and the potential for an outsourcer to undertake fleet management. New companies will be subject to the ESA rules immediately. Existing companies will have until July 1, 2019. While six months is a short time for those needing to make fundamental changes to their businesses to comply, Mr McCallum saw extensions to the deadline as unlikely. “Anecdotally, we know that Europe has indicated it would have severe issues with long transition periods,” he said. “So there’s a decent chance that six months is all we’ve got.” Down the pipeline, Mr McCallum said it was likely that the EU would closely monitor enforcement of the ESA and also expected public beneficial ownership register legislation by the end of this year.

paragraphA plan to hire a PR agency to help the Government’s workforce development department boost its image has been dropped. Businesses were asked to submit tenders last October for a campaign designed to generate a better image for the service. A government spokeswoman said: “The Department of Workforce Development has decided not to proceed with the contract regarding a public education and awareness campaign for the department. As such, no vendor was selected. Instead, the department will look to utilize internal resources to promote the department’s services.” The four-month project was due to launch last year and a request for quotation was published on the Government’s website. Companies were invited to submit quotes for a “public education and awareness campaign”. Targets for the scheme included roadshows, career fairs and “at least one positive story” a week in news outlets and social media. The RFQ said the department wanted to “demonstrate to the community that the department was making positive steps to ensure people were employed, trained and certified”. Other aims included improving the public perception and image of the department, improving knowledge of its services and promoting the department as a one-stop career centre. Notes explained that the Department of Workforce Development’s two main roles were training and career development, which covered help to find work. The department also runs an apprenticeship programme and regulates certification standards in four job sectors — electrical, welding, automotive mechanics and landscaping. Vendors were offered the chance to submit tenders between October 23 and November 2, with the campaign due to run from last December until the end of March. In a document added after the RFQ was posted online, one potential provider voiced concerns that the turnaround would be too tight. The vendor asked for clarification on the project’s launch date and said: “We are afraid this will not be enough time for development and planning in order for us to deliver a quality product.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, told MPs in November that the workforce development team was working on a public-relations campaign. She explained in a House of Assembly statement at the time: “It is the intent to continue to collaborate with the Department of Communications to develop a marketing strategy that will support and drive the work of the department. This strategy will focus on greater visibility and engagement with employers and the community through outreach, satellite training, increased education and awareness, career fairs, town hall meetings and social-media campaigns.” Ms Foggo said then a marketing strategy would be completed in December “for immediate implementation”. A government spokeswoman was unable to confirm last week how many submissions were received in response to the RFQ.

paragraphA man called the “personification” of why roadside breath tests were introduced narrowly avoided a prison sentence in Magistrates’ Court today. Fabio Barbosa, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts of refusing a breath test and one count of driving while impaired in relation to three separate incidents. The Pembroke resident also admitted two counts of driving without a valid driver’s licence. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe told Barbosa: “You are the poster child for someone who should be locked up. You have a problem with drinking and then getting in a vehicle and driving whilst impaired. The rest of the unsuspecting public were lucky that you didn’t cause a serious accident.” The court heard Barbosa was first arrested on December 1, 2017, after he drove a motorcycle through the scene of a serious accident on South Road in Paget, despite officers attempting to divert him away from the area. He was later stopped by officers on Southcote Road, where he admitted having “three or four” beers. Barbosa provided police with a breath sample, which showed a lower reading of 82 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrams. The defendant was stopped by police again eight days later as officers carried out vehicle checks on South Road in Devonshire. Barbosa admitted that he didn’t have a driver’s licence for the motorcycle, and officers noticed his breath smelled of alcohol. But he refused to provide police a breath sample and denied drinking. Barbosa was arrested a third time in the early hours of New Year’s Day this year, near the junction of Queen Street and Reid Street in Hamilton. At about 2.40am, officers were conducting roadside sobriety checks in the area when they saw Barbosa approach on a motorcycle. Instead of going through the checkpoint, Barbosa stopped short. He parked the bike on the side of the road, despite difficulty placing in on its stand, and began to walk away from the area. Stopped by the officers, he admitted that he had been drinking and that he did not have a licence. Barbosa then failed to provide a breath sample, both on the scene and at Hamilton Police Station. Prosecutor Larissa Burgess said Barbosa was a danger to himself and others on the road and that a prison sentence would be suitable in the circumstances. But Arion Mapp, duty counsel, argued that an alcohol assessment might be a better option as it was “obvious” Barbosa has an issue with alcohol. Mr Wolffe told Barbosa: “You are the personification of the reason why the roadside sobriety check points were set up. It’s atrocious. Your behavior, sir, is atrocious.” The senior magistrate ordered a drug and alcohol assessment on Barbosa and bailed him to observe Drug Treatment Court this week. He also banned Barbosa from driving all vehicles “until further order from the court”. Mr Wolffe added: “I was close to imprisoning you for at least 12 months just to show you how serious this is.”

paragraphIsland taxi drivers have donated cash to charities for the elderly and terminally ill. The Bermuda Taxi Operators Association picked Age Concern and Friends of Hospice because it was aware its membership was ageing and wanted to donate to organisations that could help them in the future, as well as make a contribution to the broader community. David Frost, president of the BTOA, said: “Several of our drivers are over 75. Anything that pertains to the betterment of our taxi drivers, we would support.” Mr Frost added: “I think my drivers are proud of their association and that we are giving back to something that they may benefit from.” Michael Tuzo, assistant secretary of the BTOA, added: “I think it’s an honour for us. We realize that there are people in need and we are trying to assist in any way we can to help the charities accomplish their goals.” They were speaking after they handed cheques for $500 to the charities. The money was raised through the annual taxi association’s golf tournament last month, which was sponsored by fuel firm Rubis. Angel Smith, of the sales and marketing department at Rubis, said its contribution to the golf tournament was the company’s way of thanking the drivers. She added: “Taxi drivers are one of our biggest clients at the service stations so we wanted to give back.” Robin Sidders, Friends of Hospice executive director, said: “We are delighted and grateful to receive this generous donation from the Bermuda taxi association and to have the support of all their wonderful drivers. All donations received by Friends of Hospice go directly towards supporting Agape House and the many programmes and therapeutic services offered to patients and their loved ones, and also towards our Day Hospice Programme and bereavement services.” Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern, said: “The association has supported us over the years. These funds will be instrumental in day-to-day operations in carrying out vital services for our seniors.” Mr Frost added that the association was now working on a plan to ensure taxi drivers have health insurance in case of illness.

paragraphA whopping 770-pound Atlantic bluefin tuna was brought ashore this weekend by a team of brothers fishing at Challenger Bank. Delvin Bean reeled in the fish on Saturday morning from the charter boat Paradise One captained by his brother, Allan Bean Jr. His advice for landing the giant was: “Take your slow, sweet time and don’t rush it.” He said the fish, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, were plentiful at the bank, a prime spot in the waters 12 miles southwest of the island. “Their population is very healthy,” Mr Bean said. “Right now these fish are migrating, heading north — there are schools of them out there.” The Beans bought Paradise One 12 years ago. “We’ve been on the scene for a long time,” he added. Their return to shore with the colossus brought onlookers flocking to Robinson’s Marina, near Somerset Bridge. But the fish’s ultimate destination was to be divided among the island’s restaurants. At $12 to $13 per pound, the bluefin represented an impressive catch worth more than $9,000. Bluefin are under threat in some parts of the world, but Mr Bean said Bermuda’s waters were doing well. “The market is growing, big time,” he said. “Every year we’re catching more because there are so many out there — this is not a one-off.”

paragraphDiners are invited to help promote island restaurants by sharing video reviews on social media. This year’s Bermuda Restaurant Weeks starts on Thursday and will run until February 3. The Bermuda Tourism Authority released a list last week of 49 eateries taking part in the scheme, which included the East End’s Tempest for the first time. Restaurateurs from across the island will offer two-course lunches at $22 and three-course dinners at fixed-price tiers of $32, $42 and $52. A webpage was launched on Friday to guide diners through the options. People who take part in the offers were asked to share short video testimonials on social media and include #BermudaRW. The BTA can share the best content with visitors, allowing them to see and hear the recommendations of residents. Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer at the authority, said: “Whether it’s on TripAdvisor, Google reviews or on your own social channels, visitors genuinely value the recommendations of locals. “It’s our goal during Bermuda Restaurant Weeks to raise the profile of what locals are saying about where to eat so that visitors benefit from that insider knowledge.” Video reviews with the BermudaRW hashtag should include where the meal was from, what made it memorable and which restaurant the diner would like to visit next. The BTA will choose a “most compelling” poster during each week of the campaign and they will win a restaurant weeks meal. Visitors and locals are eligible to participate as long as their post is public. Diners were also encouraged to vote online in the People’s Choice Award. Only restaurants featuring Bermuda-inspired dishes can qualify for the title so that the island’s food culture is promoted to visitors. Now in its eighth year, Bermuda Restaurant Weeks takes place at this time to enhance the experience of wintertime visitors.

paragraphA fuel firm has donated $5,000 to an ocean education programme for youngsters run by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. Sol Petroleum Bermuda handed the cash to the Ocean Academy marine programme. Kaitlin Noyes, the director of Ocean Academy, said: “The suite of progressive educational opportunities offered is made possible by private support, and we are grateful for Sol Bermuda’s contribution.” The programme was designed to teach children about the island’s marine system through hands-on lessons and improve knowledge in science, technology, engineering and maths education — known as Stem.

paragraphAn athlete struck down by a stroke a year ago is to take part in a grueling three-day sports event to celebrate his battle back to health. Bruce Sinclair, 45, will compete in the Bermuda Triangle Half Challenge, part of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend starting on Friday. The challenge, which will run over three days, includes a mile-long run on Front Street, a ten-kilometer walk, and a half-marathon. Mr Sinclair, a biology teacher at Saltus Grammar School, wants to do the challenge to prove that recovery is possible. He explained: “I wanted to show my kids that you can face adversity in life and overcome it. I also wanted to do it for other people who may have had an illness in their life and show them that if you put your mind to something, you can do it.” Mr Sinclair, from Warwick, is a keen runner and has competed in marathons during May 24 and Race Weekend. But his active lifestyle came to a halt when he suffered an ischemic stroke — a blockage in blood vessels running to the brain — at the end of January last year. He said: “I woke up and I felt a wave go down my right side. I lost vision in my right eye and I lost all feeling in my right side. I knew right away what had happened.” He spent almost two weeks in hospital before his sight and feeling came back. He spent another three months recovering at home before he was able to go back to work. He said: “My memory was so foggy that at one point I got lost in my own kitchen. I was thankful because I could still move, but the trauma caused complete numbness and lack of sensation.” He started running again in September as a way to give himself a “safe goal to train for”. He explained: “By the end of September when it started to cool I thought OK, let’s start pushing and see if we can get the mileage up a little higher, By the end of October, I thought ‘I think doing the half triangle will be our goal’.” Mr Sinclair has trained for the race by running every other day by himself and with the Mid Atlantic Athletic Club’s track team. Since he started training, other people who have suffered strokes have come to him for advice and support. He said: “I know a triathlete in Spain who suffered a stroke two weeks ago and my best friend knew of this woman and straight away he put her husband in contact with me. This couple contacted me and there were just all these questions they had, like ‘why? How? What’s next? What about this test?’.” Mr Sinclair said that the key to coping with a stroke and other illnesses is patience and time. He added: “I don’t by any means profess to be the first person to do something like this, but I think that if I can set an example for my kids or some of my friends or colleagues then maybe they can say ‘OK, maybe we can fight through something that is hard. It’s not a superhuman thing that I’m doing, it’s just something that you have to try hard to do.”

paragraphA ground-breaking ceremony for an $11 million technology centre has been celebrated at Bermuda High School. Linda Parker, head of the school, said the start of construction was an important milestone. Ms Parker added: “This ambitious project was envisioned in response to the local and global need for more girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in combination with the arts. We have a responsibility to prepare our students for the jobs of today, as well as to anticipate future trends.” The school’s new Innovation Centre will prepare pupils for careers in science and technology-based subjects. The 15,000 sq ft centre, which will be built on part of a car park behind the school on land donated by the Bank of Butterfield, will include five new science labs, two computer science labs, and a leadership centre for girls. The centre was designed by architectural firm Linberg & Simmons in collaboration with education architects from Gensler in the United States. The Butterfield building next door will be renovated to house the new Arts Wing. Construction firm BCM McAlpine will oversee building work, which is scheduled to be completed by autumn 2020. Ms Parker said Grosvenor Tucker, the school’s founder, would have supported the construction of a “cathedral of learning”. She added: “Were she alive today, I believe that she would find this new direction entirely in keeping with her vision to provide the very best education for girls.” Catherine Hollingsworth, deputy head of the school, said that the school had done well to prepare pupils for higher education and the workforce. But she added: “Times are changing.” Ms Hollingsworth said the centre would encourage collaboration and communication skills in pupils. She added: “They are the students that we are going to be able to develop much better with our new building.” Ms Hollingsworth said the centre was designed to be “the heart of the school”. Mariette Savoie, school board chairwoman, said the groundbreaking was a “very special moment” for the school. She said that $10.7 million had already been raised to pay for the new building. Ms Savoie told donors: “Your gifts allow BHS to keep alive its promise to help bring the very best education for girls in Bermuda.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said the new building was an example of “what can be achieved when the community and private sector works with education to achieve a goal on behalf of our children”. He added: “I would very much like to see more of these types of partnerships with education across the island.” Mr Rabain said that technology was an important part of education. He added that technical subjects were male-dominated, but insisted “that trend is rapidly changing”. Mr Rabain said: “Young girls across the island are showing their interest in the field and taking their place in these types of industries. For this, I am extremely happy.”

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paragraphA British attempt to force overseas territories to produce public registers of beneficial company ownership has sparked a war of words in the UK’s House of Commons. Dame Margaret Hodge, a Labour MP who helped to lead a cross-party alliance of MPs that won a promise from the Conservative government that it would introduce an order to enforce the requirement, claimed the lists were expected to be in place by 2020. But that has been delayed by three years. Dame Margaret spoke out after Lord Ahmad, the UK minister responsible for overseas territories, told a foreign affairs committee hearing last month that any required territory without a public register by next year, would be issued with an Order in Council instructing it to have such a list in operation by 2023. The Guardian newspaper reported that Dame Margaret said: “This new timetable is a sleight of hand and an attempt to ignore the clear will of Parliament. It was clear not that that order in council should be introduced in 2020, but the public register. We will have to consider what steps are taken to restore what was intended.” Chris Bryant, a Labour member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, added: “This timetable is not what Parliament thought they were getting when they discussed this. The Government has dragged its heels on this issue and this seems yet another unjustified delay. It’s as if the Government has become the department for procrastination.” Bermuda has resisted calls for a public register of beneficial ownership and David Burt, the Premier, earlier said the Government’s position was that the island would implement such a list “when it is a global standard”. The island has maintained a register of beneficial ownership — available to authorities in other countries on request — for decades but it is not open to the public. At a Foreign Affairs oral evidence session last month, Lord Ahmad said it was up to the UK Government to make an Order in Council but explained there were different constitutional arrangements across the Overseas Territories. He added: “For example, in Bermuda there is a legal issue there whereby ... the Order In Council may well have to be instituted by the territory itself.” Lord Ahmad admitted it was unlikely public registers of beneficial ownership would become the global standard within four years. He told the session: “In terms of, from a global perspective, whether there will be a level playing field by 2023, as I said, that is an objective — an ambition we’ve set ourselves. But, in my personal view, whether we will see every territory across the world having public registers by 2023, I don’t think that will be the case.”

paragraphThe island’s new winter bus schedule has hit another bump in the road. Fresh talks were held yesterday amid staff concerns about the off-season schedule, which was due to be introduced on Monday. That deadline was pushed back two weeks to January 21, but has again been postponed. Glenn Simmons, of the Bermuda Industrial Union, told The Royal Gazette: “We are not totally resolved, but we are still in the works trying to work things out.” Mr Simmons declined to discuss the specific concerns of unionized Department of Public Transportation staff. He added: “We are trying our best to come up with something very viable for the general public of Bermuda and our tourists, our seniors and everybody as a working class, working with the DPT team as well as the minister of transport.” Mr Simmons was speaking after he met Zane DeSilva, the transport minister, Roger Todd, director of the DPT, and ministry officials at the BIU headquarters in Hamilton. Mr DeSilva hoped any problems with the new timings, which took 17 years to agree, would be resolved. He added: “I appreciate the work that Roger Todd has put in along with the union and I’m hopeful that we will come to a happy space.” The meeting came one week after the implementation of the schedule was delayed. Mr Todd said at the time it had been pushed back to “ensure that all relevant stakeholders and the general public were well informed of the scheduling change”. The new schedule was announced in the middle of last month, when it was claimed it would cut down on cancellations because of bus shortages. Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, said it was a “great day”. He added: “It’s taken 17 years for us to devise the new bus schedule.” The present schedule, which has been in place since 2001, has suffered cancellations for months because of the island’s ageing and unreliable fleet of buses. The new winter schedule will run for one year. Mr Todd said when the new timetable was launched that the schedule’s performance would “be assessed and adjustments made as required”. A government spokeswoman said last night that the DPT and BIU were trying to address concerns about bus rosters that included multiple night shifts. She explained: “Meetings held today between the DPT and BIU led to a better understanding of the night work issues — an area of much uncertainty and contention in the past. While the effective date for the bus schedule is no longer January 21, 2019, the 2019 winter bus schedule will remain unchanged. More information regarding a new effective date will be forthcoming.” She added: “The DPT and the BIU look forward to making necessary changes as soon as possible that will position the bus service to better serve the public.” The spokeswoman said the timetable could be viewed online gov.bm/bus.

paragraphA third man has been arrested in connection with a gun murder outside a Christmas party at a sports club. Police said yesterday that the 23-year-old had been taken into custody and appealed for more witnesses to come forward. A police spokesman added: “The investigating team continues to encourage anyone with information regarding this matter to contact them or provide the information confidentially.” Ronniko Burchall, 30, from Pembroke, was shot as he stood outside St David’s County Cricket Club at about 1.40am on December 29. He died in hospital the next day. Police said later that a 24-year-old man and a 31-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the incident. The police spokesman added: “Officers are particularly keen to speak with anyone who may have information on the suspects, their movements, or the firearm used. Detectives are still tracing the movements of the suspects and analyzing evidence that has come into their possession through the course of the investigation.” The Serious Crime Unit can be contacted at 247-1739, or information can be provided through the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.

paragraphStephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, has announced the promotion of sergeants Dennis Astwood, Karema Flood, Darren Glasford, Shakisha Minors, Ronald Taylor and Kenten Trott to the post of Inspector. All six were promoted by Mr Corbishley before family, friends and colleagues, at a ceremony held in the Police Recreation Club hall at Prospect in Devonshire yesterday. Inspector Dennis Astwood is married with two children, amassed 31 years’ service in the Bermuda Police Service, having joined in 1987 as a police cadet, and appointed as a police constable in 1989. He served in many ways and won numerous awards. Inspector Karema Flood began her career with the Bermuda Reserve Police in 2000, serving for a year. She became a full time police officer in 2001 and has had the privilege of being posted within various departments. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Global Business Management in addition to certificates in leadership and management. She is the recipient of numerous Merit Awards and Letters of Good Work. Throughout her career she has completed several training courses locally and overseas. Inspector Darren Glasford, commonly known as “Shakee” has 32 years of policing experience. He joined the Bermuda Police Service in 1987 as a cadet and became a Police Constable in 1989. Inspector Shakisha Minors commenced her career with the Bermuda Police Service in 2000 as a cadet. She became a Police Constable in 2001 and progressed her diverse career working in Eastern, Western and Central Uniform, Police Support Unit, Narcotics Unit, Gang Targeting Unit, Training School and Community Action Team. Inspector Minors’ new posting is second in command of the eastern parishes (Community Policing Division). Inspector Ronald Taylor joined the Bermuda Police Service in 2000, having previously served in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for 11 years. He is married to a Bermudian and has three children. He has 30 years of policing experience. Inspector Kenten Trott has been a police officer for 11 years, joining in April 2007. He was on recruit foundation course 69 and graduated receiving the Baton of Honour and Academic Award.

paragraphA single mom who worked two jobs to pay for her education was Called to the Bermuda Bar yesterday. Now she has rejoined the law firm where she once worked as a secretary as a barrister. Keeka Simons, 34, fought back tears at Supreme Court as she thanked friends and family who supported her as she battled to qualify as a lawyer. She said: “If there’s anything I learnt from this, I have learnt that life doesn’t always go according to plan. But she added: “I learnt that delay is not denial.” Ms Simons wanted to study law in the US, where she lived at the time, but was forced to put her legal aspirations on hold and return to Bermuda with her 11-year-old son, Jaden. She started work as a secretary at Hamilton legal firm Trott & Duncan in 2009 but spent her evenings working at MarketPlace’s A1 store in Smith’s to make ends meet. Ms Simons said: “It was just the way it was and with the little I had, I did what I could.” She later enrolled in a London-based online programme to earn her law degree. Ms Simons told the court she worked at Trott & Duncan until 5.15pm, at A1 from 6pm to 10pm then studied as late as 4am before her day started all over again. She said: “This was my routine for many years.” Ms Simons added: “I’m sure there are a few people who can attest that I either cried before every exam or had a full-blown panic attack.” But her hard work paid off and she earned a University of Law in London degree in 2016 after she passed all her exams at the first attempt. Ms Simons was able afterwards — with the support of a $10,000 scholarship from Trott & Duncan and a bursary from MarketPlace — to continue her studies overseas. She earned her master’s degree in law in 2017 from the College of Law, also in London, and completed her pupilage. Ms Simons said her parents’ work ethic had helped inspire her dedication and her sisters had been a constant support. And she told Jaden: “You are by far the most brilliant and understanding son a mother could ask for.” Delroy Duncan, director and head of litigation at Trott & Duncan, said Ms Simons embodied Bermudian grit. “She has travelled what is nothing short of a journey and, to her credit, not all would have finished it. She has really done well. I’m not sure many could walk in her shoes — I doubt I could.” Mr Duncan also praised Ms Simons for her loyalty and single-mindedness and added that he was happy to have her join his firm. Karen Williams-Smith, director and head of family law at Trott & Duncan, said Ms Simons was determined and willing to ask for help when needed. She said: “She felt sometimes the world was against her, but I tried to encourage her along the way. She managed to study while working, using all the lawyers in the litigation department as her personal tutors.” Chief Justice Narinder Hargun welcomed Ms Simons to the Bar and congratulated her on her achievement. He said: “Certainly you have worked very hard and your story is genuinely touching.”

paragraphMore than 20 people have kicked up a stink about a controversial dairy farm accused of polluting the atmosphere with bad smells and flies in less than a month. But one of the farm’s owners insisted that “vast improvements” had been made. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that 76 complaints had been logged against Green Land Dairy Farm in Smith’s since the middle of last month. She added that the complaints — which related to the smell and flies from the Store Hill farm — were filed by 24 neighbours. The spokeswoman was speaking after the Government issued a reminder this week that complaints about the farm from neighbours should be made online. She said that the notice was issued after “persistent reports” about the smell of the property “which neighbours say interferes with use of their properties”. The spokeswoman added: “Meetings are ongoing with the farmers and the neighbours.” Local resident John-Paul Doughty said that he had logged “approximately six” complaints since December 15. He said they were sparked by “the smell of sewage pertaining to animal waste and an incredible numbers of flies”. Mr Doughty added: “It has been going on for close to two years now with no improvement.” He placed blame for the smell on the property’s open manure pit. Mr Doughty added: “I would like to see enforcement action and an inquest into why planning permission was granted for what is essentially an open sewer.” Emma Leitch has made two complaints in the last two weeks. Ms Leitch said that she filed both reports due to an “overwhelming and persistent stench” as her children played in the backyard. She added: “It made me so nauseated that I had to bring the kids inside and close all my windows and doors. I could not stand to be outside in that smell.” Ms Leitch agreed with Mr Doughty that the situation had not improved. She added: “The pit of manure still exists. And while the smell isn’t constant, you know that a shift in the wind could bring it at any time, which makes it hard to plan outdoor events at our home.” Ms Leitch said the online complaints form was a “good start” by Government. But she added that residents needed to be updated on what steps the Government and the farm were taking to tackle complaints. Ms Leitch said: “Ultimately, both the residents and the farmers deserve guidelines on what level of nuisance is and is not acceptable. Families’ rental incomes and housing values are being impacted because of decisions the new dairy owners made and they shouldn’t bear the costs of someone else’s business.” Lidia and Valter Medeiros, who have owned the farm since 2014, have faced pressure to reduce the smell of manure. Ms Medeiros said yesterday that “vast improvements” had been made. She added that the farm had been using enzymes since December 2017 that had “been doing a very effective job”. Ms Medeiros said: “The intense ammonia odor has gone and now only a farm smell is experienced.” She said that the manure pit was emptied “often”. Ms Medeiros added: “We invite anyone to come to the farm, walk around the building and pit and I will guarantee you there is very little odor, no flies, and I haven’t seen one rat on my farm yet.” She said that the farm had a “great relationship” with some of its closest neighbours. “None of the consistent complainers have come to visit the farm to see and smell for themselves. There are a select few neighbours, and we know who they are, that are just continuing to exaggerate the smell until we are driven out.” She said that the Government should be “ashamed” at the way it had handled the controversy. “They should be helping the farmers on this island — instead they are acting on hearsay and online forms that can be manipulated to suit the individual’s agenda.” She said that the Government had approached the farm with two ideas for the pit — but that neither was suitable. Ms Medeiros added: “We can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a system for the pit but the farm will always smell — therefore neighbours will continue to complain.”

