Bermuda Online logo for www.bermuda-online.org

Click on graphic above to navigate the 165+ web files on this website, a regularly updated Gazetteer, an in-depth description of our island's internally self-governing British Overseas Territory 900 miles north of the Caribbean, 600 miles east of North Carolina, USA. With accommodation options, airlines, airport, actors, actresses, aviation, banks, beaches, Bermuda Dollar, Bermuda Government, Bermuda-incorporated businesses and companies including insurers and reinsurers, Bermudians, books and publications, bridges and causeway, charities, churches, citizenship by Status, City of Hamilton, commerce, communities, credit cards, cruise ships, cuisine, currency, disability accessibility, Devonshire Parish, districts, Dockyard, economy, education, employers, employment, environment, executorships, fauna, ferries, flora, former military bases, forts, gardens, geography, getting around, golf, guest houses, highways, history, historic properties, Hamilton, House of Assembly, housing, hotels, immigration, import duties, internet access, islands, laws, legal system and legislators, main roads, marriages, media, members of parliament, money, motor vehicles, municipalities, music and musicians, newcomers, newspaper, media, organizations, parks, parishes, Paget, Pembroke, performing artists, residents, pensions, political parties, postage stamps, public holidays, public transportation, railway trail, real estate, registries of aircraft and ships, religions, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys, senior citizens, Smith's, Somerset Village, Southampton, St. David's Island, St George's, Spanish Point, Spittal Pond, sports, taxes, telecommunications, time zone, traditions, tourism, Town of St. George, Tucker's Town, utilities, water sports, Warwick, weather, wildlife, work permits.

Bermuda flag flying

Bermuda's 2019 November History and News

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

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us).

Bermuda's Gibbs Hill Lighthouse

Benefit of website linkage to Bermuda Online while traveling

See at bottom of this page a listing of our many History files

November 30, Saturday

paragraphBermuda’s newest MP told colleagues that he was tired of “political bickering” in his maiden address to Parliament yesterday. Jason Hayward said: “As a matter of fact, I am not fond of our current political construct that is adversarial in nature.” The Progressive Labour Party MP’s comments came during the motion to adjourn. Mr Hayward, the former president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, defeated One Bermuda Alliance senator Dwayne Robinson by 311 votes to 173 at the Pembroke Central by-election last week. He assumed the seat vacated after the sudden death last month of PLP stalwart Walton Brown. Mr Hayward thanked the voters of Constituency 17 for their “vote of confidence” and the PLP for the chance to be part of an “awesome political machine that possesses such a rich legacy”. He described himself as a trade unionist and an advocate for social justice who had dedicated the past ten years to “representing the rights of workers and working-class families”. Mr Hayward told MPs that “major employment issues” existed in Bermuda. He added: “We have been struggling with structural unemployment for years. Structural unemployment arises from a mismatch between the skill sets employees possess and the skill sets employers demand.” He said that the island also had a youth employment problem, with “approximately one in four” locked out of the job market. Mr Hayward added: “We have qualified Bermudians who are underemployed and find it difficult to advance in their profession of choice or can’t find employment in their field of study.” He said that it was a reality that some employers favored foreign workers over locals “which further adds to the problem”. Mr Hayward added: “The employment trend that has Bermudian labour decreasing while the number of guest workers increases is not positive. Our employment issues are working against the social advancement of our people, the economic development of our country, and the Government’s ability to make meaningful progress on changing Bermuda’s paradigm on issues of immigration.” He said the solution to employment problems could be found in the National Workforce Development Plan. Mr Hayward added: “It provides a vision that places Bermudians at the core of Bermuda’s economic growth. It is a plan that will restore hope for many who possess a feeling of hopelessness — a plan that will hopefully draw Bermudians back home because of restored opportunity.” My Hayward told MPs that he would not waste the opportunity to serve as an MP. He said: “If change is required, a change agent I shall be.” Mr Hayward was sworn in at the start of the day’s order of business in front of a gallery packed with family and supporters.

paragraphTaxpayers forked out more than $300,000 for three public officers on administrative leave even though the misconduct allegations against them were ultimately dropped. Progressive Labour Party MP Renée Ming expressed concern over such use of public funds as MPs discussed the matter in the House of Assembly yesterday. Ms Ming, who was speaking as a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), told MPs: “We are talking about a large sum of money from the public purse. As we know, money is not easy to come by these days. We are scrambling to find money for various things. Especially because these cases were later overturned, we would rather not see ourselves go down the path again for that.” She also noted that, while the Public Service Commission had overturned the cases, “there is no reason given as to why. The Public Service Commission failed to provide the committee with an adequate explanation for their processes,” she said. Ms Ming added that “given the failure to receive meaningful information from the PSC”, the time taken for the investigation and hearings by senior management appeared “too lengthy”. She added: “Since it’s been determined there were infractions of the code of conduct, and that suspensions were appropriate, the next steps in the process should have been dispensed in a more timely basis. Timely dispensing of an issue would minimise the cost of leave. Ms Ming added: “If something takes 15 months, the persons on administrative leave are still paid over that time. A shorter time frame should be in place — one month, two months. We don’t feel we should be going such lengthy periods when full pay is involved.” Ms Ming also flagged up an additional $24,000 paid to public workers who had to be upgraded while other staff were placed on leave. The St George’s MP was speaking after One Bermuda Alliance MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin tabled a PAC report titled: “The processes involved in handling the cases of public officers placed on administrative leave.” The PAC looked into 19 cases, from April 2016 to June 2018, in which officials went on leave while allegations of misconduct were investigated. She said the total cost came to $568,339. The three cases that were overturned, which took place 2017, consumed 55 per cent of the funds. The PAC held eight meetings, including with the permanent secretary for Public Works, the former acting director from the Department of Parks, and the chairman of the PSC, which oversees the management of the civil service. Ms Ming said that the PAC investigated the issue because “the amount of public funds that had been spent triggered our senses”. She said the PAC had “strongly made recommendations” for improvements. Ms Gordon-Pamplin also tabled PAC reports on breaches of financial instructions and corrective measures. Opposition MP Susan Jackson said financial instructions should be followed more closely, and that the group had met with the Ministry of Finance to discuss infractions. She told the House: “There is an infractions register that exists, whether there is a monetary loss or not.” She said the register had not been used on a regular basis in the past — and that the PAC had decided to have “regular reporting” in accordance with the recommendations of the Auditor-General. Ms Jackson added: “The register appears to be actively collecting data on any breaches of financial instructions, so the PAC is satisfied that this recommendation is now firmly in place.” She said that there should be a binding obligation to follow financial instructions in contracts for Government employment, stipulating the possibility for disciplinary action for breaches.

paragraphTwo police officers have been suspended from duty as part of an ongoing investigation. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman confirmed the suspensions this evening. He added: “No further information will be provided at this time, so as not to impede the progress of the investigation.”

paragraphThe Labour Dispute Tribunal defended its decision to require prison officers to make health insurance payments on the second day of a Supreme Court hearing. While the Government maintained that prison officers were never promised free health insurance, it accepted that employment contracts for officers produced in 2017 and 2018 stated that uniformed officers received free Government Employee Health Insurance. Gregory Howard, from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said he could not say how the clause was included, but that it could not be supported in the law. He said: “It recognizes the status quo, but it doesn’t reflect the policy position of the Government when this was drafted.” Mr Howard added that the tribunal had determined that the Government Employees Health Insurance Act, which requires government employees to pay into the GEHI scheme, was the “law of the land”. Lawyer Mark Diel, representing the tribunal, denied the suggestion that it was biased towards forcing the removal of GEHI exemptions from prison officers. He said: “The express purpose was settling the differences between the parties.” Mr Diel added that it made sense for the dispute to be referred to the tribunal before there was a risk of industrial action, particularly after prison officers marched on Parliament in June. He said that while prison officers’ work is not legislatively deemed an “essential service”, in the everyday sense of the word the prison officers are indeed essential. Mr Diel said the tribunal found that under the GEHI Act 1986, the prison officers were required to pay the employee portion of their health insurance costs, although the Government had been paying that portion for 33 years. He said that under the law, the Government should not make the payments for them, as it has done since 1986, and that the tribunal had rejected a proposal to “grandfather in” present prison officers for that reason. Chief Justice Narinder Hargun commented it was a “bizarre case” given the long history of payments by the Government. “People in Government took the view, if I look at the individual employment contracts in 2017 and 2018, there was nothing wrong with saying they will give free health insurance,” the Chief Justice said. “This is a long-held position and Government had been making payments on behalf of employees. It certainly didn’t occur to anybody that they couldn’t do it.” The case comes after years of negotiations between the Government and the Prison Officers Association, whose collective bargaining agreement formally ended in 2010. The Government had openly sought to require prison officers to make contributions as part of a policy to ensure that all those who benefit from the GEHI pool actually pay into it. The dispute was brought in August to the tribunal, which found the prison officers were entitled to pay increases of 2.5 per cent for the financial year starting April 1, 2017, and 2 per cent the next year to match pay increases given to other government employees. Prison officers had sought greater increases to create parity with officers in the Bermuda Police Service. But the tribunal also decided that the prison officers should begin to make GEHI contributions. Delroy Duncan, lawyer for the POA, said the prison officers had a “substantial” expectation of free health insurance based on their employment contracts. He added that, even with the increased salary, the result was a net loss for prison officers. But the Government said most contracts offered medical care, not insurance, and claimed that they did not have a reasonable expectation they would receive free insurance.

paragraphA man imprisoned this year for the rape of a 15-year-old girl more than 30 years ago has lost an appeal against his conviction. Morris O’Brien argued that his lawyer, Kamal Worrell, had failed to follow his instructions about the cross-examination of the victim. However, the Court of Appeal found that it was unlikely any of the alleged failures of Mr Worrell would have affected the jury’s verdict. Appeal Judge Geoffrey Bell wrote in a judgment delivered yesterday: “The jury, in reaching its verdict, would no doubt have considered with care the critical question, which was whether they believed the complainant or the appellant, and that question would have been answered without reference to the minutiae of how the cross-examination of the complainant was conducted.” The judge added: “In my view, the jury would have reached the same verdict as they did even if Mr Worrell had conducted his cross-examination of the complainant just as the appellant wished. I very much doubt that the complainant’s evidence would have been materially different in those circumstances, or that the jury would have taken a different view of her or the appellant’s truthfulness.” The court heard that O’Brien raped the teenage victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, in September 1988. The victim said that on the night of the rape she was at home asleep in her bedroom when she heard a knock on the front door. She went to the door and found O’Brien — a family friend — and said that her sister was asleep and the rest of her family were out of the house. The woman said he then forced his way through the door, pushed her into the living room and raped her. At the time of the attack, he was 23. The court heard O’Brien “stalked” her after the incident and gave her a “love letter”, but she told no one about the attack for almost a year. The victim’s mother told a police officer who was close to the family and he urged the family to go to a lawyer. The family applied for a restraining order against O’Brien, but the victim did not make a statement about the attack to police until last April. O’Brien accepted that he had sexual relations with the victim while she was still underage and that he had written her the “love letter”, but denied that he had forced himself upon her. But he was convicted by a unanimous verdict after four hours of deliberation by the jury and sentenced to eight years in prison. He launched an appeal against his conviction on the basis that Mr Worrell had acted negligently as counsel. O’Brien claimed he had given Mr Worrell “clear instructions” on how to cross-examine the Crown witnesses, but that the lawyer failed to follow the instructions. He said he had instructed Mr Worrell to question the victim about her sexual history and their interactions at family gatherings after the rape in an effort to discredit her. Mr Worrell said that he and O’Brien had agreed on how the case would be run, and that if there was a conflict, he would have suggested O’Brien find other counsel. But he did accept that he had made an error in that he failed to tell defence witnesses that they were not to sit in the public gallery when O’Brien took the stand. Mr Justice Bell said: “In the broad terms, I would accept Mr Worrell’s evidence. It seemed to me that the appellant overstated the lack of communication between the two. There were areas where the appellant accepted he had not given instructions to Mr Worrell in respect of matters of which he had originally made complaint. At the end of the day, the question for this Court is whether the alleged failures on Mr Worrell’s part were sufficient to render the trial process unfair and the verdict of the jury unsafe. In my judgment, neither of those matters has been established in this appeal.”

paragraphRetailers reported a steady day of activity as an extended Black Friday sale took place yesterday. Darren Mayeaux, the manager at Sports ‘R’ Us on Church Street, said the store had spread their Black Friday sale over three days and had seen good business as a result. He said: “It’s going quite well. We started our Black Friday on Thursday — so Black Thursday — and it will continue on Saturday. I would say the sales haven’t been bigger than normal, but they have been big. Mr Mayeaux added: We’ve seen sales of items right across the board.” Lyle Douglas, the sales manager of Marine Locker, said that they enjoyed a busy first day of a two-day sale. He added that, while they saw less people than last year, larger sales helped to keep them busy. Mr Douglas explained: “We have people at this point who wait for Black Friday, so those people are doing more shopping on the day than they used to. But everyone likes a sale. Everybody likes the chance to save some money and come in and have a chat. That’s what it’s all about.” Ian Smith, the managing director at Front Street jewelers Astwood Dickinson, said that he saw a higher turnout than last year on their second run at a three-day Black Friday sale. “I think people know that we’re not the sort of business that has sales every couple of weeks. Over a period of time I’d like to think that people recognise us as being a quality establishment and when we do have offers they’re genuine.” Mr Smith said that his team worked hard to keep buyers satisfied and hoped that this would bring in more people next year. He explained: “In the jewellery business, the most important thing is trust and if people trust who you are and what you do then hopefully people will shop with you.”

paragraphA warning was issued yesterday over romaine lettuce after an E. coli outbreak in the United States. (It is not yet known if Bermuda is involved as an importer of romaine lettuce). Bermuda's Department of Health said anyone who has recently bought romaine lettuce originating from the area of Salinas, California, should discard it immediately. The Food and Drug Administration and Centres for Disease Control in the US have both issued warnings over the lettuce this week. A health department spokeswoman said: “The department has contacted the appropriate wholesalers and grocery stores locally who have removed all effected stock from their shelves. Lettuce from other parts of California and locally grown romaine lettuce is not affected and is still on sale.” For more information about the outbreak, visit www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/investigation-e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-linked-romaine-salinas-california-november-2019.

Spacer

November 29

paragraphConservation groups have accused the Government of forcing through a controversial application for a quarry operation in a pristine natural spot. The Bermuda Audubon Society claimed the go-ahead given to the proposal at Judkin Lane, Hamilton Parish, was an “abuse of fair process” which left residents unable to voice concerns. The Bermuda National Trust said the plan — which it has described as a “massive industrial process” that would “undoubtedly adversely impact” the surrounding sensitive lands — had not been given proper scrutiny because of how the application was handled. Home affairs minister Walter Roban said that he was not prepared to comment on the complaints at a press conference yesterday. He added: “As would be publicly known, that application is the subject of an appeal.” The Development Applications Board gave planning permission limited to one year for quarrying at the site last month. The quarrying application for the property, owned by Nelson Cordeiro, was made by quarry operator Shawn Perott. A spokeswoman for the BNT confirmed yesterday that the group had appealed the decision. The BAS has backed the appeal. Karen Border, the president of the BAS, said in a letter to The Royal Gazette: “There was a clear failure of fair process in the handling of the quarry application.” Ms Border said that planning notices are published in the Official Gazette every Friday — but that the application for the quarry had been published on Wednesday, October 9. She added that the quarry application was not included in the list published on October 11 of applications registered between October 3 and October 10. Ms Border added: “A review of all prior notices available online, dating back to November 2, 2018, has revealed that no other planning application but this one has been omitted from the Friday list. As a result, several concerned parties, including the BAS, were unable to register objections because we were unaware of the quarry application until the time window for objecting had expired.” She said that the public right to review planning applications must be respected “by gazetting such notices in a transparent and regular fashion”. Mr Border added: “That did not happen in this instance.” The BNT spokeswoman said: “The application was not advertised as normal, nor were the details clear, meaning that many of the neighbours and other concerned conservation bodies were denied their right to provide input.” The BNT said it submitted its objection on October 23 and that the board approved the application less than 48 hours later. The spokeswoman said: “Its contents and concerns could not have possibly been given the proper scrutiny, analysis or consideration.” She said that the impact of noise, traffic, air quality and runoff on local wildlife had not been established. Mr Roban told the media that all the processes that involved development were a matter of public record. He added: “Anyone can go and see the whole process. The file is open to those who wish to view it. There’s no secret as to the process around these sort of applications.” The minister confirmed that talks had taken place about the use of historic quarries in Hamilton Parish for slate. He said: “We were contacted by other owners in the area ... who were prepared to make their sites available to us for quarrying.” He added: “There was a choice made that it wasn’t necessary to take advantage of their offer. We were appreciative of the offer — but it was just not taken up.” Mr Roban called the press conference to give information on the Government’s role in quarrying. He said that there had been a “serious increase” for slate after Hurricane Humberto in September. However, he could not say how many homes in Bermuda still had un-repaired damage caused by the storm. Mr Roban said: “That’s not a number that we would have. Those persons don’t come in to report to us.” He said that government departments had been working together to make sure the slate demand is “adequately serviced”. Mr Roban added that work was being done by the Department of Planning to offer an incentive to those who choose to quarry a site prior to development. He said: “We expect that it will include some form of rebate on quarrying fees and other associated permit fees — all dependent on the quality of stone at the particular site.” Mr Roban emphasised that Government does not sell slate, or determine how much or when quarry operators cut slate. He said: “The supply of slate is a private-sector matter.”

paragraphTwo cruise lines have pledged to change practices that have hurt Bermuda businesses, the tourism minister said yesterday. Zane DeSilva said that a ministry representative had heard “disparaging” remarks about public transport and the high cost of taxis while she was on a fact-finding mission in July. Mr DeSilva said the exercise had also revealed that photographs not of Bermuda were used to depict the island. He told a press conference that the Ministry of Tourism and Transport had held talks with Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line last month. Mr DeSilva said: “Our cruise partners were alarmed by our findings and apologised and have since taken positive steps to eradicate these practices.” The minister said that the meetings came after two cruises taken by ministry representatives last summer, including one from himself on the Anthem of the Seas in August. He explained that the cruises were taken to investigate allegations that the cruise lines “unfairly influence passenger spending when the vessel is in port through foreign third-party promotional companies”. He added: “These companies who facilitate on-board port and shopping lectures are alleged to favour only shops that advertise in their port shopping guide to the detriment of other Bermudian retailers.” A public access to information request this week revealed extra details on costs associated with Mr DeSilva’s $3,900 trip. A breakdown of the total trip bill on the Government Travel Calendar website showed that air travel had cost $595.30, while ground transportation costs totaled $292.84. Accommodation was $3,000.27. The Pati request showed that Mr DeSilva had flown on a JetBlue return flight to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, and travelled to the New Jersey port on the day the five-day cruise departed. He returned to New Jersey on the vessel and flew back to Bermuda the day he disembarked. The nearly $300 spent on ground transportation was in the United States alone. The $3,000 spent on accommodation was spent entirely on lodging on the cruise where Mr DeSilva stayed in a balcony cabin “which was the only category available”. Mr DeSilva was accompanied on the trip by Stacey Evans, a technical officer with the ministry. The minister told the press conference yesterday that Ms Evans had highlighted a number of concerns after her trip aboard the Norwegian Escape a month earlier. He said that she had also pointed out “the great emphasis given to sending passengers to just a few shops and restaurants featured on the port shopping map to the wholesale exclusion of other fine establishments who did not advertise”. He said about his trip: “One thing that stood out was the push for passengers to bring their receipts for purchases made on island at the ship’s recommended stores back to the ship in order to get an additional 30-day ship guarantee. This guarantee was not available for merchandise bought in any other establishment on the basis that they could not guarantee the quality of products if they were not purchased at the recommended stores.” He added that he had witnessed the “detrimental effect” on Bermuda businesses who did not advertise with the cruise line. Mr DeSilva said that the fact-finding cruises had given the ministry “a much better idea of how local businesses are impacted by the lack of passenger foot traffic, especially in Hamilton, this despite the significant increase in cruise visitors”. He told the media that 545,000 cruise ship passengers had been forecast to arrive in Bermuda in 2019 — up 53 per cent since 2014. Mr DeSilva said that many retail shops who did not advertise with the cruise lines “generally feel the loss of the cruise ship business that they once enjoyed”. He added: “Many shops have closed, or closed a satellite store location, or downsized their business, particularly in Hamilton.” Mr DeSilva said that “more than” 200 jobs had been lost in the island’s retail sector in the last two years “as a result of enforced redundancies or early retirements”. Mr DeSilva said that the ministry would be meeting with both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian next month for an update. He said that he hoped to see a greater emphasis placed on promoting a wider range of Bermuda retailers. Mr DeSilva added: “They are hiring our Bermudian people. If they lose business, they have to downsize, they have to make folks redundant, or maybe shut down shops. We can’t have that.”

paragraphJason Hayward was sworn as an MP for the Progressive Labour Party at the House of Assembly today. The gallery at Veritas Place, Court Street, was packed with Mr Hayward’s family and supporters for the brief ceremony at the start of the day’s order of business. Derrick Burgess, the Acting Speaker of the House, said: “Mr Hayward, I am sure your stay here will be long, and I know you will have some fun — as we all do in Parliament. Welcome.” Mr Hayward, the former president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, defeated One Bermuda Alliance senator Dwayne Robinson by 311 votes to 173 at the by-election for Pembroke Central last week. He assumes the seat vacated after the sudden death last month of party stalwart Walton Brown.

paragraphPrison officers fought against changes that require them to make health insurance payments in the Supreme Court yesterday. The Bermuda Prison Officers Association argued that it had a substantial expectation that the officers would be exempted from making the payments based on their employment contracts. But the Government said, despite the officers receiving free insurance for more than 30 years, their contracts never guaranteed it. The Labour Dispute Tribunal ruled in August that prison officers would have to begin to pay the employee portion of their Government Employee Health Insurance contributions. The tribunal also granted the officers pay increases of 2.5 per cent in the first financial year and 2 per cent next year. Delroy Duncan, lawyer for the BPOA, said that even with the pay increases, the decision would result in a net loss for the prison officers. He told the court that prison officers had received free medical care since the 1960s and employment contracts drawn up to 2017 still included provisions to allow free medical and dental care. But the Government had recently tried to remove that benefit in negotiations in an effort to “equalise” the requirement that government workers make GEHI payments. Mr Duncan said: “That effectively means taking away the free GEHI as documented in the contracts of employment for employees of the disciplinary forces.” The lawyer argued that the decision, if allowed, would go against the officers’ employment contracts and, as such, that tribunal’s powers. He said the Government had attempted to use the tribunal to resolve matters when public-sector negotiations grind to a halt, but added that such matters should be dealt with through agreed arbitration. “The issue is when the public-sector mediation team runs out of steam, what happens then?” Mr Duncan questioned. “For expediency’s sake, people have gone along with expanding the powers of the tribunal beyond their statutory remit.” Mr Duncan added that the tribunal had wrongly classified the free insurance as a “procedural” benefit, rather than a “substantial” benefit. He called on the Supreme Court to order the Government to abide by the prison officers’ existing employment contracts and to reimburse them for any health insurance payments already made. However, Gregory Howard, from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said the officers’ contracts did not mention insurance, but instead that they could receive medical care without out-of-pocket expenses. Mr Howard said the contracts essentially offered to cover any co-pay — a benefit prison officers would retain — but it did not exempt them from deductions for health insurance. He said the Government had paid both the employer and employee share of GEHI contributions for prisons officers since 1986 — an annual cost that has grown to $1.69 million. Mr Howard said he had “no information” about why the Government had made the payments for the past 33 years. He told the court that the prison officers had no legitimate expectation that they would continue to receive free insurance, and that the Government had made clear the intention to ensure that all those who benefit from the GEHI pool actually pay into it. “We have a period of protracted negotiations about the matter where one party refused to even have it on the table for discussion. We have an announcement for a policy change from the House of Legislature. We have offers to cushion the change sent out in a letter prior to the hearing and they were not accepted by the officers. There was an offer to grandfather in existing officers. There was no give at all.” The hearing continues.

paragraphBermuda’s Civil Aviation Authority ranks among the best in the world on measures of safety. After a safety audit conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in May this year, the BCAA was awarded an overall score that ranked as the tenth best out of 185 jurisdictions audited to date. The BCAA is responsible for the regulation and safety oversight of aviation in Bermuda, and more than 900 aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry. In a statement, the BCAA said the result “solidifies Bermuda’s excellent global reputation for high safety standards and a well-regulated aircraft registry”. The ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established to manage the administration and governance of the Convention of International Civil Aviation. The audit took place in Bermuda from May 6 to 16 and consisted of a detailed review of BCAA’s safety oversight system. Of the possible eight areas to be audited, ICAO chose to audit Bermuda in the five areas related to operator safety oversight, namely legislation, organisation, personnel licensing, operations and airworthiness. Thomas Dunstan, BCAA’s director-general, said: “The results are extremely important to the Authority and we are very proud of what has been achieved. A score of 95.2 per cent for effective implementation of ICAO Standards and related guidance material for the areas audited in 2019 is an excellent result and will assist us on continuing to grow the registry. I would like to thank our whole team of staff who worked very hard to prepare for the audit over the past year. We also recognise that it is a special year for the ICAO as they celebrate 75 years since the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.” The BCAA oversees the world’s largest offshore registry and is responsibility for the safety oversight of all local aviation activity. This includes aerodrome, air traffic management, certifying Bermudian-based commercial air operators and safety surveillance of foreign airlines.

paragraphA total of 14 entrepreneurs and event producers could receive up to $210,000 in investments, the Bermuda Tourism Authority has announced. The BTA has already approved funding for nine applicants to its Experience Investment Programme. Another five participants were deferred pending approval of their business or verification of information. The entrepreneurs and event producers will provide tourism ventures to run in the first six months of 2020. A spokeswoman for the BTA said that funds will be given to the applicants once they agree to contract terms with the BTA. She added that performance targets must also be reached before the full investment is handed over. A total of 26 applications were submitted between September 1 and October 10 for the autumn round of the programme. Glenn Jones, the chief experience development officer at the BTA, said: “In Global Entrepreneurship Week, we salute all the entrepreneurs who built proposals and put their ideas forward in our Experience Investment Programme. We look forward to more than half of the 26 proposed projects taking flight, hopefully deployed into our tourism economy between now and next summer.” The approved tourism ventures were:

The Experience Investment Programme was designed to help the growth of businesses and start-ups in the tourism industry. The programme will accept more applications throughout March next year. The BTA will host preparatory workshops on February 27 — 28 for businesspeople who want to apply.