• Residents with concerns about the farm can submit a report using the Farm Nuisance Report Form on the Government’s website at gov.bm/public-health-nuisances-pollution-and-outbreak-control- programme.

paragraphA 74-year-old woman who died after a fire in her apartment was yesterday identified by police as Cheryl Eve. Ms Eve, the sister of LaVerne Furbert, a trade union official and former Progressive Labour Party senator, was found unconscious by a relative at her home in Verdmont Valley Drive, Smith’s, at about 5pm on Thursday. Emergency services personnel tried to resuscitate Ms Eve at the scene and in an ambulance on the way to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but she was pronounced dead by doctors after her arrival at the hospital. A police spokesman said: “The scene has been processed by the relevant police personnel, and inquiries continue regarding the cause of Ms Eve’s death as well as the cause of the fire.”

paragraphA show tonight to highlight the talent of a Bermudian actress who has performed in London’s West End has been postponed until March. Candace Furbert was due to have performed at the Ruth Seaton James Centre at CedarBridge Academy in Memoirs of the Entertainer tonight and tomorrow but was forced to call off because of illness. Ms Furbert said that the shows would take place on March 29 and 30 instead. She added that tickets already bought will be honoured for the later dates. For more information or to change ticket dates, e-mail ofurbert@hotmail.com. Tickets for the shows are available at bdatix.bm

paragraphA container ship bound for Mexico is expected to be met off the coast of Bermuda tonight after a crew member suffered a suspected broken ankle. The Polar Mexico was traveling from Bremerhaven, Germany, to the port city of Altamira when the 46-year-old was injured. A Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre duty officer said a call was received at about 7.30am yesterday when the vessel was 800 miles east of the island. It was thought the Polish crewman had suffered a compound fracture to his left ankle. The ship was expected to be met by the pilot boat St David off the east end of the island at 10pm this evening so the injured man can be brought on shore. He will be taken by ambulance to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

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paragraphBermuda is confident it has done what is required to address the European Union’s concerns about the economic substance of companies registered on the island. The Government of Bermuda has also revealed an incentive programme to make the island more attractive to companies that might be impacted by the new law’s requirements. The stakes are high. Bermuda has many thousands of registered companies, and those that have little or no actual presence on the island must now change that situation or face penalties, as prescribed in the Economic Substance Act 2018, passed by Parliament last month. The worry that some of the thousands of companies likely to be affected might go elsewhere, causing economic loss for the island, is being addressed with proposed incentives that involve work permit policy and payroll tax concessions. The aim of these is to encourage companies to increase their economic presence here and create jobs and opportunities. But when does a company have economic substance in Bermuda, and when does it not? The Government believes it has the answer, even if the requirements in the Act appear indistinct. Time will tell if the EU agrees, and its answer may come as soon as next month. To comply with Bermuda’s economic substance requirements, a company must be managed and directed from Bermuda and its core income-generating activities be undertaken here. Also, it should have “adequate” premises and employees on the island, and “adequate” expenditure incurred in Bermuda in relation to its activity. What constitutes “adequate” will be assessed by the Registrar of Companies. The Royal Gazette asked why there were no specific metrics included in the Act. Curtis Dickinson, Minister of Finance, said: “Companies based here will be required to make submissions to the Registrar of Companies. An assessment will be made based on the terms of their substance, based on the data they provide to us around revenue, employees, activity generated domestically. Then we will evaluate whether economic substance criteria has been met.” When asked if there will be defined economic substance metrics in the future, he said: “Eventually there will be. This has been a bit of a moving target for us and other jurisdictions with respect for the EU’s criteria for what it is they wanted. The EU will transmit to us whether something is substantive or not, and we will make the necessary adjustments.” The economic substance situation stems from efforts by the EU to curb harmful tax practices, and to secure co-operation from jurisdictions with low or zero rates of corporate income. Bermuda is one of 13 countries and jurisdictions identified by the EU in 2017 as having tax regimes that facilitate offshore structures which attract profits without real economic activity. The island committed to addressing the concerns relating to economic substance by the end of last year. Passing the Economic Substance Act was a move aimed at keeping Bermuda off any EU list of non-compliant jurisdictions. Being on such a list would have negative implications for the island’s status as an international business centre. The Government has high hopes that the Act will find favour in Brussels. If it does not, it is not immediately clear what comes next. The Royal Gazette asked what would happen if the EU said the Act is not acceptable. “We haven’t contemplated that. We think we have done what we are required to do to meet the standard,” Mr Dickinson said. Among the other countries and jurisdictions facing the same economic substance issues, and committed to addressing EU’s concerns, are Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Mr Dickinson said Bermuda is trying to get its hands on the economic substance legislation the other jurisdictions have created. He added: “We have worked with a broad group of industry players and have been guided by some of their insights. But we expect that at some point once the EU makes its decision everyone’s information will be available to us.” When questioned on what resources the Government will need in place to deal with the additional requirements of the Act, he said: “We will need to have incremental resources deployed in the Registrar of Companies. This is all very new and we are trying to come to terms with what additional complement of people we will require. But at a minimum it will require some additional people at the Registrar of Companies.” Mr Dickinson also said some work has been done on best-case and worst-case scenarios for Bermuda, in relation to the potential impact of the economic substance requirements on companies registered here. “There has been some work done on that, but I don’t feel comfortable disclosing that information,” he said. “We won’t know until people make decisions about whether they want to establish substance here or not.” Explaining the proposed incentives to keep companies affected by the Act in Bermuda, and encourage job creation, Mr Dickinson said the new EU Economic Incentive Programme includes the New Business Work Permit Policy, which is already in place, together with payroll tax relief. “The Government’s plan encourages and rewards investment in Bermuda’s economy, encourages businesses already here to expand and stay, and our tax incentives will encourage job creation.” He also said: “The Government understands that the two things foremost in the minds of most Bermudians are jobs and the protection of Bermudian opportunities within our own country. Closed or restricted job categories such as a front office receptionist, or which are entry level, graduate or trainee positions, will remain closed and continue to be protected, giving Bermudians the opportunity to earn employment in the new jobs created by these companies.” Mr Dickinson said many Bermudians had lost such positions during the recession, and the Government “is committed to working with these companies to ensure that unemployed and underemployed Bermudians will be ready and able to fill these posts”. The minister spoke at a press conference where he was joined by a number of the island’s business leaders. The New Business Work Permit Policy has been in place since 2012, and allows an exempted company that is new to Bermuda to receive automatic approval of work permits for the first six months of obtaining its first new business permit. There is eligibility criteria, such as a business must be directed and managed from Bermuda, and it must show that it has adequate personnel and expenditure undertaken on island “thus creating jobs and opportunities within new or existing businesses offering support services”. Mr Dickinson said the policy will include exempted companies already registered in Bermuda without employees and any new exempted company that decides to set-up in Bermuda with employees. Businesses that need more than ten work permits within the first six months of operation will be required to present their Bermuda office staffing plan to the minister. In May, the Government granted medium and large companies a three-year employer payroll tax concession for additional jobs created in Bermuda. Mr Dickinson said: “With respect to this programme, the concession will last for two years and extend to companies that create or transfer jobs to Bermuda.” He thanked a number of organisations for their support, including the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the Association of Bermuda International Companies, Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, and government technical officers, and added: “Our goal is to have more companies and more jobs based in Bermuda, providing more employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bermudians.”

paragraphThe island’s gambling regulator has refused to release details about its finances and played its cards close to its chest on other documents in its possession. The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission stonewalled a request from The Royal Gazette to release details of its income and expenditure for the last two financial years under the Public Access to Information Act. The taxpayer-funded commission rejected the request and claimed records of its finances were exempted from disclosure because they contained information “given by a third party in confidence, on the understanding that it would be treated as confidential”. The BCGC also refused to give details of how much it spent on a successful legal bid to silence Richard Schuetz, the commission’s former executive director, after he resigned. Mr Schuetz said at the time he feared that Bermuda would “prove incapable of keeping people with questionable backgrounds and behaviors away from” the island’s gambling industry. The decision to withhold the information requested, appealed to Cheryl-Ann Mapp, the BCGC chairwoman, means taxpayers have no up-to-date information on how the commission has spent the millions of dollars it has been given over four years. The regulator, whose office is on Church Street, has been given at least $5.4 million of taxpayers’ cash since it was set up in 2015. The BCGC was handed $1.3 million in its first year and a further $2.5 million in the 2016-17 financial year. Nothing was budgeted for 2017-18, but soon after winning power in the July 2017 General Election, David Burt, the Premier, revealed that the public would have to cough up $1.6 million in operational expenses that year. The commission was again allocated no money in this year’s Budget. Questions to the Government about whether it is likely to receive public funding in 2018-19 were not answered by press time. The BCGC is expected, in time, to be funded entirely by fees for casino licences, as operators will pay $600,000 to apply and then $1.4 million if they are awarded a provisional licence. Operators who make it through to the final stage will have to pay a further $1 million casino licence issue fee. Several hotels have made an initial application, but only one — Hamilton Princess & Beach Club — is known to have been granted a provisional licence, and critics have questioned why the island’s fledgling casino industry is taking so long to get up and running. Ms Mapp replaced former chairman Alan Dunch in November 2017. Mr Dunch resigned after the Government tabled legislation to oust him and place BCGC under ministerial control. The commission has had no executive director since Mr Schuetz left the island in December 2017 and his six-figure salary post is understood to have been advertised at least three times since then. The Royal Gazette’s Pati request asked for:

• Details of the commission’s income and expenditure for 2017-18 and 2018-19 to date

• The total amount spent on legal fees for the civil case against Mr Schuetz

• Any and all memorandums of understanding that the commission has or has had with outside agencies and details of any that have been terminated

• Details of any agreements the commission has with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission

• The consultancy agreement BCGC has with George Rover, the former deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

The commission’s information officer said details of spending on the civil action against Mr Schuetz were exempted from disclosure because they could affect the commercial interests “of any person to whom the information relates” and could prejudice contract or other negotiations. The commission was represented by Joseph Giret QC, then with Hamilton-based legal firm Wakefield Quin. The BCGC official said the record with the amount spent on legal fees was given to the BCGC by the law firm “in confidence on the understanding that it would be treated as confidential”. The official added that all the other records requested were exempted as they contained information given to the commission in confidence. Ms Mapp has until January 22 to decide if BCGC was right to withhold the records. If she upholds the refusal, The Royal Gazette can apply to the island’s independent information commissioner for a review. The BCGC has also rejected earlier requests from The Royal Gazette for the minutes of its meetings and communications it had with the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee. It also failed to disclose records it held about Bermuda’s betting shops and insisted the information formed part of deliberations involving the commission and the Government. The BCGC, under the Casino Gaming Act 2014, has to submit its audited financial statements and accounts to the Government every year so they can be tabled in Parliament. A spokesman for the House of Assembly said last night that it appeared that no BCGC financial statements had been tabled. A spokeswoman for Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for the gambling industry, said: “The BCGC, like all other public authorities, are required to present their financial statements to the legislature after the statements have been audited. It would be inappropriate for the ministry to comment on a specific public access to information request as this matter would be addressed in accordance with the provisions of the Public Access to Information Act.”

paragraphMore than 60 overseas competitors have signed up for the Bermuda Triple Challenge, the organisers said yesterday. Jason Correia, the co-director of the event, said more than 100 visitors are expected to participate in the obstacle course race, to be held in March. Mr Correia said, “We got close to 100 visitors in 2018 and are hopeful we will surpass 100 in 2019.” He said a partnership with Mud Run Guide, the leading media outlet in the obstacles course racing “is evolving this unique grassroots, local charity event into one of, if not the most, talked-about international race within the obstacle course racing community”. He added that extra overseas competitors would also mean “more charitable dollars for Bermuda and more heads in our hotels’ beds”. Individuals and teams of two to five people will navigate obstacles ranging from scaling a bus and race round the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s assault course. The competitors will also have to negotiate a 300ft water-slide and a zip line in a bid to win cash prizes for their chosen charities. Organisers said all the obstacles were optional and that participants could opt for burpees as an alternative penalty exercise instead. A unique scoring system which combines finishing times and charitable funds raised will determine the Bermuda Triple Challenge’s $1,000 top prize winner. James Holloway, race co-director said: “The unique scoring format allows for anyone to win, not just the fastest teams or individuals. The more charitable funds raised the better positioned participants are to win,” Mr Holloway said. “Also, each $500 increment of raised funds earns up to three obstacle wild cards which can be used by participants to skip, without penalty, any non-mandatory obstacle, including its queue, over the weekend, saving valuable time on route.” Also for the first time, the corporate division’s fight to determine which companies can field the fittest team will see the winning firm choose which charity will get its $1,000 prize. The Bermuda Triple Challenge kicks off at 7pm on March 15 with the Argus Urban Foot Race through St George, followed by a community block party with DJ Chubb and a bouncy castle. The Royal Bermuda Regiment will host the Sun Life International Island Challenge on Saturday morning, with a family-style barbecue organized by the regiment and Butterfield & Vallis afterwards. Sunday’s finale will see participants in an all-out assault on The Royal Naval Dockyard and Casemates Prison in the Chubb Royal Challenge, followed by the Buzz/Butterfield & Vallis appreciation brunch. All the funds raised will be donated to six Bermudian youth-based charities: WindReach, The Centre Against Abuse, The Reading Clinic, The Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies, Tomorrow’s Voices and Raleigh Bermuda. A total of $333,000 has been raised for Bermudian charities in the eight years the challenge has been run. Mr Holloway said this year’s event would not have been possible without its regular sponsors. He said: “All this would not be possible without our returning sponsors, so thank you very much Argus, Chubb, Sun Life Financial International, Butterfield & Vallis, Buzz, the Royal Bermuda Regiment and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.” To register for the event, which will run from March 15 to 17, visit bdatriplechallenge.com. 

paragraphA top hotel has boosted the island’s fishing industry with a massive increase in the amount of Bermudian-caught seafood used in its dishes. The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club bought 10,802lbs of seafood from island fishermen last year, up more than 4,000lbs on the 6,634lbs logged for 2017. The hotel increased its investment in locally grown produce and ingredients and in the fishing industry last year by increasing its spending on Bermudian products by 108 per cent. Tim Morrison, general manager of the hotel, said: “We are pleased to be able to invest in local fishermen and farmers who provide us with the freshest and most delicious ingredients for our restaurants. With the finest ingredients, we can create incredible memories and Bermudian experiences for our guests.” A spokeswoman for the hotel said the increase in the use of island-sourced produce underlined its commitment to support Bermudian businesses. The Hamilton Princess also bought a wide range of domestic farm items such as honey, potatoes, lettuce and basil. The hotel also increased its support for the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences’ bid to reduce the number of invasive lionfish in Bermuda’s waters by buying more fish from the organisation. The lionfish were used as a part of a special menu throughout the year. Fishermen said they were happy with the support they received from the hotel. Stephen Cabral added: “We’re thrilled to be strengthening our ties to Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and its restaurants. The hotel has an incredible reputation for delivering fresh and delicious food and we are pleased that some of this is down to the freshness of the fish that we deliver right to Marcus’ dock.” Scott Tucker, founder of Bermy Fresh, said: “We are proud to supply Hamilton Princess & Beach Club with shoots, sprouts and herbs for their incredible chefs to use at their restaurants. The hotel recognizes that the best food comes from the freshest ingredients and we appreciate their commitment to local producers.” Local farmers that benefited from increased spending include Bee Lovers’ Beekeeping, Bermy Fresh, J&J Produce, Tucker’s Farm and Wadson’s Farm.

paragraphCalvin Lynch, a daredevil TV cameraman with a passion for speedboats, has died. Mr Lynch was 70. Rick Richardson, the former chief executive at the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, said Mr Lynch was a meticulous photojournalist who “liked to live dangerously on weekends”. He said: “Cal was there when I was in charge of news; his concentration was news and sports and he brought a great dedication, energy and commitment to the job every day. He was a total team player, who literally bounced in to work. Cal was fun, and brought that camaraderie and atmosphere to the job.” Mr Richardson said Mr Lynch loved powerboats and motocross as well as racing catamarans. The veteran newsman added: “He used to go out in these huge catamarans that would get up to amazing speed on Ferry Reach and rise virtually out of the water.” The racing community was stunned in August 1981 when Ken Dear, one of the island’s top racers, lost his life in a 100mph catamaran accident on Ferry Reach in St George’s. Mr Richardson said a few years later, colleagues had feared the worst when Mr Lynch was injured in a similar crash on the same stretch of water. He explained: “Cal was thrown out of a catamaran that flipped and went airborne. Many of us thought that was the end of him.” Mr Richardson said he rushed to the hospital “expecting a downtrodden Cal, and what I found was a smiling Cal concerned about his family”. He said Mr Lynch was “devoted” to his wife, Angelia Onley-Lynch, as well as their children Calais and Cylah. Mr Richardson added: “He was an amazing, bubbly man, but if he felt people weren’t measuring up, he let you know.” Mr Lynch’s TV camera career spanned decades, from the 1970s to the 2000s. Yesterday, past and present colleagues at Bermuda Broadcasting said Mr Lynch was a pleasure to work with. Darlene Livingston, Bermuda Broadcasting’s morning news anchor, said Mr Lynch “embraced his job and enjoyed the outdoor side of the work”. She said: “He was a water sports guy who competed in powerboat racing and the around-the-island races even after he left broadcasting; he later started a new career at Marine and Ports. We knew that he had some health challenges. We were very saddened to learn of his passing.” Jannell Ford, a veteran broadcaster, added Mr Lynch was a “news gatherer and cameraman who took immense pride in his work, which was always to a very high standard”. Ms Ford said: “He also expected those working with him to perform to a high standard. He was easygoing and always had a big smile on his face.” She added that Mr Lynch “enjoyed mentoring those of us just entering the industry. He was a joy to work with and will be missed.” Al Seymour, a former broadcaster, said Mr Lynch had been “remarkable in that he never left his smile at home and was full of enthusiasm, no matter the assignment. Apart from being a good cameraman, he was also skilled in editing pieces for the evening news. There were times we would get an interview where someone would talk as though they were the only item on the news that night. Cal would look at me afterwards with that smile and say, ‘don’t worry; I know what to do’. I never had to say another word. He was more than a good cameraman. He was a super guy who will be missed and remembered for a great smile that the world needs more of these days.”

paragraphA woman died after a house fire yesterday, police confirmed last night. The 74-year-old victim was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital after she was found unconscious, but later pronounced dead. Sergeant Allan Wilkinson of the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Services said: “There wasn’t a lot of extensive fire damage, although there was a lot of smoke damage. It appears to have started in the kitchen ... it was pretty smoke-logged throughout the apartment.” The fire happened at an apartment on Verdmont Valley Drive in Smith’s about 5pm. Residents in the area said they were shocked to see fire service crews at the house as they returned home from work. One said: “I had no idea what was going on.” A woman said she heard sirens, but was not aware the blaze was on her own street. She added: “That’s awful; this is a quiet neighborhood, very family orientated.” A police spokesman said: “An investigation regarding the circumstances of this sudden death, as well as the cause of the fire is under way by the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Services.” He said no further information about the woman would be provided until next of kin were notified. A BFRS spokesman said medics and firefighters had given first aid before the woman was taken to hospital. He added: “Fire personnel also ventilated the heavily smoke logged apartment.”

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paragraphDigital asset services firm Bittreo plans to move its operations to Bermuda, according to Premier David Burt’s Twitter account. The company was founded in 2017 in Canada and was originally known as Vancouver Bitcoin, a retail cryptocurrency brokerage. Bittreo IP Ltd was incorporated in Bermuda on November 30 last year, the Registrar of Companies website shows. Mr Burt’s Twitter feed yesterday stated: “Yesterday I welcomed Malcolm Weed and Yum Kasukawa, co-founders of Bittreo, to the Cabinet Office to hear their plans to move their operations to Bermuda.” Bittreo says on its website that it “provides financial services and products for digital assets”. Mr Weed re-tweeted Mr Burt’s message, adding: “Thank you to Bermuda and to Premier David Burt for being great hosts. We had a great meeting around the current fintech legislation on the island and how Bittreo’s road map can fit into it as 2019 unfolds. We look forward to a close working relationship.”

paragraphBermuda’s national security minister hit back at allegations of insensitivity after he released gun crime statistics just days after the island’s latest murder. Wayne Caines said that “nothing could be farther from the truth”. He added: “Any loss of life is significant and hurts our entire community.” Mr Caines was speaking in a response to Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, who criticized the timing of the release of the figures. Mr Crockwell said the release was “a knee-jerk reaction and response” to a call from community activists the week before for a fresh approach to the battle against serious crime. Mr Crockwell also questioned the timing of the release just days after the gun murder of Ronniko Burchall, 30, on December 29. He said: “There was a young man who was just laid to rest. Is this something that they should be bragging about now? Will you take these stats to the young man’s family at this time? I think not.” Mr Caines said that had met Mr Burchall’s family last weekend. He added: “I shared the key statistics with them as well as other key pieces of information prior to the statistics and plan going public.” Mr Caines said that he released the figures because some community leaders had questioned the Government’s approach to the fight against gang culture “in light of the most recent upswing in violence. We released key elements of the plan which included some statistics.” Mr Crockwell also asked for more regular updates on the Government’s anti-gang work. Mr Caines said three ministerial statements and three press releases had been released in the last eight months which contained “significant updates”. Mr Caines added that ten public meetings had also been held, as well as a recent hour-long radio interview, and that a meeting had been held in July with several community leaders. He told Mr Crockwell: “We shared our plans, we provided updates and gave the areas for growth and areas that we need support and improvement. You were invited, but for reasons unclear to me, you did not attend.” Mr Crockwell said yesterday that he had met Mr Caines prior to the community leaders meeting and shared ideas for a youth talent show and a Day of Peace. He said that Mr Caines said that the ministry could not help with the suggestions, and added: “They still used our ideas.” He said that the community leaders meeting had left those who attended frustrated. Mr Crockwell added: “That is why there has not been another community leaders meeting since last July.” Mr Caines said that he appreciated Mr Crockwell’s work in the community. He added: “We value the role you are doing and want to work more closely with you and the other community activists to ensure our island is free from gang-and-gun-related violence.” Mr Caines said: “My door is always open to you.” The minister highlighted police statistics last weekend that showed gun crimes had dropped by almost 45 per cent in 2018. The statistics showed there were three firearms-related deaths or injuries last year, down from nine in 2017 and 14 in 2016. The Government said there were 27 incidents in 2018 which involved a firearm, were believed to involve a firearm, or where a firearm was recovered. The figure for 2017 was 49, and in 2016 it was 82. Serious assaults also showed a drop to 32 last year, down from 37 in 2017 and 46 in 2016. Arrests for violent crime totaled 24, up from 22 in each of the two previous years.

paragraphA digitized national identity scheme planned for Bermuda could be used by millions of people worldwide, a leader of the project said yesterday. Bruce Silcoff, the chief executive of blockchain technology firm Shyft, said three jurisdictions were keeping a close eye on the plan designed to protect island residents from attacks on their personal information. He added: “It’s proof of concept, it’s a test market because it’s small enough to run a pilot. This is a perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate the feasibility and the benefits of this new platform in an environment where it’s easier to have necessary legislation written quickly, where it’s conducive in terms of industry. We’re baking a cake and we have all the ingredients right here at our fingertips.” Mr Silcoff said Shyft had teamed up with Bermuda-based data management technology company Trunomi to deliver a scheme to give people control over their own records, which would mean only they could allow access to organisations like the Government and banks. Mr Silcoff, who was in Bermuda for talks with Stuart Lacey, the founder and CEO of Trunomi, said the island was well placed to be used as a testing ground for his firm’s “electronic highway”. He added: “It’s putting this whole country on an electronic ID platform, Perseid, which stands for personal e-ID. We’ve already made a $1 million investment into that project and that is a sandbox for the planet. We already have three other jurisdictions in this world watching what Bermuda is doing. When this goes live and we demonstrate that it works, those other jurisdictions will leverage Bermuda’s technology. Bermuda will be able to sell that expertise, we call it ‘jurisdiction as a service’. Bermuda will be able to license their model to the rest of the world, which is game-changing.” Mr Silcoff declined to identify the jurisdictions interested in the Bermuda venture, but said they represented 110 million people “across the world”. He hoped the optional identity scheme, to be introduced in partnership with the Government, will enter its first phase in Bermuda by autumn. Mr Silcoff said: “It is the opportunity to give people better control of their own data through a strong consent framework and privacy protection. For someone to be able to access your data, you will have to permission it, but the beauty is you could share that information more efficiently.” The Toronto-based entrepreneur said banks, hospitals, government agencies, telecoms and insurance companies could all be linked to the system, which would help people save time and money when using their services. He added it would give customers the power to transfer relevant information to chosen organisations, which would cut down on administration costs. Mr Silcoff said the Perseid system does not hold the information, but instead is a “highway” for entities to share information across businesses, industries and international borders. Mr Silcoff explained that “decentralising” data reduced the threat of it being accessed unlawfully. He added: “If you’re a bank with $1 billion, that’s attractive for a thief to go after. But if you have a dollar in a billion different banks, it’s not worth the trouble to go after it People will have better protection, better security and the individual who is the rightful owner of that data will control that data. That is critical to proper data management.” Mr Silcoff claimed it was “naive” for people to think their private information was not at risk and said 7.2 million records are compromised every day, with 69 per cent of those related to personal information. The businessman claimed Estonia and India had “failed” in their attempts to produce something similar to Perseid. Mr Silcoff said: “I cannot let this fail because this is too important, not only for Bermuda but for what it means to the rest of the world as well.” Mr Lacey highlighted that Perseid will operate on an “opt-in” basis when it is introduced. He added: “There is no sense of Big Brother, rather full trust and transparency as each and every individual maintains full control and ownership of their own identity and personal data.”

paragraph(Revision of item shown on January 7).  The information commissioner has backed a decision by the Government to withhold legal advice related to the island’s multimillion-dollar airport redevelopment. Gitanjali Gutierrez, in a decision made public on Monday, ruled the Ministry of Finance was right to deny disclosure of the legal opinion on the grounds that it was legal advice and was protected by legal professional privilege. The ministry refused in April 2016 to release under public access to information a legal opinion from international law firm Bennett Jones on whether the Government needed a letter of entrustment from Britain to proceed with the airport deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation. It also refused to disclose some correspondence it had with the British Government about the airport contract. The Royal Gazette had argued that there was significant public interest in the release of records about the $250 million deal. But the information commissioner wrote that there was a “strong inbuilt public interest in protecting the openness in communications between client and lawyer”. Ms Gutierrez said she was “not convinced” that disclosure of the legal memorandum would “contribute to the public’s understanding of the decision-making process surrounding the redevelopment project”. She added: “Importantly, the Minister of Finance disclosed during the House of Assembly debate on November 28, 2014 that the legal advice concluded that no letter of entrustment was necessary. This information was not withheld from the public at the time of the controversy. The public is aware that the substance of the legal advice was not relied upon in practice as the Bermuda Government still proceeded to obtain an entrustment letter from the UK for good measure.” But Ms Gutierrez ordered the Ministry to release the date the legal advice was given by February 11 to “provide the public with a fuller understanding of the Government’s decision-making process with respect to these matters of public administration, without compromising the principles underlying … lawyer and client confidentiality”. The information commissioner also found that the Government was right to withhold a piece of correspondence with the British Government on the grounds that it constituted “international communications made in confidence. The information commissioner acknowledges that there is a significant interest in furthering the public’s understanding of a substantial investment of public money. The information commissioner is satisfied, however, that disclosure ... will not provide new information that meaningfully increases the public’s understanding of the project, nor would disclosure further public accountability.” The Ministry of Finance at first released just four records to The Royal Gazette in response to the Pati request, three of which were already in the public domain. The decision was appealed to the information commissioner’s office. The finance ministry released more records in October this year. Ms Gutierrez said the ICO’s investigation into the decision had resulted in the ministry releasing to her three further records which were relevant to the Pati request. The ministry has still to decide if those documents will be released and the information commissioner gave it until February 11 to do so. A government spokeswoman said that it had seen Ms Gutierrez’s decision and would “take the appropriate actions as required by the Pati Act”.

paragraphA young woman fined for doing unpaid work as a schoolgirl said last night she hoped the incident would inspire changes to immigration law. Ashley Aguiar, 22, who was born and brought up in Bermuda, said she was pleased the $5,000 fine for working without a permit was quashed by the Supreme Court. Ms Aguiar added: “I think this whole situation is an opportunity to talk about this issue. Something needs to come out of it because people are being put in this situation and I don’t think it’s fair.” The Chief Immigration Officer fined Ms Aguiar $5,000 in 2017 for working without a permit at Tranquil Hair and Beauty in the town of St George. But Chief Justice Narinder Hargun found that Ms Aguiar did not break the law because she was never paid and was there only to learn the trade. Ms Aguiar said her time at the salon began through an internship made possible by the Berkeley Institute. But an anonymous complaint was lodged against her on the basis that she did not have a work permit. She explained that her father has Permanent Resident’s Certificate B status, which meant she could not inherit Bermuda status from him. Ms Aguiar is considered a Portuguese citizen, even though she has only ever visited the country on holiday. Ms Aguiar said she was interviewed for “hours” after the complaint was made, but the fine was not imposed until more than two years later. She added: “Nothing was done for more than two years, then it just popped back up. “I had even called in the meantime to follow up on the situation. I wanted to put in my work-permit papers.” Ms Aguiar said she was stunned by the $5,000 fine, especially as her work experience was unpaid. She added her immigration position continued to be a problem, even after her victory in the courts. Ms Aguiar said: “I still cannot do anything. I can’t even leave Bermuda if I wanted to because even though I have put in for re-entry permission since I was 19 I haven’t received it.” The story of the successful appeal, published in The Royal Gazette on Tuesday, sparked fierce debate on the island’s immigration system. Many social-media commenters said they supported Ms Aguiar. Derek Jones wrote: “The law says if you’re not getting paid, it’s schooling. You can walk up to a chef and ask him or her to teach you how to cook. You can then take those skills and donate your time to go make dinner for a bunch of elderly people at Agape House to practise your skills. Afterward you can then go off to college and pick up a job working in a kitchen to help pay the school fees. All you have to do is ask someone if they’ll invest some time in you. Nothing illegal about that. Bermuda needs more internships and people willing to learn the skilled trades.” Kamathi Warner, however, objected to the court’s decision. He said: “What happens to persons who have Bermuda status by birth who can’t get these types of hookups or even any job? We’re lazy etc ... Stop usurping the role of the legislature, Supreme Court.” Mr Warner later started another Facebook post, which claimed he wanted advice on how to work in Portugal. Other posters pointed out that, as a British and EU citizen, he had an automatic right to live and work in Portugal without restriction and could acquire citizenship after just six years. Sarah Lorimer Turner said that people without Bermuda status needed a letter of permission to do unpaid volunteer work for charities. Linda Brown said that the policy was “dumb”. She added: “How about all the walkers/runners raising money for Bermudians? If we start asking everyone for a letter who will police all that? This is like PC-ness going too far.” Christopher Broadhurst said the story had highlighted a major immigration problem. He said: “The bigger tragedy is that Ashley was born and raised here and apparently still can’t call Bermuda her home — after 22 years.”

paragraphOpinion. By Michael Dunkley, the former Premier of Bermuda, an Opposition backbencher and the MP for Smith’s North (Constituency 10. After details of Cabinet Office contracts were published in the Official Gazette, it was revealed that the Progressive Labour Party government has spent at least $175,000 on an empty office in Washington. The Premier and his spokesmen tried to justify this waste of hard-earned taxpayer dollars with the excuse of pressing European Union matters and the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce review. A government must focus on all important matters and must not drop the ball on any. So if the Budget provides funding, and it is spent, the taxpayers expect a return on the money spent. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t make excuses after money is wasted. The One Bermuda Alliance made the decision, which was announced in the Budget debate of 2017-18, to close the Washington Office. During that debate, it was announced the budget would be cut from $407,000 to $206,000. The allocation would cover rental expense, insurance and utilities only until such time as the space was sublet. The process of subletting the space was to be undertaken by the Ministry of Public Works in consultation with the building agent in Washington. It was our view then that we should step away from a bricks-and-mortar presence to one of extending our professional lobbyist reach. An External Affairs Strategic Planning Committee was formed. Members of the committee were Derrick Binns, Paul Scope, Pamela Burrows, Cheryl Lister, Karla Lacey, Jeremy Cox, Ross Webber, Richard Winchell, Leila Madeiros and Travis Gilbert. This committee reported to Cabinet. In addition, we should continue to build the good relationship with the United States, visit Washington and meet key political leaders. This was done with success by the former OBA government. Any government has the right and ability to launch initiatives that they believe will benefit the people they serve. However, spending money with no return is not acceptable and something that the Loyal Opposition will fervently call out. Many people put their hope in the PLP at the last election, but sadly that hope is disappearing with the continued lack of transparency and accountability. To date, Bermuda has failed to progress under the PLP government. Ironically, the only jobs being created are as a result of OBA projects at the airport redevelopment and at the St Regis Hotel. Yet we see spending on an empty office in Washington, a qualified audit in the first year, an increased Cabinet, with two ministers having seemingly little responsibility but a nice pay-cheque, and ministers with a growing number of paid personal consultants. This is not putting Bermudians first. Finally, people should note the inappropriate and false political statement by a government spokeswoman who served both the OBA and PLP governments: “From October 2015 until the change of government in 2017, it should be reminded that in our major trading partner we essentially had no representation whatsoever when faced with a new administration and tax reform.” It goes on to say “the office was shut down with no plan ...” Government spokesmen should never allow a premier or minister to have them deliver a political statement about a former administration. Ministers should do it themselves and not hide inappropriately behind a civil servant. The OBA continued to strengthen our good relationship with the US by having high-level meetings with key political leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Cory Booker, G.K. Butterfield, Steve Scalise, Jim Clyburn and the Congressional Black Caucus, among others. In addition, with the input and support of international business, we had communication with the White House in the early stages of the new administration when tax reform was a hot topic. Bermuda is in a better position because of this work. There are 175,000 other ways we could have spent the money allocated to an empty office. No excuse can justify the failure to be accountable for hard-earned taxpayer dollars. This is not putting Bermudians first."

paragraphThe organisers of the 2019 AXA End-to-End event have today announced the charities that will benefit from money raised by the event this year — WindReach, Age Concern, Friends of Hospice and Raleigh Bermuda. Anne Mello, End-to-End Board chair, said: “It is always a near impossible job to decide which charities we support each year as every charity is deserving of help. However, we felt that these four charities help a very broad cross-section of people in Bermuda meaning the money that is raised has a large impact on society.” She added: “The End-to-End is now in its 32nd year and in that time we have raised more than $5.65m. We cannot thank people enough for their support which has done so much for charities across the Island.” WindReach Executive Director Chrissie Kempe said she was overjoyed to be a chosen charity, adding: “Funds raised through this wonderful event will be dedicated to creating an accessible, dementia-friendly main entrance, deck and outdoor space for our expanding Adult Day Programme. Thank you to the End-to-End for all they do for Bermuda’s community and believing in WindReach to enrich the quality of lives of individuals living with special needs.” Robin Sidders, interim executive director, Friends of Hospice said: “We are absolutely delighted to be a recipient this year and we are truly grateful to the End-to-End organisers for their support. Friends of Hospice is the charity that supports Agape House, Bermuda’s only hospice and as a non-revenue generating organisation, we rely solely on donations and support from our community. This gift will support our many bereavement support services, including raising awareness about the importance of having difficult conversations about death and dying, and provide vital support to our day-to-day activities so we can fulfil our mission of enhancing the quality of life for patients and their loved ones.” Raleigh Bermuda’s mission is to use overseas expeditions, local training and continued coaching to challenge young Bermudians to harness their full potential and develop skills for life. Executive director Tina Nash said: “It’s an ambitious mission and we can’t do it all alone. That’s why are so very proud to partner with the generous people at Bermuda End-to-End Charitable Trust for the 2019 AXA End-to-End. All of the donated funds will go towards developing the resources needed to support our young Bermudians on their personal quest for self-development, adventure and service work. As a registered charity, we sincerely appreciate the incredible support that we receive from our community partners to help us support and encourage our young Bermudians — they are certainly worth it.” Claudette Fleming, Age Concern’s executive director, said the End-to-End had grown to be a signature community event of the year, raising awareness for critical social issues while having the added benefit of raising much needed funds for Bermuda charities. She said: “Age Concern is pleased to be a recipient of proceeds. As many may already be aware, for the last two years Age Concern has been exploring how to bring a high quality long-term care model that can be financially sustained in Bermuda. At present, the Ministry of Health indicates that there are just over 600 long-term care beds on the island, however the population of older adults aged 65 years and older has increased from 8,643 to 10,842 older persons since the last census. This means that the current residential care system has the capacity to help less than seven per cent of the Island’s entire seniors population. The funds raised by the AXA End-to-End will support Age Concern’s operations as it facilitates the action steps necessary to pilot a new care model in the next 18 to 24 months. The 2019, AXA End-to-End will do even more than that however, as ambassadors of healthy ageing, Age Concern is looking forward to the opportunity to engage our members and volunteers in event activities. We are very grateful for being among the many good causes and organisations who will benefit in 2019 and are looking forward to working with the End-to-End team to support the vital work that is being done in our community.”

paragraphHigh-tech laser scanning is being used to map the historic town of St George in a landmark research project. Brent Fortenberry, an archaeology expert from Texas A&M University, has deployed the technology to create an accurate three-dimensional record of buildings in the Olde Towne in a joint programme with the Bermuda National Trust. Dr Fortenberry said it was the first time the technology had been used in “the Greater Caribbean area”. The information will be used to track changes in buildings in the Unesco World Heritage Site and help with future repairs and conservation work. Dr Fortenberry explained: “No one’s really deployed this technology around the Caribbean, Bermuda, or the Carolinas, so this is the perfect place to kick this off.” The scanner uses a spinning mirror to shine millions of low-powered laser beams across an area. The lasers measure the distance between the scanner and an object and is used to create a three-dimensional map of its surroundings. Dr Fortenberry, who has visited the island several times for archaeological and conservation work, said the information was “invaluable”, and explained that the models can show how the town has evolved over the years. He added: “When you scan a building it’s a snapshot of that moment, so you can monitor buildings by scanning them year by year to create a changing archive of the building. What’s more, we can scan a building and give the information to managers, whether it be for repairs, conservation assessments, and the like.” Dr Fortenberry added that his 12 strong team of Texas A&M students were also carrying out “building investigations” to see how their use and structure had changed. He said that the group had already scanned the Bridge House and State House, which date back to the 17th century. “Right now, this is cutting edge, but in five years everyone’s going to have to know how to use a laser scanner for their work,” Dr Fortenberry added. Hayley Field, 24, one of the team of graduate students, said that the work was a good way to put her academic knowledge to practical use. She added: “I feel that this is kind of adding to our skill set, it’s taking what we’ve been taught in class and applying it to physical buildings.” Ms Field said that she signed up for the project to help earn a Certificate in Historic Preservation in Architecture. Dr Fortenberry said he will discuss the St George’s project and other work involving paint restoration for old Bermudian houses in a lecture for the Bermuda National Trust at its Waterville headquarters in Paget tonight. William Zuill, executive director at the Trust, said: “We are very pleased to be again hosting Dr Fortenberry and his team. The work they are doing builds on the foundations of research carried out by the Bermuda National Trust and others over the last 30 years. Dr Fortenberry’s ability to merge rigorous academic standards with the latest technological tools is especially important.”

paragraphA lawyer was discharged from Magistrates’ Court yesterday after assault allegations against him were withdrawn. Magistrate Juan Wolffe heard that the alleged victim, Chavelle Dillon, had withdrawn all six accusations against Kamal Worrell, 38. Carrington Mahoney, for the prosecution, told the court that Ms Dillon had withdrawn the charges for “the sake of their child”. Mr Worrell first appeared in court on November 16. He denied all the charges. The incidents were alleged to have occurred on November 14 last year in Warwick.