paragraphAmerican International Group has sold a majority stake in its Bermuda-registered legacy reinsurer Fortitude Re. The deal involves private-equity group Carlyle Group and Japanese insurer T&D Holdings partnering to pay $1.8 billion for a 76.6 per cent stake in Fortitude, whose headquarters is in the AIG building on Richmond Road. In a statement, Carlyle said it was looking forward to working with the existing management team at Fortitude, which was set up by AIG in 2017 under the name of DSA Re. Its initial role was to house AIG’s legacy portfolio comprising insurance reserves associated with discontinued lines of commercial property and casualty and life insurance business. The company has evolved to write third-party business, providing reinsurance and run-off management solutions. The company has about more than $40 billion of invested assets and over $35 billion in reserves. Brian Duperreault, AIG’s chief executive officer, said the deal represented “another important step in our strategy to efficiently manage our legacy liabilities by further preparing Fortitude Re for independence, while strengthening our balance sheet and maintaining our primary focus on upholding policyholder and regulatory commitments. Carlyle’s expertise in separating and standing up companies has been invaluable to date, and we look forward to working with their team and T&D, with whom we have a longstanding relationship in Japan, as we continue the separation process. I also want to thank the entire Fortitude Re team for all their hard work in building the organisation. We look forward to their future success.” Carlyle first purchased a 19.9 per cent stake in Fortitude Re a year ago and after the deal just announced closes, its stake will increase to 71.5 per cent, while T&D will own 25 per cent and AIG 3.5 per cent. AIG is also due to receive a $500 million distribution due to be paid by May 13 next year or when the transaction closes, whichever is later. The transaction will enhance Carlyle’s ability to support Fortitude Re’s growth plans, provide Fortitude Re access to Carlyle’s wide array of investment strategies and position it for long-term success. T&D brings additional industry and international expertise to develop Fortitude Re’s strategically differentiated capabilities. With the backing of Carlyle, T&D and AIG, Fortitude Re will pursue global opportunities to successfully acquire and manage legacy insurance portfolios. Kewsong Lee, Carlyle’s co-chief executive officer, said: “This transaction demonstrates Carlyle’s strategy of developing scalable platforms to drive shareholder value. Fortitude Re, led by CEO James Bracken, is strongly positioned as an industry leader in managing run-off insurance liabilities, and Carlyle looks forward to partnering with the management team to help Fortitude Re grow. “We are excited about the prospects of further developing our global investment management services for Fortitude Re as we work to deliver attractive returns across a variety of asset classes. We welcome T&D to our partnership with AIG, both of whom are highly experienced players in insurance, and look forward to creating an attractive investment opportunity for our fund investors.” Hirohisa Uehara, T&D’s representative director and president, said: “We are really honoured to invest in Fortitude Re, which has developed a sophisticated platform for managing life and P&C insurance liabilities. We have longstanding relationships with both AIG and Carlyle, and we believe Fortitude Re’s closed book business will contribute significant synergies to our domestic life insurance business as well as diversification of our business portfolio. Additionally, we look forward to supporting Fortitude Re’s growth by leveraging our years of experience as a Japanese life insurer.” The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020, subject to required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

paragraphAccessibility is the theme of this year’s UN International Day of Disabled Persons. The Ministry of Health’s Disability Advisory Council will work with Ageing and Disability Services to mark the occasion at a special ceremony on December 3. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said: “The theme of this year’s event is ‘The Future is Accessible’. The DAC selected Bermudians who have made a difference in their own lives and that of others, despite being differently abled. Awardees will be recognised for their triumphant pursuits in overcoming barriers to participate in all aspects of society, as they have in some way been impacted by not having equal access to society or services, including education, employment, healthcare, and transportation, to name a few.” The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said that the removal of barriers to movement by disabled people enabled “their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. The UN International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by its General Assembly. The day was designed to promote better understanding of disability problems and highlight the need for improvements. The event will be marked at the Bermuda Society of Arts at Hamilton City Hall from 5.30pm to 7pm.

paragraphThe Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute has organised a free showing of a documentary about the aftermath of suicide as part of a mental health awareness campaign. The film, Evelyn, follows a family’s efforts to come to terms with the suicide of their son and brother as they the length of the UK. Shanay Scott, chairperson of MWI’s Mental Health Awareness Committee, said: “Suicide is a difficult subject for many people to talk about or try and face.” She said: “We encourage not only those in our community who have lost loved ones to suicide, to attend this event, but anyone interested in the subject. Human Resources professionals, counselors, and clergy may gain deeper insight and understanding that may better equip them to help survivors as well as those contemplating suicide.” Evelyn will be shown at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute at 3.30pm on Sunday. Doors will open at 3pm, and the film will be followed by a brief panel discussion.

paragraphThe Christmas Parade hits the streets of Hamilton this Sunday at 5pm, with Santa Claus joining the holiday fun. It will mark the annual spectacle’s tenth year as the MarketPlace Christmas Parade. Participants include the Lions Clubs of Bermuda, Lotus Ariel Team, Bermuda Long Riders Motorcycle Club, the Association of Filipinos in Bermuda, Blu Kids, the Bermuda Police Service Motorcycle Division, the Bermuda Fire Service, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, St George’s Dancerettes, Dancesations, In Motion School of Dance, Vasco Folklore Dance Group, Rated E, Place’s New Generation Gombeys, and more. Seth Stutzman, the MarketPlace president, said 2019 would be a landmark for the colourful fixture, which would be “an even more memorable occasion for spectators”. He said: “In addition to our exciting line-up of themed floats, dance groups, kids’ favourite cartoon characters and Santa, a special laser show and giant balloons will make their debuts in the parade to mark the milestone year.” Organisers were “beyond thrilled for the public”, Mr Stutzman added. The parade will set out from the junction of Church Street and Par-la-Ville Road, and head east along Front Street. The parade will continue north on Court Street, west on Church Street, and finish at the junction of Church Street and Wesley Street. The public is advised that roads will begin to close from 3.00pm. For the latest on the 2019 MarketPlace Christmas Parade visit: https://www.marketplace.bm/updates/2019-marketplace-christmas-parade.

paragraphAs many consumers may have noticed, the price of bananas (now more than $5.50 per kilo), has gone up several times over the last year. Butterfield & Vallis, importers, in this press release has stated why. "The banana commodity price has remained relatively constant however, the price increase is related to the increasing cost of fruit inspection by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In November 2018, a particular load of bananas was heavily impacted by Mealy Bug, a small insect that can, potentially cause damage to the Bermuda ecosystem, if undetected. Since that period, the DENR has mandated rigorous inspections of every lot of bananas being imported to the market. This is in addition to a DENR mandated inspection by the USDA prior to the export of the bananas. These two inspections come with not only significant operational challenges for importers but also a significant direct cost as the importers are charged $10/case inspection fee on hundreds of cases per month locally plus fees charged by the USDA. It also means bananas arrive in stores later and have less shelf life as they have been handled extensively. While there was optimism that these heightened inspections would be temporary, they have continued in place all year. That has meant that the cost of these inspections are having to be transferred to the consumer via higher pricing. Numerous efforts have been made by the importers to improve the situation, however they have unfortunately not resulted in fewer inspection related costs. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has a mandated responsibility to protect the natural ecosystem of Bermuda which is fully supported. That said, importers are left in a position where the costs are either passed along to consumers or the import of bananas is discontinued. We do not want to see the Bermuda market without bananas, however we felt it important that the public understand the nature of recent price increases."

paragraphLong before launching The Authentic Bermuda Shorts store [TABS], Rebecca Singleton wrote stories for children. Then working in London, England, she would type her ideas into her laptop as she travelled on her daily commute. A decade later, with two young sons of her own, she decided to do something with them. The Little Blue Ducky is the designer’s first book. Illustrated by Katherine Summerville, published “with the help of a lot of really talented people”, it is set in Bermuda. “Storytelling has always been in my DNA. I’ve always used it as a way of processing emotions. I regularly journal, I write poems for people and I used to write on my commute. On my way to London, I wrote a bunch of children’s stories on my laptop. Ten years and two babies later, I started reading them to my children and then I met Katherine Summerville. I love her illustrations. She has taken the story and embodied the messages [in her art]. She ran with it and added on layers of complexity.” The Little Blue Ducky is about Fred and Fran, identical ducks, who are best friends. “They’re going to school one day and take a short cut through Spittal Pond,” the author said. Fran falls into a pot of blue paint. Fred doesn’t want to be friends with her because she’s different, and leaves her stuck in the pot. Instead of panicking, Fran frees herself, but then starts having negative thoughts. Her primary concerns: that the other ducks will not accept her because she does not look like them any more, and that her mother will not know who she is. But her mother recognizes her quack and says it doesn’t matter, your friends and family will always love you. She realizes it doesn’t matter and decides to embrace being different. At school the next day, Fred realizes he made a mistake. Fran chooses to forgive him.” With the aid of Heather Willens, a teacher and “a good friend”, the book includes talking points to help young readers grasp the importance of such things as embracing differences and forgiveness. Inspired by her sons, Thomas, 3, and Finn, 1, the author’s hope was to do more than just tell a story. “I would read to my children, close the books and they would go to bed,” Ms Singleton said. “As a working mom, I really only have a couple hours with them each day. It’s a special time, but I often thought when reading the books: ‘What are they getting out of it?’ Sure, they can name superheroes, but what messages are they getting out of the story? I want a book to be more than just a book. I want to help my children learn. This is the prime time for teaching them something. Heather pulled out key messages from the book — things to think about and do with children that are relevant to the child’s age group. I can sit with both kids and read and they can each get something out of it. I was reading The Little Blue Ducky and the story was resonating with them. The messages are so important in the world we’re living in right now and Thomas kept asking me to read it. I didn’t want him to feel that he has to be this or that. I wanted him to know that it’s OK to be blue, to be sad — which is one of the messages for older kids.” Since the book’s release, she has been traveling the island, speaking at schools and gifting students with The Little Blue Ducky crayons “to further the message. My goal is to encourage young readers, but also to spread the message that it’s OK to be different. It’s really amazing to see it resonating with people. This is such a passion project for me. The messages are so important for young people and the book is helping with language development through rhyme.” Rather than go the traditional route, she decided to self-publish the book. “It just felt like the right time,” she said. “If I get picked up by a publisher it would be amazing, but my goal is to impact Bermuda. I realised I could do it myself, and the marketplace here has been so receptive — Brown & Co, Bermuda Book Store and the [children’s] library. I figured that if I could just do it in a small way, do it locally, what’s the worst that could happen? If I can get into schools and positively impact young people, if I can get more kids to say it’s OK to be different, I’m happy.”

 

A kilo of imported bananas

A kilo of imported bananas, now over $5.50

paragraphRoadside breath-test checkpoints will be set up in seven parishes next weekend. Police will be in place in Hamilton Parish, Smith’s, Devonshire, Pembroke, Paget, Warwick and Southampton from December 6 to December 8.

Spacer

November 28

paragraphAn international effort aimed at establishing a global minimum rate of taxation for multinational companies is nearing the end of its consultation phase. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Pillar Two proposal is intended to ensure that international companies cannot avoid paying tax entirely on any portion of their global profits. A period for public feedback on Pillar Two, also known as the Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) proposal is set to close on Monday. Such changes would have implications for many international companies based in Bermuda, which has a zero rate of tax on profits. Bermuda is one of the 135 member countries of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Beps (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting), the organisation behind the initiative. Pascal Saint-Amans, the head of tax of the OECD, said at PwC/Irish Times tax summit in Dublin in September that the purpose of the Beps project was “to kill zero-tax jurisdictions or to make sure companies wouldn’t be able to locate profits in zero-tax jurisdictions, where nothing is happening”. Bermuda is one of many low-tax jurisdictions to have addressed issues of economic substance with legislation requiring that companies have “adequate” presence in terms of employee numbers, premises, local spending and decision-making related to core income-generating activities. Jude Scott, chief executive officer of Cayman Finance, a body that promotes the Caymanian financial-services industry, said this week that Cayman’s tax model was “directly under attack from Pillar Two”. The Cayman Compass quoted Mr Scott as saying: “We need to stand up and really involve ourselves in the process to show that the good model that we have is protected.” Cayman is also a member of the Inclusive Framework on Beps. Mr Scott suggested that Mr Saint-Amans’s statement reflected either a lack of understanding of zero-tax jurisdictions or a political directive to damage jurisdictions like Cayman and move business to other countries. In its Pillar Two consultation document, the OECD states: “A minimum tax rate on all income reduces the incentive for taxpayers to engage in profit-shifting and establishes a floor for tax competition among jurisdictions.” It adds: “The GloBE proposal is expected to affect the behaviour of taxpayers and jurisdictions. It posits that global action is needed to stop a harmful race to the bottom on corporate taxes, which risks shifting the burden of taxes onto less mobile bases and may pose a particular risk for developing countries with small economies.” The OECD says its proposed changes will help to meet the challenges of the digitisation of the economy, which include modernizing tax rules to ensure that tech giants pay their fair share of taxes in the countries where they make their money. Some countries have already imposed their own sales-based digital taxes, adding to the complexity of the international taxation system. However as professional-services firm EY observed in its commentary, “the proposals under Pillar Two represent a substantial change to the tax architecture and go well beyond digital businesses or digital business models”. EY added: “These proposals could lead to significant changes to the overall international tax rules under which multinational businesses operate.” The Pillar Two proposal is underpinned by four rules:

The OECD will hold a consultation meeting on December 9 to give stakeholders an opportunity to discuss their comments with the Inclusive Framework countries. Pillar One, which addresses the allocation of taxing rights between jurisdictions and considers various proposals for new profit allocation, has already been through a consultation period, which elicited more than 300 letters from trade groups, multinationals and industry bodies around the world.

paragraphOpinion. By Benito Wheatley, a Policy Fellow at Cambridge University’s Centre for Science and Policy, and the former British Virgin Islands representative to Britain and the European Union. He can be contacted at benitowheatley@gmail.com. "As the General Election in Britain approaches, the country’s continuing political turmoil over Brexit continues to overshadow the strained relationship with the Overseas Territories. The critical issue is whether Britain and OTs will have a closer relationship going forward or a more distant one. A cloud of uncertainty has hung over relations ever since 2018 when the British Government, in response to pressure from its parliament, chose to legislate the adoption of public registers of beneficial ownership by the OTs without their consent and before public registers are established as a global standard. The British measure will have far-reaching consequences for the economies of Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands if implementation is forced upon them, given their high dependence on financial services that accounts for a large share of gross domestic product, employment and government revenue. The OTs’ discontent was amplified by the exclusion of the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man from the British legislation, despite these jurisdictions also being among the so-called “offshore” centres that fly the Union Jack, which supposedly should be aligned with Britain. The exclusion of the Channel Islands and inclusion of the OTs demonstrated the clear bias of British decision-makers against the OTs. Relations between the OTs and Britain were further strained this year by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s publication of a report on Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories that recommended that Britain force the OTs to legalise same-sex marriage, abolish belonger status as a category of citizenship conferred by the territory governments, extend voters’ rights to non-belongers and widen eligibility criteria for elected office to include persons not constitutionally permitted to do so at present. The FAC’s blatant disregard for the OTs’ constitutions exposed the colonial thinking that remains among a number of British parliamentarians. The FAC report, coupled with the British imposition of public registers on the OTs, reversed much of the goodwill gained after the British military and wider British Government came to the aid of the Caribbean territories that were devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. British Government attempts to pacify the OTs over the public registers issue by setting an implementation deadline of 2023 has not succeeded in restoring relations to their former state as serious doubts remain among the OTs as to whether they still have a modern partnership with the “motherland”. While the British Government maintains that it is committed to a modern partnership under the 2012 White Paper on the Overseas Territories, the signals that have come from certain quarters of the British Parliament indicate that respect for OTs’ self-governance is diminishing in Britain’s premier political institution, which is considered to be sovereign. Britain must be careful to not allow itself to drift towards a soft colonialism, regardless of the justifications by its parliamentarians for overriding the OTs’ constitutions. Concrete steps will have to be taken by the British Government to reassure the OTs that it is not its intention to revert to a colonial posture towards them. Among other things, Britain must put on the table for consideration, some form of constitutional safeguard for all OTs to restrain its government and parliament from arbitrarily legislating for the territories without their consent, particularly in areas of governance constitutionally delegated to them and over which they have managed successfully on balance. Also critical is the preparation of a new UK White Paper on the OTs, whose guiding policy should reinforce the principle of self-governance and affirm the OTs’ inalienable right to self-determination under the United Nations Charter (ie, Article 73-74), UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (1960) and related UN resolutions and decisions. The OTs should seize every available opportunity to push Britain on their future relationship, including participating in dialogue within British society on its own post-Brexit future should the country successfully leave the European Union. The OTs have called on Britain for the past three years to support a post-Brexit economic partnership underpinned by international trade. This has gained some traction with a UK-OT International Trade Summit held in the Cayman Islands in June. The OTs are well positioned to help facilitate British trade through their own trade links in Asia and various regional markets around the world and expertise as financial jurisdictions. Britain in turn can assist the OTs in accessing new markets for their goods and services as the British Government negotiates new trade deals with partners in regions such as Latin America. The Commonwealth would also feature prominently in a future UK-OT economic partnership as Britain seeks to tap markets among the political bloc’s fast-growing economies in Africa and Asia. Beyond trade, the future partnership between the OTs and Britain should extend to the challenge of climate change and pursuit of sustainable development. British support to the OTs on climate-change adaptation should include grants to all OTs in line with British funding to Small Island Developing States through the Green Climate Fund and Commonwealth Secretariat. This approach would assist the OTs in building climate resilience and underscore British leadership in this area. Britain should also establish a sustainable development fund to replace EU funding for sustainable development that will be lost by the OTs in the event of Brexit. The UK-OT relationship remains under strain, but this can be overcome if Britain is committed to renewing its modern partnership with the OTs under a new policy framework that reinforces the self-governance of the OTs and is buttressed by constitutional safeguards to protect them from British overreach. These can be overlaid by a future economic partnership and meaningful co-operation on climate change and sustainable development. Once the General Election is over, it is in the interest of both Britain and OTs to reset relations and find the right balance for a post-Brexit relationship going forward."

paragraphDentristryA supply problem has forced a dental health programme in schools to be scaled back. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that the programme was told in August that its usual supplier could no longer provide fluoride, used to prevent tooth decay. But the spokeswoman said: “After research, we were able to find a new a creditable vendor and we are currently awaiting arrival of the order. We were, however, proactive to inform parents of the situation early, in the event that the supplies would be late. We distributed what we had to some schools at the start of the school year. We are still distributing fluoride at the clinics.” A letter sent to teachers and parents in September said that there had “been a delay in the start of the programme”.  The letter, signed by Janice Baron, the acting chief dental officer, said the delay was due to vendor problems. Dr Baron said: “It is anticipated that we will have everything in place to start after the midterm holiday. As per the norm, we will send home a note informing you of the actual start of classroom distribution.” The midterm break for public schools was from October 21 to 25. The spokeswoman did not respond yesterday when asked when the fluoride programme would restart. The supply problem came to light after a Pembroke private school announced that it would end its fluoride programme. Linda Parker, the head of the Bermuda High School, said yesterday that the school would stop giving fluoride tablets to pupils. Ms Parker said that parents so far had welcomed the move and that the school was “confident in our decision”. She added that many parents had opted not to take part in the programme “because they prefer to monitor the dosage at home”. Ms Parker said that the school had advised parents of primary pupils who wanted their child to continue to take fluoride that it could be obtained from the Department of Health. She added that other island schools had also opted to drop their fluoride programmes “for a variety of reasons”. Other island private schools said they still had fluoride programmes, but had also suffered from a lack of supplies. Sue Moench, the principal at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, said that the school did operate a programme. Jane Vickers, a spokeswoman for Warwick Academy, said that the school also had a fluoride programme. She added: “Having said that, it has not started this school year yet because the government dental clinic is out of fluoride. Once the tablets are available we will distribute.” The Ministry of Health spokeswoman said that “all public schools ... as well as some private schools” were participating in the programme, which was launched in 1978. She added: “The fluoride is provided in schools and homes, according to the parental choice.” The spokeswoman said that the programme covered children up to the end of primary school. She added: “Children who are at higher risk are allowed to continue supplementation up to the age of 16.” The American Dental Association said that fluoride, when used as directed, was “a safe and effective agent” used to help prevent cavities and tooth decay. It said that fluoride supplements can be given to children aged from six months to 16 years “whose primary drinking water has a low fluoride concentration”.

paragraphAlmost 3,000 people have signed a petition to demand that controversial proposals to change the way health insurance is funded are scrapped. The petition against the Bermuda Health Plan was set up just after a public forum that called for the proposed changes to be taken off the table. But a health ministry spokeswoman said last night that a four-month public consultation period had given “good time for the public to participate in the discussion”. She was speaking after Patients First, a group of doctors in the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, launched a change.org online petition against the proposals on Tuesday night in the wake of a town-hall meeting that criticised the plan. The Bermuda Health Plan was designed to pool all the island’s residents in one unified health insurance package. That would replace the present Standard Health Benefit, which is paid into by private insurance companies to cover health costs. The ministry argued that a health insurance pool would be more efficient and share costs across the island’s residents. Henry Dowling, the president of the BMDA, said the proposed changes would create a monopoly in health insurance that would also hit the quality of care and fail to reduce healthcare costs. But the health ministry spokeswoman insisted: “Bermuda’s population is small from an insurance pool perspective. With insurance it’s the law of big numbers that makes a difference in managing risk.” She added: “The standard health benefit is already in a virtual single pool and the premium has been community rated since 1970. Like many public goods, this is not about a monopoly or a market, but about how effectively it is regulated and how well it serves the population.” She said the Bermuda Health Plan wanted to create “a larger, more efficient risk pool that will create a sustainable platform to improve access and sustainability in our health system”. The ministry said that more than 45 meetings were held on the reforms with more than 500 participants and public views continued to be sent to the email address healthplan@gov.bm. The spokeswoman added: “The feedback we are hearing will inform the next stage of the process when working groups will be set up to digest the public input and make recommendations on how we should proceed.” The wide-ranging healthcare changes are expected to be launched in the autumn of next year.

paragraphThe island’s psychiatric hospital refused to admit a vulnerable homeless man with mental health problems, Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday. Eric Richardson’s lawyer told the court it was a disgrace that the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute had refused to take the 28-year-old, who suffers from schizophrenia and drug abuse. Simone Smith-Bean, who appeared for Richardson, warned that magistrates in the future would have no choice but to lock him up unless he was given help. She said: “Because the mental health community has failed to get him help, the courts have consistently been forced to put him in prison as a remedy. Even upon release he’s still going to be homeless, he’s still going to dwell in places where he’s not wanted, he’s still going to be sent to prison and the cycle will just continue.” Ms Smith-Bean was speaking as magistrate Tyrone Chin held a hearing to discuss what treatment options were available for Richardson. Richardson, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty on November 15 to trespassing at a MarketPlace store in Hamilton nine days earlier. Ms Smith-Bean admitted at that hearing that senior magistrate Juan Wolffe had “no choice” but to sentence Richardson to 45 days in jail. She added that a prison term was a waste of time because he could not get the treatment he needed behind bars. Ms Smith-Bean warned that Richardson could find himself in danger if left to fend for himself on the streets. She said: “He’s been attacked, he’s been beaten, he’s been used. Every time he’s released, he’s taken advantage of by men on the street to do things for them in exchange for drugs.” The court heard that Richardson had been sent to Mental Health Court on several occasions in attempt to get help for his psychiatric problems. However, Ms Smith-Bean said that he often failed to turn up for court dates because his homelessness made it difficult for him to appear as scheduled. Magistrate Tyrone Chin suggested that Richardson could be sent overseas for treatment. Defence lawyer Charles Richardson, who was in court on another case, said that a court order could be made to force MWI to take Richardson. He added that the hospital would have to answer to the court if they still refused to help. Mr Richardson said: “MWI shouldn’t be able to say ‘we don’t want him’. I’m appalled that they can stand here and say that. If MWI says they don’t have room or that it’s something structural, then fair enough. But their excuse is ‘it’s just so inconvenient, it requires so much work’. Who cares?” Russ Ford, a social worker, told Mr Chin that he had tried to get help for Richardson for “many years. I’ve been beating this drum for many years and it’s unfortunate that we are still in this position. But where there is life, there is hope and I am hopeful that something is going to come over the horizon very soon.” Mr Ford added that he had something in development that could help people like Richardson but did not give details. Richardson is set to be released from prison on the MarketPlace trespass sentence on December 6. But he will return to court on December 30 to face another trespass charges at a different MarketPlace store. Mr Chin adjourned yesterday’s hearing to December 5.

paragraphThe maximum allowed waiting time for routine medical imaging services has doubled from three weeks to six weeks at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital because of funding changes, The Royal Gazette can reveal. New imaging services triage guidelines said a move to a $330 million government grant instead of a fee-for-service arrangement had forced an end to weekend overtime in the scanning services unit if the waiting list for routine procedures was over the three-week limit. But a Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman said waiting times were still “well below” the six-week limit and patients were getting a better value service. The changes came into force on July 15. The document that outlined the new rules said: “For the last few years and prior to the cap, we have opened on weekends once we saw a backlog extend close to three weeks. These operating hours were achieved by staff overtime funding as they were supplementary to normal shifts. We can no longer sustain these expenses with the current cap as all departments across BHB are mandated to reduce overtime.” The document, dated July 10, expanded the time requirement for routine appointments — the lowest on the urgency scale — to six weeks, and asked for them to be “distributed throughout the community imaging clinics” when possible. More urgent cases had shorter waiting times under the triage policy. Emergency scans must be performed inside six hours, high-priority scans within two days and intermediate priority cases must be scheduled for between one and two weeks. The document said that, at the time of writing, there was a four-week waiting time for routine MRI scans and two weeks for routine CT scans at the hospital. It added: “Four-week wait times for patients requiring routine examinations is acceptable as most major jurisdictions measure wait times based on volumes in excess of six weeks. The objective of the new triage guidelines is to ensure that the KEMH Imaging Services Department reserves appropriate capacity to accommodate the true demand by clinical need.” Doctors were also asked not to bump patients to a higher priority because it could affect the treatment of patients who were genuine urgent cases. The document warned: “Diagnostic Imaging will address physicians that abuse the system.” The BHB spokeswoman added: “The absolute maximum wait for routine appointments is six weeks, but our current wait times are well below this at BHB — and we are doing all we can to maintain and even improve these. Alongside the new guidelines circulated in July are a number of initiatives aiming to improve efficiencies within the BHB Imaging Services department with the goal of reducing wait times and costs. Diagnostic Imaging utilization is now at 68 per cent rather than 53 per cent compared to last year. This means the community is getting a better value service that is meeting high quality standards. The grant that BHB now works under requires us to innovate and improve efficiency, but this is only done where international standards of quality — including wait times for services — can be met. Overtime is sometimes required, and our plans to ensure it is only used when needed do not necessarily mean reducing service access. Updating schedules can also reduce overtime with more appropriate staffing of services.” She said that overtime had been used in the past to reduce the waiting time for routine appointments to 48 hours, but that that time frame was not clinically supported as an international standard. Since the start of the new guidelines the average wait times for some imaging services had increased and others had fallen. The average waiting times for CT scans dropped from 14 days in June to 11 days in October and the wait for ultrasounds plummeted from 29 days to five days over the same period. But the wait for mammograms rose from one day to 12 days, the wait for MRI scans increased from 14 days to 17 days and the wait for nuclear medicine scans doubled from six days to 12 days. The average waiting period for radiology, bone density scans and interventional radiology have remained unchanged. Allan DeSilva of the Bermuda Healthcare Advocacy Group said he had not heard any complaints about delays in scans since the new policy was introduced. But he said that any delays could affect patients. Mr DeSilva added: “Most people take these things for granted. You might not think that 13 or 14 days is a long time, but it can be if you are a patient.” A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre said: “From our perspective, the waiting times for diagnostic imaging used to determine a cancer diagnosis and staging remain minimal and within acceptable standards. Overall, the BHB wait times reported seem reasonable as change is being implemented. At this time it is too early to see the long-term impact.”