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paragraphBermudian reinsurers are renowned for providing protection for when the wind blows — but Nephila Capital has struck a deal to provide coverage for when the wind does not blow at all. Nephila, the world’s largest manager of insurance-linked securities funds, has teamed up with Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty’s Alternative Risk Transfer unit to help a new $600 million wind farm in the US ensure revenue stability, even when the turbines stop turning. The coverage is in the form of a proxy revenue swap (PRS), a financial derivative that will allow owners of the High Lonesome wind farm in Crockett Counties, Texas, to minimize risks related to price, as well as weather. The PRS relates to a 295-megawatt portion of the 450-megawatt wind farm, which is under construction and is owned by Enel Green Power North America, a subsidiary of Enel, an Italian corporation. In a statement, Enel said this was the biggest PRS in the world by capacity for a single plant. Allianz and Nephila executed the PRS in collaboration with REsurety, a renewable energy risk manager. Lee Taylor, chief executive officer of REsurety, said: “Renewable energy projects are under increasing pressure to deliver predictable returns despite the increasing volatility of the value of intermittent generation. “We developed the Proxy Revenue Swap specifically to deliver unrivalled certainty of cash flows, regardless of power price volatility and weather-driven intermittency. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Enel, Allianz and Nephila to bring the largest PRS transaction to fruition.” Nephila was acquired by Markel Corporation last November in a deal worth $975 million. It continues to operate as a separate company within the Markel group. As of last September, Nephila had $12.2 billion of assets under management.

paragraphThe chief executive of the Bermuda Hospitals Board has taken a three-month break on medical grounds. Venetta Symonds has been off work since December 15 and is expected to return on March 18. Michael Richmond, the board’s chief of staff, is acting CEO in her absence. The board said yesterday that Ms Symonds’s leave was supported by a medical certificate. The hospitals board is implementing an improvement plan drawn up by Dr Richmond, in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, as reported by The Royal Gazette last week. Dr Richmond said yesterday: “On behalf of staff, leadership and the executive team, we have a clear strategy to continue implementing and quality improvements that are well under way. Services will continue, we will keep working on improvements and look forward to welcoming Mrs Symonds back in March.” Details of the three-year IHI partnership were published in the Official Gazette on Monday in a list of contracts worth $50,000 or more entered into by the BHB. Boston-based IHI is to be paid $606,000 for “strategic guidance and capacity building” from May last year until May 2021. William Madeiros replaced Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, as hospitals board chairman after the Government appointed a new board last month. The new deputy chairwoman is Lucille Parker-Swan and the other members are Mrs Symonds, Edward Schultz, Sandy DeSilva, Victor Scott, Anthony Manders, Cyril Whitter Jr, Terry Faulkenberry and Alison Hill.

paragraphA knee-jerk reaction to criticism by community activists sparked a government update on work to combat gangs, an anti-violence campaigner claimed yesterday. Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, said that the decision by Wayne Caines, the national security minister, to highlight progress only days after a man was shot and killed outside a sports club, was questionable. Mr Crockwell added: “There was a young man who was just laid to rest. Is this something that they should be bragging about now? Will you take these stats to the young man’s family at this time? I think not. Regular updates should be provided instead of responding just for the sake of looking good. I believe this was a knee-jerk reaction and response to many of the concerns that many of the community members are having.” He was speaking after he and fellow activist Gina Spence called for a fresh approach to the problem of gang violence in the wake of the murder of Ronniko Burchall, 30, on December 29. Mr Caines released the update on January 6. Mr Crockwell said: “It would be wise of them to have regular press releases to inform the public of progress. This is a community epidemic and concern, as opposed to responding only when The Royal Gazette puts pressure on them by interviewing concerned community workers and members.” Mr Caines emphasized in last Sunday’s statement that he welcomed the opinions of community activists. He added: “They do not have access to the overall ministerial plan, which includes the gang violence strategy, key goals, objectives, deliverables, and the matrix of accountability for the Gang Violence Reduction Team.” Mr Crockwell questioned if the plan had considered the efforts of community workers. He asked: “What happened to the peace-builders initiative? Should the community not know about that plan? The anti-violence campaign in the schools, should the community not know about that plan? The distribution of confiscated assets that were used to assist many of the community-focused organisations, should the community not know about these things? Do Martha Dismont, Gina Spence, Antonio Belvedere, Lynwood Richardson of any other community workers get mentioned in these successful statistics? If no one else has had an impact but the ministry, then 1,000 per cent kudos to them but I would assume otherwise.” The weekend highlighted figures that showed gun crimes had dropped by nearly 45 per cent in 2018. The statistics showed there were three firearms-related deaths or injuries last year, down from nine in 2017 and 14 in 2016. The Government said there were 27 incidents last year which involved a firearm, were believed to involve a firearm, or where a firearm was recovered. The figure for 2017 was 49, and in 2016 it was 82. Serious assaults also showed a drop to 32 last year, down from 37 in 2017 and 46 in 2016. Arrests for violent crime totaled 24 in 2018, up from 22 in each of the two previous years. The Bermuda Police Service declined to say if they had provided the figures and referred questions to the Department of Communications as the statistics were released by the Ministry of National Security. Mr Crockwell also called for the Royal Bermuda Regiment to be given a bigger role in the battle against gangs. He said: “In my opinion we need a national defence force that is designated to combating gang violence.”

paragraphPolice have warned bike riders who perform “wheelies” they are risking their lives and others. The caution came after officers watched footage of riders that appeared online this week. The one-minute clip shows a motorcyclist, filmed by another rider, speeding on North Shore Road in Devonshire and weaving several times over the centre line. Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, a police traffic officer, said the behavior was “inherently dangerous”. Mr Cardwell added it risked “not only the life of the rider but also everyone else seen in the footage going about their business on the roads”. The rider is seen to go through Barkers Hill roundabout, scene of a fatal crash last October, and speed up Palmetto Road. Mr Cardwell added: “We discourage this kind of riding and showboating of skills on public roads. There is an area at Southside specifically designed for this. We will continue to look for opportunities to prosecute these offenders to the maximum extent of the law.” Wheelies, also called wheel stands, are an automatic offence under Bermuda law.

paragraphClimate change is having a growing impact on insurers’ bottom lines. That is the view of Bermuda-registered German reinsurance giant Munich Re, which highlights an increasing incidence of costly forest fires as a symptom of global warming. In its global catastrophe report, published yesterday, Munich Re estimated that insurers and reinsurers paid out $80 billion on worldwide natural disaster claims in 2018. That covered half of the estimated $160 billion in economic losses. The single most costly event was the Camp Fire, which devastated the small town of Paradise in northern California in November and caused 68 fatalities, as well as total losses of $16.5 billion, of which $12.5 billion were insured. Ernst Rauch, Munich Re’s chief climatologist, said global warming was causing forest fires to enter a new dimension, with losses running into the tens of billions of dollars. “Higher and higher temperatures are leading to ever greater droughts, and high humidity in the winter means that shrubbery grows quickly, creating an easily flammable material in dry summers,” Mr Rauch told Reuters. The report highlights three California wildfires, the Carr Fire in July and August and the Camp and Woolsey Fires of November, which between them caused overall losses of $24 billion, of which $18 billion were insured. So almost one quarter of insured natural disaster losses were attributable to wildfires. The year’s total of $80 billion paid out by insurers was less than the $140 billion tab they picked up in 2017, but still nearly double the inflation-adjusted $41 billion average over the past 30 years, Munich Re said. Last year ranks among the ten costliest disaster years in terms of overall losses, and was the fourth-costliest year since 1980 for the insurance industry. Hurricanes Michael and Florence generated total losses of $31 billion, of which $15 billion were insured. North America accounted for 68 per cent of insured losses, while Typhoon Jebi, which cost insurers $9 billion and caused damages in Japan and Taiwan, was the costliest event outside the US. Petra Löw, the report’s author, touched on the protection gap in developing economies. “Payouts by the insurance industry helped to boost catastrophe resilience, in other words the ability after a disaster to return to normality as quickly as possible,” Ms Löw said. “However, industrialized countries still account for the vast majority of insurance payouts following natural catastrophes.” She added: “The situation with insurance protection in emerging and developing countries is quite different, despite the fact that, for financially weak and low-income countries, improving risk management and resilience-building systems is an important way of mitigating the impact of humanitarian disasters and promoting sustainable economic growth.” However, Munich Re also noted that 50 per cent of global macroeconomic losses from natural catastrophes in 2018 were insured, a significantly higher percentage than the long-term average of 28 per cent. Munich Re NatCatService tallied 850 events, including storms, floods, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides. Asia was worst affected with 43 per cent of all events and 74 per cent of the total 10,400 fatalities. The protection gap was very apparent there, with only $18 billion of losses insured out of total losses of $59 billion.

paragraphBermuda’s former prison is to be reborn as a history research centre, the executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda said yesterday. Elena Strong said the Casemates buildings in Dockyard would be used to focus on “the Atlantic World from 1415 to 1945”. She added: “The concept is to establish a multidisciplinary research facility at Casemates comprising a consortium of universities from the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Africa, which will operate under the umbrella of the NMB.” The museum, formerly called the Maritime Museum, acquired the Casemates property from the Bermuda Government in December 2009. The complex was once a barracks for the Royal Marine guards until The Royal Navy departed Bermuda in the 1950s, and then a maximum-security prison from the late 1950s to 1994. The building has been under restoration for years, but the new concept was outlined as Ms Strong laid out initiatives under the museum’s ten-year plan. She said the plan was designed to boost Bermudian knowledge of history and the island’s cultural assets, strengthen research and make the NMB “a must-see museum”. The new centre will also be used to build on education, including teacher training and schools programmes. Ms Strong said the education strategy would guide the “learning landscape” of the museum down to publications, research and collecting. The former curator and deputy director at NMB took over the top job a year ago after Edward Harris retired. Ms Strong said that her biggest challenge had been repairs needed after four hurricanes hit the island from 2014 to 2016. She added the storm strikes were “the worst disaster in the museum’s history”. Ms Strong said that the museum had now “emerged from the cloud of disasters”.

paragraphDozens of new signs have gone up at Dockyard – telling visitors the names of a huge variety of plants. The signs, which give the Latin and English names, were the idea of West End Development Corporation’s landscape staff who undertook the project as part of their ongoing training and education – as well as to help visitors who would ask them for help with the plant names. James Pace, WEDCO’s Assistant Facilities Manager, said: “Government held a job fair which we attended and also had a booth. We met Ann Boynton-Smith who is a landscape architect and she was keen to help us. “We have now completed phase one, which was covering a third of Dockyard and we are about to embark on phase two. It is hoped we can complete signage throughout Dockyard by the first quarter of this year.” Carmen Tucker, WEDCO’s Facilities Manager, said: “Our guests, both tourists and residents, have commented on how well designed and maintained the Dockyard landscaping is and they consistently show interest in what the local flora and fauna is, so we took the initiative to add these signs. On top of that, it was a very good piece of educational training for our landscaping staff, who are all also Certified Tourism Ambassadors. Our staff do an outstanding job keeping the grounds looking immaculate.”

paragraphTrauma inflicted by racism has left a legacy of hidden pain, a campaigner has said. Lynn Winfield, president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, said that historic and recent incidents had left people “traumatised and stressed”, which surprised some on the island. Ms Winfield added: “Those who believe racism is a thing of the past need only hear some of the pain and experiences shared in the sessions to understand this is not true.” She was speaking as Curb prepared for the start of a new round of truth and reconciliation sessions, scheduled to start on February 6 at the Human Rights Commission headquarters on Hamilton’s Victoria Street. Ms Winfield said that “the most notable and worrying thing is the amount of trauma that is recounted in the room”. Curb launched the talks in March 2017, with groups of up to 20 guided by trained mediators in exploring their experiences of race and racism. Ms Winfield said the demographics of the talks had remained “consistent” with double the number of women attendees compared with men. A total of 54 per cent of participants have been black people compared with 46 per cent white people. Ms Winfield said: “We definitely need more males.” Groups have averaged 15 participants, plus a facilitator with two assistants. Ten groups have met over the past two years. Ms Winfield said the sessions had underlined “how little people know about their history”. She added: “Both blacks and whites are shocked by the huge gaps in their knowledge. We go on to discuss why this history is marginalized at best or purposefully suppressed or hidden at worst, all of which makes for fascinating discussions and sharing of experiences and memories of schools and teachers. For those looking for a kumbaya experience, this is likely not the place for them. There is a lot of trauma in the black community which has been suppressed for years, and at the end of the seven weeks many tell us that it’s been a cathartic experience for them. This is not surprising: when a safe place is provided, hurt, pain and anger will be expressed. A group staying with that person through the process demonstrates their empathy and is a sign of love and support,” Ms Winfield explained. “When people return week after week, despite the emotional pain, it is a sign of community, relationship and empathy.”

paragraphBermudian actress and singer Adi Wolf has landed a plum role as Tina Turner’s grandmother in a German production of a musical based on the superstar’s life, despite a struggle with the language. Adi Wolf won the role in Tina — The Tina Turner Musical after two auditions. The 53-year-old mother of three, who has lived in the port city of Hamburg with German husband Jorg for six years, said: “I have really worked on my German for a bit, but I thought there was no way. My German wasn’t good enough. “I got a call back, and so I started working more on my German. I went back in thinking I still had no chance, but they seemed to be OK. As soon as I got home, they called me and asked if I could come in the next day.” She added: “I found out later that apparently they already knew they wanted me for the part from the first call, but they wanted to know if I could learn the German.” Ms Wolf admitted she almost decided against going for an audition. Ms Wolf said: “I saw it and I thought it would be cool, but I thought I wouldn’t bother. Then I thought about it more and I decided I would just audition. I thought I was too old to play Tina, but maybe I could be her mother or her sister. Then I got there and they said they would like to see me for the grandmother, GG.” Ms Wolf said she was stunned after she won the role and excited to be a part of the show, which focuses on Tina Turner’s humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, and her rise to world fame. Ms Wolf said: “I’m really excited about this because it deals with a part of Tina Turner’s life that people don’t know a lot about. People know What’s Love Got to Do with It, but this is something completely different. This follows a younger, earlier part of her life and the people in her life. That’s what excited me about it. I think it’s going to be epic.” She added: “It’s also important that this is an official show. Tina Turner has been involved in every part of it. I think that’s really exciting.” Ms Wolf was an experienced performer before she moved to Germany and has since had roles in several major musicals. She has appeared in productions of Showboat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, as well as singing in several bands. The Tina Turner musical premiered in London’s West End last year with another Bermudian, Candace Furbert, in the cast. Rehearsals for the German production are now under way at Hamburg’s Stage Operettenhaus and the premiere is scheduled for March. Ms Wolf said she would be happy to return to the island to help encourage young Bermudians to achieve their dramatic dreams. She added: “I tried a few years ago to organize something with the National Gallery. I think jazz is a dying art and I thought it would be great to get young people involved in art and jazz, so the idea was to get artists to paint while I am singing.” However, Ms Wolf said the project failed on cost grounds, but that she still hoped to find a way to show young Bermudians that an international career in the performing arts was achievable. She added: “There are a lot of Bermudians who are doing their thing out here and I would love to show the younger Bermudians that it can be done. You really can have the life. I know for a period I didn’t think I could ever be anybody in Bermuda, on this little island. I want to put Bermuda on the map, but first you need Bermudians to know they can be on the map. The most important thing is for people to know it can be done.”

paragraphA 60-year-old man whose car plunged about 70 feet down a cliff face into the sea on Saturday said yesterday that staying calm helped save his life. Franklyn Roberts said: “I wasn’t worried and I didn’t panic because I realised I was already in the situation.” Mr Roberts, who is blind in one eye, said he lost control after something got in his good eye and temporarily blinded him as he negotiated a bend. He said: “Just as I was making the corner, I went a little too close to the fence. Mr Roberts said he tried to apply the brakes, but was unable to stop. He added he wanted to avoid plunging nose-first over the cliff. Mr Roberts said: “Everything was like in slow motion. “My fear was landing head first or upside down, so I turned the wheel to the right,” Mr Roberts explained. “Apparently it worked.” Mr Roberts, from Paget, added: “It didn’t seem too hard at all. Before I know it, I was stationary.” His small blue Mazda hatchback landed upright, but partly submerged, which forced him to swim to safety. The crash happened last Saturday afternoon on Southampton’s Middle Road, near Five Star Island as he travelled home after visiting a friend in Somerset. Mr Roberts said the driver’s door was jammed against a rock, but he escaped through a rear door without problems and headed for the shore. However, his house keys were attached to the car’s ignition key, which was still in the car and he swam back to get them before he made landfall. Mr Roberts said he forced himself not to give in to fear. He added: “It’s like a rip tide. You have to know what you are in. The main thing is that you do not panic.” Mr Roberts said he was lucky his ten-year-old son, who often accompanied him, was not in the car at the time. He added: “He would usually be with me, but he wasn’t with me then.” Mr Roberts said he was “definitely fine” after his ordeal. He added: “It’s a day in my life. I felt a little cold from the water, but was OK otherwise. Mr Roberts said: “I had just gotten the car repaired and licensed just the day before. I am glad I survived. The car is immaterial. I am here.” But Mr Roberts, who had been due to return to his friend’s house for a party later that day, said he took a rain check. He added: “I stayed home after that.” Mr Roberts said he lost the sight in his right eye after his bicycle was hit by a motorcycle about 40 years ago, which resulted in the optic nerve being cut. He explained: “I was in my twenties. A tourist crashed into me.”

paragraphA 69-year-old man denied child-pornography charges in Supreme Court yesterday. The man, from Pembroke, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, faced two charges of accessing hundreds of videos and photographs. It is alleged the man used a peer-to-peer, file-sharing network to view 113 videos and 752 images. The man’s bail was continued for a further court appearance this month. In a separate case, David Minors, 43, from Sandys, who admitted last year to having committed three sex offences involving an under-age boy, was ordered to return to court on February 13 for sentencing.

paragraphA 26-year-old woman was banned from the roads for 18 months for drink-driving yesterday after police spotted her shrubbery-covered car in the early hours of the morning. Magistrates’ Court heard officers spotted Jennifer Ross’s “extensively damaged” vehicle on Paget’s South Road about 3.30am last Friday and pulled her over. She told police she had been involved in a collision earlier and admitted she had been drinking. A later breath test showed 170 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood — more than double the 80mg/100ml legal limit. Ross, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, asked if she could be allowed to continue to ride a motorcycle so she commute to work. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said a disqualification was mandatory and also fined Ross $1,000.

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January 8

paragraphThe Government spent more than $135,000 on specialists to help navigate the European Union’s demands for economic substance rules and Brexit-related matters. Legal and advisory firm Steptoe, which has offices in Brussels, London and Washington, was hired to assist Bermuda’s leaders and civil servants on EU affairs. The company was paid $135,650.43 for work carried out between last June and October in a contract said in a government notice to be “professional services European Union”. The Government said last week the cost of the contract with Steptoe, which provides professional services on European and international law and policy, was shared between the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet Office. David Burt, the Premier, said: “The need for direct interaction with the EU has been shown in the months of work that led to the adoption of the Economic Substance Act 2018. Like other jurisdictions, Bermuda has become an international target of European, localized politics. This threat can and will be met by direct engagement in Brussels on behalf of the Government of Bermuda.” The contract was listed among eight individuals and organisations employed by the Cabinet Office on contracts of at least $50,000 revealed by information published in the Official Gazette last week. Bermuda was one of more than 40 jurisdictions who promised to introduce legislation by the year-end to address EU concerns about tax avoidance by multinational companies. The Economic Substance Act 2018 was passed in December after it was redrafted and returned to the House of Assembly. It is understood the European Code of Conduct Group was not satisfied with the original version of the legislation. Steptoe’s website said: “In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions.” The site listed “preventive international corporate compliance”, including “economic sanctions/export controls” among its areas of expertise. Information about its relationship with Bermuda was released in the Official Gazette last Monday as part of a Public Access to Information requirement to publish details of Government contracts valued at $50,000 or more. Also included in the list was The Group, a Washington-based lobbying organisation on a $200,000 deal to provide US regulatory guidance to the Government. A spokeswoman said later the company has been under contract for more than a year. Philip Perinchief, a former Progressive Labour Party senator and attorney-general, was hired for $92,031.12 in a dual capacity as a consultant and also assisted the former government reform ministry in a re-organization of boards and committees after a 2017 Throne Speech pledge. The spokeswoman said: “There are close to 200 boards and committees and the requirements for most are enshrined in legislation. This work continues under the Cabinet Office. Mr Perinchief also undertook a review of the Public Access to Information Act, the results of that work are currently being considered. He also provided legal advice and support to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.” A total of $991,054.67 was earmarked for rent between January and October, 2018. That included $175,327.21 on an office in Washington DC, despite it being closed. A contract for $399,327.46 with White Druce and Brown was for the Government’s London office and a further $416,400 was assigned to island property firm Ingham and Wilkinson. The figures also showed $55,000 contracts from last May to April this year for Vincent Hollinsid and Orin Simmons, members of the Government’s Public Service Negotiating Team. They were part of a group hired last year to continue negotiations with the Prison Officers Association and the Bermuda Police Association.

paragraphAn Opposition MP claimed yesterday that $175,000 spent by Government on an unused office in Washington DC could instead have funded schools or pensions. Michael Dunkley, a former One Bermuda Alliance premier, started to “phase out” use of the office in March 2017 while still in office. The Progressive Labour Party took power the following July and pledged to return staff to Washington. The office remained closed and information published in the Official Gazette showed rent for the space at Liberty Place, on the United States capital’s 7th Street, cost the Government of Bermuda $175,327.21 from January to October 2018. Mr Dunkley said yesterday: “We questioned the reopening of the office in the Budget last year and we’re very disappointed that the Premier, with all the challenges that we face, would spend $175,000 to air-condition an office, not to turn on the lights and not to unlock the door, when we have a government that’s operating at a yearly deficit, that’s in deep debt. There are 175,000 other ways we could find more appropriate to use the money. It could be used for school supplies, it could be used for pensions for our seniors.” The Washington office was opened in September 2009 to strengthen links between Bermuda and the US, although it remained without staff until halfway through the next year when a managing director was appointed. Craig Cannonier reviewed its operations as he considered cost-cutting measures after the OBA won the 2012 General Election. But the office was kept on until Mr Dunkley told legislators in March 2017 it was being phased out. A total of $206,000 was allocated for the premises in the 2017-18 Budget to cover rent, utilities and insurance until a sublet could be organized as several years remained on the lease. The PLP returned to power in July 2017 and in its September Throne Speech that year the administration pledged: “This government will increase Bermuda’s outreach around the globe by staffing the empty Washington DC office and increasing engagement with the European Union in Brussels to ensure that Bermuda’s interests are represented as the United Kingdom leaves the EU.” A government spokeswoman said last week: “The goal for this government is to reopen the office in the future.” David Burt, the Premier, added later that efforts would be renewed to “staff up the DC office”. Mr Dunkley said yesterday: “We made the decision to close it so, at this point in time, we still don’t support opening the office. The Premier needs to make a good justification on why that’s the case, if it was so important to open, why has it taken a year to even move on doing something about it?” Mr Burt promised in February last year that Bermuda would open an office in Brussels on April 1, 2018 in a bid to limit spending on consultants in Europe — but that too has yet to open. He said last week: “I am pleased to confirm that an office location has been identified. Before the end of this month, we will have established a presence in Brussels.” Mr Burt added the Government’s management of its international relations, including an “invaluable” team in London, helped “to deliver on our promise to lift up people in need of help and to create opportunities for young people investing in education here and abroad”. He said: “Our investment in these global activities is designed to promote our interests abroad while safeguarding our future here at home.” In response to Mr Dunkley’s comments, a statement from a government spokeswoman said: “From October 2015 until the change of government in 2017 it should be reminded that in our major trading partner we essentially had no representation whatsoever when faced with a new administration and tax reform.” The statement claimed the former OBA government “even cancelled our consulting arrangements”. It added: “The office was shut down with no plan, and responsible governments don’t operate without representation in the capital.”