paragraphA 71-year-old man arrested in connection with the theft of a smartphone has been released on police bail. Police said the Criminal Investigation Department is continuing to probe the incident, in which the item was said to be taken from a motorcycle storage box on Front Street, near Burnaby Street, at about 12.40am yesterday. A spokesman warned motorcyclists to be on their guard in the light of recent thefts from unattended parked motorcycles. He said: “Residents are advised to be vigilant about where they park their motorcycles, particularly overnight. Well lit areas are preferable. It is strongly recommended that any valuable items be removed before leaving motorcycles parked and unattended. Parked motorcycles should be secured using the handlebar lock along with a secondary lock. And if the motorcycle has a storage box, it should also be secured before leaving the vehicle unattended.” A 36-year-old man arrested on suspicion of damaging of a public pay phone in Hamilton on Tuesday night remained in police custody today.

paragraphBermuda Cancer and Health Centre received an $11,500 boost thanks to a Birdies For Bermuda sponsorship scheme. Goslings International, an arm of the rum firm, donated $500 for every birdie scored by a Bermudian at the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course earlier this month. Malcolm Gosling, the president and CEO of Goslings International, said: “Gosling’s is very proud of the golfing accomplishments of the five fellow Bermudians who qualified for a spot in the Bermuda Championship. While golf on the PGA Tour is usually an individual endeavor, Dwayne Pearman, Daniel Augustus, Kenny Leseur, Jarryd Dillas and Michael Sims combined to make a total of 23 birdies in our Birdies For Bermuda initiative.”

paragraphA busier-than-average hurricane season will come to a close on Sunday with no other tropical storms on the horizon. James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said yesterday: “Hurricane Humberto was indeed our main event of the season, with little else bothering us — thankfully Tropical Storm Jerry weakened before it impacted us.” A total of 18 named storms formed in the Atlantic this year, including six hurricanes, three of which were considered major hurricanes. Only one of the storms — September’s Hurricane Humberto — affected Bermuda. Humberto passed to the north of the island on September 18 as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm damaged hundreds of roofs, downed trees and knocked out power across the island. Tropical Storm Jerry threatened the island a week later, but the storm collapsed before it reached Bermuda. The Bahamas endured almost two days of Category 5 conditions as Hurricane Dorian crossed over the island chain on September 2. The US-based National Hurricane Centre said that this year was the fourth consecutive year with an above-average number of storms. A spokesman for the NHC said: “The only other period on record that produced four consecutive above-normal seasons was 1998 to 2001. Also this year, five tropical cyclones formed in the Gulf of Mexico, which ties a record with 2003 and 1957 for the most storms to form in that region.”

paragraphA buddy system could be set up to help women affected by violence after the Deputy Governor brought together community leaders to discuss how they could tackle the problem. Alison Crocket invited people from the worlds of business, charity and politics to a reception on Monday, where she revealed that she was once left “bloodied and injured” on a neighbor's doorstep after she fled from a violent ex-partner. Ms Crocket explained: “My belief is that violence against women is made easier because it is accepted ... everywhere in society. Myths and assumptions create an environment where boundaries are blurred and violence of all sorts is tolerated.” The gathering marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and was organised by Crystal Swan, a Government House executive officer. The Deputy Governor listed some misconceptions around violence against women, including: “We make them do it. ‘You must have really provoked him, he’s such a nice guy’. Those words came from my former next door neighbour in France, at 2am when she opened the door to me, having escaped my own home from a violent ex-partner. Bloodied, injured and in a state of extreme disarray. She — and it was a woman, I think it’s important to remember that it is not just men that believe the myths — also declined to call the police, leaving me no choice but to return into the house with my assailant, since there was no other way out. Her words articulated what many people think and are the reason why many women are afraid to speak out — because we believe we have caused the violence. Women who are victims of violence spend much time searching for what they did wrong. They stay in relationships because they believe that if they just try a little harder he won’t do it any more. Fortunately, I had the unconditional love and support of a wonderful family, friends and good colleagues who told me as many times as I needed to hear it that it was not my fault and, in time, I healed and grew strong again.” Ms Crocket told the reception, which was attended by Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, that November 25 had been observed as a day against gender-based violence since 1981. The date was chosen to honour the Mirabal sisters, who were murdered on a remote mountain road by former Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo’s secret police in 1960 for opposition to his regime. Ms Crocket said: “Much progress has been made since then, but a great deal remains to be done. A third of the world is yet to enact legislation to criminalize domestic violence and 37 countries still permit rape provided the assaulted woman is married to or is to be married to the assailant.” The Deputy Governor pledged to challenge her own prejudices and stereotypes. “Women who are the victims of all kinds of violence are not weak or hapless. There is no ‘type’ of woman who is the victim of violence. We are all susceptible, but some have greater means to change their circumstances when they are ready to do so. I will certainly never believe that some women ‘ask for it’.” Ms Crocket also promised to be there “for any woman who needs my support” and committed to “calling out bad behaviour whenever I see it”. Representatives from the Centre Against Abuse and the Women’s Resource Centre were among those who spoke at the event. Several of the guests, who were all women, said that they would be happy to be involved in a buddy system. Ms Swan said she planned to take the idea further and will look at other ways to create year-round assistance for those in need. She said after the reception: “This initiative is to give more avenues for women and young ladies who are suffering with violence to seek support.” Ms Swan said she has seen for herself how a “positive impact” on those affected by violence can help them to recover.

paragraphAG Show Ltd.– in partnership with lead sponsor AXIS Capital (AXIS) - has announced the winners of the 2019 Education Awards, which recognizes the hard work and creativity of local students, teachers and parents who participated in this year’s exhibition. Antwan Albuoy, Exhibition Director, said: “On behalf of the entire Exhibition Committee, I’m delighted to present these awards valued at over $13,000 to local schools throughout the Island. The caliber of talent we see in these displays is always outstanding and reminds us exactly why this annual event is so important to our community. From woodcrafts to flower arrangements and vegetables that students grow on their own, we are thrilled to see these traditions passed down from one generation to the next and for our young people to keep these vital parts of Bermuda’s culture and history alive.” Mr Albuoy thanked each school that participated in the 2019 Ag Show and encouraged as many young people as possible to take part in the upcoming event in Spring 2020. An annual three-day event, the Agricultural Exhibition takes part in late April at the Botanical Gardens in Paget. This event’s mandate is to provide an educational and fun environment for all Bermuda’s residents looking to embrace the Island’s agricultural legacy. Currently consisting of school exhibitions, floral shows, animal exhibits and equestrian programmes - all related to Bermuda’s agricultural heritage – it is considered one of the most important events on Bermuda’s cultural calendar. It was first held on a bi-annual basis starting in 1843 and became a yearly agricultural event in 1955. In 2015, however, it had to be cancelled due to financial and other logistical challenges. Richard Strachan, Chief Operations Officer of AXIS said they were “proud to be the lead sponsor for this important local event”, providing sponsorship, which last year allowed students, seniors and those with special needs to attend for free. AXIS has also sponsored the Education Awards over the last four years. “Beyond the financial commitment we have provided, the Ag Show offers us a chance to make a personal contribution to the community, with many of our staff serving as volunteers for the event as part of our AXIS Day of Giving,” Mr Strachan said. “Our community support programme is dedicated to supporting education and youth based causes – and the Ag Show aligns with both these goals.” Mr Strachan congratulated all the winners of the 2019 Education Awards and said AXIS was looking forward to sponsoring the show again in 2020. The award presentation, which took place at AXIS’ Pitts Bay Road offices on Tuesday, November 26, saw prizes awarded to 15 schools on the Island, from Preschool up to the High School level. For more information on the event, visit www.bermudaexhibition.com.

Spacer

November 27

paragraphBermuda is positioned to weather turbulence from Brexit, and to meet European Union requirements in order to be removed from its greylist. Those were the sentiments of David Burt when he was interviewed by Sky News in London, during a visit to Europe for meetings in the UK, Brussels and Estonia. Ian King, Sky News business presenter, asked the Premier: “Bermuda currently sits on the EU’s greylist of countries under scrutiny for tax practices, what are you doing to try and allay those concerns?” The EU has targeted jurisdictions that facilitate offshore structures or arrangements aimed at attracting profits that do not reflect real economic activity in the jurisdiction. It is requiring offshore jurisdictions, commonly referred to as the 2.2 jurisdictions — a reference to a criteria in an EU document — to implement new economic substance requirements. In response to the question, Mr Burt said: “The EU has laid out some items regarding our funds legislation. In our local parliament on Friday, I believe, we will be passing amendments to those in order to satisfy the requirements of the European Union.” In addition, he said Bermuda has 114 tax treaty partners where it transfers information automatically, and said Bermuda would continue to meet changing global standards. Mr Burt stated that Bermuda has some of the best anti-money laundering ratings in the world. Mr King posed a hypothetical question about whether Bermuda would have to “raise its game further and tighten up on regulatory standards” if the US elects as president someone with a tougher stance on transparency “like Elizabeth Warren”. The Premier said it would be difficult to raise the standards Bermuda all ready has, and added: “We have the gold standard of regulation, it is what we are good at. So from that perspective, the Bermuda standard is something that the United States and other countries would do well to meet.” During the next few days, Mr Burt has scheduled meetings in London, including one with Lord Ahmad, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He will also attend the Bermuda Executive Forum, and travel to Estonia to learn about technology that country is using to enhance its “E-Government”. The Premier is also due to meet EU officials and ambassadors in Brussels. Originally it was planned that Mr Burt would attend the Joint Ministerial Council in London, along with leaders of other Overseas Territories. However, that meeting was postponed after a General Election was called in the UK, which will be held on December 12. During the Sky News interview, Mr Burt was asked if Bermuda will be affected by the UK leaving the EU, he said: “Bermuda is less affected than some other overseas territories as we do not receive aid from the European Union. Additionally, we have relations with the European Union that are outside that from the United Kingdom. As I said there are only two countries in the world that have regulatory equivalence with both the EU and the United States, being Bermuda and Switzerland. That is something that Bermuda has outside of Brexit, and after Brexit that’s something that the United Kingdom will have to get on its own.” The Premier spoke about Bermuda’s drive to pioneer blockchain technology. He said: “Digital assets is just another area of financial services, and just like the internet we recognise it as being the future of financial services. We want companies to innovate from Bermuda to provide innovative products to the world. The same as what we did in insurance, having a well-regarded regulator that allows companies to innovate.” He expects to see the type of innovation and development that happened with the insurance industry in Bermuda, now happen inside the digital asset space. That is why we are promoting Bermuda as a jurisdiction that companies in the digital asset space can be successful.” He said Bermuda was “a class apart” from competing jurisdictions, and added: “We have the best regulations that companies can come to build their products and services and sell them to the rest of the world.”

paragraphA rallying cry went out last night from opponents of the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 to shelve the Government’s proposed reforms. A packed house at a forum by the pressure group Patients First was urged to join a petition turning down “rushed” changes that would lead to a government-enforced “monopoly” on health. Henry Dowling, president of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, revealed the petition after a cancer patient in the audience asked: “How are we going to stop this from going through?” Saying she had cancer diagnosed twice, and that “most insurance companies won’t touch me”, she added: “If other people can march and stop things from going through, why can’t we all do something to stop this?” Dr Dowling told the forum that the physicians’ group had met two weeks ago with David Burt, the Premier, to air its concerns. The BMDA head added: “He believes this is in the best interests of the people — so the people need to speak and let him know they do not believe this is in their best interests.” The panel also included Janie Brown, a dentist, Jamie Burgess, an optometrist, and Stephen Kenny, a pediatrician and economist. Nearly 300 gathered at St Paul AME Church Hall, with the December 8 deadline for public consultation on the health proposals drawing near. Dr Dowling repeatedly described the proposals for a unified healthcare payment system, revealed in August by health minister Kim Wilson, as a monopoly. He added: “We know that any one thing having all the power is a dangerous system to have, and I don’t care who it is.” Dr Dowling said the proposal failed to address the $730 million spent annually for about 60,000 people, adding: “This system does not fix that. All it does is shifts who pays for it.” He called on patients to “take back control” and make their voices heard, while Dr Kenny warned that in a system without competition, “the product becomes worse”. Dr Kenny also cast doubt on the minister’s suggestion this summer that the plan could be delivered at a cost of $514 a month per adult. He told the forum: “Some higher amount than that will only be disclosed when there’s two weeks of consultation left — soon, I hope.” He said there was “overwhelming opposition” to the plan among the BMDA, even though physicians would not lose out in payments. “Our opposition is not a financial one,” Dr Kenny said. “Our opposition is that we think it’s bad for patients.” But the meeting also heard of pitfalls to earlier healthcare payment changes that were approved by Parliament in May. The change mandated that the Bermuda Hospitals Board would receive a $330 million annual lump sum from the government. The grant replaced the previous fee-for-service arrangement under the Health Insurance Amendment Act. Dr Brown said this switch had “wreaked havoc” at the hospital, causing the closure of two operating theatres because BHB was “trying to save money”, and leading to delays in elective surgeries. She said the grant had been given without guidelines to the hospital on “how to manage the money or spend it”. One audience member told the panel: “Anything we should be concerned about, it’s got to be healthcare. How broad is the conversation? It doesn’t seem broad to me — it’s Government and doctors.” Dr Burgess said that in spite of three months’ consultation, including three town hall meetings offered by the ministry, many patients still “do not have a clue what’s going on”. She added: “There is, unfortunately, a lot of confusion.” Dr Dowling said the Government had failed to heed doctors’ concerns. He added: “You need to listen to us. We represent the soldiers on the ground. You have to just listen to us before you get the whole war lost. That’s all we are saying here.” A woman retiree complained about inconsistencies in the co-pay that seniors were having to cover, telling the forum there was “a total disconnect between the medical industry and the patients”. She described getting charged a copay of more than $200 last month “just to have a doctor look inside my mouth”. She said: “It’s very humiliating to have to say you can’t afford it and you can’t pay this. It’s just got to get better. I wish we as consumers could be involved more.” She added: “There seems to be a huge disconnect between customers and the industry as a whole. Government is acting as Government — they are not taking the responsibility that they need to take.” The forum closed with a call for the public to petition the Government over the Bermuda Health Plan via the Patients First page on Facebook. A petition was also online at website change.org.  By 9pm, it had been signed by nearly 200 people.

paragraphA plan to turn a former preschool into studio apartments and lofts has been given the green light by planning officials. The proposal to the Development Applications Board, submitted by the Bermuda Housing Corporation, suggested turning the old St David’s preschool on Battery Road and a neighboring building into 14 homes. The plan included seven single-bedroom lofts, six studio apartments, a two-bedroom villa and a maintenance office. Keino Furbert-Jacobs of the BHC said in the application that the project was one of several to create accommodations for “active singles”. The minutes of the DAB’s November 6 meeting said that the technical officer had supported the application. But the board said at the meeting they were concerned about the lack of detail on communal space at the proposed development. The minutes added: “The technical officer advised that private space would be provided in the form of balconies and enclosed gardens and, whilst no communal space is identified on plan, this would be provided in the unenclosed lawned areas and a significant amount of land which can be used as communal open space already exists within the lot. The technical officer further noted that the entire lot is surrounded by park zoning, so the local area is particularly well served by useable open space.” Work began earlier this year to remove a roof containing asbestos from the preschool building. But the work raised fears among some neighbours, who claimed they had not been warned. Loren Belboda, of asbestos removal specialists AMR Services, said he had been assured notification had been sent to area residents, but he ordered a temporary halt to the operation after neighbours complained.

paragraphActivist shareholder Voce Capital Management is pushing for five new independent directors to replace incumbents on the board of Bermuda-registered re/insurer Argo Group. Voce says the governance situation at Argo has “significantly deteriorated” since the insurer’s annual meeting this year, citing an SEC investigation into executive compensation and subsequent ratings agency actions. The San Francisco-based hedge fund also criticizes the “lucrative package” given to Argo’s former chief executive officer Mark Watson on his “sudden retirement” this month. Voce said it has launched a process to call a special meeting of shareholders as it seeks backing for the replacement of directors. The investor, which owns about 5.8 per cent of Argo, has been fighting a proxy battle with Argo since February, when it claimed the company had a “spendthrift culture” and misdirected corporate assets to support the former CEO’s “lifestyle and hobbies”. Argo announced the immediate retirement of Mr Watson three weeks ago after it was revealed that the US Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating the company over disclosure of certain compensation matters. Argo has said it is fully co-operating with the SEC investigation. Argo added at the time that company shares valued at $2.2 million, owned by Mr Watson, were to be placed into an escrow account to be used to reimburse Argo if an investigation finds that certain personal expenses of his were paid for by the company. The insurer will pay Mr Watson $2.5 million under the terms of the separation agreement made public in an SEC filing. Argo appointed Kevin Rehnberg as interim CEO to replace Mr Watson. Voce yesterday filed a Preliminary Consent Statement in connection with the call for a special meeting. Voce said: “Since the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders, the situation at Argo has significantly deteriorated. In October, the press reported that the SEC had subpoenaed Argo over its executive compensation and perquisites, which investigation Argo was then forced to publicly confirm. On November 5, Argo announced the sudden ‘retirement’ of its CEO, yet the board awarded him a lucrative package of cash severance, accelerated stock vesting and benefits. The board replaced him with an internal CEO after failing to consider even a single external candidate for the job. Both AM Best and S&P Global Ratings subsequently announced negative actions related to their ratings of the company’s debt, and each specifically cited Argo’s poor corporate governance and failed board oversight as the reason for their actions.” On November 7, AM Best said it was placing Argo’s credit ratings “under review with negative implications”. The rating agency added that when it affirmed Argo’s ratings in October it had been unaware of the SEC subpoena that had been issued to Argo “some time before”. AM Best added that ratings review “considers the serious nature of the aforementioned SEC inquiry and the diminished credibility among Argo stakeholders in light of the board’s actions to keep this inquiry confidential while undergoing an extensive internal investigation on compensation governance matters related to Argo and its former chief executive officer.” It added: “Perhaps of most concern to AM Best are the pending conclusions of the SEC investigation and the potential for this inquiry to extend beyond Mr Watson.” In its statement today Voce said: “There are crucial leadership, governance and strategic choices which are being made in real time and will have lasting and potentially irreversible effects once rendered.” Voce said it had repeatedly insisted that shareholders’ voices should be heard in the Argo boardroom, “yet the board has refused every overture that we have made to appoint directors nominated by shareholders. These issues are critical and urgent, and time is of the essence. Argo’s shareholders cannot wait any longer.” Voce wants to replace five of Argo’s existing board members with “highly qualified, fully independent directors”, a proposal it wants to air at the special meeting. “Once we file our definitive consent solicitation statement, we will simply be asking shareholders to consent to the calling of a special meeting, which is permitted by Argo’s byelaws and will require the concurrence of holders of at least 10 per cent of Argo’s common stock. Consents at this stage will not determine if any Argo directors are removed or replaced, only whether a shareholder meeting to consider and vote on such proposals will occur.”

paragraphA victim of gun violence who has fought for criminal injuries compensation for more than four years is to get a substantial payout, he said yesterday. But the man said that the news would not stop legal action against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and the Attorney-General for damages over the delay. The shooting victim, who remains anonymous, explained: “I shouldn’t have had to wait more than four years to be compensated. I didn’t shoot myself. I have rights as a person. I have a right to be heard in a respectable amount of time.” The man, a former construction worker, was shot in 2014 and made a claim for compensation with the CICB, a government body, in 2015. The 27-year-old said the attack had left him with a hole in his colon and a chipped spine, and that he had suffered serious back and leg pain, and depression. His claim was heard by the CICB last month after years on hold. The man said that he had received a letter yesterday that he would be compensated, but declined to put a figure on the payment. He added that the letter did not say if the money would be paid as a lump sum or in instalments or when the first payment would be made. But he said that he felt “relieved” by the letter. He added: “This has been a long time coming. It’s going to help me financially being that I’m not able to do the work that I was previously able to do.” The man said the award would also allow him to move back to the United Kingdom and be with his two-year-old son. He said that the legal action would continue despite the success of his claim. The man added: “It’s going to go ahead no matter what at this point. They have violated my constitutional rights 100 per cent. So why wouldn’t I?” The writ claimed a constitutional breach of duty by the CICB and the Attorney-General by “unreasonably delaying the hearing of his application”. It said: “The applicant is entitled to seek a declaration that he has not been granted a fair hearing within a reasonable time by the CICB and damages and/or equitable compensation for the respondent’s breach of his constitutional right. The respondents are parties to these proceedings by reason of their roles, respectively, as the statutory board pursuant to the Criminal Injuries (Compensation) Act 1973 and as chief legal adviser to the Government, and the department of Government responsible for the CICB.” The writ said that the man wanted a declaration that his rights had been breached and aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages, “equitable compensation”, and costs. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, referred questions about the man’s case to Puisne Judge Nicole Stoneham, the chairwoman of the CICB, who did not respond. Ms Simmons also failed to respond to a request for comment on the Supreme Court action for damages. Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, said this month that the CICB had failed to fulfil a “basic obligation” to respond properly to a public access to information request submitted by The Royal Gazette in May. The request asked for records showing its backlog of cases and minutes of meetings. The board shared some information in June, but the newspaper was not satisfied with the disclosure and appealed the decision to Mrs Justice Stoneham. But she did not respond to the appeal inside the mandated six-week window. Ms Gutierrez wrote that her decision did not address whether the board had properly denied access to the records, but “addresses the basic obligation upon a public authority to respond to a requester within the statutory time frames”. She added: “It is a matter of fact that the board did not provide the applicant with an internal review decision within the statutory time frame.” Ms Gutierrez ordered the board to issue a response by December 12 or face having her decision enforced by the Supreme Court. A Court of Appeal judgment from November 2018 said that the CICB had a “serious backlog” of compensation claims. The board is now being investigated for possible maladministration by Victoria Pearman, the Ombudsman.

paragraphEsso is promising more than simply a new look at its gas stations in Bermuda. Because the fuel at the pumps is different and comes with claims it will help provide better gas mileage, lower emissions and better engine responsiveness. Esso brought leading executives to the island for the launch of the new brand of fuel, which is called Synergy and is being sold at Esso gas stations. But it’s all about the fuel. Synergy is also a new image brand at Esso service stations on the island, which include a different forecourt look, bright red structures at the pumps and the gradual introduction of screens and eventually tap-and-go payment options. Synergy fuel has been introduced in other countries, including the US, UK and Canada. Bermuda is the first jurisdiction in the western Caribbean region to have the fuel. SolPetroleum Bermuda Ltd said all Esso brand gas stations and Sol commercial customers will have access to the Synergy fuels. Ché Barker, retail sales executive at Sol Bermuda, said: “Synergy is going to benefit engines for the better. It is also a change to the forecourt. The forecourt at the Esso stations haven’t seen an upgrade this century. It’s an upgrade to how we look. It’s a new feel for customer service, a real change in the branding and in the concept of what we are going to be offering. We are in the process of doing upgrades even to the pumps, with 10-inch screens to make it easier to get information across, and tap-to-pay; making it much easier for the customer to get there and get their fuel and get information.” Synergy fuels were developed by Exxon Mobil Corporation. Esso is an ExxonMobil brand. The fuel contains seven ingredients, including a second detergent. The detergent is a component designed to clean and protect intake valves for port fuel injector engines. The other ingredients are an anti-adhesion compound, a corrosion inhibitor, a demulsifier, solvent fluid, and marker molecules. Collectively, those elements are said to ensure a cleaner engine with less fuel-created deposits, and more efficiency leading to “better gas mileage”. Actual benefits will be based on vehicle type, driving style and which gas you previously used. The grades of gas and diesel available are Supreme+, Unleaded, Supreme+ Diesel, in addition to mix gas. The synergy fuels will only be sold at Esso gas stations in Bermuda. Lauren Lauher, Houston-based market strategy adviser with ExxonMobil, said: “We have been rolling out Synergy products around the globe.” She said the reaction to the fuel has been positive, especially with the diesel product offering. We are seeing people switching their whole fleets over to our product,” she said, mentioning that there had been a 2 per cent efficiency improvement measured in vehicles using Synergy diesel. The launch event, held at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, was attended by executives from Sol and ExxonMobil, together with on-island dealers, fleet owners, corporate customer and government officials. Stephen Turner, sales manager at Sol Bermuda, said: “It’s a big deal. We are the third country in the Caribbean to get this product. We can tell people we have the best fuel, the research backs it up. We want this to benefit our customers.”

paragraphBermuda vice-captain Rodney Trott has fired a broadside at cricket’s national governing body after an administrative oversight meant that he could not travel to Oman for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B. Trott, who was promoted into the leadership position after impressing as a stand-in captain midway through the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai last month, has been grounded because of a bureaucratic technicality, as his passport expires within six months of the team’s departure for the Middle East last weekend. The Bailey’s Bay player, who learnt the bad news only last week, places the blame squarely at the door of the Bermuda Cricket Board. “It is something that could have been avoided,” said Trott, who claims the BCB was in possession of his passport since Bermuda hosted the T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier in August. “It’s disappointing because I’ve wasted my time with all the training, only to be told at the last minute that I can’t go. This could have been sorted out during the summer when we had the tournament. My passport is going to expire in the first week of March, but when you travel to countries like that your passport has to be valid for at least six months. I got away with it in Dubai and have been telling them [the BCB] since summer that I needed a new passport. Obviously, when they were doing the arrangements, Oman must have said to them that I need a new passport in order to be allowed in their country. This is what I’ve been telling the Bermuda Cricket Board since the summer, that my passport needs to be sorted out. I was told, ‘You’re going to be cool’, but I’m not cool.” Cal Blankendal, the BCB executive director, provided an explanation when contacted by The Royal Gazette. “The board had offered to assist with British passport applications for all players, and those players who came in and provided the documentation to get their British passport received theirs with the assistance of the board. Those who did not come in or make an appointment to receive assistance did not. The board offered their services to assist those who required a British passport, knowing that there were multiple tournaments overseas where a European or UK passport would allow you to travel without having a visa. The responsibility of having a valid passport for travel is the responsibility of the passport holder, as they are the only ones who can make an application in person. There were others who asked for services and received theirs, and they have travelled.” However, Trott believes he could have remedied the situation himself with greater clarity and urgency. “I could have gotten a rushed passport in two or three days,” he said. “But I felt they are part responsible for me not having a new passport. If I had my passport, I could have got it renewed myself. I was told if I got a rushed passport, it would be good for only one year and then I would have to buy another passport.” Trott’s place in the squad has been taken by Coolidge Durham, the Bay opening batsman, who at 38 is now in line to become the eldest Bermuda debutant of the modern era. Trott was initially named as Terryn Fray’s vice-captain in the 15-man squad for the 50-overs format, with the team looking to bounce back after a disappointing time in Dubai, where Dion Stovell stood down as captain for personal reasons. Bermuda lost all six of their matches, the last two of which were televised globally, but Trott came away with his reputation as a potential leader enhanced. “I’ve been trying to instil something with the team over the last couple of weeks,” he said. “Now the team is upset because I’m not going — but imagine how I feel. I’m trying to give my all, but I’m the one who has the setback. This could have been prevented. I’ve been saying since the tournament in Bermuda in the summer that I needed a new passport. Even if I did have my passport, they [the BCB] could have figured out something with me to get it sorted out, especially because I’m traveling for my country.” The CWC Challenge League B is the first of three overseas engagements, comprising 15 matches in total, that Bermuda will participate in as part of the restructuring of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in India. As a result, the 2018 qualifying tournament in Malaysia, which led to Bermuda being relegated to Division Five and the belated departure of Clay Smith as head coach, was invalidated. Oman was chosen as the venue after the ICC withdrew from Hong Kong because of the political unrest in that country. The initial phase of League B runs from December 2 to 12, with Bermuda’s first match coming against Hong Kong next Tuesday in the capital city of Muscat. Fixtures follow against Italy, Jersey, Kenya and Uganda.