paragraphTough new European Union rules designed to combat tax avoidance can be turned to Bermuda’s advantage, a top manager at professional services firm KPMG said yesterday. Will McCallum, a KPMG managing director, said turmoil caused by the Economic Substance Act, passed by Parliament last year to bring the island into line with an EU attempt to combat companies with only a technical base offshore, could help to attract more business. More than 40 jurisdictions were required to pass legislation, and low or no-tax zones were warned they could be put on a “blacklist” by March if they failed to tackle European Code of Conduct Group concerns over tax avoidance by multinational companies. Mr McCallum told The Royal Gazette: “This is a pretty significant change, it’s not just Bermuda, it’s all the British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and a number of other jurisdictions. One tangential goal here is that it really does feel like Bermuda can come out ahead on this. At a minimum, Bermuda has already come out ahead in that it’s passed its legislation, and most of the jurisdictions have, but if we were in a situation where we had not passed our legislation and others had — not having this legislation in place and ending up on a blacklist in March is just unacceptable, untenable, can’t happen. Now that Bermuda Inc is in a position where the world has changed a little, getting us all together in a room, walking through the implications to certain industries, providing a broad outline of the rules, making sure everyone is aware as to what the response is — I think there’s a real benefit there to everyone.” Economic substance means firms must show a physical presence, employees and revenue-generating activities. Mr McCallum is scheduled to speak on the subject on Friday at an information session organized by KPMG. Mr McCallum said the first task was to ensure businesses already based on the island knew what was needed to avoid penalties or unwarranted attention from the EU. He admitted: “We will probably lose a few entities from Bermuda but if you look across the other jurisdictions, they’re in the same boat. Entities in all these jurisdictions need to assess their circumstances, determine whether they meet the substance requirements in that jurisdiction, if they don’t, either leave or liquidate.” Mr McCallum said business leaders would consider infrastructure, access to talent, premises and operating environment when they weigh up their options. He added: “It’s kind of hard to imagine across all these jurisdictions a better place than Bermuda for most of them. If you look at the depth of our infrastructure, the service providers, the quality of the regulator, the quality of our local law and legislation, our courts — we stand really at the front of the pack in that regard.” Companies affected by the new rules are those that conduct “relevant activities”, which includes insurance, banking and fund management. Mr McCallum said: “It’s better the talent base already exists in that jurisdiction — accountants, lawyers, actuaries, bankers, people with financial experience. There is just no place better than Bermuda. If we have entities in those other jurisdictions looking for a home, it just feels like we’re a fantastic port of call.” Mr McCallum said the implementation of the regime will be monitored by EU watchdogs and that its introduction was an “incredibly disruptive event”. He added: “There will never be another opportunity like this, to get in front of people and remind them of the Bermuda message. The loss of any company from Bermuda would have an impact but the island was well placed to counter any departures. The base of Bermuda’s economy isn’t tens or hundreds of thousands of faceless companies that do very little here. The basis of Bermuda’s international business community is companies that have substantial presence here, that employ a lot of people here, that are in highly regulated industries like insurance or banking, a lot of these entities will need to assess whether they meet economic substance requirements but a lot of them, frankly, will.” Mr McCallum added: “A number of companies leaving that do nothing here is very easily offset by an increase in real presence by a similar or even smaller number of companies that are hiring people, spending more money locally, renting corporate office space. Bermuda Inc needs to be on the front foot here making sure that, given this sort of disruptive event, everyone’s looking for opportunities to attract quality companies here. The legislation referred to “adequate” presence rather than specific numbers and that that was the “most challenging” of its elements. Entities all over the world, and specifically in Bermuda, now need to be assessing whether they have adequate people with the adequate experience and they’re spending the right amount of money and they have adequate physical premises.” John Wight, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce president, said it was too early to tell what impact the new legislation would have on the business sector. He said the business community supported the Government’s commitment to “ensuring that Bermuda will not be on any EU list of non-compliant jurisdictions”.

paragraphA $5,000 fine served on a schoolgirl who got work experience as a hairdresser without a work permit has been quashed by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Narinder Hargun ruled that the Chief Immigration Officer was wrong to penalize Ashley Aguiar for working unpaid in Tranquil Hair and Beauty in St George’s without a work permit. Mr Justice Hargun said that the youngster, a lifelong Bermuda resident, but who did not have Bermudian status, was not employed or paid by the salon and was there to learn the trade. Ms Aguiar told The Royal Gazette: “I am happy with the outcome and truly believe the right thing has been done. Mr Justice Hargun said in his ruling: “The crucial fact in this regard is that Ms Aguiar was not engaged in the ordinary business of a hairstylist but was limited to the activities undertaken in order to gain practical experience. An essential feature of this arrangement was that it was carried out without ‘reward, profit or gain’.” Ms Aguiar was fined in November 2017 after the immigration department found she was in breach of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act. Officials said that she had broken the law “notwithstanding that no reward, profit or gain may be obtained or obtainable in the circumstances of the particular case”. At the time she was a Berkeley Institute pupil who wanted to become a hairdresser. The court heard that the girl was allowed to go to the salon by its owner to help her career ambition. Ms Aguiar also helped to style the hair of her family and boyfriend on a “non-commercial basis”. Peter Sanderson, representing Ms Aguiar, argued his client’s work at the salon was limited to styling the hair of family members and work at charitable events, which did not amount to gainful occupation. He added that — even if there had been a breach of the law — the $5,000 penalty was “unreasonable and disproportionate”. Mr Justice Hargun said in his written judgment last November: “The informal arrangement between the owner of the salon and Ms Aguiar does not amount to the relationship of an employer and employee. Likewise, this unstructured informal arrangement to obtain practical experience would not appear to amount to the practice of a ‘profession’; or ‘carry on any trade’ or ‘engage in local business’.” He added that, if immigration law had been broken, it was up to the Chief Immigration Officer to decide if a warning was appropriate. However, Mr Justice Hargun said that did not apply to Ms Aguiar’s case, as there was no breach of the law.

paragraphThe number of cruise ship visitors rocketed by more than 168 per cent last November compared with the same period in 2017, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday. The number of tourists who arrived by air rose by just 2.7 per cent over the same time frame. Kevin Dallas, the BTA chief executive, said: “As outlined in the National Tourism Plan, our strategy is to focus on better balance in Bermuda’s cruise business with more calls outside the summer months. The effectiveness of that strategy has shown up in the November 2018 visitor arrival statistics.” Mr Dallas added: “As our extended season strategy takes hold, we hope tourism experience providers are ready to provide the same level of service to cruise passengers in November as they do during the summer.” A total of 18,620 visitors travelled to the island by cruise ship and 11,836 tourists flew to the island last November. Wedding bells helped boost air arrivals in the month as 674 visitors gave marriage ceremonies as their reason to travel to Bermuda — more than double the figure for the same period in 2017. The increase in tourism arrivals came despite a drop in airlift to Bermuda as airlines provided 10.1 per cent fewer seats on Bermuda-bound flights. Overall air arrivals dropped by 4.7 per cent last November compared with the previous year because of a 14.6 per cent decrease in business travel and a 13.5 per cent drop in people visiting friends and family in Bermuda. Hotel occupancy in November also dropped year-on-year, from 64.3 per cent occupancy with 65,905 bed nights to 55.9 per cent occupancy with 59,959 bed nights. The decrease resulted in an $11.12 reduction in revenue per room for hotels. The percentage of visitors who opted for Airbnb-style vacation rentals rose from 1,435 to 1,500, a 0.7 per cent increase 8.2 per cent. Mr Dallas said that year-on-year hotel occupancy in the first 11 months of 2018 was only slightly up from 2017. He added: “When you strip out 2017, which was boosted by the America’s Cup, hotel occupancy is up more than six percentage points versus 2016. That’s healthy growth. While there is plenty of hard work left to do in the Bermuda tourism comeback, our partners at the Bermuda Hotel Association are very pleased with the progress over the past three years — as are we.” Mr Dallas said year-on-year figures for November were also skewed because the island hosted a large-scale international business conference in November 2017. He explained: “Our sales team landed a large Canadian business group which brought about 800 business visitors to occupy three local hotels. Without a group of that size in November 2018, business visitors, hotel occupancy and visitation from Canada were all down within that one month. Meantime, leisure air visitor arrivals continue to perform extremely well. In fact, leisure travelers in 2018 are more than filling the gaps left by decreases in the business and visiting friends and family categories.”

paragraphPrimary school pupils are prepared to avoid getting tangled up in gang culture after a six-week course designed to tackle antisocial behavior and violence. Ten students at Prospect Primary School in Pembroke, aged 10 or 11, completed the Gang Resistance Education and Training programme, run by two Customs officers. The youngsters said at their graduation ceremony yesterday they were now prepared to pass on the lessons they learnt. Makeila Wainwright, 11, said: “I learnt that once you get into a gang even though you come out, they will still view you as a gang member.” She added: “Once you get in a gang, you are always in a gang.” Classmate Teresa-Rose Burchall, 10, added: “When you get in a gang, people will see you as someone who is always in the gang and may still come after you when you leave the gang.” Teresa-Rose added: “I learnt that when you get bullied or you get mad, you should go to an adult to solve the problem. Savion Benjamin, 10, said he learnt not to be a bully. He added: “I also learned not to be a bystander. If you see someone bullying others, you should tell a teacher.” The ten said the Great programme was a “life-changing experience”. They also learnt about anger control, and to think about the potential consequences of their decisions. Customs officer Willis Dill said if the children practiced what they learnt then many of society’s problems could be eliminated. He added: “Parents, if your children follow some of the guidelines that we have given them, society won’t have a problem.” Colleague Lalisha Simmons said she enjoyed working with children. She added: “This has been going on for a number of years and it has been successful.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister, told the graduation class that the course was a good opportunity for them. He said: “I know through my life experiences that the building blocks for success actually happen at this stage. As a country, as a community, as a school, we have to do more. The Government will continue programmes such as Great as part of its drive to cut back on violent crime. Other programmes were being run in middle and high schools. The community also needed to work together. We need to start to heal and to help each other. We need to find opportunities where no matter where you are in our communities, we need to advocate for mentorship, for opportunities through education, but more importantly, we need to work as a community for families.” The Great programme was designed to teach life-skills to school pupils in an attempt to tackle antisocial behavior and crime. A total of 513 students in 22 primary and middle schools were trained under the programme last year. A four-strong team of Customs officers were trained last summer as instructors and tasked with carrying out training in six schools.

paragraphRum maker Gosling’s and its former chief financial officer, Trudie Ottolini, have agreed to resolve litigation between them on amicable terms. Gosling’s Ltd and Gosling’s Export (Bermuda) Ltd filed a complaint against Trudie Ottolini at the Supreme Court on May 16 last year. The writ accused Ms Ottolini of making more than half a million dollars of unauthorized transactions in a three-week period to various overseas entities. It further claimed that Ms Ottolini had changed resolutions relating to company bank accounts linked with HSBC giving herself sole authorization to make the payments. The writ stated that Ms Ottolini had breached her employment contract which required her to not act dishonestly. In the writ, Gosling’s claimed damages, interest, further relief and costs. Details of the complaint were reported by The Royal Gazette in June last year. In a press release, Gosling’s stated: “The parties have agreed to resolve the litigation between them on amicable terms. Gosling’s can confirm that at no time was Ms Ottolini being accused of any fraudulent conduct relating to the banking transactions referred to in the article, nor was it meant to be conveyed that she was dishonestly involved in the transactions, which were related to a cyber fraud.” Gosling’s also said that all further terms of the settlement agreement “are to be kept confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement as approved by the Supreme Court of Bermuda”.

paragraphThe US Consulate has been hit by a partial US government shutdown, but US Customs pre-clearance at the airport had not been affected. Constance Dierman, the US Consul General, said the shutdown, caused by failure to agree the national Budget, had affected some services. She added: “During the lapse in appropriations, scheduled passport and visa services at the US Consulate General will continue as the situation permits. Public comments and website updates by the US Consulate General will be limited until full operations resume, except for urgent safety and security information.” The shutdown, which began on December 22, was sparked by a dispute over the funding of a controversial border wall between the US and Mexico proposed by Donald Trump. The stalemate has left several US government departments without funding, including Homeland Security, Justice, Housing, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior and the Treasury. The departments have had to cut back on non-essential services and place some staff on leave. Essential staff have been required to stay on the job without pay. Transportation Security Administration officers have called in sick in large numbers at several US airports, which raised fears that the agency might not have enough staff to maintain safety standards. The TSA said the sick-outs had caused a “minimal impact”.

paragraphConservationists hope lionfish will be back on the menu this winter as the fifth annual Winter Lionfish Derby picks up steam. As of Monday afternoon more than 180 lionfish had already been caught as part of this year’s derby. A spokesman said: “It seems Bermuda’s lionfish typically move closer to shore through the winter, into shallower water, which makes them easy targets. Considering the overall threat that invasive lionfish represent, we think an annual winter derby provides a unique opportunity to catch big numbers of lionfish in an easy and fun way, ultimately making a pretty big dent in their population.” Lionfish, which are native to the Pacific and Indian oceans, were introduced to the Atlantic in the 1990s. The fast-breeding species spread rapidly through the Caribbean and reached Bermudian waters by 2000. Lionfish have no natural predators in the Atlantic and are not recognized as a threat by local fish, which allows them to easily hunt local reef fish. Lionfish are edible, and research by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation found that derbies can reduce the number of lionfish in an area by up to 52 per cent. This year’s winter derby began on January 1 and will continue until the end of the month, with a wrap-up party and award ceremony on February 2. Those taking part in the derby need to have an up-to-date lionfish culling permit and pay a $25 entrance fee, which includes a ticket to the wrap-up event. The spokesman said: “As in years past, there will be cash prizes in both free diver and scuba diver categories. We also hope to have additional door prizes for lionfish hunters who did not bring in big numbers but still deserve a prize for their efforts, so even if you only spear one single lionfish you still might win something. Every lionfish hunter who provides us with proof of their catch will receive an official Winter Lionfish Derby hooded sweatshirt. For any hunters who tried, but came home empty-handed, there will be a limited number of sweatshirts available for purchase.”

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January 7

paragraphInformation commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez has upheld a decision by the Government to withhold records relating to the multimillion dollar airport redevelopment. The Ministry of Finance refused in April 2016 to release under public access to information a legal opinion from international law firm Bennett Jones on whether the Government needed a letter of entrustment from Britain to proceed with the deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation. It also refused to disclose some correspondence it had with the British Government about the agreement. Ms Gutierrez, in a decision made public today, found that the Ministry was right to deny disclosure of the legal opinion on the grounds that it was legal advice and was protected by legal professional privilege. The Royal Gazette had argued that there was significant public interest in releasing publicly-held records about the $250 million airport project. But the information commissioner wrote that there was a “strong inbuilt public interest in protecting the openness in communications between client and lawyer”. Ms Gutierrez, having reviewed the record, said she was “not convinced” that disclosure of the legal memorandum would “contribute to the public’s understanding of the decision-making process surrounding the redevelopment project”. She added: “Importantly, the Minister of Finance disclosed during the House of Assembly debate on November 28, 2014 that the legal advice concluded that no letter of entrustment was necessary. This information was not withheld from the public at the time of the controversy. The public is aware that the substance of the legal advice was not relied upon in practice as the Bermuda Government still proceeded to obtain an entrustment letter from the UK for good measure.” Ms Gutierrez ordered the Ministry to release the date on which the legal advice was given by February 11 to “provide the public with a fuller understanding of the Government’s decision-making process with respect to these matters of public administration, without compromising the principles underlying … lawyer and client confidentiality”. The information commissioner also found that the Government was right to withhold a piece of correspondence between itself and the British Government on the grounds that it constituted “international communications made in confidence”. She said: “The information commissioner acknowledges that there is a significant interest in furthering the public’s understanding of a substantial investment of public money. The information commissioner is satisfied, however, that disclosure ... will not provide new information that meaningfully increases the public’s understanding of the project, nor would disclosure further public accountability.” The Ministry of Finance initially released just four records to The Royal Gazette in response to the Pati request, three of which were already in the public domain, prompting our appeal to the information commissioner’s office. It released more records in October this year. Ms Gutierrez said the ICO’s investigation into the decision had resulted in the Ministry sharing three further records with her which were relevant to the Pati request. The Ministry has yet to decide if those documents will be released and the information commissioner gave it until February 11 to do so. A government spokeswoman said that it had seen Ms Gutierrez’s decision and would “take the appropriate actions as required by the Pati Act”.

paragraphA solar farm at the airport could affect the handling of emergencies, a former firefighter has claimed. Karl Outerbridge, who served with the airport fire service for several years, said the area earmarked for the power plant could be needed to keep aircraft a safe distance from the public if a disaster happened. Mr Outerbridge was speaking after a planning application was lodged to turn “the finger” at the airport into a solar farm. He said: “That finger needs to remain free and clear so if something happens, we have somewhere to put that aircraft. That’s the bit that no one is stopping to think about. When something goes wrong, it doesn’t just stop at the immediate area around the plane.” Mr Outerbridge started work at the LF Wade International Airport in 1999 while on a break from the insurance industry. He said he served as a foam vehicle operator for several years and was often called out for major incidents. Mr Outerbridge added: “While there, you are constantly trained to think about what would happen in this scenario or that scenario. I was the lead firefighter on a call when a US military C130 was landing with a fire on board. It was filled with extra fuel and ammunition. They parked it at Gate 1, which is right next to the fuel tanks. I was going in and the soldiers were running away. During the period I was there, the Egyptian Army would constantly make stops in Bermuda. They would do a hot refuel, which means they’re taking on fuel when their engines are still hot and the fire department has to be on standby with the trucks." Mr Outerbridge questioned what would happen if an aircraft with high-risk material on board needed a hot refuel and if there were would still be a spot where it could be carried out with minimum risk to the public. He said: “Should there be an incident where one of those planes has to come down, they need to be put somewhere.” Mr Outerbridge said the finger was also used after the 2001 terror attack when flights from around the world were grounded. He added: “That finger looked like City Hall car park. It was incredible the number of planes they stacked there.” Mr Outerbridge said the island’s location in the middle of the Atlantic made it an ideal landing spot if there was another mass grounding. He added: “If Bermuda wants to present itself as serious — we’re going to have a new airport, new facilities, we welcome airlines — we can’t say we have a spanking new airport but don’t show up in our yard. That’s bad for business.” Mr Outerbridge said he understood that pilots were also worried about the availability of safe spots to park planes in emergencies and about the quality of firefighting services at the airport. He added the finger could be used for fire service training and reduce the need to send Bermudian firefighters overseas. Mr Outerbridge said that water catchment areas across the island could be used for the installation of solar panels instead. But a Government spokesman said a safety risk assessment was conducted on the solar project and it was agreed that it would not be a safety risk. He added that the airport could use the five acres of Apron VI, at the top of the finger, in emergencies. The spokesman said it has been used as an aircraft parking area since 1995 and the finger has not been “designated or used” even in emergencies. “Apron VI is designated as a parking area for aircraft including, but not limited to, military aircraft and aircraft requiring isolation. It is not the only area available as additional parking for aircraft.” The spokesman added that a fence would separate Apron VI and the solar farm, and a safety assessment found no negative impact on safety and operations.

paragraphThe company that is acting as the precious metals procurement agent for Arbitrade is set to become a major shareholder of the cryptocurrency exchange and coin company. Sion Trading FZE has entered into a conditional agreement for the acquisition of the shares in Arbitrade Ltd currently held by Leila Holdings Limited, a Bermuda exempted company owned by Arbitrade founder Troy Hogg. In a brief statement, Arbitrade said the deal will happen subject to the approval of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, and added that BMA consent and completion of the share transfer is expected in the near future. Len Schutzman, chief executive officer and chairman of Arbitrade, said: “Sion has been a valued partner in the development of the Arbitrade business and we are delighted that one of the largest gold trading companies, that procures gold from mines around the world, will be playing a larger role in the company going forward.” Among Arbitrade’s directors is William Richard Sanders, who is listed on its website as also being a director of Sion Trading FZE. Mr Hogg is one of the two shareholders of Arbitrade Properties (Victoria Hall) Ltd, a subsidiary of Arbitrade, that gained government clearance to take possession of Victoria Hall, on Victoria Street, at the end of October. Arbitrade has named Victoria Hall as its global headquarters and said that once its subsidiary Arbitrade Exchange (Bermuda) Ltd, is licensed under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018, it will commence hiring for positions with the company. Sion Trading FZE holds a commercial licence in the Ras Al Khaimah economic zone of the United Arab Emirates, where its activity is listed as trading non-manufactured precious metals. It is a subsidiary of Scotia International of Nevada Inc, a mining equipment supply company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Last month, Sion Trading announced it had secured a precious metals contract with Don David Gold Mexico to purchase “metal dore” from its Oaxaca Mining Unit. It said it planned to allocate precious metals, including those bought from Don David Gold Mexico “to further enhance Arbitrade’s existing gold assets”. Arbitrade said in November that it had “title'" to 395,000 kilograms of gold bullion, which would be worth $16.2 billion at current prices, to back its coins and tokens. One of the tokens is called “dignity” and is in circulation. The company has not said who has given it title to the gold and under what conditions, nor where the gold is, or the name of the “independent public accounting firm” that it says has verified the account. It has stated the reason for this is because it is legally bound by non-disclosure and privacy obligations. A spokesman at Sion Trading FZE last month told The Royal Gazette: “I can’t speak on behalf of Arbitrade, but Arbitrade has title to it [the bullion], end of story. I don’t know what the contract or deal between it is, but they have ownership of it.”

paragraphWorld famous birder David Wingate witnessed a dramatic falcon strike on a Canada goose on a golf course during the Audubon Society’s 44th Christmas Bird Count. A society spokeswoman said the fierce — but unsuccessful — mid-air strike at the Port Royal Golf Course was one of the highlights of the society’s 44th count, in which more than 100 different species were spotted. More than 20 per cent were European starlings. Dr Wingate, who was part of the 1951 expedition to find the cahow, made a career in protecting Bermuda’s wildlife. Dr Wingate and another conservationist, Steve DeSilva, believe they saw a large and very rare gyrfalcon swooping down and striking a Canada goose at Port Royal Golf Course. The goose escaped, the spokeswoman reported. The gyrfalcon is a fierce predator usually found on remote cliffs around and above the Arctic Circle in Canada and Alaska and Northern Europe. The pair also recorded a number of birds of prey, an American kestrel, a sharp-shinned hawk, a merlin and a northern harrier, at the same time on a single hilltop. One Devonshire resident even spotted a rare American woodcock on their property. American woodcocks, known in some areas as timberdoodles, are small seabirds native to the eastern United States and Canada, but rarely seen in Bermuda. The spokeswoman said: “This bird was seen feeding along the edges of a driveway in Devonshire and we were lucky enough to have the resident send us a photo to ask what type of bird it was. What a surprise to see that it was not a common bird, but instead a very infrequent and beautiful visitor.” Birdwatchers at Spittal Pond recorded a marsh wren: a small North American songbird. While the species has only been recorded in Bermuda once before, in 1996, this one has remained at the park for more than a month. The spokeswoman said 6,066 birds representing 95 species were seen on December 29, the official day of the bird count. Another 13 species were seen during the count week, including Bermuda’s indigenous cahow and the endangered piping plover. The spokeswoman added: “Our total numbers were down from previous years but the variety of species has been in the same range." The Christmas Bird Count is a great opportunity for people interested in birds to take part in citizen science. The National Audubon Society collects all of the data and scientists use it to help assess the status of many bird species over time.” The spokeswoman said those interested in helping can sign up on www.ebird.org to report their sightings — and if they are not sure about what bird they have seen, they can message info@audubon.bm with a photograph of the bird if possible.

paragraphAn annual holiday should honour a national hero, a racial justice organisation urged last night. Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda said that the second day of Cup Match should be named Mary Prince Day. The organisation said that the designation would ensure the holiday “honours and memorializes emancipation and all those who fought for freedom”. It added that Ms Prince “today renowned and celebrated worldwide as a heroine and abolitionist for her courage, fortitude and determination, is surely worthy of the celebration of her name at Cup Match”. Ms Prince, the daughter of two slaves, was born in 1788 at Brackish Pond in Devonshire, now known as Devonshire Marsh. Her autobiography, The History of Mary Prince, was published in 1831. It detailed first-hand the brutality of slavery in Bermuda and the British Caribbean. She was inducted as a Bermuda national hero in 2012. The organisation called on the Government “to fully recognize the emancipation origins of Cup Match and the intent by those enslaved to both commemorate and celebrate their freedom”. It said that the push was part of the organization's Racial Justice Platform for 2019. It added that the platform “is a list of items, actions and legislation, which Curb believes will bring about a greater equity and healthier Bermuda for all”. The organisation added that the measures “are necessary to help us move forward to create stronger community”. It said the full platform would be released this month. The second day of Cup Match is known as Somers Day for Sir George Somers, admiral of the relief fleet for Virginia that wrecked here on July 28, 1609, leading to permanent English settlement. Christopher Famous, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, last summer called for the name of the holiday to be changed. Mr Famous told the House of Assembly: “Stop naming the second day of our emancipation after a slave owner.”

paragraphA youth group gave away more than 22 Christmas hampers to people in need last month. Generation Next, set up to help prepare future leaders, launched the Christmas giveaway with backing from island businesses. Eron Hill, the chairman of Generation Next, said the food hampers included a family-sized turkey, canned goods, boxes of cereal and snacks along with household items and toiletries. He added: “Deliveries were made right to the beneficiaries’ doorsteps between December 21 and 23. The handovers got no publicity because the group wanted to protect the anonymity of the recipients. Recognizing and empathizing with the reality that many who face the hardships and struggles of life that result in needing to be a beneficiary of a food hamper, it is our policy not to take pictures or identify our beneficiaries as we firmly believe that all deserve to enjoy their festive season with family, a hearty meal and one’s dignity.” People were invited to nominate their own family, another one or seniors who needed help over Christmas. The sponsors for Generation Next’s first Christmas hamper event were wholesaler BGA, Smith Technologies, insurance firm Life & Annuity Services and Bermuda Emissions Control. Mr Hill also thanked volunteers who helped organize the giveaway. He said: “A special thank-you must be extended to deputy chairs Karim Creary and Antoine Jones, both of whom ensured that this initiative was a success.” The group plans to continue the donations in the future.

paragraphA 15-year-old girl was pronounced dead this afternoon after police found her “unresponsive” at a residence in My Lord’s Bay Road, Hamilton Parish. A police spokesman said the girl was found shortly before noon, adding: “Despite life-saving efforts at the scene, and as the teenager was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance, she was later pronounced dead. No further information regarding the deceased will be provided at this time, until her next of kin is notified.”

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paragraphAn economic indicator that strongly improved during the period when the island hosted the 2017 America’s Cup, has edged higher again. Bermuda’s gross domestic product for the second quarter of 2018, when adjusted for inflation, rose by 0.8 per cent year-on-year. When expressed in current prices GDP, which measures the value of goods and services produced by Bermuda, was $1.55 billion for the second quarter, an improvement of 2.1 per cent on the previous year. Walton Brown, Minister of the Cabinet Office, said: “The real GDP for the second quarter increased 0.8 per cent, which shows some strengthening in the economy, especially when this is being compared with the second quarter of 2017 when Bermuda hosted the America’s Cup. This is encouraging to see.” The GDP figure was included in four economic data reports - see below - released by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics this afternoon. The island’s inflation rate was 1.1 per cent in September and October, and was included in the consumer price index reports for the two months. Mr Brown said the low level of inflation was beneficial to the economy “since it helps to keep check on the price of goods and services, and also encourages people to spend and businesses to invest”. The fourth economic data bulletin released today showed Bermuda’s balance of payments was $149 million in the second quarter, which was $6 million down on the corresponding period in 2017. It was the lowest quarterly surplus in the period January 2017 to the end of June 2018. Mr Brown said the balance of payments are an important strength in the economy and had “recorded a very respectable current account surplus of $149 million”. The minister also said: “The economic data released exhibits some positive signs in our economy, which is still recovering after several years of economic contraction.”

See 

paragraphGun crimes dropped by nearly 45 per cent in 2018, new figures released today indicate. According to statistics provided by the Government, there were 27 incidents last year which involved a firearm, were believed to involve a firearm, or where a firearm was recovered. The corresponding figure for 2017 was 49, and in 2016 it was 82. According to the numbers, there were three firearms-related fatalities and injuries last year — down from nine in 2017 and 14 in 2016. Serious assaults also showed a drop at 32 last year — down from 37 in 2017 and 46 in 2016. Arrests for violent crime were up to 24 in 2018, from 22 in each of the two previous years. The figures were included in an update on anti-gang initiatives from Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. Mr Caines said that the Government had devised a “thorough, multi-pronged and disciplined plan” to tackle gang violence in Bermuda. He added: “I have complete confidence in its success.” Mr Caines said that he valued the opinions of community activists. But he added: “They do not have access to the overall ministerial plan, which includes the gang violence strategy, key goals, objectives, deliverables, and the matrix of accountability for the Gang Violence Reduction Team.” He said that the Government’s plan included community activists and leaders, the Bermuda Police Service and other organisations. However he added: “The implementation of this plan does not include responding to every comment made by the public. Our focus is as it should be — on the implementation of the solution for the betterment of Bermuda.” The update also provided details on the work of a number of agencies looking at the gang violence problem in Bermuda, including the Inter-Agency Gang Enforcement Team, the Violence Reduction Unit, and the Coordinated Crisis Response Team. Details of support services provided in schools to at-risk students were also given. Mr Caines said that plans for Redemption Farm were “still in the development stages. The therapeutic farming initiative will commence in 2019.” Mr Caines said the programme would provide employment training, vocational skills, and workshops to participants. "Bermuda’s gang problem would not be fixed overnight. We are steadfast in our belief, that if we are to see an end to violence in Bermuda, our community must rise and play a part in the process. All churches, community clubs, fraternities, sororities, the LGBTQ community, and most importantly family — I challenge you all to step up and be part of the solution. Whether through mentorship, job training, big brothers and sisters or chatting with the men on the wall, everyone has the opportunity to tackle gun violence and it is our responsibility to do so. Through love and the strengthening of family ties, we must address past traumas and break the cycle of family dysfunction to help ensure the trend of antisocial behavior does not continue with our children. Lastly, our women cannot raise our children alone, we need a significant number of our men to step up and accept the responsibility of raising their sons and daughters. Together, we can end gun violence in Bermuda. Let’s stop assigning blame and start working together to change the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”

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January 5

paragraphMinister of Finance Curtis Dickinson has accused Nick Kempe of playing “political football” as the Government works to protect the international business sector. Mr Kempe, the Shadow Minister of Finance, questioned what the Government had done to ensure companies expand their footprint in Bermuda instead of going elsewhere. However Mr Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, responded that all Mr Kempe should have contacted him if he wanted to know the action the Ministry was taking. Mr Dickinson said: “I am happy to meet with him, just like I met with the Opposition before the debate, and my predecessor the Premier met with the Opposition on no less than three occasions in 2018 to ensure that they were kept up to date on this important matter. As the Minister of Finance I will lead this Ministry with the seriousness it requires and I would recommend that the Shadow Minster understand that not everything needs to be the subject of a politically charged press release. Our future is at stake and we need statesmanship now, not partisanship.” In December, the Government passed the Economic Substance Act 2018, which is intended to meet the commitment made by Bermuda to address certain concerns raised by the European Union’s Code of Conduct Group in relation to the need for relevant businesses to demonstrate economic substance in Bermuda. In an opinion piece, published in Saturday’s edition of The Royal Gazette, Mr Kempe praised the work of the Government in passing legislation which met the “constantly moving goalposts” of the EU. But he asked what the Government was doing to ensure the island benefits from the situation. Mr Kempe said: “I believe the Government shares the hope that some good could come from EU substance, but hopes and plans are two different things. To turn lemons into lemonade, you need sugar. But where is the Government’s plan? The Premier has known this was coming for a long time, having committed to the compliance route in a letter to the EU’s Code of Conduct Group in November 2017. Most of proving substance has to do with boots on the ground. What incentives have been rolled out to ensure that those sectors of international business — besides insurance and banking, which are most likely to be able to meet EU substance requirements — will choose to expand their footprint here as opposed to somewhere else?” In a statement, Mr Dickinson responded that the Government had repeatedly met with the OBA about their approach. He added: “These changes are important, but there is nothing to be gained for Bermuda by telegraphing our plans to our international competitors via the press. I would urge the Leader of the Opposition to, as best he can, restrain the exuberance of his shadow finance minister, and help him to understand that partisanship should stop at the water’s edge when dealing with these important international matters.”

paragraphThree leading people involved with Arbitrade - incorporated in 2018 in Bermuda - are seeking protection from alleged cyber-stalking by an analyst and former supporter of the cryptocurrency exchange and coin company. A civil lawsuit has been filed in Florida by Arbitrade founding figures Troy Hogg and James Goldberg, and chief operating officer Stephen Braverman, claiming they are the victims of cyber-stalking. Stock picker and analyst Ronnie Moas and his Florida-based company Standpoint Research are named as the defendants. In documents filed on Thursday at the Miami-Dade County Civil Court, it is claimed Mr Hogg, Mr Goldberg and Mr Braverman and their families have been threatened and stalked after Mr Moas and Standpoint Research posted on social media and communicated to third parties various private mobile numbers, private e-mail addresses, licence plate numbers and other information. The emergency motion for injunction for protection against cyber- stalking is pursuant with the section of Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes, where cyber-stalking is defined as to communicate, or cause to be communicated, “words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communications, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose”. Mr Moas has authored more than 1,000 research reports and appeared in more than 100 television, newspaper, radio and magazine interviews since 2014, and been a headline speaker at conferences, according to the Standpoint Research website. For most of 2018 he was highly positive towards Arbitrade and its “dignity” crypto token. However, that changed at the end of November, a few weeks after Arbitrade announced it had “title” to $15 billion of gold bullion to back its coins and tokens. At the end of the month Mr Moas, who has thousands of newsletter subscribers and more than 44,000 followers on Twitter, expressed concerns about the company. Arbitrade, which in October named Victoria Hall, on Victoria Street, as its global headquarters, responded with a statement in which it rejected claims that it had misled Mr Moas. Throughout December, Mr Moas continued to express his concerns through Twitter posts and interviews. The court in Miami on Thursday issued a 20-day summons to the parties named in the case. An evidentiary hearing has been scheduled for January 10, when it is expected there will be a formal examination of the charges, testimony heard and evidence received in support or in defence of the charges. Mr Hogg, Mr Braverman and Mr Goldberg are represented by attorney Donald J. Hayden, of Mark Migdal & Hayden. When last checked, Mr Moas and Standpoint Research did not have an attorney listed in relation to the case.

paragraphOpinion. By Thomas  L. Knapp, director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Centre for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. "Cryptocurrencies had a rough ride in 2018. As of January 7, 2018, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com came to more than $800 billion, its highest point ever. As I write this on January 3, 2019, that total market capitalization is down to about $130 billion — one sixth of the market’s high point. You may be surprised to learn that I’m still a cryptocurrency fan. But, just to be up front, yes, I am. Not because I’m sitting on a huge pile of the stuff — as of this moment, my cryptocurrency holdings are worth less than $100 — nor because I expect to make a killing speculating. When I get some crypto, I generally spend it without waiting very long to see if it increases in value. I’m still enthusiastic about cryptocurrency because I’ve seen what it can do and make plausible predictions about what it will be able to do in the future. Cryptocurrency seizes control of money from governments and puts it in the hands of people. With improvements in its privacy aspects, that’s only going to become more true. In short, cryptocurrency fuels freedom. But can it last? Will it win? I think that the past year, far from dispelling that notion, reinforces it. Let me explain. Two kinds of noise related to cryptocurrency seem to have faded in tandem with the market cap’s downward trend. As one might expect, the ultra-bullish “Bitcoin will go to $100,000 real soon now!” voices have gone down in number and volume. But so have the voices comparing cryptocurrency to a Ponzi scheme or to the 17th-century “tulip bubble”. Yes, there are exceptions. One is Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman, who still seems to think that transaction costs and lack of “tethers” to fiat government currencies will make crypto a bad bet. Of course, Krugman also said, in 1998, that “by 2005 or so, it will become clear that the internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s”. So however expert he may be in other areas, I doubt I’m alone in discounting his predictive abilities when it comes to technological advancements. This year-long market correction has been exactly that — a correction towards real values. After a period of hype (“initial coin offerings” based on bizarre-use cases) and scams (“pump and dumps” cons based on new fly-by-night “Altcoins”), the wheat is separating from the chaff, the fraud is settling down to a level consistent with the rest of human activity, and the financial “mainstream” attitude has gone from dismissive to curious to “how do we get in on this?” Cryptocurrency is getting better and better at what it was meant to do: it facilitates transactions without regard to political borders, it safeguards the records of those transactions through a distributed ledger system (“blockchain”), and to varying degrees (depending on which currency and the individual user’s habits) it protects the privacy of those who use it from prying eyes. Cryptocurrency and the freedom it entails are here to stay. Welcome to the future."

• NB: Bermuda-incorporated companies now include a number involved in crypto currency.

paragraphAn “extraordinary” woman whose court case set a new standard for compensation of accident victims is to be remembered with a scholarship in her name. Eleanor Simmons, who died on December 21 at age 83, lost the use of her right arm in a devastating 1978 crash, but was undeterred as a single mother looking after herself and her family of five. Her funeral today at the West End will be used by her family to raise funds for an award as tribute to her fighting spirit and charitable personality. Ms Simmons, originally a traffic warden, was known to many through her service as the Government switchboard operator for 21 years. Her daughter, Deeanda Bannister, said her mother was an example of someone with “a handicap and with pain who never complained about it”. She said that with just one arm, Ms Simmons peeled potatoes, cooked lavish meals for guests, hung out washing on her line, and loved to swim. A lifelong Sandys resident, Ms Simmons kept her own house on Hog Bay Level “immaculate” and only began to need her children’s help last year. She sewed her own pillowcases, painted the house’s interior herself, and was “not a person who wanted people to feel sorry for her”. The scholarship in her memory will reflect her philanthropic spirit, Ms Bannister added. “She loved to bake sugar cookies, rolling them with one hand, and she would give them away for any charity or bake sale — she thought nothing of it. She loved to give to others through her infirmity, which we found phenomenal. We would like the scholarship to have perpetual meaning — the recipient’s criteria should be to have financial need and to have done community service.” The memorial service at Fort Scaur in Sandys at 10am will be followed by a sea burial to reflect her love of the ocean. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the educational fund of the charity Phenomenal People, run by her daughter, Margaret Giloth. Ms Simmons had three other children: Stanley Simmons, Bryan Simmons and the late Alfred Simmons. In 1978, Ms Simmons was knocked off the road by a car as she road her motorcycle near Mangrove Bay. The limb never functioned again. The other driver was uninsured, and Ms Simmons’s 11-year fight for compensation ended at the Privy Council in 1987. The council ruled that insurers should pay less than a quarter of the $100,000 agreed damages — but it was a landmark nonetheless, according to Trevor Moniz, her lawyer. Mr Moniz, an Opposition MP, called her a “lovely, very deserving person” and said he had taken her case pro bono. Mr Moniz said: “We lost the case, but out of it the Motor Insurance Fund was created in 1990. It provides compensation for people injured in accidents where the person who caused the accident was uninsured.” Mr Moniz said Ms Simmons’s case “provided impetus to deal with this issue and bring Bermuda into modern times”.

paragraphA former senator pointed to a sense of white privilege and entitlement surrounding an attack that he suffered two summers ago. Andrew Simons was speaking yesterday after former deputy mayor of Hamilton Courtland Boyle Sr and his sons, Courtland Boyle Jr, 21, and Robert Boyle, 20, admitted unlawfully assaulting him. The three men each received a six-month conditional discharge at Magistrates’ Court. Mr Simons told The Royal Gazette: “If you have the right type of privilege in Bermuda, you often get a pass for bad behavior. To be specific, if you’re male, if you’re wealthy, if you’re white, people are more often likely to excuse drunken behavior by simply saying ‘boys will be boys’.” Courtland Boyle Sr, 50, also admitted causing $967.81 worth of damage to Mr Simons’s car. He was ordered to pay for the damage. It stemmed from an incident that took place on August 3, 2017. The court heard that Mr Simons and his wife were in their car on Boss’s Cove Road, Pembroke, at about 8.45pm. Mr Simons, a One Bermuda Alliance senator at the time, had stopped and reversed his car to allow another vehicle to pass on the road. While backing up, Mr Simons noticed Robert Boyle giving him the finger. Mr Simons told the driver of the vehicle who responded: “Yes, he probably was sticking up his middle finger.” Robert Boyle then got out of the car and reached through Mr Simons’s car window and grabbed his arm. About six passengers who were in the other vehicle exited and one of them pulled Robert Boyle away from Mr Simons. The court heard that Courtland Boyle Sr also grabbed Mr Simons’s arm and then used his hand to smash the wing mirror of Mr Simons’s car. The incident was recorded on mobile phones by Mr Simons and his wife. A video showing a portion of the incident was provided to The Royal Gazette yesterday. Mr Simons said he made the decision to record the incident “because I didn’t think people would believe what had happened”. He added: “It was so strange and it was unprovoked.” Mr Simons described the incident as “surreal”. He added: “The whole group was totally uninhibited, shirts off, aggressive. I was worried for my wife because they were trying to get in on the passenger-side door. She was upset.” Mr Simons said that he could not drive away without potentially hitting someone because his car was surrounded. He added: “I really just wanted them to calm down and ideally wait for the police.” Saul Froomkin, who represented all three Boyle family members, called the incident an “unfortunate event”. He said that the event had taken place during the Cup Match holiday weekend and that his clients “probably had more alcohol than they ought to have had”. Mr Froomkin told the court that his clients had approached Mr Simons’s car to try to grab the phone with which he was recording the incident. He said that the episode was “completely out of character” for all three men. Mr Froomkin asked magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo to consider an absolute discharge on the assault plea for all three. He added: “To have their future adversely affected by conviction would be unjust and unfair.” Mr Tokunbo described the assault as “at the lower end of the scale”. But he added: “The behavior nonetheless needs to be recognized as the kind that needs to be deterred.” Courtland Boyle Sr served as an elected councillor and alderman with the Corporation of Hamilton between 2003 and 2009. He declined to comment outside court yesterday.

paragraphA second suspect has been arrested in connection to the murder of Ronniko Burchall. A spokesman with the Bermuda Police Service said that a 24-year-old man had been taken into custody. He added: “The investigating team continues to encourage anyone with information regarding this matter to contact them, or provide the information confidentially. Officers are particularly keen to speak with anyone who may have information on the suspects, their movements or firearms. Detectives are still tracing the movements of the suspects and analyzing evidence that has come into their possession through the course of the investigation.” Police announced on Sunday that a 31-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the murder. Mr Burchall, 30, was shot as he stood outside St David’s County Cricket Club in the early hours of last Saturday morning and died in hospital the next day. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 295-0011 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477.

paragraphA former head teacher at Saltus Grammar School has died in England. Roy Haygarth, who was 87, led Saltus between 1969 and 1979 — a crucial time in its history. Henry Ziegler, a Saltus alumnus who was the first head of the senior year created by Mr Haygarth, called him “an innovator and visionary”. Mr Ziegler, who taught at the school from 1974 to 1979, said: “He started the senior year programme, which was an example to the rest of the island. A new library went up with the senior year programme underneath. That was thanks to Roy.” Mr Haygarth also managed Saltus as the school moved from all-white into integration, Mr Ziegler added. Jon Beard, the deputy head, said Mr Haygarth kept the school on an even keel during the “tumultuous days” of its transition from an aided to private school. Mr Beard said: “He brought a new approach — it was very orderly. He was keen on academic rigor and getting the best out of students.” The new 1977 Saltus gymnasium was named after Mr Haygarth. The Haygarth Gymnasium opened in June 1979, with the outgoing head teacher in attendance. After Saltus, Mr Haygarth went on to become head of Liverpool College until he retired to Devon in 1992. Mr Beard added that Mr Haygarth “watched all the sports — I remember being quite stunned because no matter what game was on, he would be there to watch”. He said that Mr Haygarth, an English teacher, also astounded pupils with his ability to quote long passages of Shakespeare without a text. Mr Beard said he had been hired by Mr Haygarth in 1977, and that he had decided to come to Saltus based on that interview. Mr Beard added: “He was obviously a very intelligent man, with an ability to talk on many subjects and to quickly make one feel at ease. I respected him for his calm, fair manner, and an obvious desire to make Saltus a top school. He dealt with incredible changes at the school and had the respect of everyone.” Mr Haygarth, born in Cheshire in 1931, went to Ellesmere College and later studied English at University College, Oxford. He taught English at English public schools Cranleigh and Oundle School before he moved to Bermuda. After his retirement in 1992, the father-of-four went back to work as head inspector for public schools in England, and finally retired in 2000. Edmund, a son, told The Royal Gazette: “Although he did not tell me what got him into teaching, I know he genuinely believed that a teacher’s role was to find the good in each boy and make sure that it shone through, not just for the good of the boy but for the good of the community. He truly believed that good people only find fulfillment if they put the needs of others first. His deep Christian faith was the foundation stone for both his beliefs and actions.” He added: “Dad was incredibly fond of Bermuda and Saltus and proud of his involvement with and achievements at Saltus, but I can hear him scolding me as I write that, because he would say the real achievements belong to his colleagues and the boys and girls who they taught and who have gone on to be good people.” A funeral service is to be held on January 14 in Devon.