paragraphA 17th-century-style cabin is back to its best after the public rallied round to help repair damage from Hurricane Humberto. The building, a replica of Bermuda settlers’ homes from 1612 next to the historic Carter House in St David’s, lost much of its palmetto-thatched roof when it was battered by the storm in September. But volunteers responded to a plea from the St David’s Island Historical Society to donate hundreds of palmetto leaves to help re-thatch the roof in time for the traditional Carter House family Christmas party this weekend. Rick Spurling, the president of the society, said: “We have had a huge response to our request for palmetto leaves. We are very grateful for this response.” Mr Spurling said the Gibbons family at Palm Grove, Devonshire, was the biggest source of leaves, and that M Landscaping had provided trucking. He said people had also donated about $1,500 in cash, which paid for half the cost of the rebuild. Mr Spurling added the “settlers” and their belongings will return home this week. He said: “The mannequins are smiling, all of them.” The Carter House family Christmas party will take place on Sunday from 4pm to 7pm.

paragraphTributes were paid last night to the late Jack Lightbourn with an informal ceremony at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The shell collector, diver and conservationist donated a major part of his world-renowned collection to the BUEI, where he was a trustee and served as vice-president. Mr Lightbourn, a Second World War veteran and former top executive of the Bank of Bermuda, died in September aged 93. Mr Lightbourne's family organised a gathering in his memory at the room in the BUEI where his collection is displayed instead of a funeral service. Mr Lightbourn was part of a group in the early 1990s, including the late diving legend Teddy Tucker, who campaigned for a centre to showcase Bermuda’s marine environment. Plans for the BUEI drew concerns from conservationists, including the then Bermuda Maritime Museum, that it would compete with existing organisations. The Bermuda National Trust objected to its construction at the waterside off East Broadway. but the institute overcame obstacles and opened in 1997. Mr Lightbourn also served as president of the Bermuda Zoological Society in the 1990s, and as chairman of the Historic Wrecks Authority. His career at the Bank of Bermuda started in 1941, when Mr Lightbourn was taken on as a messenger aged 15. But his job was soon interrupted by service in the Second World War. Mr Lightbourn spent a period in training before he started service with the Royal Navy in 1944 on Atlantic convoy duty. The threat from German U-boats had receded — but the convoys still braved storms and icy weather in the open Atlantic. Mr Lightbourn in 1946, after the war ended, served as an Able Seaman radar operator on a Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Chivalrous. The ship was tasked with the interception of ships packed with Jewish refugees in the Mediterranean en route to Palestine as part of the Royal Navy’s Palestine Patrol. Palestine was still under British control and the Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe were considered illegal immigrants. Mr Lightbourn told the Mid-Ocean News in 1999: “They were like slave ships. Many of the people had been in concentration camps. Most were not in the best of health. In a bunch of young fellows like we were, I was considered the old man. I was 20 years old. The conditions we saw were awful.” He returned home in May 1947 and resumed his career at the Bank of Bermuda where he rose to general manager before he retired. He served on the Bermuda War Veterans Association and became president in his later years. Shells were a lifelong passion, and his collection held specimens from around the world, as well as Bermuda waters. A keen diver, Mr Lightbourn sometimes used a submersible to bring back rare shells from the deep waters surrounding the island. Mr Lightbourn and his late friend and fellow collector Arthur Guest added 300 species to the Bermuda listing which were not known to have existed in island waters, as well as ten new species. Three of the previously unknown species were named in his honour — Conus lightbourni, Pterynotus lightbourni and Fusinus lightbourni. He was given the Neptunea Award by The Conchologists of America in 2006 to recognise “outstanding and distinguished service”. Mr Lightbourn told The Royal Gazette at the time: “My interest in shells started at six years of age when I went collecting with my grandfather. In those days you could collect and sell shells, which is no longer permissible. When I was 11, I joined the Sea Scouts and a few of us became interested and started to collect. I just kept on going.”

Spacer

November 26

paragraphThe health minister will not attend a public forum organised by a pressure group about the Bermuda Health Plan today. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said she was pleased by the level of public involvement in the debate on the future of Bermuda’s healthcare, but that she would be overseas on government business. She said: “It is regrettable that I am not on island to participate in this important town hall by Patients 1st Bermuda. I hope it generates the fruitful dialogue we have seen from most stakeholders, so we can continue to receive constructive feedback to improve access and sustainability for all of Bermuda”. The meeting, to be held by Patients 1st Bermuda, was organised to let the public hear the perspective of medical professionals on proposed healthcare reforms. Several people scheduled to take part as panellists are doctors, including Henry Dowling, president of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, Steven Kenny, a pediatrician, Janie Brown, a dentist, and Jamie Burgess, an optometrist. The Patients 1st Facebook page said: “We think Bermuda healthcare is too expensive. Healthcare reform is good. #Rushedhealthreform is not good. Patients 1st wants the Government to postpone all health reform legislation until they can tell us in real terms what the financial impact will be for Bermuda’s workers and families.” The meeting will be held at the St Paul AME Centennial Hall in Hamilton at 5.30pm.

paragraphA man who spent three years behind bars could soon be released after the Supreme Court ruled he was treated unfairly by the parole board. The parole board recalled Dennis Robinson to prison in November 2016 after he was arrested on drug charges, but he was never convicted. Puisne Judge Shade Subair said in a November 19 judgment that the board had not given Robinson a fair hearing and failed to hold annual review hearings about his eligibility for release. She ordered that the parole board convene a hearing to review Robinson’s eligibility for release by December 3. Mrs Justice Subair said: “While I accept on the facts that the plaintiff appeared before the parole board on November 21, 2016, on the subject of his recall, I find that the parole board fell short of offering a fair hearing.” Mark Pettingill, Robinson’s lawyer, said yesterday: “I have had grave concerns about the process here and the way he has been dealt with, so much so that we had to go to court to get the situation remedied. The courts, now for a second time, have ruled in his favour. Obviously, we are hopeful that he will be released soon. In his situation, we take the view that the process throughout has been pretty unfair. The court was pretty condemning of the actions of the parole board and the way in which he was treated. Fairness is clearly key, and a person is entitled to be given reasons for why they are being detained and entitled to have a fair hearing.” Robinson was sentenced to life for the 2005 murder of 20-year-old twins Jahmal and Jahmil Cooper and ordered to spend at least 12 years behind bars. The pair were beaten to death by Kenneth Burgess while Robinson guarded the door and he later helped to dispose of the bodies. Robinson was released on licence by the parole board in the autumn of 2016 — but he was arrested on November 15 that year for intent to supply 418.7 grams of cannabis. He said in an affidavit that on November 21, 2016, less than a week after his arrest, he was taken from Westgate to a meeting of the parole board. Robinson said: “I was told at that meeting that I would be recalled. I asked for reasons and at first I was not provided with any reasons. I was later told that it was because I had been charged with a criminal offence which was not accurate — I was not charged until January 6, 2017.” Robinson said he was not given an opportunity to speak or have a lawyer present during the hearing and, in a legal action against the Parole Board, argued the board had not given Robinson a fair hearing when he was recalled. He also argued the board had not reviewed his eligibility for release since he was recalled. The complaint went before the Supreme Court on October 16. Juliana Swan, administrative assistant for the Parole Board, said in an affidavit that Robinson was able to address the board at his hearing. She said: “He advised that he was surprised that he was breached as he had done nothing wrong.” Elliott Pitcher Jr, Robinson’s case manager, said in an affidavit that when inmates want to apply for parole they need to complete a “parole package” which includes where they would stay and work if released. He said Robinson repeatedly delayed the completion of his parole package and had still not submitted one as of the writing of his affidavit. But Mrs Justice Subair found that the Parole Board should have reviewed Robinson’s eligibility for release every 12 months. She said: “This is the case whether or not the administrative application form process has been completed by the plaintiff. Of course, a failure to supply adequate information to the board may in some cases obstruct the board’s clear view of the merits of an application for release on licence. In practical terms, I think it only fair to add that the plaintiff, to some extent, was also the author of his own delay. In the end, nothing turns on this because the plaintiff’s molasses pace did not disentitle him to review hearings at 12-month intervals.” Robinson made headlines in September when the Supreme Court ruled that his right to a fair trial in a reasonable time had been breached after his drug trial was delayed for more than two years while he remained in custody. A trial started in 2018, but the magistrate recused himself over a conflict of interest before judgment was made. Assistant Justice Delroy Duncan in September ordered that Robinson’s retrial be stayed, which had the effect of ending the case.

paragraphNew virtual classes at the Bermuda College will offer skills relevant for the island’s growing fintech sector, the US-based provider said yesterday. Global Knowledge, an international IT training firm expects to introduce further IT courses to Bermuda next year, with topics including cybersecurity. The company’s United States base is in Cory, North Carolina, and two representatives are on the island this week to discuss its first round of classes in Bermuda. The information session on its spring 2020 project management courses will be held today from 6pm to 7.30pm at the Bermuda College’s Hallett Hall Blue Room. The courses will include the examination for the Project Management Professional certification. Paul Morrissette, the senior director of client solutions at Global Knowledge, said the project management designation was “ubiquitous across the tech industry”. He added: “You can use project management to set up something like blockchain in your company, but it could also be used in a construction company.” Mr Morrissette said the company has been in partnership talks with Bermuda College since April and “getting a presence on the island to start things off”. Tawana Flood, the college’s director of professional and career education, said the courses will be “all virtual — they are not limited to coming here to the college”. Christopher Scott, Global Knowledge’s project management solutions engineer, said the online classes would use the Zoom video communications platform. The platform has the potential to accommodate hundreds, but Mr Scott said the training at the college would be limited to around 24 students. Mr Scott added: “For the fall of 2020, we are projecting to have three primary cybersecurity courses. We think that would be a natural follow-on.” For more information, see college.bm.

paragraphOpinion. By Margaret Sullivan,  The Washington Post’s media columnist. Previously, she was The New York Times public editor, and the chief editor of The Buffalo News, her home-town paper. "Months ago, when former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg said he would not run for president, a palpable feeling of relief flooded the global newsrooms that bear his name. “The sound of 2,700 exhaling,” as the quip had it. Now — with the 77-year-old billionaire’s decision to get in the Democratic race after all — that relief is over, replaced by a collective gasp. The situation is worse than many expected. Initial decisions about how to handle 2020 coverage are stunning ones. They put Bloomberg’s many talented journalists, especially those in Washington and New York, in a compromised position. The policy, as detailed over the weekend in a memo from top editor John Micklethwait: journalists will not dig into Bloomberg himself — or his charitable endeavours, business practices, family, etc — or into his Democratic rivals. They will cover developments in the campaign on a more superficial level. Micklethwait: “We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including Mike’s. We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign [just as we did when Mike was in City Hall]. And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate.” Bloomberg News also will publish other organisations’ investigations, sometimes in summary form. However, for now, they will continue to investigate Donald Trump. These plans “relegate his political writers to stenography journalism”, Kathy Kiely, Bloomberg News’ former politics director, told the Associated Press on Sunday. She left the news service in 2016, when Bloomberg was considering a presidential run. And Megan Murphy, former Washington bureau chief of Bloomberg News, tweeted that she was presented “with a near identical ‘memo’ during his 2016 flirtation”, and found it unacceptable. “I was very clear that I would quit the second it ever saw the light of day.” To those insiders, the dangers were all too clear. There’s more: at Bloomberg Opinion, unsigned editorials — the institutional voice of the organisation — are being discontinued altogether, and prominent members of the opinion staff, including top editors David Shipley and Tim O’Brien, the Trump biographer whom I’ve often quoted in my Washington Post column, will take leaves of absence to join the boss’s campaign. That, too, raises dicey questions: What happens if Candidate Mike is unsuccessful — these journalists just blithely spin back through the revolving door into their old jobs? What happens if he becomes president? They leave journalism altogether? But it’s the news-side issues that raise the most vexing ethical questions. Built into good journalism is independence. It’s a requirement, the very foundation — the sine qua non, since we seem to like three-word Latin phrases these days. “Without which, not”: the essential element. Making a crucially important area of coverage off-limits saws away at that foundation, leaving everything that remains in an unstable state. This isn’t entirely new at Bloomberg. The long-held policy is that the organisation doesn’t investigate its owner’s wealth, personal life, family and so on. That was true during his three terms as New York mayor; it wasn’t good then, either, but the stakes are far higher now. And at times, the billionaire has hinted at why: “Quite honestly, I don’t want all the reporters I’m paying to write a bad story about me,” he half-jokingly told a radio interviewer late last year, as he suggested that he might end Bloomberg News’ political coverage should he decide to run. He added: “I don’t want them to be independent.” Bloomberg could have entirely recused himself from decision-making or influence at the news organisation — saying, in effect, “cover me like anyone else and do it with journalistic integrity”. Journalism “without fear or favour” — associated with a written statement of purpose by New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs in 1896 — could have been the aim. Is this realistic when a mighty billionaire’s future is at stake? Granted, it’s always difficult for news organisations to cover themselves and the powerful people who own or run them. There is always the risk of self-censorship — but yes, it’s possible. These are not perfect parallels, but The Washington Post has written many tough-minded stories about Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, owns this news organisation but leaves the editorial decisions to Executive Editor Martin Baron. And I never experienced an iota of editorial meddling from The Buffalo News chairman and owner Warren Buffett when both the newsroom and the editorial board reported to me for almost 13 years. That, however, is not the plan, which doesn’t bode well for what’s ahead, especially if Bloomberg is successful. We already have a rich-guy president who thinks the tried-and-true rules that underpin American democracy aren’t made for him and who doesn’t exhibit a core understanding of the accountability role of an independent press. The Bloomberg Way is the company’s well-known guide for journalists at the news organisation, an intended manifesto for best practices. Failing to fairly cover the most important story of our time — with built-in provisions for complete independence — may be the Bloomberg way at the moment. But it isn’t the right way."

paragraphA doctor has taken on chronic diseases — at the root. Stanley James, of Premier Health and Wellness Centre, is dosing his neediest patients with free vegetables grown in a garden at his surgery. Dr James said: “I am excited. It means I can give someone food for free who could not afford it for themselves.” He explained good nutrition was a significant factor in the avoidance of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Dr James said: “If you don’t get quality food, then you will end up eating food that is processed, and is not really healthy. When we look at those who are sick in Bermuda, most of that population doesn’t have the finances to get food that is fresh and nutrient-dense.” He added the scheme had already been welcomed by patients and that his staff would call seniors who used the practice to offer the vegetables to them. Dr James said: “They have been very grateful. Our core philosophy is not prescriptions and pills and, hopefully, we can give people lifestyle practices that can maintain or reverse diseases.” The GP said he came up with the idea as he walked past his surgery and its grounds. Dr James explained: “I noticed that every month I was paying for someone to keep it. Then I was inspired to say ‘why don’t I turn this into a garden to give food to people, as opposed to growing grass which is taking money from me?" The patients said it is the thought that counts and the knowledge that you are thinking about them, and to give it to them for free feels really good. Any senior that comes in who is a member of this practice gets this food for free.” He hired JaVaughn Dill, of Dill Pickle Farming, a few months ago to do the groundwork and harvesting of a garden on a strip of land next to the practice. He and Mr Dill harvested their first crop yesterday. Mr Dill said: “Creating a garden in the city wasn’t hard. I just had to put a little extra soil in. We had a really good harvest.” He planted tomatoes, kale, mustard greens, beets, Bermuda onions, carrots and herbs. Dr James’s friend, David Steed, the pastor of the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church near the practice, watched the harvest and said he was considering starting a similar scheme. Mr Steed added a lot of his older parishioners knew they should eat better, but could not afford it. He said: “I have visited homes of seniors, you walk in there and the refrigerator and cupboards are empty. There’s a bottle of water and some old jam in the fridge. There are seniors in our rich country who are starving at home. Knowing they can come here and get this blessing is tremendous. It is a way of making sure they are eating.” Dr James promised if Mr Steed launched a garden scheme, he would pay for it because he was committed to helping people. He added his mother, Rose, had encouraged him to become a doctor, despite the fact she was a single parent with four other children. Dr James said: “I have friends on the other side who grew up with me on Fenton’s Drive in Pembroke like I did and went to Central School, but somewhere along the way they fell among thieves that stole their vitality, dreams, purpose and now they wander around without a job. They can’t really negotiate the healthcare system. They are just pushed to the margins. For me to talk about vegetables when you are just trying to get your head together is rough. I have to make complex things simple.”

paragraphA former gym owner claimed yesterday that he was owed more than $100,000 as part of a contract signed with another gym five years ago. Scott Stallard, who owned The Olympic Club, told the Supreme Court that he had not been compensated in line with a merger deal signed with The Athletic Club in 2014. Mr Stallard said: “They have avoided paying a single dollar, as well as unpaid rent of $22,000, unpaid Schedule 5 debts of the merger agreement totaling $57,000 and unpaid monies due to the plaintiff of $105,000 to date.” The legal action was launched last year. The court heard that The Athletic Club, operated by Kym Herron Scott, was to be the surviving company. Mr Stallard said that talks with Mrs Herron Scott about the merger had taken place between August 2014 and November 2014. He added that both parties had retained lawyers to “guide and advise them” on the deal. Mr Stallard said: “Due diligence was performed and direct talks held where both parties and their legal representatives were present to go over details and answer questions prior to signing. The defendant claimed not to have cash available to either put down as security or pay for the acquisition by way of merger.” An amended writ in April 2018 claimed that The Athletic Club had failed to make 16 monthly payment of $3,000 to Mr Stallard. It also said that social insurance payments that totaled $17,000 had also not been paid. Neither Mr Stallard nor The Athletic Club were represented by legal counsel at the hearing. Wayne Scott, the husband of Mrs Herron Scott, who appeared for The Athletic Club, said that Mr Stallard had been in breach of the contract “since Day 1”. He added: “During the immediate days and weeks following, it became clear that Scott was not, and had not been an honest broker.” Mr Scott said that Mr Stallard had been “disruptive from the start”. He added that Mr Stallard had “continuously” removed equipment and assets from The Olympic Club after the merger that Mr Stallard claimed were not part of the agreement. Mr Scott said Mr Stallard had also locked The Athletic Club out of The Olympic Club property in March 2015 and had sold equipment that was the property of The Athletic Club after the merger. He added: “With this act being the final straw, Kym and The Athletic Club invoked the indemnity clause given by Scott Stallard and legally walked away from this mess.” Mr Scott said that breaches of the contract by Mr Stallard were sufficient to invalidate the merger and that “the only reasonable resolution would be for the court to rule that this agreement is null and void”. He added: “These breaches appear to be calculated and consistent, so much so that if the contract is not voided, there is a strong case for wilful financial fraud, contractual fraud and criminal intent on the behalf of Mr Stallard.” He said that a ruling should be made to cover costs incurred by The Athletic Club. Mr Scott said that he was not a director of The Athletic Club, but had served as one between 2015 and 2018 and that his wife was the sole owner and director. Assistant Justice Jeffrey Elkinson reserved judgment.

paragraphAn investigation has been launched into a fitness centre due to close on Saturday by consumer affairs officials. The Government confirmed that it was looking into The Athletic Club in Hamilton, which will transfer its members to another city gym. The probe was started amid separate concerns that the gym owners were not up-to-date with staff social insurance contributions, despite deductions from workers’ pay packets. Kym Herron Scott, the company owner, said on Sunday that she tried to operate the business “in a fair and open manner, in compliance with the law”. She announced earlier this month: “With the increased costs in running a company and the lease not being renewed, December 1 seems like the right time to move the clientele and keep the membership costs down.” Mark Simons, who used The Athletic Club for about 13 years, said last week that the gym ran membership drives with deadlines at the end of September and October. He said one offered the best rates to customers that signed up on a monthly auto-debit plan or made an annual payment. Mr Simons added: “She has taken people on to those and there have been huge fights — verbal — with people who try to get their money back and she’s told them that the penalty for getting their money back is $250.” A post on the gym’s Facebook page showed that a 35th anniversary “special” offered options for three-month memberships, personal training sessions or class bundles, with a September 30 closing date. And a source said that a recent promotion included upfront payments of $350 for three months or $1,350 for a year. The closure announcement was made on November 7. Mrs Herron Scott said this week: “Until the decision was made to close the main facility, there was no reason to function outside of business as usual.” She added that “provisions” were made for members at Magnum Power Force Gym on Church Street, where customers on quarterly or annual prepaid packages could use memberships until they expired. A frequently asked questions flyer showed that “VIP annuals paid monthly by debit or credit card automatically” would pay the same rates as they had at The Athletic Club until the end of February 2020. It added: “If you choose to cancel, please complete a cancellation form at reception by the 15th of the same month you wish to cancel.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, which runs consumer affairs, said: “An investigation on the matter is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time.” Concerns have also been raised about social insurance contributions, which it was claimed were inconsistent, although employees were reported to have seen deductions made on their payslips. A source close to workers at the club said: “A member of staff inquired if the social insurance was up-to-date, that was around June, and it wasn’t. There were no payments at all, so everybody else looked into their social insurance and it was either bits missing or nothing at all.” Mrs Herron Scott was asked about social insurance contributions as well as a number of other employee-related concerns. She said: “The Athletic Club has been in business for 35 years. I have been involved for 32 of those years and have always done my best to operate in a fair and open manner, in compliance with the law.” A Ministry of Finance spokeswoman said information on the status of social insurance contributions could only be given to the person involved or the organisation named on the account. She explained: “When contributions are made to Department of Social Insurance under the Contributory Pensions Act 1970, the department becomes custodians of the funds which could benefit the contributor in the future. Presently, there is no law mandating employers to notify employees of any discussion between the employer and Social Insurance. However, Social Insurance inspectors do advise employers to notify their employees. As of October 2019, 31 per cent of employers and self-employed persons are not current with their social insurance payments and have balances over 90 days past due.” The spokeswoman added that if an employee suspected their social insurance was not being paid, they should ask for a record of their contributions at the department, or by e-mailing SIContributions@gov.bm. She said that complaints about non-payment can be sent to the same e-mail address, made in person at the department or by phone at 294-9242. The spokeswoman added: “If it is found that an employer has been deducting an employee’s contribution payable and fails or neglects to pay the deducted funds to the Department of Social Insurance, an offence is committed under The Contributory Pensions Act 1970, and the offender is liable to a fine of $1,000 for each offence.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, said earlier she was aware of “workplace concerns” at a local fitness centre, understood to be The Athletic Club. She added that the ministry was “monitoring the matter”.

paragraphChubb Ltd has increased its ownership in China’s Huatai Insurance Group Company Ltd. It is expected to own 46.2 per cent of Huatai’s shares upon completion of an agreed purchase of an additional 15.3 per cent of the group. This comes in the wake of regulatory approval last week for unrelated share purchases that increased Chubb’s stake to 30.9 per cent. Huatai Insurance Group’s insurance operations have more than 600 branches and 11 million customers. It is the holding company of Huatai P&C Insurance Company, Huatai Life Insurance Company and Huatai Asset Management Company, among other subsidiaries. Chubb, a Swiss-based insurer with underwriting operations in Bermuda, will purchase the shares from the Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy and Chemical Group Co Ltd, and one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. The parties have also agreed to the intended terms of a subsequent purchase of an additional 7.1 per cent of the company, contingent upon the completion of the first purchase. The transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions. Evan Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Chubb, said: “The agreement we are announcing today is another important milestone towards our goal of majority and beyond ownership in Huatai. We are committed to supporting Huatai as a long-term strategic shareholder and we have great confidence in the long-term potential of the Chinese insurance market. We are builders at Chubb, and our increasing stake in Huatai is an opportunity to build a great Chinese insurance company that will meet the growing protection needs of Chinese consumers and businesses.”

paragraphA once hopeless drug addict has gone full circle and is now a volunteer with the organisation that helped him turn his life around. Max Assing, the team leader of the Salvation Army’s street ministry programme, said he also held down a job at supermarket Lindo’s, which seemed an impossible goal until he kicked his addiction problem a decade ago. Mr Assing, 53, said his drug use started at a party when he was just 13 and spiraled out of control. He added: “I went to a party and I didn’t make it back until I was 43.” Mr Assing said he started with cannabis and alcohol and began to skip school to hang out in his Somerset neighborhood. He explained: “I just didn’t want to be obedient to my parents. My father wasn’t there. My mother was.” But he said his mother, Gay Goins, never lost faith in him even as his life spiraled out of control. Mr Assing added: “A few times, there was a marijuana shortage. Less coke was about. In the Eighties, a fellow learnt to cook it up and turn it into rocks. After that, we were coked up and smoked up and looking for another. It was a spirit that took over the island for a long time.” He added heroin use made his life even worse. It was the jones that was hurting me. I’d get up in the morning and have to go get it. It was killing me. I had no problem getting it. And the problem was, getting it.” He said he was so disconnected from life as an addict and a dealer that an uncle called him “satellite” and his brother Stanley used to ask him “You’re not tired yet?” But he said he hit a point when he told his brother: “I’m tired.” The Turning Point substance abuse programme at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute was just the start of his fightback and he later signed up with the Salvation Army’s Harbour Light drug rehabilitation centre in King Street in Hamilton. Mr Assing said: “I did the 14-day detox, but my mind wasn’t clean. I needed help. They said I could go to Harbour Light, but I wouldn’t go anywhere by myself. I had to have my brother pick me up and bring me here.” Mr Assing was speaking at Harbour Light as he prepared to hit the streets in a Salvation Army van with other volunteers to dispense soup, food and encouragement to people who face the same problems he did. He explained: “Just like a war veteran, you’ve got to come in, sit down and spill the beans. Let out what you kept in.” Mr Assing said the “Bible basis from home” in his childhood helped him to beat his problems. I knew about the Holy Spirit, and if I followed that, it would set me free. I came with the expectation to be free from all this foolishness up in my head. I didn’t have to go through drug court. I just had to surrender.” He later attended the Salvation Army’s North Street Citadel and joined the organisation. Mr Assing said he was “not an ordinary pastor” and, after decades as a pusher, he was a natural encourager. He explained: “The Holy Spirit has given me a master’s degree to encourage. I don’t play with people out there. I’m honest with them. Ask for something, I can give it. It’s not about soup, really. It’s about connecting ... the Holy Spirit gives me joy and I can give it to someone else. It just flows off me like a river.” Mr Assing laughed when he said the uncle who had called him “satellite” called him “mister” for the first time instead. He said he was now “like an elevator — I can take you up”. The support given to the Salvation Army by his employer, Lindo’s, where he works in produce marketing, was earlier this month marked with the addition of the firm’s logo to the van used to deliver the Salvation Army street programme. Mr Assing said: “Who would have thought a drug addict like Max would get that job? It’s crazy — the great turnaround.” He added that drugs were “still prevalent” but “it’s like it’s a little more undercover”. Mr Assing said that homelessness was on the increase. He added: “There’s a lot of people out there. I do my best to encourage them to come in off the street and change their life situation themselves. Find some happiness. They can come here and be directed from here. You need to get an assessment. You might need treatment or Turning Point or the hospital. As long as you come willing. I can’t know what you want, unless you open your mouth.” Harbour Light can be contacted at 292-2586 or 296-2511.