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paragraphGoogle moved $22.7 billion through a Dutch company to Bermuda in 2017, an increase of about $4.5 billion on the previous year. The tax strategy, known as “Double Irish, Dutch Sandwich”, is legal, but has been criticized in the past as an arrangement that allows Google to reduce its foreign tax bill. Reuters reported that €19.9 billion of revenue from royalties earned outside the US was moved by the technology company through its subsidiary Google Netherlands Holdings BV to Google Ireland Holdings, which is registered in Bermuda. In a statement, Alphabet Inc’s Google said: “We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world. Google, like other multinational companies, pays the vast majority of its corporate income tax in its home country, and we have paid a global effective tax rate of 26 per cent over the last ten years.” Reuters noted that moving the revenue through the Netherlands to Bermuda avoided “triggering US income taxes or European withholding taxes on the funds, which represent the bulk of its overseas profits”. Under pressure from the US and European Union, Ireland is phasing out the arrangement in 2020. Reuters reported that according to documents filed at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, Google Netherlands Holdings BV paid €3.4 million in taxes in the Netherlands in 2017 on a gross profit of €13.6 million. Three years ago, a number of newspapers in Britain put Bermuda under the spotlight regarding the billions of dollars sent to the island by the internet giant. In 2016, The Sun on Sunday highlighted how Google directed billions of dollars of profits a year to the island, and noted the company’s only physical presence in Bermuda was a post office box, numbered 666, located at the General Post Office in Hamilton. The newspaper explained how Google moved money through Ireland and the Netherlands before it reached Bermuda, where Google Bermuda Unlimited and Google Ireland Holdings were registered at the address of law firm Conyers Dill and Pearman, on Church Street.

paragraphA new bus schedule has been pushed back two weeks from its promised start date of next week. The Department of Public Transportation announced yesterday that the winter 2019 schedule planned to start on Monday would now be introduced on January 21. The department said that the revised start date “will ensure that all relevant stakeholders and the general public are well informed of the scheduling change”. Roger Todd, the director of the DPT, added: “The production and dissemination of information for the public is key to this process and involves multiple entities and vendors. With due consideration for the public and the time required to properly communicate the new schedule, we are taking time to ensure this is done effectively.” The schedule will be available on the Government’s website from Monday. The DPT added that print copies of the schedule will be available at the Central Terminal in Hamilton and “other key locations” from January 14. A spokesman for the transport ministry told The Royal Gazette last month that the full schedule would be released “before the new year”. He added: “The data is currently in its raw form and will be aesthetically modified for public consumption.” The spokesman claimed that the new schedule would cost less to run than the old timetable, but could not say how much would be saved. He said: “I don’t have this figure. It will take some time to quantify.” Transport minister Zane DeSilva announced the new schedule last month. He unveiled the schedule flanked by Mr Todd and Chris Furbert, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union.

paragraphThe death of a 74-year-old woman involved in a fall at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital has been referred to the coroner. A Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman confirmed that the matter had been sent to the coroner with the intention of determining the senior’s cause of death. She said: “Although a fall did occur, the coroner will determine whether it was relevant to the patient passing away. Our condolences are with the patient’s family at this sad time. We cannot share further information through the media, but the family will be fully apprised of all findings and the coroner’s decision.” A police spokesman confirmed that the Bermuda Police Service are investigating the death on December 26. He added: “The investigation is under the purview of the coroner and a report will be issued to the coroner upon completion.”

paragraphA hospital staff member was fired after a report into an alleged assault on an elderly patient, according to the Bermuda Hospitals Board. A BHB spokeswoman confirmed that the matter was investigated last year and properly reported. The spokeswoman said: “Bermuda Hospitals Board made a report of an incident between a staff member and patient in November to the Ageing and Disability Services department as is BHB’s statutory obligation. An internal investigation was also completed and the employee terminated. BHB deeply apologized to the CCU resident and his family.” No other details about the incident were provided. However, the spokeswoman said: “We remain greatly saddened that this happened to someone under our care and will do all that is necessary to safeguard the care and safety of our residents.”

paragraphX-ray service has resumed at an East End hospital, it was announced this afternoon. The Bermuda Hospitals Board said that the service had resumed after repairs had been completed to equipment at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre in St David’s. Members of the public had been directed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital during the closure.

paragraphTwo American students were shown leniency by a magistrate yesterday after they said they could not pay a $4,000 fine for drugs offences. Magistrates’ Court heard that first-time visitors Kyla Beckford and her boyfriend, Berlino Felix, both 22, were arrested at the airport when they arrived for a holiday on December 29. The couple’s luggage was picked for a search and the couple told customs officers they had cannabis in their possession. The search found 27 gummies, which were later found to contain THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, as well as about 20 grams of cannabis. The pair, who had planned to stay until January 4, said the drugs were for personal use. The couple, from Boston, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to two charges each of importation of a controlled drug. The court heard Beckford and Felix could be fined $1,000 each on both counts — a total of $4,000. Beckford and Felix, who fought back tears in court, told Magistrate Tyrone Chin they could not afford the fines. Beckford said her parents could not help and she was due to return to college later this month and risked being trapped on the island. She added: “I am deeply apologetic. This is a lesson to me.” Felix said: “I am deeply sorry; this won’t ever happen again.” Beckford added that she would use her experience to ensure other young people did not make the same mistake. The court heard that it was the pair’s first time abroad and that they were not aware of the laws of Bermuda. The court also heard that marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. Mr Chin told the pair: “We have to have something to deter others.” But he cut the fines in half, a reduction of $2,000, and ordered Felix and Beckford to pay $1,000 each before they left the island. Mr Chin said: “I think you have learnt a lesson as young adults.”

paragraphA Bermudian lawyer who got up on stage and performed with his ballet-dancing daughter after she was hit by stage fright has been named 2018 Father of Year by a top-rated American television program. Marc Daniels shot to international fame after a video of his pirouettes with two-year-old Isabella went viral. He was given the award by news magazine Inside Edition, which attracts more than four million viewers a show and featured a clip of their duet. However, Mr Daniels played down the award and insisted he had been trying only to be a good father. He said: “I am just a father who loves his children and got caught in the act of expressing that love.” He added: “Six months on we are still receiving messages from people all around the world expressing their gratitude for viewing this clip, which has been so surreal and humbling.” Mr Daniels became an internet sensation after Isabella, who was performing with older sister Giada, 4, at a show at the In Motion School of Dance in Hamilton in July last year, froze on stage. The barrister, still carrying his youngest daughter, Suri, aged seven months, took to the stage and coached the little girl through her moves. Mr Daniels said: “I think it has actually exceeded one hundred million views on different platforms combined, based on the data that we have seen, which we think is amazing, especially if it helps to promote being an engaging and present father. And it gives a platform to promote our island home.” Mr Daniels added: “It has basically made the rounds on every major US network and various news publications in Europe, Latin America and Asia. He said he was told a churchman in the US had written a sermon based on the video clip and a musician from the French Riviera sent the family a song based on the video. Mr Daniels added: “We have actually received a few requests for the video to be used in commercials, primarily in Europe thus far, but we have not accepted any requests as yet, despite a couple of pretty big names — primarily because I am still holding out for a request for it to be used in a Super Bowl commercial.” Inside Edition highlighted the video in a year-in-review segment on December 31 about the stories that touched their hearts during the year. Mr Daniels said he jumped on stage and began to dance alongside the girls to calm Isabella after she became scared. The video quickly went viral after being put on the In Motion Facebook page and has since been viewed more than a million times on The Royal Gazette’s YouTube channel alone. Mr Daniels said he had stopped keeping track of the video, but his wife, Kimmie, had tracked its international spread. He added that the video also brought him fame at home — and could spark a second career. Mr Daniels explained: “My four-year-old, Giada, suggested that I should write a ‘Daderina’ book with pretty illustrations so that she can share the story at school with her friends, and Bella can perform the moves at home. Hearing this truly inspired me and it has encouraged me to embark on that path, which has been more rewarding than I could have imagined thus far.” He added that Isabella had recovered from her attack of stage fright and continued to dance with Giada at In Motion.

paragraphAn activist delivered a stark message to police on how to beat gang crime yesterday. Gina Spence, the founder of community arts organisation Gina Spence Productions, said hand-wringing had to be replaced with action. She added: “I have been around for the last 20 years. I try to be optimistic about community meetings, strategies — we’ve probably done it all.” However, Ms Spence said: “Meetings are only fruitful if we have a real, tangible plan. I have yet to see either of our governments come in and do something drastically different. You also need bold leadership. You need a voice and a leader who is unapologetic. I find that we tiptoe ... at the end of the day, I look at a place like 42nd Street in New York, which was notorious. That’s the street that had prostitution and drugs. A bold leader stepped in and said ‘you know what? We’re going to bring change to this community’.” Ms Spence was speaking as she met Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley to discuss the island’s epidemic of gang-related violence only days after Ronniko Burchall, 30, died when he was shot outside a sports club in St David’s. Mr Corbishley said he remained optimistic that a reduction in firearms on the street, such as last month’s seizure of three guns with a stockpile of drugs, delivered “massive benefits”. However, he admitted: “The problem with gangs is it’s all about territory and turf. We know there’s tension and we start getting intelligence around the threat between one gang and another.” Mr Corbishley asked Ms Spence’s advice on how to break down the “wall of silence that often exists in communities”. He said that police continued to look for a man linked to Mr Burchall’s shooting outside St David’s County Cricket Club. Mr Corbishley added: “He knows who he is. His family knows. A lot of people know he is being sought. I have a duty of care to him, in regards to protecting him.” He also asked how the police could win the co-operation of embattled communities and reduce tension between gangs. Ms Spence said: “It’s all about trust. “It’s very difficult to go in, even with good intentions, and try to give support. There’s definitely a line drawn between police and persons involved in the selling of drugs.” She added that Gina Spence Productions had “the trust and the street credit”. Ms Spence said: “The police have come a long way. I remember when there was unimaginable tension. People wanted answers; they wanted police to fix it now. Bermuda didn’t know what to do with homicide.” She told Mr Corbishley: “I’m not going to lie. When people go into protection mode, they don’t see you as the person that they want to share that truth with.” Mr Corbishley, who promised to work at grassroots level with communities when he took over as Commissioner last June, said he had often been told of zero tolerance crackdowns such as Operation Cleansweep, the anti-street drug dealer drive in 1997 that brought scores of arrests island wide. He told Ms Spence: “That’s a top-down approach. As soon as I turn that off, it all comes back. What you’re describing is that you grow it from the community upwards.” Ms Spence added: “We see them as gang members and groups — if you ask them, they say ‘that’s my family’.” She added that police faced an uphill struggle in communities after a killing, but that gang-related drug dealers had ways to win support in neighborhoods. Ms Spence said: “There are certain individuals who carry a huge amount of support and respect in their communities as a person that is involved in drugs. They underwrite costs for football games, they give back to communities. We may look at it and say that’s crazy, but they do. They see that person as a person that helps in spite of the lifestyle they live, so it’s a very fine line between what we know is the law and what is the reality in a community.”

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January 3

paragraphTaxpayers’ money was poured into the failed Sandys 360 sports centre even after its management stopped payment of social insurance contributions and land tax, The Royal Gazette can reveal. Gitanjali Gutierrez, the information commissioner, scrutinized documents that showed cash owed by the centre in a review of the Ministry of Finance’s refusal to release the records under the public access to information law. Ms Gutierrez said in a decision due to be made public today: “Weighty public interest considerations in this case favour disclosure of the social insurance contribution and land tax amounts owed.” She ordered the finance ministry to release the records by February 7. Ms Gutierrez said: “Public accountability concerning public spending and decision-making is a primary purpose set out in section 2 of the Pati Act. The information commissioner agrees with the position that in light of the substantial amount of public funding involved, disclosure would increase the accountability of the ministry. It would show that public funding was still being given to Sandys 360 when the Government was aware that the company and the Sandys 360 board of trustees were in arrears for social insurance contributions and land tax payments. Disclosure of the actual amounts will allow the public to make informed assessments of the spending decisions made with public funds.” At least $5.3 million of public money was given to Sandys 360 between 2007 and 2013. That included a duplicate payment of $807,000 made “in error” which was never paid back to the Government. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were also donated by the corporate sector and the public. The sports centre closed at the end of 2013 after it ran out of money. The Royal Gazette submitted a Pati request to the Ministry of Finance in February 2016 that asked for a list of Sandys 360’s debts to the Government, including a total figure and details of any attempts to recover the money. The ministry confirmed it was still owed the $807,000 and revealed that Sandys 360 was “in debt to Government for payroll taxes, land tax and social insurance contributions”. But it refused to release the amounts owed and insisted the information was exempt under Pati. A review of the decision by Anthony Manders, the financial secretary, agreed. He wrote: “It has been a longstanding policy of the ministry to not publicly disclose amounts owed to Government by entities.” Ms Gutierrez ruled that the Government could withhold information on payroll tax arrears because of a secrecy provision in the Taxes Management Act 1976. But the information commissioner said there was no reason to withhold the records on land tax and social insurance contributions. Ms Gutierrez wrote: “The ministry suggests that information that has been previously held secret as a matter of government custom, rather than as a legislative requirement, should remain secret even after the enactment of the Pati Act. The information commissioner cannot accept this claim. As part of the good governance reforms in the public service to promote transparency and improve accountability, information previously protected as a matter of policy or practice within government is precisely the type of information to which the Pati Act now provides the public access, unless it properly falls within a listed exemption.” The information commissioner said that “contrary to the assertion of a longstanding confidentiality policy concerning social insurance contributions”, the Government had encouraged people to check if their employers were up to date on payments with the Department of Social Insurance. She pointed out that the public had asked for the aggregate amount of these individual figures for Sandys 360. Ms Gutierrez highlighted a claim by the finance ministry that it held no records on its attempts to recover the funds owed and revealed that she had reviewed relevant documents, which had been withheld from The Royal Gazette. She quashed the ministry’s decision in relation to its attempts to recover the money owed and ordered it to issue a “new, accurate and complete” response to that part of the Pati request, also by February 7. A government spokeswoman said last night that it had seen Ms Gutierrez’s decision and would “take the appropriate actions as required by the Pati Act”.

paragraphIt remains unclear when parents can expect to see progress report cards for public school pupils, the Minister of Education said today. Diallo Rabain said that discussions would begin “this week” between Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, Department of Education officers, head teachers and representatives with the Bermuda Union of Teachers “in determining revisions to the roll-out of grades and report cards”. He added: “An announcement will be made very soon on when those report cards will be released.” Mr Rabain was speaking a day after teachers took part in training on standards-based grading after a request from the Bermuda Union of Teachers. Teachers and the Government have been locked in conflict over a range of problems, including standards-based grading, which the teaching union said had added stress to already overburdened staff. Ms Richards yesterday apologized to teachers for “insufficient support, training and communication, and for the impact that it has had on principals, teachers and schools”.

paragraphAn anti-violence campaigner has called for a fresh approach to combat gang culture. Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, said the Government had to do more to beat gun violence. He added: “I believe they are not utilizing the resources that they have access to in an effective manner. I believe that they now know that the epidemic is larger than they thought it was initially and is spreading faster than they thought it would.” Mr Crockwell said: “There are a lot of valuable resources in Bermuda that can help reshape the way our violent young think.” He was speaking yesterday after the island’s latest murder. Ronniko Burchall, 30, was shot and seriously injured as he stood outside St David’s County Cricket Club in the early hours of Saturday morning and died in hospital on Sunday afternoon. Mr Crockwell said that his response to the shooting was “one of frustration, hurt and disappointment”. He added: “I think the feeling is the same among many.” Mr Crockwell said the idea that members of the public should “all work with government” was a problem. He explained: “One must understand that this is a full-time commitment — and one cannot volunteer full time. The current government has made it clear that the funds are not available to build a major full-time infrastructure, which should include many anti-violence professionals and experienced community workers. Therefore, it makes more sense for us to work individually and do what we can in the areas that we have an impact in, and collaborate as often as we can.” Mr Crockwell maintained the answer to violence was “not a one-man, one-ministry solution”, and that nine gang reduction professionals were needed — one for each parish. He said: “I don’t think our community would have a problem with the funds that are put up, as long as we see tangible results and evidence.” Mr Crockwell added that other organisations should be provided with additional resources. He said: “It is no coincidence that when funding became less available to these organisations, the epidemic started to spread out of control.” Mr Burchall’s murder was the latest in a string of gun incidents in recent weeks. Paul Johnson, 33, was shot dead on Rambling Lane, Pembroke, on December 10. A 21-year-old man was later arrested in connection with the incident. Mr Crockwell said that people had to show that they cared about the young people involved in the violence. He added: “We must speak life to our young people. Words are powerful. Many Bermudians can spread a story without a second thought, and criticize a person, family or situation in a heartbeat. But they are not so quick to physically assist a person in need. In the end, the community raised our children and will continue to raise our children, so we do and can have an impact on their lives.” Gina Spence, a community activist and founder of Gina Spence Productions, said that violence has become a part of Bermuda’s culture. She added: “This level of antisocial behavior has been a couple of decades in the making, and in my opinion there is no quick fix.” She said that gun violence appeared to have become an accepted part of life. “I believe this has also fed into the lack of overall community response. The rise of gun violence in Bermuda should have been met with a national response similar to a state of emergency. I say emergency because the violence is impacting families across the island. Ironically, we used terms such as crisis when describing the loss of life from road traffic accidents, but will not use such terms when our young men are killed in an alarming upsurge in gang violence. The sad thing is that we trot out the same responses in the wake of more than 35 murders.” She said that the recent spate of shootings had happened in residential areas, near where families live. Ms Spence highlighted that government statistics showed there were 400 youngsters at risk of gang involvement. But Ms Spence questioned whether enough was done to prevent young people from destructive gang culture. “Only time will tell.”

paragraphReinsurance prices remained stable in January 1 policy renewals, even in the face of above average insured losses last year — as abundant market capital generally offset upward pricing pressures. Natural catastrophe losses for the first half of last year were $20 billion, which was below the ten-year average, however the final six months were above average, bringing the full year losses to more than $70 billion. Reinsurance broker JLT Re estimated losses in the property-catastrophe market at more than $80 billion, making last year the fourth most costly catastrophe year in real terms. When 2018’s losses are added to the $150 billion of losses in 2017, they create the most costly two-year period for catastrophe losses — although when adjusted for inflation are nowhere near the losses seen in 2004-2005 period. The subdued pricing environment was reflected in JLT Re’s global property-catastrophe reinsurance index, which fell 1.2 per cent at the start of the year. Since 2012, the single year-on-year uptick came in 2018 when the index improved 4.8 per cent. Ed Hochberg, chief executive officer of JLT Re in North America, said: “Despite another active catastrophe year in the United States, property-catastrophe rate changes were modest.” Meanwhile, Willis Re’s 1st Review noted that there were different experiences for accounts with peak peril exposure and poor loss records, and those with good loss records and non-peak exposures. James Kent, global CEO of Willis Re, the reinsurance advisory business of Willis Towers Watson, said: “The quality of the client counterparty is a significant factor in risk selection by many reinsurers. Notably, European property-catastrophe renewals that benefit both from good loss records and a disciplined early renewal process have been able to achieve some risk-adjusted rate reductions, and similarly in the US, reinsurers’ support for the ‘preferred’ clients is evident in relatively muted renewal pricing on non-loss-impacted business.” Mr Kent noted that some carriers have been pulling out of unprofitable lines or are seeking aggressive rate improvements on under-performing lines. There is also pressure on the insurance-linked securities market after high returns in the wake of 2017’s losses did not materialise. In addition, more capital is trapped from “loss creep” and further substantial losses were generated by the secondary peril of wildfires last year. “Some ILS products, most noticeably aggregate catastrophe and retro covers, have performed poorly for investors, thereby resulting in less available capital — although this is balanced by other ILS products that have continued to deliver acceptable returns,” Mr Kent said in his summary. “The variation of individual ILS funds’ exposures to different product types is starting to impact the ability of many funds to attract new investors. However, as outlined in our recent Willis Towers Watson Global ILS survey, this is likely to be a challenge that the industry overcomes, as the long-term interest in ILS, particularly from pension fund managers seeking diversification, remains robust.” Elsewhere JLT Re, in its look at renewal outcomes, said capacity constraints in the retrocession market were a dominant factor. Bradley Maltese, JLT Re’s deputy CEO of UK and Europe, said: “After another year of significant losses and locked capital in the retrocession market, rates for loss-affected catastrophe layers were generally up by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent on a risk-adjusted basis, with aggregate covers falling towards the upper end of this range. Many clean occurrence retrocession programmes were renewed flat to up 10 per cent. Global and Lloyd’s direct and facultative catastrophe covers were less affected by 2018 losses and, after strong increases at last year’s 1 January renewal, rate changes in 2019 were typically down 2.5 per cent to down 7.5 per cent on a risk-adjusted basis.”

paragraphNCB Financial Group, the company that owns a majority stake in Clarien Bank, has made a bid to take a controlling interest in Caribbean region insurer Guardian Holdings Ltd. Controlled by Michael Lee-Chin, the Jamaican-born billionaire, NCB has a 50.1 per cent stake in the Bermudian bank. Mr Lee-Chin’s Portland Private Equity owns an additional 17.9 per cent stake in Clarien. On Monday, NCB’s subsidiary NCB Global Holdings, made an offer to all Guardian shareholders to buy up to 32.01 per cent of the company. The $2.79 per share offer is worth more than $207 million in aggregate. NCB already owns 29.99 per cent of Guardian, which is based in Trinidad and Tobago and offers life, health, property and casualty insurance, as well as pensions and asset management in 21 countries across the English and Dutch Caribbean. If the bid is successful, NCB would own a 62 per cent controlling interest in Guardian. The offer is conditional upon Guardian shareholders tendering sufficient shares to give NCB a more than 50.01 per cent stake and on regulatory approvals for the deal. The offer period is scheduled to close on February 7, 2019.