Spacer

November 25

paragraphThe Government has asked for outside help to cut its spending. A request for proposal said there was a “data deficit” and expert assistance was needed to analyze the $200 million to $300 million spent on goods and service every year to identify where cost reductions could be made. The RFP said: “Visibility of that expenditure data is instrumental to the senior management and the procurement team’s efforts to enable cost savings, to reduce cost, be more efficient and more actively manage indirect spend across government. While the Government’s existing financial management systems are adequate for financial management and budgeting purposes, the data derived from these systems may be incomplete and/or inappropriately classified for use in automated spend analysis processes.” The 33-page document added that a cost-savings target had not been set. But it said: “The visibility of the expenditure data will help decision-makers determine those numbers in the future.” The document added: “The Government is looking for a sophisticated, scalable and public sector-specific methodology to address the data deficit by rapidly transforming its spend, supplier and contract data into actionable business intelligence. Clean-spend data is required if the Government’s senior management and procurement team are to understand where efforts should be focused to effectively change its spending decisions.” The request said that the successful bidder would “provide data enrichment and classification spend analysis services to make the Government’s expenditure data more useful for analytical purposes, and to provide an easy-to-use toolset for analysing the data after transformation”. Services asked for included an analysis of one fiscal year of government spending information, delivery of cleaned and classified information and training in the use of a “web-based managed service analytical toolset”. Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, did not respond to a request for comment.

paragraphProposed changes to the healthcare system in a bid to cut its massive costs without proper information would be a disaster, the head of a think-tank has warned. Philip Butterfield, the chairman of the BermudaFirst advisory group, said healthcare at present was “not sustainable”. But he added: “The pursuit of a single-payer approach in the absence of detailed data about the endgame is a recipe for, in our judgment, confusion, discord and unintended consequences, and I feel that it is going to fracture our community. This needs to be avoided at all cost. It is important that we not retreat to tribalism, the issue is far too important.” He added that the Government should recruit international experts to help make the necessary changes to healthcare. Mr Butterfield said: “It is the Government’s largest expenditure. BermudaFirst supports a holistic approach to this critical issue and believes that it is necessary to obtain external, globally recognised expertise to assist us in developing a multi-faceted solution to this challenge.” Mr Butterfield was speaking at an Association of Bermuda International Companies lunch last week. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, who has announced a proposed move to a single-payer healthcare system, said she supported the use of overseas experts to develop changes. She added: “I’m happy to remind the public that the pursuit of the single-payer option, or a unified health financing system, for a core benefits plan followed extensive considerations by local and international experts ...” Ms Wilson said that the health finance options were developed by a bipartisan task force made up of insurers, employers, healthcare providers, an overseas actuarial firm and Marc Roberts, the professor of political economy and health policy emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, who prepared a 100-page report. She added that Professor Roberts had assisted government in more than 30 countries over his career and had written seven books and a string of articles on healthcare reform, including Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity. Ms Wilson said: “Following these detailed considerations, the Government decided to adopt the unified model as the most efficient for our small jurisdiction. Following the current public consultation period, working groups will be established to consider the feedback and develop recommendations; and we plan to further engage local and international expertise at that time.” Doctors have launched pressure group Patients First Bermuda which claimed the government’s draft Bermuda Health Plan 2020 would lead to more underinsured and uninsured residents and could force medical practices to close.

paragraphTwo years ago Malta wasn’t on the tech world map; today it is one of the prime spots in Europe. It did so by attracting venture capital funds who then invested in foreign start-ups, according to Tugce Ergul, co-founder of Angel Labs, a Silicon Valley based global investment firm. Now she thinks Bermuda could achieve the same success level as Malta, or better. But first there are a few changes she’d like to see — better tech education in all of Bermuda’s schools, not just the private ones; and improvement of Bermuda’s tech image. “Bermuda is known for everything from beautiful beaches and tourism to insurance and reinsurance, but it’s branding in the tech world is weak,” Ms Ergul said. “I see a lot of similarities between Malta and Bermuda. Outside of the fact that they are two island countries, there is also their proximity to major hubs. From Bermuda you can take a two-hour flight to so many tech hubs. Jurisdiction, legislation and tax incentive-wise they are very similar.” Ms Ergul was on the island for a dual purpose last week, to speak at Pow (Her), the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s women’s day conference held at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, and also to pique interest in establishing a venture capital scene in Bermuda. While here, she spoke to key stakeholders such as Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, the BEDC, the Bermuda Business Development Agency, Ignite Bermuda and others. She first learnt about Bermuda when she met BEDC executive director, Erica Smith, five years ago. Now her hope is to come back in the first half of 2020, bringing with her top-tier Silicon Valley venture capitalists. She wants them to sit down with local investors and would-be investors in Bermuda. “We will talk about the concept of corporate venture capital that doesn’t exist on the island yet,” she said. “There are all these big corporations with big balance sheets that don’t invest in these areas yet. That is the goal.” She has been in venture capital for ten years, and has been a national and international consultant and speaker on economic development, angel and venture financing for numerous countries and non-profit organisations including the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. She has worked closely with countries such as Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico, Vietnam, Turkey and Argentina. She is also the chapter lead of Girls in Tech Italy, an international organisation focused on the empowerment, engagement and education of women in tech. She said there are a lot of investment organisations or corporations around the world that don’t have access to a strong deal flow. “Maybe locally they don’t have a good pipeline of tech deals,” she said. “We act as their venture partners. We present them in Silicon Valley. We act as investment scouts for them. We do due diligence with them. We act as full on venture capital partners on their behalf in Silicon Valley. I think our work in Bermuda could be both. I know that Bermuda wants to attract a lot of foreign investment, but for the Bermudian investments to be relevant, they also need to have some sort of presence in Silicon Valley. I think it will be a two-way thing. We want to make Bermuda more present on the map of tech hubs. I know that the Government has a very strong focus on fintech. We want to help with that in the Valley. But we also want to work on bringing fellow venture capitalists from the Valley to Bermuda, do investor ecosystem programmes with them and that will be partnership with the BEDC, BDA and private players that want to get involved.” Ms Ergul said there wasn’t much of a venture capital scene in Bermuda because there hadn’t been a strong tech eco system in Bermuda. That made it hard for wealthy individuals involved in traditional areas like real estate, infrastructure, for example, to get involved with venture capital when they don’t see any good investment opportunities in the field. “Because there is no capital, there aren’t that many individuals who want to take the entrepreneurial leap,” she said. “They are both looking at each other and are stuck in their own ways. I think the Government is right now working on two ends of the spectrum.” She said the Bermuda Government should play along with private industry and not try to do everything themselves. She said countries where governments try to do it all themselves, tend to fail. “Public private partnership is very important,” she said. “Maybe when they attract these foreign private venture capital funds they can act as matching funds.” Ms Ergul said there should be incentives to make sure that the companies that set up here have a real presence, not just a bank account and a post office box.

paragraphRG Editorial. Immigration solutions for us all. “When people are coming to talk to me in my office, they’re not saying they hate international business. They’re saying, ‘I’m not eating, my son’s not working, how do I get opportunities in this country? So how can I agree, Mr Caines, to you giving all these people PRCs and status when my children are not working?’” — Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security. Bermudians, and black Bermudians in particular, have a healthy and well-earned fear of displacement from their own community. Those who want to see Bermuda’s immigration restrictions eased must understand this if they ever want to bring about reform. But Bermudians who fear displacement as a result of immigration to Bermuda, especially when those immigrants may not look like them, need to recognize that immigration reform is critical to their own livelihoods and Bermuda’s survival. Bermuda’s history is replete with examples of racially motivated immigration and emigration. Through the first 230-odd years of Bermuda’s history, as the white powers that be administered the immoral structure of slavery for their benefit, freed blacks were “encouraged” and often forced to leave their island home. White slaveholders knew that the mere presence of successful free blacks living side by side with the enslaved was an existential threat to the system. When slavery was finally abolished in 1834, it was quickly replaced with measures aimed at restricting black Bermudian progress and protecting the privileges that whites enjoyed. This system of formal and informal segregation was elaborated on and defended until 1959 when the Theatre Boycott struck the first blows against it, and the whole structure of formal segregation collapsed — Wizard of Oz-like — in only nine years. Throughout this period, there were also efforts to replace free black labour with other forms, including the arrival of Portuguese workers from the mid-19th century on. The arrival of black West Indians in the late 19th century to work on the Dockyard is another story — but it must be remembered, as has now been well documented, largely through the story of the Reverend Charles Monk, that the conditions in which they were required to work were inhumane. Segregation and the importation of whites to work as teachers, nurses, policemen and more in the postwar period have also been interpreted as further efforts by the white establishment to shore up its own population, while the displacement of the largely black community in Tucker’s Town to make way for the Castle Harbour Hotel and the Mid Ocean Club in the 1920s is seen as further evidence of the sacrifices made by one segment of the community for the benefit of all. While historians will debate to what degree these initiatives were racially motivated and the degree to which other intentions lay behind them, what matters here is that for the black community, this is one narrative with one theme — the displacement of the black community from the only place most can legitimately call home. These fears, which are deeply held, must be taken into account and respected in any immigration reform effort. Former immigration minister Michael Fahy learnt this in the previous government. But these fears, and Mr Caines’s calls for a step change in immigration in this newspaper last Wednesday goes to this, cannot also create an immoveable barrier to change, particularly if that failure to change ends up hurting all Bermudians — not least those who are trying to protect themselves. Relaxing immigration restrictions in Bermuda is not the panacea for Bermuda’s economic woes. But they are an essential part of creating the conditions by which Bermuda’s economy can get out of reverse and into forward gear. Indeed, the Government has already recognised this in relaxing immigration rules for fintech start-ups. There is an assumption, which is captured in the quote at the beginning, which captures the fears and misconceptions around immigration. The statement is: “How can I agree, Mr Caines, to you giving all these people PRCs and status when my children are not working?” The assumption is that if a person not born in Bermuda holds a job, then a Bermudian must necessarily have been deprived of the same job. And there is no question that the immigration process has been abused in the past. Again, historians can argue whether this was random and subjective or systemic. But basic mathematics proves this cannot always be the case. There are about 35,000 jobs in Bermuda. According to the 2016 Census, there are about 26,000 Bermudians of working age. That leaves roughly 9,000 jobs that must be held by non-Bermudians. That reality connects with two critical insights about the Bermuda economy. The first, best enunciated by former finance minister Bob Richards, is that because Bermuda produces almost no goods of any kind, its survival is dependent on the sale of services that generate the foreign currency Bermuda needs to import everything it consumes. If Bermuda fails to earn foreign currency, then Bermuda fails. It does not matter who owns the grocery stores, doctor’s offices or construction companies. Without healthy foreign currency earnings, none of this activity can take place. Thus, it is an economic imperative that Bermuda must do all that it can to make sure that these foreign currency earners are successful. From the end of the Second World War to about the mid-1990s, Bermuda earned most of its foreign currency from tourism, with smaller amounts coming from the rapidly growing international business sector. From the mid-1990s until today, international business has been the leading foreign currency earner, with tourism a distant runner-up. And like it or not, international business will always require foreign workers — from the CEO suite down. This is where the second insight comes in. The late columnist Larry Burchall was an iconoclastic who recognised that the island’s international business workers were not materially different in economic terms from the tourists who previously delivered the foreign exchange the island needed. The international business workers just stayed longer, which in turn meant Bermuda needed fewer of them, although he identified a minimum number of approximately 38,000 total jobs, with about 10,000 held by non-Bermudians. Their employment income, which was derived entirely from foreign exchange earnings, was what fuelled the rest of the economy. By extension, they should not be regarded as foreign interlopers but as Bermuda’s customers, just as tourists were and are. And like tourists, Bermuda should make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. This insight has never been entirely embraced in Bermuda and if tourists and international business workers are twins, they are fraternal rather than identical; the key difference being that Bermudians were never in competition with tourists for hotel beds, but they can be for jobs in international business or the companies that service the sector. Despite that difference, the insight is valid. Where the parent who spoke to Mr Caines saw the non-Bermudian seeking Bermuda status as competition for their adult Bermudian child, there is an opposite argument to be made; that that non-Bermudian may actually be creating a job for the Bermudian, and that without the 9,000 jobs that non-Bermudians fill, far more Bermudians would be starving. If that non-Bermudian is indeed creating jobs, should they not be welcomed to Bermuda rather than being made to feel like a stepchild? This is not to say that every non-Bermudian worker in Bermuda is an executive creating bushels of jobs. Many non-Bermudians are in low-paying work where they may be in direct competition with Bermudians who lack the skills to compete for higher-paying work. This pressure is likely to grow — the world of work is changing very rapidly, with automation eliminating many rote white and blue-collar jobs that once paid well. Mr Caines has called for a step change in immigration and David Burt, the Premier, has called for Bermuda to drop the outmoded ideas of the last century. Both are right, although perhaps not in the full sense they meant. Bermuda cannot depend on outmoded approaches to immigration and other forms of regulation and hope to compete with the likes of the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. Quite simply, the student has become the teacher and if Bermuda is to get back on the path to economic growth, it cannot rely on the practices of the past, in business and elsewhere, if it wants to succeed. If Bermuda wants to thrive, it needs to change the conditions in which businesses operate here. Once known as a flexible and business-friendly jurisdiction, Bermuda has become sclerotic, over-regulated and bureaucratic. Part of that change also requires changing immigration restrictions. But the Government is right to try to tie immigration relaxations to Bermudian employment and development. Given Bermuda’s history, that is the only way that this can work politically. Only when Bermudians see that economic growth is benefiting them will they embrace the changes we must make to survive, to get the economy growing and to get young people — Bermudian and non-Bermudian — back on the island. Mr Burt said recently that Bermudians must shed the methods of the 1980s, meaning specifically the economic model of the time. That’s right. But what Bermuda does need to return to is the mood of the 1980s because that was a time when Bermuda enjoyed a steady growth from two industries, a burgeoning and confident black middle class and a sense that, together, Bermudians could emerge from a troubled history and achieve great things. To achieve that, much more needs to be done in everything from education to infrastructure — especially education — but it needs to start with thought-through immigration reform that will encourage people to come and invest in the Island in a way that benefits all Bermudians."

paragraphA man was stabbed and a woman arrested over the weekend at an East End St. David's housing complex. Police said a fight broke out between residents at the Gulfstream rooming house on Tommy Fox Road in St George’s on Saturday night. A 29-year-old woman allegedly stabbed a 34-year-old man in the upper torso, at about 8.20pm, after the two argued. A 28-year-old woman was allegedly scratched in the neck during the fight, which was broken up by Gulfstream security. Police said the three residents knew one another. The woman remained in custody last night, but a police spokesman said this afternoon she had been released on police bail, pending further inquiries by the Criminal Investigation Department. The man was treated in hospital and discharged. The incident came days after families at the emergency housing complex were warned that people could be evicted for rule-breaking in a crackdown on antisocial behaviour. However, residents at Gulfstream aired a string of their own complaints about living in the units including rats, mould, as well as the behaviour of security staff, at a meeting with the site’s owner the Bermuda Housing Corporation. The meeting, held last Thursday, was called to tackle problems such as threats, violence, weapon-carrying, smoking and drug use. Major Barrett Dill, the BHC general manager, said residents of the St David’s complex had expressed “escalating concerns. Recently, we have had multiple complaints about people being unhappy at the Gulfstream facility.” Major Dill said: “The meeting was called because there is some dissension among the residents of Gulfstream and we have been instructed by our minister responsible for housing that that type of behaviour is no longer to be condoned. When we say that type of behaviour, we’re talking about fights, we’re talking about threats of physical violence, and we’re talking about smoking or drinking of illegal substances and in some cases legal substances over what is considered to be normal. If you are found to be doing things like that, then the instruction is eviction. We have tried very hard to prevent multiple evictions, simply because, if you are evicted from Gulfstream or Langley House, where else are you going to go? The short answer, from our research, is there are not very many opportunities to go anywhere else. If we cannot control the behaviours that are happening down there, then the ultimate result will be the closure of these facilities. I’m going to ask you to ask yourselves, if that facility closes, where are we going to go?” Major Dill said the corporation wanted to hear ideas about how the complex could be made more comfortable for residents, but reminded them that it was designed to offer short-term, transitional accommodation. He added that Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, who is responsible for BHC, would attend a second meeting if one was needed. A resident asked when the BHC would engage a private firm to deal with an “infestation” of rodents and highlighted “access points” that let rats into the building. Desiree O’Connor, the services manager for BHC, said that last May was the first time the corporation became aware of a rat in the building and a Vector Control team had laid bait. Major Dill added that further steps would be introduced to tackle the pests. Another Gulfstream inhabitant said that mould was “a big issue” and that a young child suffered from bronchitis because of it. Major Dill told the resident that steps were taken “immediately” after reports of mould and if tests confirmed there was a problem, residents were removed until remedial work was carried out. One woman suggested that a residents’ panel could be established to help deal with problems. She said: “We do know that there are a portion of people who don’t pay, but there are still a great number of people that have been reliable and we do not get incentives, we are treated just like rats, so it doesn’t encourage us to want to help you — and we do. We also want harmony in the building. There were will be no harmony unless each of us trust each other and there is too much secrecy.” The sometimes heated meeting heard that Gulfstream was a non-smoking building and although smoke drafted down hallways, it was sometimes difficult to tell where it had come from. A resident asked whether security staff checked on rooms where they suspected smoking or if they “assumed” where it came from. He also asked what happened if security workers “step outside” of the Gulfstream rules. Other concerns were around strict adherence to regulations like kitchen closing times and allowing entry to someone for a short period to assist with groceries. Residents were told that a new code of conduct would be issued to outline what was expected of everyone involved at Gulfstream. Ms O’Connor admitted that antisocial behaviour was “to be expected in these types of environments”, but added that it was important to deal with it appropriately”. She said Gulfstream had 79 rooms and there were about 50 children among the residents. Ms O’Connor added: “These children in this building can be influenced easily by the adult behaviour.” She said management had dealt with assaults, brandished weapons, “some child neglect”, smoking cigarettes and illegal drugs, visitors staying overnight against the rules, banned persons on the property as well as people climbing in windows, over the past few months. She added: “There are a number of things that we are looking at doing because there are doors that are broken, there is security that’s not working ... and work we have to put in place, but a lot of that is conditional on you doing the right thing.” Ms O’Connor told residents that payment arrears at Gulfstream totaled almost $412,000. Constable Simon Joseph, the St George’s Parish Constable, said police had received “too many” calls to Gulfstream and that the police were concerned for the children living there. He added that police were aware housing rules were not properly enforced. Mr Joseph said: “Some of the complaints that we have received from the tenants are about the way that the security personnel operate with them, deal with them, is not fair.” The constable admitted he had not spoken to security guards and that there was always more than one side to a story. But he urged security staff: “Don’t be biased to some people.” One resident said: “You’ve got people staying at the building that have been there for many years and all they have been is nothing but trouble. They’re still living there, with no rule, no regulations, nothing.” Major Dill said: “From this point forward, if people are in breach of the rules and regulations then they will be evicted.” Rickeisha Burgess, operations manager at GET Security, which serves Gulfstream, said her team was employed to “uphold the rules of the building”. She said: “I can’t speak for what happens when different guards are there, because I’m not there.”

paragraphOn Saturday, November 30th, the public is invited to a night of festive celebration at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club’s Christmas Kick-Off and Christmas Market. The evening of seasonal excitement will begin at 6pm in the hotel’s lobby for the lighting of the Christmas tree and unveiling of the 2019 gingerbread house. Throughout the half hour event, guests will hear holiday music from The Salvation Army Band and Whitney Institute, the hotel’s school partner for 2019-20 and enjoy complimentary Mulled Wine, Hot Apple Cider and Christmas Cookies. This year’s gingerbread house which promises to be spectacular and has been created with the input of local conservation charity, Keep Bermuda Beautiful. Once the short ceremony in the lobby concludes, attendees can get started on their gift shopping in the open air European-style Christmas market in the hotel’s main courtyard. Featuring local vendors offering Bermudians crafts and gifts, there’s sure to be something for everyone. The vendors taking part are:

The cosy scene will be rounded out by festive music provided by local musician, Mike Hind, who will be playing from 7pm until close at 10pm. Families can make a night of it, too, with a free face painting station for children and a fun photo booth with Santa – perfect for creating lasting memories. Guests make a night of it with the concession stand which will be offering hot food, including Popcorn, Fish Sandwiches, All Beef Jumbo Hot Dogs and All American Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream, and seasonal drinks, such as luxury Hot Chocolate and Mulled Wine. For those who want to enjoy a sit-down meal, the hotel’s three restaurants – 1609, Crown & Anchor and Marcus’ – will be open and are taking dinner reservations. Tim Morrison, General Manager at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said: “We look forward to welcoming everyone to begin celebrating the holidays in style with us at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. From the lighting of the tree to the Christmas market, we think it will be a November night to remember!”

paragraphA war veteran and Hamilton businessman who was also one of the island’s top dairy farmers has died. Harry Kromer was 92. As a manager at the WJ Boyle & Son shoe store for more than 50 years, Mr Kromer, who retired in 1999, became one of the company’s best-known faces. His son, Harry Jr, said Mr Kromer was “a total Bermuda character” who loved to share stories of fishing and his time manning the St David’s Battery with the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers. The battery’s guns protected the channels and coastline at the East End throughout the Second World War. Harry Jr added that Mr Kromer “enjoyed life to the fullest” and passed away “quietly and peacefully” this month at Westmeath Nursing Home. Mr Kromer’s family, originally from Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, came to Bermuda just after the First World War. Mr Kromer’s father, Frank, was a tailor whose clients included British royals. He and his wife, Nellie, came to the island to work at Smith’s department store in Hamilton. Mr Kromer was born and raised at Elba Beach in Paget, which later became part of Elbow Beach, and started work at 13 in a dry goods store where he sold boots and clothes. Mr Kromer lived briefly in Canada after his wartime service and met Mahala, his first wife. He started work at Boyle’s on Reid Street in Hamilton after he returned to the island in the late 1940s. He went on to run its Queen Street branch and travelled overseas on buying trips. His second wife, Grace, who died in 2011, worked at the Boyle’s children’s division on Church Street. Mr Kromer was a keen fisherman and won tournaments on a regular basis. His son said: “He became one of the top fishermen in Bermuda and set a couple of world records. His two great passions were the shoe business and fishing. When he got into the dairy business, his fishing hobby went by the wayside, but back in the day he would go to tournaments in Nassau in the Bahamas. There’s a plaque at the aquarium that he got for catching a tuna on a light line. After that, the cows took over.” The dairy business started on a small scale — Harry Jr said the family “always had a couple of cows at the house”. Mr Kromer, who had delivered milk as a child, went on to keep cattle at several farms, including one at Spittal Pond in Smith’s, his home parish. A former chief of the Bermuda Dairy Association, Mr Kromer’s dairy business produced about 75 per cent of the island’s milk at its peak. Michael Dunkley, an Opposition MP who owns Dunkley’s Dairy, said Mr Kromer “ran a very high-quality dairy farm”. Mr Dunkley added: “I not only knew Harry as a person in the community, but as a friend and someone I did business with. He was a true gentleman who loved to share his life experiences.” His son said Mr Kromer and his second wife were also “big ambassadors for Bermuda. They loved to invite people from overseas and give them tours of Bermuda. He should have been in the hospitality business like I was.” The couple had three children, the late Norman Kromer, Harry Jr and his sister, Anne. Ms Kromer also had a son, Donald Lewis, from a previous marriage.

Spacer

November 24, Sunday

Spacer

November 23

paragraphSir Edward Zacca, a former President of the Court of Appeal, made an “unparalleled contribution to the development of law in the Overseas Territories”, the court heard yesterday. Sir Christopher Clarke, the President of the Court of Appeal, opened tributes to Sir Edward, who died on November 11 aged 88, at a special sitting in his honour. He said: “Sir Edward was a star in our firmament. We may not look upon his like again.” Sir Edward, from St Andrew in Jamaica, served on the Bermuda Court of Appeal for 18 years until he retired in 2014. The former Chief Justice of Jamaica’s roles included service on the Privy Council, as well as the Courts of Appeal in the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. Elizabeth Christopher, the president of the Bermuda Bar Association, said Sir Edward’s long service in Bermuda had left “a formidable body of work”. Ms Christopher said: “He spoke strongly, but always with a twinkle in his eye.” Nicole Smith, the Acting Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, said Sir Edward made “enormous contributions from the time he was appointed Justice of Appeal until he retired as president”. Ms Smith said: “There is a multitude of judgments that bear his name, and that give us guidance on facets of law. He had the ability to get to the core issues, using his wry smile and as little words as possible.” She added: “Sir Edward will live on through his jurisprudence and impact on Bermuda for many years to come.”

paragraphA court clerk has been cleared of wrongdoing over a document that claimed a convicted sex offender had no convictions recorded against him. Malik Zuill, who was sentenced to five months in prison in July for a sexual assault on an underage girl, used the misleading documents in an attempt to remove articles about his conviction. The Judiciary said in a notice published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette that court worker Donneisha Butterfield — whose signature was on the document — “did not do anything fraudulent”. The notice added: “The document in question was issued in error and additional administrative measures have been put into place to ensure that this does not reoccur.” The Judiciary declined to answer to questions about what sort of investigation was conducted, what caused the error or what measures have been put in place to prevent further errors. Zuill was charged with a sex assault on an underage girl in 2015 and the use of a phone to commit the act. He was due to face charges in Magistrates’ Court early last year, but moved to Britain before a court appearance. He was later found to be working as a cleaner in a hostel in Liverpool and arrested by officers from London’s Metropolitan Police. Zuill’s arrest was featured in an episode of the BBC One television programme Fugitives, which followed the work of a specialist police unit. He was extradited to Bermuda on April 24 and remanded in custody until July 1. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment, but was released immediately because of time served in custody. Zuill sent The Royal Gazette a court letter in August which claimed he had no criminal convictions recorded in the past three years and requested the articles about him removed, and threatened legal action. Alexandra Wheatley, the Supreme Court Registrar, later confirmed that the letter had been “issued incorrectly”.

paragraphThe head of the Prison Officers Association has accused the Government of a deliberate delay in the release of a health and safety report into Westgate prison. Tim Seon, the chairman of the POA, which has been in dispute over conditions at Westgate for months, said the report by Titus Gordon, the Government’s chief occupational health and safety officer, was done in April and due to be released in May. Mr Seon added: “The members feel that this report was withheld deliberately — we wanted to review it going into the perceived labour dispute because it would have given us a lot of legs so people have a clearer understanding as to how we work in the conditions that we are working in. That is a concern. Six months outstanding is a lot and it is unacceptable. We intend to communicate with the Cabinet to find out the status of the report. Mr Gordon toured the facility and would have inspected all the facilities. He would have dealt with the daily maintenance of the estate and addressing the mould and also health, safety and security measures of all the facilities and the regimes of the service. It is an important report. We are looking to communicate with Cabinet to get that report released. We were supposed to have it six months ago, but Mr Gordon said there have been other emergencies in other government departments that drew his attention because his office is also understaffed.” The POA in May said that staff had to care for mentally ill inmates without proper support and that officers had been “faced with unaddressed adverse matters pertaining to safety, security, and work conditions for over 20 years”. The POA highlighted mould problems, a lack of maintenance, burst pipes and security concerns. The association started a work to rule the same month. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, defended Government’s record on Westgate in the House of Assembly after prison officers marched in a protest to Sessions House in June. Mr Caines highlighted the recruitment of 25 new officers, a new cleaning regime and improvements to air conditioning, as well as upgrades to the CCTV network and telephone systems. The Government did not respond to a request for comment on why the report’s release had been delayed.

paragraphPolice gang expert Alex Rollin was among four officers who were promoted by the Bermuda Police Service this week. Mr Rollin, along with Derek Berry, were promoted from Sergeant to Inspector and Krishna Singh and Mark Monk moved up from Constable to Sergeant. All four were promoted by Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley in a ceremony with Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, and friends, family and colleagues on Monday. Inspector Rollin completed his recruit foundation course in 1999 and served in St George’s and in the Police Support Unit before he became a Sergeant in 2004. He became a key figure in gang-related trials in the Supreme Court and has given evidence in about 35 court cases. Inspector Rollin has also made presentations on gangs in schools and government departments and had delivered lectures to the Jamaica Constabulary Force on gang evidence. Inspector Berry became a police officer in the UK in 1990 and worked with Northumbria Police in the North East of England for ten years. He joined the Bermuda service in 2000 and now has a lead role in the Critical Incident Stress Management Team which he has been a member of, off and on, since it was set up about 17 years ago. Sergeant Singh joined the Bermuda police in 1996 and has worked as a patrol officer and assisted the criminal investigation unit and police support unit. He has served as Southampton Parish Constable in his most recent role. Sergeant Monk joined the BPS in 2004 and worked in operational policing before he was transferred to Somerset Police Station. He was recently awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for his work on a new 12-hour shift system.

paragraphAndre Lambe has vowed to “bring the heat” when he steps between the ropes to face Portuguese Bruno Couto at the Fairmont Southampton tonight. The Bermudian southpaw will go toe-to-toe with his rival in a three-round welterweight bout, and he is determined to end his amateur career on a winning note before he turns professional in the new year. “It’s showtime and I’m going for the win and bringing the heat,” declared Lambe, whose amateur record stands at 10-6. I expect him to bring his best and I’m just going to try and have every avenue covered on what he might bring.” Lambe and Couto are fighting on the under-card of the main event between David Martinez and Fábio Costa for the vacant IBA International Welterweight Championship. “It’s always a boost fighting in front of the home crowd,” Lambe added. “Just being an inspiration for people and having people cheer you on, especially if you might not be doing good in the ring. They give you that lift, that boost to push through.” The 24-year-old, who fights out of Forty Rego’s Gym, has prepared for the bout as he would any other. “I just keep doing what I always do,” Lambe said. “That’s what’s gotten me here, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and progress. We’ve been working on stuff in the camp, tightening up on certain things and getting better as always.” Lambe has plenty of experience in his corner to draw from with the addition of Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame inductee Troy Darrell to his coaching staff. Darrell compiled a phenomenal 26-3 record as a professional middleweight, including 23 knockouts. “I’ve had Troy Darrell in the camp and we have been doing some intense stuff,” Lambe said. “Troy had 26 wins when he was in the game and he has been taking some of those techniques he learnt and shown me. I’ve tried to be as receptive as I can and he seems to really enjoy coaching me. We have been gelling pretty good and are definitely on the same page.” Another fighter from Forty Rego’s Gym facing Portuguese opposition on tonight’s under card will be Jaylon Roberts, who will take on Ricardo Teixeira, of Don Kinguell Academy in Porto. Adrian Roach, 17, one of the island’s top prospects, will look to add to his growing reputation with a strong display against Angolan Celestino Lima, who is representing Portugal. Roach, of Controversy Gym, has a record of four wins from five bouts and twice fought in North America this year. Fighting for the first time in Bermuda will be Lovintz Tota, who represents Just Box Ltd, under trainer Janos Lindsay. He will be up against Portuguese Hugo Relvas. Also on the under card will be a local kickboxing bout between Che Durham, of the Bermuda Sanshou Association, and Mike Walsh, of Bermuda Killer Bees. The Fairmont Southampton is offering a $99 room rate for event patrons with proof of ticket purchase Tickets costing $225 for ringside, $175 for VIP and $85 for general admission, are on sale from Sports R Us, Cafe Açoreano, Kit N Caboodle, Sousa’s Landscaping Southampton or online at website bbdatix.bm  For further information, visit website bermudaboxing.com or follow the Bermuda Boxing Federation on acebook and Instagram [boxingbda]. 

paragraphA veteran counsellor warned the island yesterday not to be complacent about the risk of contracting HIV, despite a massive drop in the number of new cases. Carolyn Armstrong, the director and founder of Support Therapy for Aids patients and their Relatives, warned that young people, in particular, needed to be warned of the dangers. Dr Armstrong said: “We are seeing fewer cases, but who’s to say HIV is not out there, with people not getting tested as they should. Young people are more promiscuous today, but there is not enough conversation about choices. They are not being taught. I have not come across any young people who don’t feel invincible. When it comes to health, I’m sorry to say there is not enough of a conversation within our senior schools and middle schools.” The latest figures from the Ministry of Health show HIV-positive infection, which peaked in the mid-1980s was in decline with five new diagnoses of the virus last year. Bermuda has had 778 diagnoses of HIV-positive since 1982. There were 299 people on the island known to be infected at the end of last year. The disease is incurable, but improvements in treatment meant there were no cases of Aids, when the virus starts to attack the immune system. Dr Armstrong said Bermudians should be “proud. We are no longer in panic mode and we have sustained zero transmission of HIV from mothers to babies for many years. Back in the day, you could look at a person with HIV and see that they looked ill. Today, people are healthy and vibrant and doing well. That is where appearances can be somewhat misleading.” Dr Armstrong said young people were dealing with “pressures that are totally different” because of changed behaviour and the growth of social media. She said: “HIV does not discriminate. Being safe is all about your choices in your behaviour.” Dr Armstrong was speaking as Star prepared to told a fundraising and education day next Saturday at the charity’s Light House residential centre in Smith’s. The event will feature swimming, running, walking and cycling in the Harrington Sound area to raise cash for Star’s work. The open house will also feature sports, face painting and a fun castle. Dr Armstrong said: “With the cost of living soaring, we have found we must do some innovative fundraising. We don’t want to be a charity just living to survive. We want to take care of our clients.” Light House had more than 200 HIV-positive residents since it opened its doors in 1993 and is home to eight people at present. Dr Armstrong said: “Our grant was cut several years ago. We’ve had to talk about low funding. I have had residents ask ‘what will happen to me?’” She added that stigma and fear over the virus, which is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and that families were often still reluctant to be associated with HIV. “When someone gets ill and goes to Agape House, the donations will go to the hospice, not to Star. We have had residents die of cancer and the proceeds will go to Pals, the cancer charity. Families don’t want to be linked to the fact that their family member contacted HIV and died from it. That’s still around.” But she added that “many people still have no idea how easy it is to contract a sexually transmitted disease. members of the public should get tested and practise safe sex."

Spacer

November 22

paragraphProgressive Labour Party senator Jason Hayward is the newest Member of Parliament after a huge victory at the polls last night. Mr Hayward, until recently the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, defeated One Bermuda Alliance senator Dwayne Robinson by 311 votes to 173 to assume the seat vacated after the sudden death last month of party stalwart Walton Brown. Five ballots were rejected. Voter turnout for the by-election — which is typically lower than in general elections — was 44 per cent, with only 489 of the 1,120 registered voters going to the polls. The result restores the PLP’s sizeable advantage in the House of Assembly to 25-11. Mr Hayward said last night he was “elated” about the results. He added: “Tonight shows what can happen when the PLP works together. We can achieve anything.” Mr Hayward said he would support the Government as it worked to deliver for the people of Bermuda, and that he would go back out to his constituency and speak to them to make sure he represents their interests. David Burt, the Premier, who returned from government business in Mexico in time for the by-election, said: “The House of Assembly is going to have a very able champion to carry on the legacy of the late Walton Brown.” He added that he was not phased by the poor turnout, saying: “By-election turnout is typically low, but I think MP Hayward got 64 per cent of the vote, close to two thirds of the vote. That is something that recognizes this constituency supports the Government’s work and its efforts to build a better and fair Bermuda while we challenge the status quo that has not been delivering for many persons for so long.” Mr Robinson said the constituency had made its choice and wished Mr Hayward the best of luck. He said: “I will return to Senate and I will continue to serve the people as best I can.” Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition, said Mr Robinson was a fine candidate and would do well for the community in the future. Mr Hayward and Mr Robinson said that constituency concerns such as trash collection and rat problems had been on voters’ minds, as well as matters of wider concern. Mr Robinson added: “There are national issues like the cost of living and job opportunities ... There are also issues like roads being paved, the third stack at Belco and environmental issues.” Mr Hayward said: “The issues I have been hearing about on the doorstep have been trash collection, education and the cost of living. There are also more central issues like the rodent problems, trash collection and road works. Typically, people haven’t had major issues, and they just want accountability from the political parties.” One voter, who asked not to be identified, said she had chosen to support Mr Hayward because of his past work in the community. She said: “He’s someone who works hard, who fights hard. He’s not someone who just talks, but he gets involved.” The voter added that she wanted to see the Government move forward with measures to create job opportunities and improve the quality of life for the impoverished in Bermuda. Another voter, however, said they were concerned about the lack of progress since the election of the PLP in 2017. He said: “If feels like there has been a lot of talk, but not a lot of real action. If I had wanted more of the same, I wouldn’t have voted.” After his unveiling as a candidate, Mr Hayward said he wanted to help vulnerable members of the community as an MP. He had said he hoped to carry on the legacy of Walton Brown. Mr Brown retained the Pembroke Central seat for the PLP in the 2017 General Election, defeating the OBA’s Andrew Simons by 540 votes to 283, with almost 72 per cent of registered voters going to the polls. He had won the seat — previously held by the PLP’s Wayne Perinchief — in 2012 after edging past Mr Simons by only six votes. Voter turnout in the constituency for that election was 63 per cent. Mr Robinson had said that, if successful, he wanted to address environmental issues and fight for those in the constituency. However, he came under heavy fire this week over comments made almost three years ago about the December 2, 2016 clash between police and protesters on It’s That Type of Party, a satirical web-cast he co-hosted.

paragraphBermuda College will offer specialized IT skills training next year with the help of state-of-the-art virtual classroom technology. The college has teamed up with Global Knowledge, a major provider of IT training, to give industry-accredited training in the 2020 spring semester. Duranda Greene, the president of Bermuda College, said: “This partnership is another demonstration of delivering on our mission to provide the community with innovative programmes, training, support services and access to partnerships that lead to local and global success. We are thrilled that industry professionals seeking to expand their skill set, and Bermuda College information technology students, will be able to take advantage of the full suite of resources available through Global Knowledge’s extensive virtual library and online training.” Technology students and industry professionals can choose several courses on project management, including the project management professional certification. Todd Johnstone, the CEO of Global Knowledge, said: “Global Knowledge has the best instructors and the broadest and deepest portfolio of IT training programmes in the world. By using our industry-leading virtual classroom technology we can deliver that excellent experience anywhere. I am looking forward to seeing our students succeed and to developing our relationship with Bermuda College.” More information on the new courses can be obtained from the Bermuda College website at college.bm, by phone on 239-4099 or e-mail to padmin@college.bm.

paragraphA man was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and fined $500 on drug possession charges yesterday. Scott Dill, 34, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and cannabis possession. The offences took place on March 12, 2014 in Pembroke. The court heard that Dill was in possession of 3.05 grams of cannabis and 7.58 grams of cocaine. It was also said that $1,700 in connection with drug sales were seized from his Pembroke home. Dill appeared in court on March 2015 and pleaded not guilty to the offences. However, he switched his plea on October 10 this year and the matter was adjourned for sentencing on November 21. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe warned Dill that the suspended sentence meant if he re-offended over the next nine months, he faced serving his jail term.

paragraphArtex Risk Solutions continued to expand its operations today, announcing the acquisition of Dallas-based EWI Re, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Established in 1959, EWI offers reinsurance programme design and placement services for captives and mutual insurance companies; run-off and legacy solutions; and safety and loss control services. Its specialty risk management practice is built to support large insureds with demanding insurance needs, Artex said. The EWI team will report to Jennifer Gallagher, president of Artex’s North American operations. Ms Gallagher said: “The acquisition of EWI expands our ability to provide complex single-parent captive solutions to our clients.” She added: “Steve McElhiney and his staff are a terrific addition to our team and their skills enhance our insurance management capabilities. Steve is well respected in the insurance industry and currently serves as the board chairman of the Captive Insurance Companies Association. His expertise and experience will be invaluable to our clients.” Mr McElhiney said: “Our team is well versed in the design and placement of reinsurance needs for single-parent captives. We are excited to join Artex and create additional synergy around the development of comprehensive risk management solutions for large, individual risk clients.” The news comes just three days after Artex announced completion of the acquisition of insurance-linked securities specialists Horseshoe Insurance Services Holdings Ltd. Horseshoe, which specialises in providing insurance management, fund administration, advisory and corporate services to ILS and alternative fund markets, will become the global brand of ILS services for Artex.

paragraphThe Bermuda office of London-based re/insurance specialist Neon is to close. Personnel in Bermuda and London will be impacted by the move, the company said yesterday, adding that details have not been finalised. The on-island office of Neon is thought to have a predominantly Bermudian staff. A spokesperson said the office remains open for the time being, but no more new business is being entertained. A final date for its closure has not been decided. The closure, Neon said, is due to the company’s decision to exit the property treaty reinsurance space due to a lack of sustainable and appropriate returns. Neon is a member of Great American Insurance Group, which runs the insurance operations of parent American Financial Group. Bermudian Chris Fisher, chief executive officer of Neon’s Bermuda operation, did not return a message requesting comment. The company released a statement through its London-based public relations firm, Haggie Partners. “Neon, today, can confirm that it will cease writing all property treaty reinsurance, effective 1 January, 2020,” the statement said. “In addition, it intends to centre all property insurance underwriting through its London platform. Over the past three years we have been incredibly proud of the traction and commitment to service that our property reinsurance underwriters in both London and Bermuda have brought. Whilst we had suffered some significant catastrophe losses in these books of business in 2017 and 2018, they were within our reinsurance/retro programme and below a number of our market peers. However, with the significant hardening of retro pricing exceeding the pricing expectations of the inward reinsurance business and to keep within the constraints of our risk appetite we, along with our parent, AFG, do not believe that the property treaty class of business can provide a sustainable and appropriate risk/reward balance for Neon. As a consequence of our exit from property treaty, Neon will refocus its global property and property binders business in London, resulting in the closure of Neon’s Bermuda platform. This decision has not been taken lightly. Our Property D&F team in Bermuda are held in the highest regard, and have made a significant contribution to Neon over the last three years. Personnel in Bermuda and London will be impacted, although details have not been finalised. AFG continues to support Neon and the Lloyd’s platform and believes that Neon can make a profitable contribution to AFG’s results. AFG remains open to new opportunities and the identification of new classes of profitable business.” Neon opened a Bermuda office in 2016, appointing Mr Fisher to the top job. He started the firm with one other staff member, but within 12 months the office had six staff, five of whom were Bermudian. When he spoke to The Royal Gazette in May 2017 on the occasion of the company’s first anniversary on-island, Mr Fisher said he hoped to grow the business from its expected $20 million in gross premiums written in 2017 to $100 million within three to five years, as well as increasing staffing numbers to more than 20.

paragraphThe 2019 Stanley Ratteray Memorial Christmas Short Story Contest is under way. The competition is open to all Bermuda residents, and stories may be fiction or non-fiction. Prizes in the form of cash, Stationery Store gifts and gift certificates, and one-year home delivery subscriptions will be presented to winners on December 16 at The Royal Gazette offices on 2 Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton. The three categories are 13 and under, 18 and under, and adult. The winners in the youth sections will get prizes valued at $500, including $200 cash, with the runners-up receiving prizes valued $250 ($100 cash) and third place $175 ($50 cash). The breakdown is the same for the adults, with the exception of the home delivery subscription, which is valued at $300. Stories should have a Bermuda focus and the judges will pay special attention to vivid Christmas themes and local references. Entries from students should be free of violence, as Christmas is a time of peace. Entries must be in Microsoft Word or in the body of an e-mail. They should not exceed 1,500 words and must be e-mailed to shortstory@royalgazette.com. Entries should be marked “Christmas Short Story Contest” and include the writer’s name, age, address and contact numbers. The deadline for entries is December 9 at 5pm. Teachers who submit entries on behalf of pupils should make sure the name and age of pupils, and contact numbers for their parents, are included as judges may contact the winners during the evening. Contact details will be kept confidential. Pen names will not be accepted and poetry is not eligible. A panel will decide the winning entries, which will be published in The Royal Gazette’s Christmas Greetings supplement on December 20. Royal Gazette Ltd staff cannot respond to telephone or e-mail inquiries once an entry is submitted. The Royal Gazette reserves the right to publish any or all of the stories submitted.

paragraphA US care centre where a 16-year-old Bermudian girl died said yesterday it was “greatly saddened” by last week’s tragedy. Janet Farnsworth, the executive director of West Ridge Academy in West Jordan, Utah, offered condolences to the teenager’s family and friends. Ms Farnsworth said: “Because of US privacy laws and a pending official investigation by police and other agencies, we can only confirm that a student from Bermuda in care at our treatment facility passed away last week. We have been greatly saddened by this event. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this young lady. Out of respect to the family and due to the ongoing investigation into this matter, no further information will be provided at this time.” She added that the organisation was helping authorities investigating the incident, which happened after the girl was referred for treatment under a care order from the Government’s child protection services. Ms Farnsworth said: “We will continue to provide assistance and information to the investigative agencies that are handling this delicate matter. We would ask for professional and compassionate communication during this time of bereavement while we work closely with officials from both countries to conclude the investigation.” Ms Farnsworth also confirmed that there was no one else from Bermuda at West Ridge. Sergeant J.C. Holt, of the West Jordan Police Department, said on Wednesday that officers were called to West Ridge Academy “on a death investigation”. He added: “The deceased young woman was transported to our state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. We are awaiting their final report on findings, which could be months from now.” Sergeant Holt explained that police had “responded to many incidents there, which all usually involve issues surrounding the population of youth they serve”. He said: “There is not any current active investigation of the facility as a result of complaints or misconduct that I’m aware of.” The West Jordan Police Department told the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper in 2016 that there had been several police reports that involved violence among youngsters at West Ridge and two cases of accusations of violence leveled against staff members. West Ridge Academy was the subject of several lawsuits in 2008 and 2010, where previous students alleged negligence, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A report by the Utah State Office of Education found no evidence to support the allegations of abuse, but found that several lawsuits against the centre had been settled out of court. The school has also been criticized for its links to the Mormon church, although the academy is non-denominational. The Bermuda Police Service confirmed earlier this week that they were liaising with the Government’s Department of Child and Family Services, as well as police authorities in the US “in an effort to determine the details of this unfortunate incident”. Utah’s Department of Human Services confirmed that its Office of Licensing was made aware and “all serious incidents are investigated”. A spokeswoman said on Monday: “We conduct an investigation of any health and safety violations that may have been contributing factors. When a minor enters our state from another state or country, the sending entity — in this case the Department of Child and Family Services of Bermuda — maintains custody and responsibility for the health and safety of the minor with the programme provider they have selected for placement.” Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, said in an interview with ZBM on Wednesday that more information about the teenager’s death on Saturday would be released when reports are received. She said the incident was “extremely distressing and very concerning” and the DCFS had made support for the girl’s family a priority. A ministry spokeswoman said yesterday that Ms Simmons would make no further comment “at this time”. West Ridge Academy’s website said that its programme could “help restore your troubled teen and your family to live happier, healthier lives”. It offers counselling and professional care services across two single-sex campuses at its 50-acre setting southwest of Salt Lake City. The website explained: “At our core, West Ridge Academy is an all-encompassing programme designed to heal families. It exists to create an environment of real change for future generations. We provide lasting solutions through comprehensive mental health services for youth and their families. That is where hope begins.”

Spacer

November 21

The Minister for the Cabinet Office tonight appealed for people prepared to serve on Government boards and committees. Wayne Furbert said that expression of interest forms were available on the Government’s website and could be completed and submitted online. Mr Furbert said: said: “Interested individuals are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to serve their community. Government boards and committees play an important role in the community by ensuring good governance and by providing independent and expert governance or advice.” The application forms can be found at https://www.gov.bm/government-boards-and-committees and the deadline for submissions is December 6.

paragraphThe leaders of the Bermuda Industrial Union and the One Bermuda Alliance clashed on the eve of today’s by-election head-to-head between Dwayne Robinson and Jason Hayward. Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, attacked “offensive” comments made by Mr Robinson, the OBA candidate, about the December 2016 protests over the airport redevelopment plan that led to demonstrators being pepper-sprayed by police. But Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition, said the press conference was “cheap electioneering” on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party’s Mr Hayward. Mr Cannonier said: “These were cheap shots against a young man who dearly wants to represent his country to fight for the future of all Bermudians, not some Bermudians. What people want to know is how they will make a living, how seniors can enjoy their retirement and how our youth will get a job. Where is BIU’s press conference on these pressing issues? Where is the self-styled People’s Campaign? Why are they all so silent when Bermudians are suffering today, now? Dwayne Robinson is a fine young man. Bermuda needs him, and others like him. He represents our future.” The war of words broke out after clips of the satirical web show It’s That Type of Party, in which Mr Robinson, a cohost of the show, said protesters received “pepper mist” rather than pepper spray, resurfaced. Mr Robinson said the clip was put online almost three years ago and that he apologised on social media after the clip had aired. Mr Furbert said yesterday: “To the best of my knowledge, the people that filed complaints to the police authority who were pepper-sprayed on December 2, I don’t remember Mr Robinson coming along and apologizing to any of those people. Now you can’t fault the public, whether a member of the PLP or a member of the public now, reminding the people of Bermuda what happened. I would just maybe like to put it out to Mr Robinson that maybe some of that should be put in your eyes to see how you feel, to see if it’s really a ‘mist’ or not.” Mr Furbert said Mr Robinson had to be held accountable for his actions and dismissed the suggestion that the resurrection of the clip was “dirty tricks”. He said that Pembroke Central voters would be able to choose between a candidate who made light of seniors who were pepper-sprayed and Mr Hayward, a candidate who Mr Furbert said stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Mr Furbert added: “If it looks like the BIU is 100 per cent or 150 per cent behind Mr Hayward, that’s absolutely correct.” Mr Cannonier responded at the OBA offices in Hamilton and criticized the BIU’s silence on problems like the cost of living, tax increases and the Government’s stonewall approach to a string of controversies at the Department of Child and Family Services. Mr Cannonier said Mr Robinson was working and canvassing, which was why he had spoken out to defend him. He added: “Maybe you should be asking the question why isn’t Jason talking? You have a union president holding a press conference, but not Jason. What have we heard from Jason, the candidate for Constituency 17 for the PLP?” Voters will go to the polls in Pembroke Central, Constituency 17, today. Polls will open at the St Paul AME Church Hall in the City of Hamilton at 8am and close at 8pm. All voters must bring valid photo identification and the use of portable electronic devices is not allowed inside the polling station.

paragraphA 70-year-old man admitted throwing a corrosive liquid at police during a seven-hour stand-off. James Dallas pleaded guilty in Supreme Court yesterday to four counts of throwing a corrosive fluid with intent to resist arrest. He also admitted trespass and using threatening language. The court heard Dallas was found on the premises of the old prison service headquarters on Happy Valley Road, in Pembroke on March 28. He refused to leave when ordered by police and threw a liquid through a window at several officers. Dallas barricaded himself inside and said: “I will kill any police that tries to enter the building. Someone will die today.” Police forced their way into the building several hours later after negotiations with Dallas collapsed. Dallas again threw liquid at officers and hit two, but no one was injured. He was detained and arrested. Dallas has claimed that the former headquarters was built by his grandparents and that he has ownership rights to the property. Dallas was released on $5,000 bail and ordered to have no contact with the police officer complainants and to not go inside 100 yards of the ex-prison service property. Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe ordered a mental health assessment and a social inquiry report on Dallas. He warned Dallas that he must follow his bail conditions. Mr Justice Wolffe said: “If you don’t, you could find yourself back in these courts and dressed in orange. The fact that I gave you bail does not guarantee that I will not incarcerate you in relation to sentencing. You have to be on your best behaviour. Stay away from that place.” Mr Justice Wolffe adjourned the case until February 3.

paragraphNine entrepreneurs and event producers have been approved in the latest round of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s Experience Investment Programme. The BTA said another five participants performed favorably in the application process, with decisions on those proposals deferred pending approvals or verification of information. Twenty-six applications were received in a submission process that began in September and was extended to October 10 due to the impact of Hurricane Humberto. Most of the home-grown tourism ideas submitted are set to take place in the first six months of 2020, the BTA said. Glenn Jones, chief experience development officer at the BTA, said: “In Global Entrepreneurship Week, we salute all the entrepreneurs who built proposals and put their ideas forward in our Experience Investment Programme. We look forward to more than half of the 26 proposed projects taking flight, hopefully deployed into our tourism economy between now and next summer.” Fourteen approved and deferred applicants represent up to $210,000 in funding support, the BTA said. Funds are distributed to entrepreneurs and event producers once they agree on contract terms with the BTA, and performance milestones must be met before full investment is released. The roster of newly approved tourism ventures includes:

The tourism experience investment programme is designed to help ideas and entrepreneurs aligned with the National Tourism Plan get off the ground, the BTA said. The programme also seeks to help existing businesses and ideas grow so that they become a greater part of the visitor experience and increase visitor spending. The programme will next accept applications from March 1 to 31, 2020, focusing primarily on experiences taking place in the second half of the year. Leading up to the application period, the BTA will host preparatory workshops February 27 and 28 to help prepare applicants.

paragraphA child rights commission should be set up to better protect at-risk youngsters, a specialist charity said yesterday. Kelly Hunt, the executive director of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, said that “continued allegations of abuse, a lack of child-centred justice, and the devastating loss of more than one teen this year” meant that a multi-agency independent body was vital. Ms Hunt added: “Child protection is not owned by a single entity and is best assured through collaboration. A select committee of professionals in the field of social work, counselling, pediatric care and youth-serving agencies, that includes non-governmental organisations, should be established using the non-partisan framework for appointment.” Ms Hunt said she was aware that the Government had proposed a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee in amendments to the Child Safeguarding Act. She added: “However, a bipartisan, child-safeguarding committee that is focused solely on the protection of children should be appointed to support DCFS while holding them accountable for good governance. Helping agencies should have a seat at the table and be consulted as a voice that is on the ground working directly with the vulnerable who most benefit from this type of oversight group. In order to provide children with a stronger safety net for the prevention, intervention and treatment of crimes against young people, we must work together as a community. A child rights commission would not only be objective and focused on best practice”, but focused on four priorities — the promotion of child-friendly services and the elimination of violence against children, as well as acting as a guarantor of children’s rights and promoting child participation." The Government did not respond to a request for comment last night.