paragraphTen people were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving between last Friday night and New Year’s Day, police revealed yesterday. A police spokesman said “more than half” of the road users arrested were caught at roadside breath test checkpoints. He added: “The main objectives of the road sobriety checkpoints are to help make the roads safer and ultimately save lives. “While there are no road sobriety checkpoints scheduled for this coming weekend, members of the public are urged not to drive or ride under the influence, as police officers conducting their regular patrols will be on the lookout for any offences, including impaired driving.”

paragraphA man injured in a New Year’s Day boat crash that killed one person remains in hospital, police said this morning. The 30-year-old Smith’s resident — believed to be the operator of the boat involved in the crash — was recovering today on a general ward at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Police said yesterday that the man was being treated in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. They also announced he had been arrested on suspicion of operating the vessel while impaired. Adrian Hassell, 24, was killed in the crash that happened in the West End. A police spokesman said officers wanted to speak to anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mr Hassell on New Year’s Eve or to the other passengers on the boat. He added that Mr Hassell was known to have been in Hamilton bars the Pickled Onion and Dog House on New Year’s Eve. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 717-2077.

paragraphA 24-year-old man killed in a boat crash was a hard worker with a bright future, friends and former employers said yesterday. Cameron Patkos, a close friend who now lives in Toronto, said Adrian Hassell, who was from Sandys, was his oldest friend. Mr Patkos added: “When I heard the news, I froze. He was supposed to visit me a month ago but a change in travel plans meant he couldn’t make it.” Mr Patkos was speaking after Mr Hassell, one of three people on the boat, died in the early hours of New Year’s Day after the craft hit rocks off the West End. Mr Patkos, 23, met Mr Hassell when they were aged four and were neighbours. He said: “It doesn’t feel real to lose someone you have memories with since you were a kid.” Mr Patkos said Mr Hassell, who worked at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, was a determined and energetic young man with a strong work ethic. He added: “Most of all he was always positive and always looking for a laugh.” Tim Morrison, general manger of the Hamilton Princess, said hotel staff were devastated by Mr Hassell’s death. He added: “While Adrian only recently became a member of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club family, he made an immediate impact and his passing will be felt for a long time.” Mr Morrison said Mr Hassell made friends with co-workers easily and was popular with guests. He added: “He was a warm and personable ambassador for the hotel and for Bermuda, who went the extra mile to create special experiences for guests.” Steve Smith, the owner and operator of Rising Son Cruises, employed Mr Hassell as a crew member in 2018. He said that news of the tragic death had left him in “complete shock and denial”. Mr Smith said that Mr Hassell, nicknamed “Schooner”, had fitted in well with other Rising Son staff. He added: “Not only did he have a great work ethic but he always did it with a smile and that funny giggle. It was an absolute pleasure having him on our team. This loss will weigh heavy on the Rising Son team for a long time and we will never forget about him.” Kevin Dallas, chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the organisation was deeply saddened to hear of Mr Hassell’s death. Mr Hassell worked as an intern at the tourism quango from June 2015 until August 2016. Mr Dallas said: “He put maximum effort into whatever task was put before him and easily earned the respect of his more experienced co-workers. His work was so consistently of a high quality he was asked back to work with the team on more than one occasion and each time he made impactful contributions to the Bermuda tourism comeback.” Mr Dallas added that Mr Hassell could have gone on to become a leader in the industry. He said: “We are disappointed to know that more people in our community did not have the chance to benefit from this young man’s bright light.” Anne Hyde, the executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, worked with Mr Hassell on a litter clean-up and bus shelter painting near Horseshoe Bay Beach in 2016. She said: “It is incredibly sad that someone young and full of promise is gone from us so suddenly.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister, also expressed his condolences to Mr Hassell’s family and friends. He added: “Whether by land or on the waters, we must use care and caution when operating all vehicles.” Mr Hassell was awarded a degree in Tourism and Environment from Brock University in Ontario last year. Police said yesterday that the 30-year-old pilot of the boat, who was also injured in the crash, had been arrested on suspicion of operating the vessel while impaired. He was released on bail. The man, from Smith’s, was “stable” yesterday in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s intensive care unit. A police spokesman said officers wanted to speak to anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mr Hassell on New Year’s Eve or to the other passengers on the boat. He added that Mr Hassell was known to have been in Hamilton bars the Pickled Onion and Dog House on New Year’s Eve.

paragraphA veteran’s widow left immobile after a fall has become the first to benefit from the Bermuda Legion’s Poppy Appeal in November. The legion bought a bed hoist, which was installed yesterday by Lighthouse Medical Supplies, after the elderly woman was bedridden having been injured in the fall. Carol Everson, case worker for the Bermuda Legion, said the woman, who has not been named, hoped to repay the veterans’ charity by volunteering when she was back on her feet. Ms Everson added: “We are very happy to have been able to help — without this piece of equipment she could not turn or be lifted.” Ms Everson told The Royal Gazette that the Legion had raised more than $23,000 from its 2018 appeal. Last year marked the centenary of the end of the First World War and Bermudian poppies were redesigned with a leaf to mark the anniversary. Ms Everson said the number of poppy volunteers was down on previous years, but thanked Lieutenant-Colonel David Gibbons, a former commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, for his help with the appeal. Colonel Gibbons donated the ground floor of Thistle House in Hamilton for the appeal’s fundraising and poppy distribution centre from November 1 to 11. Ms Everson said: “It was brilliant help and a beautiful location — we had a base on Burnaby Street for distribution and for the general public to walk in.” She added: “We work all year round, not just in November, helping veterans with their welfare benefits and urgent needs. Our other duty is the remembrance and respect of the veterans from Bermuda who took part in two world conflicts. Their courage and dedication will never be forgotten.” The legion spent about $5,000 on Christmas presents for 90 veterans or veterans’ widows in need and also bought Christmas hampers. Ms Everson said the Legion had also put aside cash in the hope they could organize another dementia caregivers’ course in the spring. The workshops help caregivers of people with dementia to qualify for cash help from the Government. Previous courses, held in 2015 and 2017, were both oversubscribed. Money raised from last year’s appeal also enabled the charity to distribute leaflets to explain the benefits available to veterans and their families and produce a booklet on the history of the Bermudians who served in the First World War. Ms Everson thanked the Royal Bermuda Regiment for its preparation and service of the Remembrance Day lunch for veterans and John Kane, the World Rugby Classic president, for allowing the legion to collect at the event. Other sponsors included supermarkets Lindo’s and MarketPlace, hardware store Gorham’s, wholesaler Butterfield & Vallis, professional services firm PwC, the Bermuda Sailors’ Home, and the Kiwanis Club of St George’s.

• To volunteer or donate to the Bermuda Legion, e-mail nosoldierleftbehind@hotmail.com or call 293-3975. Donations can be also be made to HSBC bank account 010 731 354 001

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January 2

paragraphBermuda’s economy is facing challenges on multiple fronts as it heads into 2019. A potent combination of increasing taxes, growing external threats to the island’s international business sector from the likes of the European Union, consolidation in the insurance sector, an ageing population, ever-increasing healthcare costs and dwindling business confidence suggest a difficult year ahead. However, there are also bright spots such as tourism’s growth trend and an influx of new fintech companies. Last year, the island probably fell into recession, under the oft-used definition of two consecutive quarters of negative growth in real gross domestic product. So far, we have only first-quarter figures, which showed a modest 0.4 per cent decline in GDP, adjusted for inflation, year over year. It would be a surprise if the second quarter managed to record economic growth, given that it will face a tough comparison against the April-through-June period of 2017, when the island was benefiting from the substantial stimulus of the America’s Cup. Retail sales — described by Bob Richards, the former finance minister, as a better barometer of local economic performance than GDP — would certainly suggest a second-quarter slump. In real terms, retail sales fell for a seventh consecutive month in September. In the second-quarter months, the falls in sales volume were particularly steep: 7.9 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 10 per cent in April, May and June, respectively. Recession is a word that shakes confidence throughout the community, sparks fears about job security and causes reluctance to spend and invest. The “R” word is also a powerful tool for politicians to use against their opponents. Last month Craig Cannonier, the opposition One Bermuda Alliance leader, said the island is heading into another recession and urged the Government to act to stimulate growth. David Burt, the Premier, did much the same in opposition in May 2017, when GDP figures showed shrinkage in the third and fourth quarters of 2016. Even if a recession is confirmed, it should be viewed in perspective. Two quarters of shrinkage, especially when compared against a period of vigorous growth inspired by probably the biggest sporting event the island has ever staged, does not mean Bermuda is plunging into an economic abyss. Officials at the Ministry of Finance did after all predict growth of 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent for 2018 in the National Economic Report last February. The third and fourth quarters of the year will have a better chance of recording year-over-year growth, given that they will be compared with the post-America’s Cup period. Comparing this year’s numbers with 2016 would arguably present a fairer picture of the economy’s state of health. Retail sales on island for the first nine months of 2016 amounted to $845.9 million, compared to 2018’s $854.4 million, representing an increase of $8.5 million, or 1 per cent, over the two-year period, but a decline when inflation is taken into account. Tourism offers grounds for optimism with 2018 set to be the fifth consecutive year of growth in total visitor numbers. Air arrivals are on course to top even those of 2017, with 267,024 through the first 11 months of the year. Growth in vacation rentals, through portals like Airbnb, has helped to boost the market and to attract a younger crowd. During the first 11 months of 2016, rentals made up 11.3 per cent of accommodations used by visitors, up from only 7.2 per cent for the same period in 2016. While far from its 1980s heyday, when annual air arrivals always topped 400,000, tourism has increased in its value to the economy. In 2017, the industry paid out $460 million in wages, and contributed $162 million, or 16 per cent, of government revenue, according to the Department of Statistics. There are reasons to hope for further growth in the years to come with the new airport terminal at LF Wade International Airport, due to open in 2020, creating potential for extra airlift, while the new 97-room St Regis hotel in St George’s is due to open its doors in the spring of 2021. Fintech also has some potential. The Government’s creation of a digital-asset business regulatory framework in 2018 has attracted a number of start-ups. Mr Burt said last month that 52 fintech companies had incorporated. The collapse in the dollar value of cryptocurrencies last year has cooled off global enthusiasm for initial coin offerings. The Coinschedule website logged 1,071 ICOs in 2018. Of those, 689 were in the first half of the year. The peak month was May with 144 ICOs, while in December there were only 35. Local banks’ reluctance to service the start-ups is also stalling the sector’s development. Many of the newcomers have pledged to create jobs, but how many will materialise remains to be seen. A wave of mergers continues to sweep through the international insurance and reinsurance sector and despite this, and the erosion of the island’s tax advantage from US tax reform, the island is holding its own as a global risk transfer hub. Bermuda’s status as the world leader in the booming insurance-linked securities market underpins its continuing relevance. Confidence, among business leaders and consumers alike, is an essential ingredient for economic prosperity. Thus a survey last year that found a slump in business confidence, amid concerns about the shrinking working population and likely tax increases in the pipeline, does not bode well for growth in 2019. With baby-boomers leaving the workforce at an increasing rate, the Government projects that one in four people will be 65 or over by 2026. With fewer people paying in and more people drawing out, the pension and healthcare systems will face added strains. John Wight, the CEO of insurer BF&M, has described healthcare costs as “a ticking time bomb”. Given that employers are the people predominantly funding the healthcare system, this outlook will curb enthusiasm for hiring. Except perhaps some businesses, like rest homes and healthcare service providers, who can benefit from the “silver tsunami” market. Some business leaders see immigration reform as key in addressing the demographic challenge. Progress on this front — although always a challenging issue in the context of Bermuda politics — could boost business confidence. The Government also plans to increase its tax take to balance its books and start to chip away at its $2.6 billion debt mountain. The Tax Reform Commission’s proposals include a general services tax, a progressive tax on commercial and residential rentals and a withholding tax on overseas services that are provided locally, with the potential to reap an extra $147 million in government revenues. This year, some of those proposals are likely to become reality. Politicians will face the unenviable task of balancing the need for Government to get its finances in order with the economic damage that would be caused by a taxation overreach. At least part of the added tax cost will be passed onto the consumer. Rising prices fuel inflation, which in turn detracts from real GDP growth. Adding to the challenges is the Economic Substance Act 2018, which comes into effect this year. A response to the European Union’s demand for action against tax-avoiding entities lacking physical presence, employees or revenue-generating activities on the island, it is likely to impact about 11,000 companies on the Bermuda register, Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, said in the House of Assembly last month. Corporate service providers like law firms would be most affected by the loss of such entities. The hope, as expressed by Mr Furbert, is that some firms will react by raising their level of activity on island to meet the substance criteria. “Just imagine, if half of those companies were to put boots on the ground, what impact would it have on our economy?” Mr Furbert said. “First of all, our GDP would rise significantly.” Bermuda can only hope it works out that way.

paragraphThe Department of Education apologized to teachers today for “insufficient support, training and communication” about the introduction of standards-based grading. Kalmar Richards, Commissioner of Education, told teachers: “The decision to become a standards-based education system was a decision made for children. It was a decision in support of placing greater emphasis on quality teaching and fair and reliable grading practices; it was a decision to transform education for Bermuda’s children. That decision, although a decision for children, requires site-based execution of standards-based education practices and principles by principals, teachers and other school staff.” Ms Richards added: “When we assess where we are at this very moment with the implementation of standards-based education, we, the Department of Education, recognize that we need to provide more communication, more training and more support for principals and teachers in order to place you in a position to execute SBG practices with fidelity and confidence. We apologise for insufficient support, training and communication and for the impact that it has had on principals, teachers and schools.” The comments came as the Department hosted a workshop for teachers on standards-based grading in response to a request from the Bermuda Union of Teachers. A Government spokeswoman said the training is intended to help develop a “common understanding” of the system, share information about the way forward and communicate what support will be made available to educators. The Government has been at conflict with teachers over a range of issues, including the introduction of standards-based grading, which the union claimed has caused anxiety for teachers. Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education, said teachers had “refused” to enter grades, but the BUT said they had not been properly trained in the new system.

paragraphThe policeman on duty at Government House the night the Governor and his aide-de-camp were murdered in 1973 has died. Franklyn DeAllie, known as Frank, who was 74, was also one of the founding members of British soul band Hot Chocolate, but left just as they hit the big time when he married and moved from London to Bermuda. Mr DeAllie joined the police in 1972, served for 27 years and retired as a detective in 1999. But Mr DeAllie, originally from Grenada, was for ever linked to the murders on the night of March 10, 1973, when Sir Richard Sharples, the Governor, and Captain Hugh Sayers, his Welsh Guards ADC, were shot dead. He was only one year into his career with the Bermuda Police Service when he was posted to security duty at Government House on the night of the killings. The double murder as Sir Richard and Captain Sayers strolled in the Government House gardens shocked the world and sparked a national emergency. Mr DeAllie, the only officer on duty at Government House, was at his desk just inside the main door when the men were shot, along with Horsa, the Governor’s Great Dane. Mr DeAllie raised the alarm before he ran to the scene. Sir Richard died in the young officer’s arms and Captain Sayers was already dead. Ian DeAllie, his son, a retired police sergeant who served alongside his father for many years, said his father rarely spoke of the incident. He added: “He was the only one left — he came home after the briefing and we were told as a family to move house and live with other people.” Mr DeAllie was the only witness and the family were ordered to sleep on the floor in case they were targeted. In 1976, Erskine “Buck” Burrows was convicted of the murders. Co-accused Larry Tacklyn, was acquitted, but both men were found guilty and sentenced to death for the killing of Victor Rego and Mark Doe in the Shopping Centre murders of April 1973. The executions of Burrows and Tacklyn in 1977 sparked the worst riots in Bermuda’s history. Mr DeAllie, who was a guitarist with Hot Chocolate, continued to play after he left the band and was known to entertain his police colleagues. Hot Chocolate formed in 1968 and Mr DeAllie was replaced two years later by Harvey Hinsley. Ian said: “They were founded in my grandmother’s basement council flat in Stockwell, South London. My father did a lot of touring with them in Europe in the early days. He met my mother, Winifred, who was training to be a nurse and was from Bermuda. He fell in love with her and left the group. It was a life he loved, but he gave it up to be a policeman and he was happy doing that job.” Father and son solved an armed robbery at the Southampton Princess together when they both worked in the Criminal Investigation Department and were given a joint commendation for their work. Ian said his father was “humble, outgoing and friendly to everybody that he came across”. He added: “He had a serious heart attack in the service. Prior to that, his most enjoyable work was with Western CID.” Among the guests who spoke at his retirement party was the now Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks, a former United Bermuda Party premier. Ian said: “He had that kind of draw — he always had time for the community.” Mr DeAllie’s son and his wife, Fabiola, cared for both his parents as their health declined. Mr DeAllie, who suffered a serious stroke two years ago, died last Sunday. Mr DeAllie moved to Britain from Grenada as a young man and became popular figure in the West Indian community after he moved to Bermuda. Cal Smith, a former chief inspector, said Mr DeAllie was “a policeman’s policeman”. Mr Smith said: “When I joined in 1984, Frank was well established in the CID and his teaching style was in his smile and sense of humour. Frank wanted to teach people to do CID work and also how to be decent and generous to people, as well as how to dress — all the things you don’t get in the classroom. He told us no matter what people say to you, you just keep on with a smile. Frank always had a nice word about everybody.” Mr Smith added that Mr DeAllie was a mentor to young officers at a time when “the service was quite different to today”. He said: “Frank was well respected and loved in the community. He was someone to look up to, that you aspired to be like in the CID. He would teach you an abundance of things. More so, he taught you how to be a human being.”

paragraphThe Bermuda Education Network will hold a Chinese new year celebration at its Outstanding Teacher Awards ceremony next month. Becky Ausenda, the executive director of the BEN, said: “Following the success of our previous events, we are again pulling out all the stops to deliver the best Chinese new year celebration the island has ever seen, including a repeat performance of amazing traditional Chinese entertainment with a rare performance by a traditional Chinese face-changer.” Nominations for the teacher award can be entered by all educators on the BEN’s website on bermudaeducationnetwork.com. The third annual event will take place at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on February 8 at 7pm. Traditional Chinese face-changer Yang Shuwang will form part of the entertainment. Proceeds from the event go towards the BEN’s work with public schools. Tickets, available from bdatix.bm, include welcome drinks and a buffet and wine. A silent auction of prizes donated by hotels, artists, photographers, chefs and others will be held, followed by dancing.

paragraphA by-election will be held in St George next month after the death of sitting councillor Phillip Anderson. Mr Anderson, who was elected a councillor for the Corporation of St George in 2012, died last month, aged 58. A notice in the Official Gazette, published on December 31, said the by-election would be held on February 5. Nomination day will be January 22 and voter registration for residents of the municipality must be competed by Monday at 5pm. Municipal resident applications can be completed at the Parliamentary Registry Office in Craig Appin House on Wesley Street, Hamilton, or online at elections.gov.bm.

paragraphPolice have identified the 24-year-old man killed in a boating accident this week. And the Bermuda Police Service said this afternoon that the 30-year-old operator of the vessel had been arrested on suspicion of being impaired at the helm. Adrian Hassell was seriously injured after the private powerboat he was on hit rocks near Lefroy House, in Sandys, early on New Year’s Day. A spokesman said that Mr Hassell was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in a unresponsive state where he was pronounced dead. He added that the driver of the boat and a 25-year-old woman were also injured and were taken to hospital. The spokesman said that the man was this morning listed in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit, while the woman had been treated and released. He said that both are believed to live in Smith’s. The spokesman added: “The powerboat operator was arrested on suspicion of piloting or being at the helm of a boat while impaired and later placed on police bail.” He said that the 18-foot boat had been impounded. Police are interested in speaking with anyone who may have seen or spoken to Mr Hassell on New Year’s Eve — particularly at Front Street establishments Dog House or Pickled Onion — as well as anyone who may have seen or spoken to the friends he was with. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 717-2077.

The town of St George’s welcomed the start of 2019 with music, drinks and the annual onion drop. Hundreds of people gathered in the Olde Towne for the occasion and enjoyed Christmas lights, live entertainment and food from vendors. Kris Darrell said her family had moved to the area recently, and she was happy to soak up the sights and festive atmosphere. Ms Darrell said: “It’s not my first time in St George’s for New Year’s, but it is my first in a long time. I like the history, the community. It’s a close-knit community, and I think you feel it up here more than most places.” Peter White and his family decided to go to St George’s because they wanted a family-friendly celebration. He said: “Most of the other events I heard about for the new year seemed to focus on the drinking side of things, which is fun, but when you’re a family, you have to do something different. My daughter had fun on the bouncy castle, she had some sweets. I think she had a great time. This is going to be the first time we let her stay up until midnight and this seemed like a fun option.” Mr White added: “She’s already a bit exhausted. I’m not sure she’s going to make it until the actual onion drop.” Down the road from Kings Square, Wahoo’s restaurant was packed. The restaurant used a machine to blow fake snow from an upstairs window on to Water Street to add to the festive atmosphere. Ian Birch, a local resident, was pleased to see the town so busy and everyone enjoying themselves. He said: “It’s great to see so many people in St George’s. Sometimes it’s just dead, but this is something that brings it to life. We love it.” Mr Birch added: “This is a great village. Everything is within two minutes reach and this is just the epitome of the community.” The number of people gathered in the square and along the bridge to Ordnance Island increased as the midnight onion drop drew closer. Nadanja Bailey, the host for the evening, led the countdown. Florence Eve said the music was a little loud, but she enjoyed the chance to meet friends and celebrate. She said: “I think it’s nice to see all of these people coming out and having a good time. 2018 was a difficult year for a lot of people, so I hope 2019 can bring people a little bit of joy.”

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New Year's Day, January 1, 2019

paragraphBermuda welcomed its first baby of 2019 in the early hours of this morning. The baby girl, who weighed in at a healthy 7lbs 8oz, was born in the King Edward VII Hospital’s maternity unit at 4.02am. The proud mom, however, did not wish to be identified or photographed.

paragraphA man died after a boat hit the rocks in the early hours of today. Police said the crash happened after two men and a women went on an excursion in an 18ft vessel. It came to police’s attention after one of the group knocked on the door at Lefroy House, Sandys, asking for medical assistance at about 4.40am. A spokesman said: “Details are still unclear but it appears that three persons, two males and one female, went on an excursion on an 18ft vessel and hit the rocks. One of the males was unresponsive and subsequently taken to the hospital via ambulance where he later was pronounced dead. The other two individuals did not appear to have any life-threatening injuries. No further information will be given until the family of the deceased has been told.”

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Last Updated: March 24, 2019
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