paragraphA father and son will lose their home after they failed in a legal battle to avoid a $3.6 million debt after they guaranteed a loan for another man that defaulted. The Supreme Court heard that Keith James and his son, Keimon Lawrence, signed on as guarantors for a loan from HSBC Bermuda to Alexander “Jerry” Ming and used their home as collateral. However, Mr Ming failed to pay back the loan and the father and son were ordered to pay the bank $3,609,666 in 2017 and the bank was given permission to sell their house on Tribe Road No 6 in Warwick. Mr James and Mr Lawrence asked the court to halt the sale and set aside the court orders because there was an “undue influence” on the guarantors and the bank had not taken reasonable steps to deal with that. Chief Justice Narinder Hargun, in a November 15 judgment, found Mr James and Mr Lawrence had “no meritorious defence” to the bank’s claim under the guarantee. The court heard that the guarantee dated back to 2008 when Mr Ming approached Mr James about acting as a guarantor so he could buy a business. Mr James rejected the proposal at first, but Mr Ming offered to pay him $50,000 a year for eight years in exchange for his guarantee. Mr James would use his property in Warwick as collateral under the terms of the deal, but the property was co-owned by him and Mr Lawrence. Mr Lawrence, who would not have received any money from Mr Ming under the agreement, was said to be concerned about the plan and warned that Bermuda was heading into a recession, but Mr James convinced him that it was a sound business venture. Mr Justice Hargun said in his judgment: “Mr Lawrence explained that his father expressed the view to him that Mr Ming was ‘flush with cash and appeared to be a good person to invest in’.” The court heard a meeting was held with bank representatives, but the bank were not informed about the proposed payments from Mr Ming to Mr James. The bank advised Mr Lawrence and Mr James to get independent legal advice before they agreed to be guarantors. The bank also required an “opinion from a reputable attorney confirming that the terms of the guarantee have been explained to Mr James and Mr Lawrence”. Mr Ming recommended the pair visit legal firm Peniston & Associates and Mr James, Mr Lawrence and Mr Ming met lawyer Llewellyn Peniston. Mr Lawrence said that Mr Peniston warned them they could lose their property if the loan defaulted, but he did not say he and his father would he held liable for the balance of any debt. The father and son signed on as guarantors in 2008, but in March 2016 they were informed Mr Ming was not making payments and they were liable for the outstanding balance of the loan. The pair made payments totaling $134,000, but in 2017 the bank sought possession of their home. Marc Daniels, who appeared for Mr James and Mr Lawrence, said that Mr James’s involvement could be considered a commercial arrangement due to the promised $50,000 payments, but the same could not be said for Mr Lawrence. He argued the bank was on “constructive notice” about the “disadvantageous nature” of the deal and that, while the bank did take steps to protect Mr Lawrence, it did not go far enough. Mr Daniels also argued the bank should have realised that the relationship of Mr James and Mr Lawrence, as father and son, meant there was a risk that Mr Lawrence may be subjected to undue influence on the part of Mr James and should have insisted they take advice independent of each other. But Mr Justice Hargun found the bank was given no information about the proposed $50,000 payments to Mr James and had taken steps to protect the pair from undue influence from Mr Ming. He added: “The bank was not aware that Mr Ming had in fact introduced Mr James and Mr Lawrence to Peniston & Associates or that Mr Ming attended the meetings with the lawyers from that firm. Likewise the alleged fact that Mr James and Mr Lawrence did not receive adequate advice from Peniston & Associates cannot affect the bank’s rights under the guarantee as the bank had no reason to believe that this was the case.” The judge added: “Mr Lawrence himself accepted that he did not express any concerns with the representatives of the bank in relation to entering into the guarantee. In the circumstances there was no reason for the bank to be on notice or suspect that James was entering into the guarantee for commercial reasons while Mr Lawrence was doing so at the request of his father.”

paragraphA 54-year-old woman who took and damaged a neighbor's boat has been ordered to pay $7,500 in compensation. Mary-Beth Sherwin pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court yesterday to taking the boat without permission. The court heard that Sean Kelly, the boat’s owner, reported to police that the 16-foot skiff was missing from the Hinson Island ferry dock. The damaged boat was found later that day tied up alongside a house on Tribe Road No. 6, Paget. The incident happened on March 3 last year. Police went to the house and spoke to a witness who said that he had assisted Sherwin with the boat the night before. Sherwin, who lives on Hinson Island, Paget, was arrested by police on March 11. But it was decided while Sherwin was in custody that she needed medical treatment and she was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Sherwin admitted to police during an interview a few days later that she had taken the boat. She said: “I needed to leave the island because I had jobs the next day.” Damage to the boat was estimated at about $8,150. Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe also ordered reports on Sherwin. Sherwin was released on bail and the case was adjourned until February 3 next year.

paragraphInsurer Chubb has announced a share repurchase programme of up to $1.5 billion. The company, which has underwriting operations in Bermuda, said the new authorization would be effective through December 31, 2020. The company has a market capitalization of about $68 billion. Chubb’s board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of 75 cents per share, payable on January 10, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 20, 2019.

paragraphBermuda-based fintech outfit Velocity Ledger Technology Ltd has announced the beta launch of the Velocity News and Research Channel, an information hub to help investors navigate the rapidly evolving digital asset ecosystem. The company said the platform is a destination for digital assets analytics and market research, giving users insights from a large community of experts working in the blockchain and fintech sectors. VL Tech said the channel includes a research portal, which allows third-party regional and industry experts to contribute their insights to the platform in exchange for performance based payouts in VL tokens or Fiat. Velocity Channel, the company said, is assembling a group of vetted contributors to begin posting to the web application. Eventually, it said it will open up applications to the wider community as it builds a network of researchers that cover technological, legal, and financial developments across many jurisdictions and business sectors. The platform features a 24/7 news feed delivering real-time blockchain and security token offering news aggregated from more than 20 curated publications. The company said it also features an expansive STO database offering in-depth asset profiles of vetted projects across industries and jurisdictions. Shawn Sloves, chief executive officer of VL Tech, said: “Understanding the inherent challenges associated with covering security tokens, a regulatory and technological innovation which crosses jurisdictional lines and has the potential to disrupt the capital formation processes of many industries, our platform draws upon the expertise of a diverse group of researchers to provide users with in depth, actionable insights.” The company said Velocity Channel uses blockchain technology to index and generate hashes of all site activity, allowing the platform to measure content performance and keeping an historical record of changes made to the site. The team plans to use feedback from the beta launch to improve the platform and continue building out new features to enhance their product offering.

paragraphRepair work to a section of the Railway Trail started last year was never completed, the Government said yesterday. The news came after a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works announced last week that a section of the trail in the Winton Hill area of Hamilton Parish would be closed for several months for rock stabilization work to be carried out. The spokesman confirmed this week that the work was started last year by General Services Ltd with help provided by a “specialist team” from Canadian firm Cimota Ltd — but that it had not been finished. The spokesman said: “Due to the unforeseen difficulty in obtaining a specific type of concrete for the project, the planned window for the specialists’ visit was missed. This prevented completion of the project.” He said that the section of the trail had been monitored since work stopped and it had been decided it posed a risk for pedestrians. The spokesman added: “As such, and in the interest of public safety, the decision was made to close off access to that section of Railway Trail until it is made safe. To that end, Government will continue to work with General Services, and the Canadian specialist team from Cimota, under the same contractual agreement to complete the repairs and carry out additional work as needed. As the project proceeds, due to the nature of rock formations, any additional expense and the full cost of the project will only be known once the work is completed.” The Royal Gazette reported in February that the contract for the work given to General Services was worth $946,082. The contract was awarded in January 2018 with work expected to be completed last March. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works said at the time: “These intricate works were extensive, and involved scaling of the rock cut, including the removal of vegetation, loose soil, rock, the stabilization of the rock face by installing rock bolts, filling small voids with lean concrete and applying architecturally rendered shotcrete to the stabilized rock cut.” The spokesman said last week that barriers and signs would be installed to alert the public to the closure. He added that work on the site was expected to begin in January next year. The spokesman said: “The timeline to complete repairs should allow this section of the Railway Trail to open before the start of next summer.”

paragraphThese days Leroy Augustus rides a scooter, but for most of his life horses were his preference. It’s how he got his nickname, given at an early age by his parents Albina and Samuel. “My parents called me Poker because I always liked poking around with horses,” the 87-year-old said. His mother knew exactly where to look whenever she couldn’t find him at home: helping his grandfather, Fred Smith, with his horses or at the nearby stables at Government House. The day his parents surprised him with his first pony remains a happy memory. He was seven and his mother sent him to the barn, ostensibly to take care of the family cow. I saw this little pony,” he said. “I ran back to my mother in the kitchen and said, ‘Mama there’s a pony in the stables!’ She said, ‘Yeah, I don’t know anything about it.’ He continued: "My father worked for the electric light station, climbing poles and doing things like that. When he came home I said, ‘Pop, whose is this pony?’ He said, ‘What pony? I don’t see any pony.’ Then he said it was my birthday present.” Once he’d finished school, he got a job at the old Shelly Bay racetrack looking after Erskine Adderley’s horses. To his great surprise he was one day commandeered to race a sulkie — a lightweight horse cart. He took the most useful tip he received to heart: get the horse as close to the rail as possible. “For my first race I was very nervous,” Mr Augustus said. “I was racing against some of Bermuda’s top riders, and I’d never raced before. If you’re on the outside it takes a fast horse to beat you. I won my first two races. I had a lot of fun.” In the early 1970s he worked at the stables at Government House. On three occasions he drove a carriage carrying the Queen. Once, on Cedar Avenue, she was surprised when the crowd started shouting his name. “A lot of people knew me,” he said. “There was so many people in the crowd I couldn’t tell who was doing the calling. The Queen said, ‘Goodness, you’re a popular man. Do you want me to drive?’” Every May 24, Mr Augustus dressed as a cowboy and got his horse Tiger to “dance” to Tennessee Waltz, a popular country music song, as part of the annual parade. “Tiger won a lot of prizes in the parade,” he said. “My family taught me how to train horses. The secret is you have to raise them up the way you do a child.” At one point, Mr Augustus ran a horse boarding business, caring for nearly 20 animals out of his homestead in Pembroke. He vividly recalls a disagreement he had in 1974 with the owner of a horse called Splash. Mr Augustus felt the horse had gone off her feed because the man allowed his friends to ride her too hard. The owner accused him of not taking good care of the horse, and moved Splash to another stable three miles away. Two years later the horse made a noisy reappearance, breaking away from her new stables at 1am and kicking in the gate to the Augustus paddock in order to have a foal there. “I think the owner was a bit embarrassed,” Mr Augustus said. He gave up the business 20 years ago and started driving a taxi in what became his trademark uniform: a bright red coat, pith helmet and white linen trousers. He still has a binder full of letters from happy tourists commending his service. One letter from Sherry Payne, a New York travel agent, recounted how her sister-in-law fell ill after arriving on the Zenith in 1996 and was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. “I told Poker what had happened,” Ms Payne wrote. “My brother had to leave the ship to stay with his wife. Poker immediately took action. This wonderful man escorted my brother to the hospital and stayed by his side for a week and a half. He saw to it that he ate, and he showed him all over Bermuda. He introduced him to his family and they took him in like he was one of their own. I was so grateful that Poker was there.” The experience made her want to sell the island even more, she said. Although now retired, Mr Augustus will still help out friends with horses on occasion. Sometimes when he rides his scooter, he likes to wear his old taxi uniform.

paragraphThe Garden Club of Bermuda is to hold an open house and gardens at a historic Devonshire estate this weekend. The fundraiser at Palm Grove, owned by the Gibbons family, will support the skills development programme run by the Department of Parks. Cindy Young, the garden club president, said the group tried to organise fundraisers “every year or so — but not always an open house and garden”. She added: “We are indebted to James and Judy Gibbons and David and Louise Gibbons for allowing us to open this beautiful property and highlight the family’s conservation efforts of native and endemic plants, palms and other species.” Palm Grove has undergone major restoration after Hurricane Humberto hit the island in September. The garden club will have floral arrangements on display to complement the refurbished property and the orchid slat house will be open for viewing before guests take the Palm Grove house tour. The garden club will have craft items for sale as well as gardening tools and floral tea towels and grocery bags. Children will be able to learn how to turn milk cartons into pots for kitchen herbs at a planting workshop. The Bermuda Rose Society will have rose bushes for sale and Keep Bermuda Beautiful will offer tips on ridding the ocean of plastic and other waste. Ms Young said the garden club The club had supported the skills development programme for five years. The six-month course includes health and safety training, time management, workplace ethics, interview skills, team building and GED training. The event runs from 10am to 3pm on Saturday with guided tours of the property at half-hour intervals from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Entry is $20 for adults, $10 for schoolchildren aged 10 to 18 and free for those under 10.

Spacer

November 20

paragraphThe Premier left the island for a trade mission to Mexico yesterday to drum up jobs and investment in Bermuda. A government spokeswoman said Mr Burt would meet hotel development business heads, technology business leaders, high net-worth individuals and their advisers in the capital, Mexico City, and visit the British Embassy. The Premier also planned to use the opportunity to support Bermuda’s football team last night as they took on Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League. Mr Burt said: “It has been ten years since Bermuda and Mexico signed the Tax Information Exchange Agreement. This is an ideal opportunity to continue to explore synergies between our countries and examine how Bermuda, as a leader in tax transparency, can work with Mexican businesses to create jobs for Bermudians.” Mr Burt is joined on the trip by Lynesha Lightbourne, the business development manager at the Bermuda Business Development Agency; and Eduardo Fox, the Latin American affairs adviser to the Bermuda Government.

paragraphEveryone has to think beyond their own interests for immigration reform to be achieved and embraced, the national security minister has said. Wayne Caines, who is responsible for delivery of an overhaul of immigration law promised by the Progressive Labour Party when it won power more than two years ago, warned that thinking in silos will not work. He said that buy-in from Bermudians for any changes that would grant permanent resident rights to more people would come only when Bermudians were convinced that the system would give them a fair chance at full participation in the economy. Mr Caines added that companies would have to be more committed to the training and development of Bermudians, while Bermudians would need to appreciate the economic value of international business and expect to have to work hard and earn the qualifications needed to take advantage of the modern economy. The “step change” Mr Caines said was needed was for the social dynamics of immigration to be taken into account, including the impact of historic policy that had disadvantaged black Bermudians. Mr Caines said he had planned to table amendments to the Immigration and Protection Act 1956 regarding mixed-status families in July, but they were withdrawn. There has been no legislative progress since. Mr Caines added that the bipartisan immigration committee had met “every single day for weeks” in a bid to make progress. He said: “I wish I could say that we have all the answers, but we don’t. We have advisers from KPMG, a policy analyst and a permanent secretary and we’re chipping away at the edges. We’re struggling on the piece around mixed-status families and creating more PRCs in Bermuda and what that looks like long term. When it comes to giving PRC, or giving status, the country is reticent, and I don’t think that should be put in the box of xenophobia. People from all aspects of Bermuda are saying with comprehensive immigration reform, ‘I do not want my Bermudian family to be in a worse position because you are allowing more people to get PRCs or status." There is a natural fear of the Bermudian being squeezed out of Bermuda.” BermudaFirst has proposed that immigration policy should be focused on providing the talent Bermuda needed to sustain the economy and to boost the working population. Mr Caines heard Philip Butterfield, BermudaFirst’s chairman, outline those views in a speech at the Association of International Companies annual meeting on Monday. Mr Caines said: “Bermuda has a declining birth rate and an ageing population. The tax base is getting smaller. This is an opportunity to look at how to develop our workforce. We need IB, we need guest workers, but we need Bermudians to take their rightful place. We cannot just focus on ‘I don’t want foreigners in Bermuda’. And IB cannot just say, ‘We need more people in Bermuda. We have to work together to resolve it and that is the step change — a holistic view — not just what benefits my company or my family, but what benefits Bermuda and that is what I believe Mr Butterfield was saying.” Mr Caines said the BermudaFirst recommendations were the result of the views of 90 volunteers, from many different fields, who had produced an “unvarnished, unslanted” proposal. He added: “The report will not be adopted en masse, but there are some critical pieces that add value and exceedingly so. Many of the things recommended are in train. There are some social dynamics in the report and it is my responsibility to juxtapose that into the matrix. That’s my job, I’m a politician, I have a different focus.” Mr Caines said that most people understood the value of international business to the broader economy. He added: “When Bermuda Inc works, we all work. We get the fact that over $800 million a year is in our economy because of international business. That is not lost on me or my colleagues.” Mr Caines said: “I believe international business has to dig deeper for training and development for Bermudians. To some extent, that is counterculture. In New York and London, you don’t focus on what is best for that person, you focus on the bottom line. In Bermuda, you also have to look at the culture and how you make the country stronger. We can’t say that because IB is the lifeblood of this economy that the working man should capitulate and have no voice in his own land. Bermudians understand that IB is important, but a Bermudian feels they are important as well. They cannot continue to peer at opportunities without having the ability to participate fully and openly in the process.” Mr Caines highlighted the new hotels scheduled to open over the next two years and that it was essential that Bermudians would get the opportunity not just “to hold a tray”, but also to see a career development route to the general manager role. He dismissed claims that the Government’s desire to give Bermudians a “place of primacy” in immigration policy was protectionist. Mr Caines said: “I don’t believe protectionist policy will work.” He added that place of primacy meant “all of us must work together to develop talent to make sure Bermudians have the infrastructure they need to thrive in their own country”. Mr Caines said that compliance was a piece of the puzzle and that immigration inspectors had launched more investigations into people alleged to be working outside the terms of their work permit. He added: “That is significant, because it means that Bermudians are not being given the opportunity to work in these places. That’s part of immigration reform as well.” Mr Caines said English language tests for guest workers in customer-facing roles and a moratorium on work permits in some restricted categories were examples of initiatives aimed at helping Bermudians get a fair deal in the job market. He added: “When people are coming to talk to me in my office, they’re not saying they hate international business, they’re saying, ‘I’m not eating, my son’s not working, how do I get opportunities in this country? So how can I agree, Mr Caines, to you giving all these people PRCs and status when my children are not working?’ So the whole concept has to focus on fairness and equity. When we can tell the story of how people can participate and thrive in the economy, that’s when we can get people to buy in to reform for mixed-status families and that’s the work I have to do. Bermudians have to understand that they have to push, work hard, get that qualification, make sacrifices. We’ve got to work harder than we’ve ever worked before if we’re going to be able to do it.”

paragraphLegislation that will allow employees to take out a quarter of their private pensions as a lump sum on retirement was passed by MPs last Friday. The National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Amendment Act 2019 will now require non-Bermudian workers to pay into their occupational pension, along with self-employed workers. Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, told the House of Assembly that there was concern that the need to make pension contributions for Bermudian but not for non-Bermudian workers had affected employment opportunities for Bermudians because the situation made it cheaper to employ overseas workers. Mr Dickinson said: “We have tried to, in our work here, be very balanced in our approach to ensure that we are not causing undue stress on employers while, at the same time, being mindful that we want to promote the culture of self-sufficiency and so encouraging people to provide for themselves in their later years by saving during the years they are earning income.” Scott Pearman, the Shadow Minister for Legal Affairs, said that the One Bermuda Alliance supported the draw down part of the Bill. But he feared that the ability to do so could deprive people of a “rainy day fund later”. Mr Pearman said: “That risk will fall upon the community as a whole. So we need to map out what happens when that happens.” He said that a requirement for non-Bermudians to pay into an occupational pension fund was “thorny” and would “increase the cost of doing business in Bermuda”. He added: “Making Bermuda more expensive is not a good idea because it will lead to job losses.” Mr Pearman said that small and medium-sized businesses would be hit hardest by the change. He added: “It is those Bermudian employers who are now going to have to dig into their pockets.” David Burt, the Premier, said the legislation would not be popular among companies that had a majority of non-Bermudian staff. He added: “It’s not only the right change, but it makes sense to put Bermudians on an equal playing field with non-Bermudians.” Mr Burt also reiterated that the Government hoped to bring some of the $3 billion invested into the pension scheme back into Bermuda by allowing employees to access a portion of their funds for specific investments. He said: “We believe that people should be trusted with their money. If you like it where it is, leave it where it is.”

paragraphOpinion. By Rolfe Commissiong, a government backbencher and the MP for Pembroke South East (Constituency 21).  "So-called free markets left up to their own devices can produce public good, but they can also, at times, produce public or social harm. Our healthcare markets are clearly producing the latter and are certainly broken. Surely, then, when this does occur, only government intervention into these markets can restore balance and equity. It is no secret that the cost of living in Bermuda, driven primarily by the rampant growth of income inequality over the past two-plus decades, has been ruinous. Its major corrosive impact has been on the low and middle-income Bermudian families that have been its chief victims. Foremost among their concerns, has been the extraordinary rise in the cost of healthcare. They are falling behind in their ability to finance their healthcare costs, as it is the aforementioned extraordinary growth of income inequality and its effect on the costs of living eats away at their incomes and that increases their inability to pay for health insurance. The key question of the day is whether the healthcare system, as constituted in Bermuda around a largely American-style, fee-for-service model, is broken? All of the relevant evidence seems to confirm the view that it is, and that evidence, in and of itself, is fairly compelling in making the case for root-and-branch reform as opposed to the mere tweaking of a status quo that is no longer serving the public interest and/or public good. That is why the Government has proposed to place all of Bermuda’s residents into one insurance pool as opposed to the four or five major insurance pools, private and public sector, that provide health insurance coverage for Bermuda’s residents. However, it is proposed that individuals, much like in Canada and other countries that use a single-payer system or variant, who do wish to purchase supplemental private-sector coverage, will be able to do so under the prospective plan that health minister Kim Wilson has touted. The big change under this prospective reform will be that the Government will be responsible for paying healthcare claims. As to the basic consumer and businesses, this reform will provide a significant reduction in premiums for their health insurance coverage, while providing more coverage. There are some countries that have attempted to implement a pure single-payer system, that would provide free healthcare services for their citizens and have, for various reasons, most commonly cost, felt that they could not pursue that option. But note that the minister and her government are not proposing a model that would provide a system of health insurance that would be free. Persons will still, under the proposed model, have to pay a premium to access the health insurance plan or plans that will be likely adopted. The key point is that the coverage will cost significantly less and provide more needed services for the vast majority. However, it is important as the consultative period unfolds that we keep the conversation focused on the broken system itself; with the operative word being “system”. No one, including me, will contend that we do not have some of the most highly qualified healthcare professionals and infrastructure, relatively speaking, in the world. The reality is that we do. Their dedication and professionalism have been exemplary. Tens of thousands over the years have benefited from the standard of care they have provided. We also have private health insurers who have for decades in the postwar era provided a good product to the consumer through their employers with fairly good coverage. Those days are gone and the existing status quo that operated fairly optimally then is no longer sustainable, especially with a population that is rapidly ageing. Bermuda now has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of 44, rivaling Germany and Japan. Accompanying that fact is that the ageing population contributes significantly to a declining health profile of the overall population, as will be highlighted in part two at a later date. Having said that, it is inevitable, if nothing substantially changes, that the private insurers will increasingly face the Hobson’s choice of adverse selection and be, either unwilling to underwrite the risk associated with ageing clients or be forced to offer plans that will result in only the affluent and highly wealthy having access to their health insurance offerings. The latter would appear to be already happening. And that is one of the key factors driving up the cost of private health insurance. In part two, I will more fully examine the model being proposed by the Government as the keystone of reform and seek to demonstrate that this direction is more consistent with best practice globally. In fact, Bermuda and the United States have been outliers in terms of the respective systems in place in both countries. Finally, as to the 5,341 persons without health insurance coverage cited earlier, once one adds in the thousands who are effectively underinsured, and who are mostly on HIP, it represents a full 20 per cent of our population who are either uninsured or underinsured. Stunningly, a full 91 per cent of those persons are black."

paragraphA would-be MP was engulfed in a storm of controversy after a clip from a satire show, where he played down the use of pepper spray during a protest, resurfaced yesterday. Dwayne Robinson, a One Bermuda Alliance senator is due to go head-to-head with Jason Hayward, a Progressive Labour Party senator, in the Pembroke Central by-election tomorrow. He was seen in a clip from online politics show It’s That Type of Party next to a photograph of his opponent discussing the December 2, 2016 incident, when people were pepper-sprayed as they blocked the entrance to the House of Assembly in a protest over the public-private redevelopment of the airport. Mr Robinson told co-presenter Trae Cannonier, the son of OBA leader Craig Cannonier, in the almost three-year-old segment: “They got pepper mist; it was not pepper-sprayed.” He added: “If it was pepper spray, she would have hit the asphalt like a sack of potatoes. And she wouldn’t have been able to give you an interview because she probably would have been in the hospital recovering.” Mr Robinson apologised on social media after the clip was posted. He added: “Many had warned me of the dirty side of politics but now I am seeing it first hand.” Mr Robinson, who was branded insensitive by posters under the clip, said: “It was a satire news network where we took on controversial personas.” He later told The Royal Gazette: “This clip is almost three years old and, at that time, I was still a frustrated and undecided voter. However, I sincerely apologise for causing offence. I did not convey my opinion in a respectful manner.” Mr Robinson said: “When we released it in 2016, we received backlash and realised we had been insensitive, so we decided to remove it from Facebook. At the time, we overlooked removing it from YouTube, but it has now been taken down.” Mr Robinson added: “I have matured in the last three years. I have gained more experience, I have just got married and I am older. I also stepped down as a host of ITTP over a year ago when I became a senator. I am still committed to working on behalf of the constituents of Constituency 17 should they select me. I vow to prove myself through action.” The Opposition leader said the use of the throwback video, posted yesterday, was designed to influence the by-election He added he stood “100 per cent behind Dwayne” and that he was “tired of the PLP’s dirty tricks”. The Facebook post was not put up by the PLP, but Mr Cannonier said the video had “clearly been carefully edited to suit their narrative to swing the voters in Pembroke Central”. He accused the party of deflection and “gutter tactics”. A PLP spokeswoman responded: “The words of Dwayne Robinson speak for themselves. The intent of Mr Robinson’s remarks are accurately represented. If you watch the entire show, Dwayne and his cohost, Craig Cannonier’s son Trae, were making crass jokes of one of the darkest days in Bermuda’s history when innocent seniors were attacked by the police with pepper spray. This is a question of character. While Dwayne Robinson, after the fact, chose to make light of the fact that our seniors were pepper-sprayed, our candidate, Jason Hayward, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our seniors, standing up for the rights of Bermudians on that sad day.” The controversy came as the Bermuda Public Services Union announced yesterday that Mr Hayward had stepped down as president. Mr Hayward declined to comment last night on the reasons for his decision to quit his post, and referred questions to the BPSU. A statement from Edward Ball, the general secretary of the BPSU, confirmed that Mr Hayward would not run for a third term as president for 2020 to 2023. Mr Hayward has been a BPSU an executive officer for more than ten years and Mr Ball thanked him for his “innovative, fearless and dedicated leadership”. Mr Ball said the union’s general council had appointed Lloyquita Symonds as president until the end of the BPSU delegates’ conference in March next year.

paragraphA Canadian man pleaded guilty to six charges of bank fraud in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. Christopher McMeel, 28, was accused of possessing seven fake debit cards and a magnetic card strip reader intended to create fake debit cards. McMeel, from Montreal, Quebec, pleaded not guilty to two charges of possession of a fake debit card. The offences were alleged to have happened in St George’s on November 15. Magistrate Tyrone Chin remanded McMeel in custody and adjourned the case until December 4.

paragraphA Bermuda-based operation is set to revolutionise the global diamond trade by setting up a pioneering electronic exchange for trading in the precious commodity. The Diamond Standard Exchange is the brainchild of American Cormac Kinney, a celebrated entrepreneur and software designer with a lengthy track record of successful start-ups and technology businesses. Mr Kinney, who was a panellist at Bermuda Tech Week 2019, said 32 of the world’s largest diamond companies have verbally committed to becoming members of the exchange, subject to finalizing the paperwork, and “are in the process of onboarding”. A high-end American jewellery retailer is the most recent company to commit, Mr Kinney said. Aside from retailers, members include “sight holders”, who buy rough diamonds directly from mines and normally cut the diamonds — and brokers/dealers/traders, which deal mostly in polished diamonds. Mr Kinney said he expects that the member-owned exchange will be operational by the end of the year. “We are reinventing the diamond supply chain,” Mr Kinney says. “This exchange in Bermuda will be the global exchange for centralized liquidity for diamonds. No diamond exchange in the world has a ‘bid and ask’, and a clearing mechanism. That’s what we have created.” Mr Kinney is chief executive officer of Diamond Standard Ltd, a Bermuda-incorporated company that will be a member of the exchange and act as “market maker” for the buying and selling of loose diamonds. Market makers exist on every exchange; their role on the diamond exchange will be to give participants a quote, an actionable bid, on every diamond up to two carats. Diamond Standard Ltd will also sell a bar containing ten diamonds, and a coin containing three diamonds. Mr Kinney said: “We deliver the bar, it’s yours. You can put it in your sock drawer, or leave it at the bank.” The entrepreneur also leads Bitcarbon Technologies Ltd, which will embed the bars and coins with a wireless encryption chip that enables global authentification, and stores a blockchain token. “We are creating an interface between the digital and the physical, we are revolutionizing the diamond industry and creating a new asset,” Mr Kinney said. Purchasers may deposit their coin, or bar, with a custodian, who will store it in a “smart” cabinet, but the purchaser will keep the digital key to the Bitcarbon token. Owners can sell their token at any time but when they do, they also sell the coin or bar; the two are inseparable, the company said. The digital token can also asset-back a digital contract. The exchange has applied to be overseen by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, while the Bitcarbon tokens cannot be issued until receipt of a Digital Asset Business Act (DABA) licence from the BMA. While awaiting approval to begin operating, Mr Kinney said some $650 million in “indications of interest” have been received in relation to his company’s diamond commodities, mainly the bar. Mr Kinney said those “intentions to buy” were “very, very conditional” at this stage. First-day trading prices have been set at $100,000 for the bar, and $10,000 for the coin, Mr Kinney said. Going forward, the coin and bar will each continue to have the same gemological content as on the first day they were traded. Today, Mr Kinney said, anyone seeking to purchase a diamond must visit a jewellery store or pawnshop; there is nowhere else to engage with diamonds at the retail level, although there are “listing venues”, bulletin boards that allow diamond sellers to start conversations with potential buyers. Once the exchange begins operating, he said, anyone will be able to engage a broker to purchase or sell diamonds on their behalf. As the exchange is both transparent and regulated, Mr Kinney says, purchasers can be assured they are paying a fair market price for diamonds. He said: “The first result is that we have really cleaned up the diamond industry by the firms all agreeing to ethical standards, fair trade, no blood diamonds, just all natural diamonds, no synthetic diamonds. The exchange will be regulated — that has never existed in this industry.” Mr Kinney said an investment bank was hired to raise $25 million for the new venture. “Half is committed,” he said. The exchange has attracted an investor, Miami International Holdings, which recently acquired a controlling interest in the Bermuda Stock Exchange. The parent company of five other regulated exchanges, including Securities Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission entities, will provide tech monitoring, risk management advice and regulatory support, Mr Kinney said. Diamond Standard Ltd has opened an office in Bermuda, and has hired James Campbell as its chief financial officer. He has also been named as CFO of sister company Bitcarbon Technologies. Additional positions are being advertised at careers.diamondstandard.co. Mr Kinney said Bermuda was chosen to be the site of the new ventures after a worldwide search. He said: “We hired Deloitte to do a global survey and, because of the DABA Act, we came to Bermuda. The island is geographically convenient, and there is the availability of skilled staff who speak English, but it’s because of DABA. We wanted and needed legislation to both license the token and oversee the exchange. The SEC in the US is not ready for this. They would look at us as a security, and it would have taken for ever.”

paragraphParents were reminded to help enforce standards at childcare centres as Bermuda marks World Children’s Day today. Kim Wilson, the health minister, said the Department of Health had enhanced its oversight of daycare and increased the number of visits to “all childcare settings”. She added: “As a ministry, we take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to the safety of our children. However, we also need parents’ help.” She was speaking on Monday as Bermuda prepared to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The convention included “the state’s obligation to ensure the safety and development of children”. Ms Wilson asked parents or guardians to make sure that a daycare service was licensed or registered with the department. She told parents: “If you have concerns with your centre or provider, always address it with them directly in the first instance. The vast majority of concerns are best dealt with directly.” Ms Wilson said problems that were not resolved could be raised with the department’s childcare team at 278-4900 or childcare@gov.bm. She added: “The number of children to the number of staff in a centre or daycare provider is critical. If a home-based daycare provider has more than three children, they are breaking the law. Daycare centres have ratios based on children’s ages.” The ratios are available at gov.bm/child-care-information- parents.

paragraphMexico 2 Bermuda 1. Bermuda’s hopes of retaining their Concacaf Nations League A status were cruelly dashed as Uriel Antuna scored a dramatic late goal to condemn a spirited Bermuda to relegation to League B. Heading into the match Bermuda were faced with the scenario of knowing only the minimum of a draw being enough to guarantee finishing above Panama in the three-team group and avoid relegation. Their hopes of pulling off a historic result against the Gold Cup champions were boosted as captain Danté Leverock headed Kyle Lightbourne’s side ahead in the tenth minute. However, Mexico leveled midway through the half through Sebastian Cordova’s brilliant curling effort and just as the required result looked all but secured, Antuna assumed the villain rule, receiving the ball inside the area before calmly slotting past the advancing Dale Eve to snatch victory for the home side and break Bermudian hearts in the cruelest possible fashion. Lightbourne opted for a predominantly defensive 4-5-1 line-up with Roger Lee being utilized in the midfield, just as he was the 2-0 away victory at Panama. However, with the likes of Osagi Bascome and Reggie Lambe alongside Lee, and Zeiko Lewis and Justin Donawa on the wings, behind Nahki Wells, Lightbourne still had offensive flair at his disposal. There was also a competitive debut for Eusebio Blankendal at left back. Unsurprisingly, it was the home side who settled into their rhythm quickest and they had an early shout for a penalty in the sixth minute when Jose Macias tumbled inside the area under a challenge from Lewis. However, referee Ismael Cornejo waved away the protests.

Spacer

November 19

paragraphAn independent education authority for Bermuda’s schools is under consideration, the House of Assembly heard last Friday. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said the Government was exploring a recommendation made in the Future State Report from the BermudaFirst advisory group. Mr Rabain said: “After reading the report and discussing at length with the BermudaFirst representatives from the education committee and reviewing the recommendations, it is clear to us, it is clear to me, that some decisions need to be made and these decisions will indeed be difficult ones. To this end, the recommendation of an authority is under consideration by this Government. Breaking the status quo of the last 25 years is important, but difficult with the challenges that we have to face, challenges like re-purposing schools and realigning our infrastructure. We must recognize that perhaps it’s time for these types of decisions to be removed from Opposition political op-eds, to be removed from ministers standing in front of microphones, to a state where a non-political entity can and will move forward to do what is best for our children.” The Future State Report — commissioned by David Burt, the Premier — was unveiled in September. It recommended the creation of an “independent authority for public education that is responsible for the performance management of educators and researching and implementing a holistic public education system ... that facilitates optimum student success”. However, Mr Rabain said that any suggestion that an education authority would mirror the Bermuda Tourism Authority model was “far from the truth”. He added that the move was not a foregone conclusion but was “being discussed”. The education minister pointed out that the “bulk” of recommendations on schooling in the Future State report were covered in Plan 2022, the Department of Education’s strategy for public schools. He said it was well known that the Government intended to phase out middle schools and explained that his ministry was evaluating submissions made in response to a request for proposals from local and overseas organisations to help reform the school system. The minister added: “While our plans to phase out middle schools and revert to a two-tier system are in train, this cannot be done without the uncomfortable conversation that needs to be had around the re-purpose of our entire school system. This needs to be done to allow us as a country to provide our students with the best schools, the best teachers and ultimately the best chances of getting everything that they need in order to achieve success.” He told MPs that there were 4,587 pupils in Bermuda’s public school system — about 2,000 fewer than 20 years ago. The minister explained that the average number of pupils per primary school was 122, but that five of the island’s 18 primaries operated with fewer than 100 students. Mr Rabain said: “If we took all of the students we have in primary schools now and created two classes per primary school from P1 to P6, of 16 students each, we would only need 11 out of the 18. That leaves us with seven schools that are unneeded. That equates to around $12 million in resources that can be piled into the remaining 11 schools.” The minister explained that he did not have a desire to close schools, but that it was necessary to be prepared “for these types of conversations”. Mr Rabain said that a recommendation in the report for a scheme of principal certifications was under way, with certifications expected to start in January. He added: “We will now see actual performance appraisals done for principals, something that hasn’t been done in close to 20 years.” The minister said that a school improvement initiative tackled the report’s recommendation that schools should have to prove how children are supported and encouraged to achieve. He explained that the programme included a form for principals to detail their school’s performance and improvement measures, which will be published online for pupils and parents to check.

paragraph“Workplace concerns” at a fitness centre are to be investigated by the Government. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, said the ministry was aware of complaints about a centre and would monitor the situation. Ms Foggo did not identify the gym, but it is understood to be The Athletic Club on Washington Street in Hamilton, which is due to close at the end of the month. The minister added that employers and employees should be aware that breaches of the Employment Act or other labour-related legislation were “not acceptable” and that the Labour Relations Section should be contacted if there were problems. Ms Foggo said: “The Labour Relations Section has the ability to investigate and mediate such complaints brought to its attention as well as refer unresolved disputes to an arbitration or tribunal panel for adjudication. As a general note, the non-payment of wages is contrary to the Employment Act 2000. Employees who have concerns over late or non-payment of wages or benefits are strongly encouraged to contact the Labour Relations Section and consult with a Labour Relations Officer. Employees are also reminded to review the Employment Act 2000, which sets out their rights and obligations.” Ms Foggo said that unionized workers should contact their shop stewards or union representatives with complaints and that employers could also use the Labour Relations Section if they needed to “make difficult decisions because of financial hardship. We encourage anyone who may be facing challenges in the workplace to contact the Labour Relations Section so that we can assist where we can.” The Labour Relations Section can be contacted at 297-7714 or 297-7716.

paragraphBreath-test checkpoints have helped slash the grim toll of death on the roads, the transport minister said yesterday. Zane DeSilva added that checkpoints, combined with road safety campaigns, had made major contributions to a 50 per cent fall in roads deaths from 12 in 2018 to six so far this year. He said: “I think some of the things that the Road Safety Council are doing to do with awareness and the road sobriety tests have hopefully had some effect. The statistics and all of that will come with time. We need a bit more time to collect data, but certainly early indications are, between the road sobriety tests and the excellent work that Dennis Lister III and his team are doing, things have been bearing a little fruit.” Mr DeSilva was backed by Mr Lister, the chairman of the Road Safety Council. Mr Lister said: “The message is getting across. As of present today, we have had a 50 per cent reduction in road fatalities from last year. The statistics on road traffic collisions, I don’t have the up-to-date statistics as of yet, but we see that the message is getting out there, people are listening and it is effective. Roadside sobriety checkpoints have been a factor in that. It changes people’s mindsets. They are not just going out there and drinking. They have a plan.” The pair were speaking as they marked the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Mr DeSilva said that road users should avoid drinking and driving, control their speed be vigilant on the roads — especially over the Christmas season. He added: “As we enter into the last months of this year, many will be planning for the fun and festivities to come. Many will begin their Christmas shopping and looking for places to hide presents from their children, their husbands, their wives and friends or family. Sadly, there are many in our community who will look on the holidays with sadness and dread for it will remind them of what they have lost.” Mr DeSilva said that designated driver badges — which offer designated drivers free non-alcoholic drinks at some bars and clubs — were still available and are recognised year-round. He added: “The button allows businesses to easily identify the designated driver and afford that individual the benefit associated with the important responsibility of saving lives. We need to change the mindset of our culture where it is all right to have a few drinks and drive home to where friends don’t allow friends after an evening or night of drinking to drive home. No one wants to later learn that during that fateful drive, their friend or loved one’s life was lost in a fatal traffic collision. Efforts to improve late-night public transport continued. We have a transportation challenge in the country. Are we doing anything specific for this Christmas? Not just yet, but we have been working very hard behind the scenes. After producing the Green Paper earlier this year, there are many recommendations from the public with regard to transportation, especially during those peak hours. That is coming, so watch this space.”

paragraphPhil Butterfield is “disappointed” by the lack of impetus in the government response to recommendations made by the BermudaFirst advisory group that he chairs. The non-political group was commissioned by David Burt, the Premier, to put forward ideas on transformational change to help Bermuda to address its largest socio-economic challenges. BermudaFirst delivered its Future State report to Mr Burt in August and unveiled it to the public the following month. Its recommendations included an independent education authority, outcome-focused healthcare reform and talent-focused immigration policy aimed at economic growth. Reaction from the community had been supportive, Mr Butterfield said, and there had been dialogue between the group and the ministers of education, national security and health. “I think there’s a positive vibe about the work,” Mr Butterfield said in an interview. “What I’m disappointed in is that I’ve yet to see a concerted government push behind what we’re doing. We recognize that we haven’t been elected. But the work that we have done needs to be respected. I think it can serve as the foundation for a broader discussion. We have to get people over the barrier of seeing our work as an opportunity to disenfranchise and instead see it as an opportunity to make Bermuda better. I recognize that change does not occur instantaneously, so I’m happy that BermudaFirst has worked to bring attention to issues that now have some attention and I’m hopeful that the dialogues we’re going to have moving forward will accelerate the change we ought to be embracing.” Mr Butterfield was speaking after delivering the keynote speech at the Association of Bermuda International Companies’ annual meeting at O’Hara House in which he urged business leaders to be more proactive in volunteering their views and expertise to help Government make necessary changes, and made clear the urgency for the island to bring in more workers to sustain the economy. During the speech, Mr Butterfield’s voice cracked with emotion when he addressed public education, particularly when he said he owed his success to the tutoring he received in a one-room school in Happy Valley, the Central School and the Berkeley Institute. “I learnt confidence, I learnt purpose, and I learnt that I too could be different,” Mr Butterfield said. “My experience and success should not be an exception. It should be the common occurrence of everybody in this community. That is not where we are today.” He added that he was “quite enthusiastic” about conversations with Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, on the idea of creating an independent education authority. Mr Butterfield told The Royal Gazette: “I think the Minister of Education and the Premier understand that we can’t do what we have done in the past — change one or two people and talk about some policy changes — and expect a real difference. I think they recognize that will not work and they have to do something radically different. The big issue is the extent to which they won’t have ‘control’. If they’re doing the funding, as I anticipate they will, they will have a meaningful role. If we have the managerial expertise to run a large group, to create efficiency, to make financially sound decisions, and you combine that with the pedagogical expertise that exists with the Commissioner of Education and her team, then I think you get the best of all worlds, combined judgments that allow us to have a well-oiled machine that we don’t have today.” In his speech, Mr Butterfield addressed the impact of demographics on the economy. “We’re faced with a shrinking birth rate and an ageing population,” Mr Butterfield said. “In my judgment, those are both clarion calls for additional workers in our economy. We have to prioritise programmes that attract job-creators to our community. This will move our economy forward. Postponing or negating actions that will lead to an expansion of our workforce ensures that we will have a community of slower growth, less opportunity and it limits the overall competitiveness of our community. We need to do these things while, at the same time, ensuring that Bermudians have the access to the quality education and professional development that they need to be competitive in the job market.” Progress on administrative issues, such as work permit processing, was happening, he added, with the Government working with consultants from KPMG to tackle the bottlenecks. Mr Butterfield said later: “The work they’re doing with KPMG will result in more effective and streamlined process. The larger issues around immigration are political issues. We shouldn’t be shy about talking about the issues and I think the national security minister [Wayne Caines] is open to speaking on that kind of dialogue. Immigration’s not an easy issue to address, particularly with the negative impact of immigration policies of the past, particularly on people of my generation.” In his speech, he called for the discourse on the complex problem of healthcare reform to be broadened to include more subject-matter experts, including those in the island’s re/insurance market and expert bodies overseas. “To think that we, in this 21 square miles, will have all the knowledge and all the data to make informed choices on the future of healthcare is ridiculous,” he said. Mr Butterfield added that Mr Burt had told him last week that he had been “in touch with an overseas resource to secure advice and counsel for the development of an integrated healthcare solution for the island”. BermudaFirst regarded this is a move in the right direction, he added. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, had also indicated that her ministry had taken many of the BermudaFirst working-group recommendations under consideration, he said, as had Mr Caines with regard to recommendations on immigration. BermudaFirst intended to repeatedly meet with ministers to ensure the group’s proposals were getting properly considered, Mr Butterfield said. He added: “We’re not doubting promises, but I know that real work can only be determined when you inspect, not expect.” The group intends to start a “road map” phase, to help track progress of recommendations through to implementation. Essential for transformation change was an “adult conversation” throughout the community, Mr Butterfield said. “There’s too much dialogue about little things that won’t produce large results and we have to shift the discourse to focus on truly important things,” he said. Having urged his international business audience to become more pro-active in helping Bermuda achieve the changes it needed, he added: “I think we’ve had too much debate on the sidelines and I think it’s time to put that aside and say, ‘I’m here, I want to make a difference and this is how I propose to do so’.”

paragraphAn investigation into the death of a teenage Bermudian girl in an American treatment centre should be independent, an Opposition MP said yesterday. But the Government would not confirm who would carry out inquiries after the 16-year-old died on Saturday. Scott Pearman, the One Bermuda Alliance shadow legal affairs minister, said: “Our thoughts are with the grieving family and friends of this young woman at this tragic time. It is not right to comment further until we are in possession of all the facts. Obviously, we hope the Government’s investigation is immediate, independent and thorough, but now is not the time for comment on the involvement of the Department of Child and Family Services. We trust those who do comment on this tragedy respect that there are those who are suffering deeply. Their privacy must be respected.” The girl was referred for treatment under a care order from child protection services and was sent to a secure institution in Utah in the American Midwest. Police said yesterday that they were working with authorities in the United States to establish what happened. The Ministry of Legal Affairs refused to answer questions from The Royal Gazette, but said an update would be provided “at the appropriate time”. The Government confirmed on Sunday that an investigation into the sudden death had been launched. It was asked by The Royal Gazette yesterday what that would include, who would carry out inquiries, and if the DCFS had requested the involvement of an independent organisation. Queries also included the name of the institution involved, how long the girl had been there, as well as how often and when she had last been visited by staff from the DCFS. The Government was also asked if there were other Bermudian children at the same institution and, if so, whether they would be removed while investigations were carried out. The legal affairs ministry, which is responsible for the DCFS, said: “At the request of the family and in light of the ongoing investigation, we are requesting that the media be sensitive to the wishes of the family, respect their requested confidentiality and allow an appropriate update to be provided to the public at the appropriate time.” Kim Wilson, the health minister, was asked about the Government’s inquiries at an unrelated press conference yesterday. She said: “The Government is extremely committed to ensuring the safety and the protection of all our citizens, be it seniors and/or children.” Ms Wilson explained that the DCFS had “indicated that an investigation with respect to the horrible circumstances surrounding that matter is being looked into and commenced ASAP”. She added she was “not in a position” to say who would investigate. A police spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service is liaising with the local Department of Child and Family Services, as well as police authorities in Utah in the United States, in an effort to determine the details of this unfortunate incident. However, it is not the practice of the BPS to reveal any information on matters of this nature.” A spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Child and Family Services said it was “unaware of any incident involving a youth over the weekend”. She added that child protection services would become involved in cases where abuse or neglect was suspected. The state’s Department of Human Services added: “When a minor enters our state from another state or country, the sending entity — in this case the Department of Child and Family Services of Bermuda — maintains custody and responsibility for the health and safety of the minor with the programme provider they have selected for placement. While we cannot provide any details about an active investigation, please know that all serious incidents are required to be reported to the Utah Department of Human Services Office of Licensing by any programme licensed in our state. We conduct an investigation of any health and safety violations that may have been contributing factors.” The Royal Gazette revealed last November that only two out of 50 vulnerable Bermudian children sent to overseas institutions as part of the Government’s psycho-educational programme in the previous five years had had legal representation. None of the children sent overseas by the Family Court had legal representation before 2014. The Court of Appeal ruled in June that ministers had broken obligations under the Children Act 1998 for some time because they had failed to provide a funding mechanism for litigation guardians for children involved in court proceedings. The court also found that children had been denied effective access to, and participation and representation in, court proceedings, which had breached their human rights. The Government refused to say if a litigation guardian had been appointed for the 16-year-old before she was referred to the US institution.

paragraphBermuda-based re/insurer Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd has announced that it is placing Acappella Syndicate 2014 into run-off. Acappella is a third-party-capital-supported Lloyd’s syndicate included in Hamilton’s recent acquisition of Pembroke Managing Agency Ltd, now renamed Hamilton Insurance UK Ltd. Acappella will cease writing business with immediate effect, Hamilton said. Pina Albo, chief executive officer of Hamilton, said: “As we completed the capital raising process at Lloyd’s, we concluded that Acappella was unlikely to produce an adequate return on capital. As conscientious stewards of both our and third-party investors’ capital, and with our focus on underwriting profitability, it was determined that the best course of action would be to discontinue the business.” Ms Albo said she anticipated the continued smooth handling of policyholder obligations and, in that regard, Acappella policyholders will find contact information on Hamilton’s website at hamiltongroup.com/london/syndicate-2014/. She said the company was in discussions with employees who are impacted by the decision.

paragraphOpinion. By Sir John Swan, a businessman, Premier of Bermuda between 1982 and 1995, and a former Belco board member and Michael Murphy, a former attorney for American International Group who was the chairman of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers between 1985 and 2005. "More than five months have passed since the announcement of a potential sale of Ascendant to Algonquin Power & Utilities Company. Since that time there has been no effort by the potential Canadian buyer to clearly state what benefits it may offer to the Bermudian ratepayers, the public or the future role it may play in the development of a distribution system in conjunction with the island’s developing local renewable sector. We estimate that 44 to 50 local Bermuda jobs exist in the solar installation and maintenance business. These small businesses have installed about one megawatt of generation capacity in the past year, with the ability to develop exponentially more jobs as a result of the Regulatory Authority’s long-term commitment to have 75 per cent renewables in place by 2035 to satisfy our total electric power needs. The combination of non-transparent events in the thinly traded stock of Ascendant, which lifted the acquisition price by Algonquin to a substantial premium, can lead only to higher prices for Bermuda’s ratepayers. In addition, our research indicates that Algonquin as the potential foreign buyer:

Algonquin may present itself as a renewable-energy company, but does not appear to offer Bermuda the renewable resources it needs to develop that are unique to this small-island country. The recent discussions with home affairs minister Walter Roban, during which interest was expressed by Legal & General Re of Bermuda to explore local investment in renewables, opens a door that could both boost our local solar labour force and finance the renewables Bermuda needs at cost-effective prices without the control of Ascendant changing hands to a foreign-owned company. The parent company of Legal & General Re is a socially responsible British-based insurer that has made more than $1 billion of investments in renewable energy and its technology. This development may increase the interest of others to invest in Bermuda’s renewable-energy future. In addition, the RA recently improved the economics for solar panel owners by approving a significant increase in the return that Belco must pay solar-energy providers for kilowatt hours purchased from them from 17.36 cents to 22.65 cents per kWh. The increase more accurately shares the marginal saving Belco receives by not having to purchase fossil fuel to produce the equivalent amount of power. The new generators Belco has can satisfy the island’s power-generation needs for the transitional years while phasing out the use of fossil fuels. Bermuda has the opportunity to implement its renewables Integrated Resource Plan in response to climate change and become self-sufficient and freed of foreign control of a resource fundamental to its future economic survival. 

paragraphArtex Risk Solutions has completed the purchase of insurance-linked securities specialists Horseshoe Insurance Services Holdings Ltd, the company announced today. Artex said the acquisition significantly strengthens its ILS operations and furthers the company’s goal to become the best service provider to the world’s risk capital. The company said Horseshoe will become the global brand of ILS services for Artex, which will operate as one global team across multiple jurisdictions to better serve its clients and provide consistent delivery of services regardless of the domicile. Horseshoe specializes in providing insurance management, fund administration, advisory and corporate services to ILS and alternative fund markets. Founded by Andre Perez in 2005, Horseshoe is headquartered in Bermuda, with operations in London, Grand Cayman, Sri Lanka and Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr Perez and his associates will continue to operate from their current locations under the direction of Peter Mullen, chief executive officer of Artex, the company said.

paragraphA “superhero” horse that brought joy to people with special needs for decades has died, a charity announced yesterday. Christine Kempe, the executive director of the WindReach outdoor centre for the disabled, said Dusty, who was 28, died on Wednesday “comfortable and showered with affection and gratitude”. She added that Dusty, a 28-year-old Norwegian Fjord horse, was WindReach’s oldest and most famous pony. Jessica Lewis, an international wheelchair sprinter, was among the hundreds helped by Dusty through the Warwick centre’s therapeutic riding programme. Ms Kempe said: “When I first met Jessica, she was getting her start at WindReach — she was very into riding and competing. She couldn’t travel with Dusty, which is why she went the route that she took with her wheelchair. He is a WindReach superhero and the responses coming back have been heartwarming. It’s almost not reality that we don’t have him. We miss him desperately, and it’s nice to know everybody feels the same.” Ms Kempe said one young girl who did not speak rediscovered her voice while riding Dusty and “started singing for the first time. It’s a testament to the magic of Dusty. They all have their own gifts and play their own roles — he is a WindReach superhero.” WindReach, which offers services to people from a wide range of ages and abilities, acquired Dusty in 2000 from the Bermuda Riding for the Disabled programme, which later merged with WindReach. Dusty, whose original name was Sand Dust, was foaled in New Mexico in the US and was brought to Bermuda with fundraising help from the International Women’s Club. Ms Kempe said: “Dusty will be remembered as the pony that brought tears to our eyes as he paved the way for many a rider’s firsts with words, firsts with independent walking, firsts with ribbons of confidence. WindReach has watched riders grow up with Dusty and we marvel how he instinctually created a wonderful comfort for each and every one by just being himself.” Sam Hillier, WindReach’s therapeutic riding manager, cared for Dusty with a team of volunteers. More than 30 people a week found therapy and fun with the horse, but his workload was lessened as he grew older. Ms Kempe said Dusty left behind stable-mates Garry, Lenny and Bo. Donations to WindReach to mark Dusty’s contribution will go only to the therapeutic riding programme. The charity’s HSBC bank account number is 010-857621-001.

Spacer

November 18

paragraphMembers of the Progressive Labour Party were asked to learn from people of all ages as they celebrated Bermudian excellence at the weekend. Wayne Frederick, the president of Howard University in Washington, highlighted the values of both younger and older generations and told a roomful of PLP supporters: “As you go all the way, please take love with you.” He was the keynote speaker at the party’s 2019 gala at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday night. Dr Frederick asked older members of the audience not to be cynical of today’s youth and to “reach out” to younger members of the community. He said: “I’m the father of a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter and I have to tell you, those two young people are two young people that I admire. When people ask me who I would like to have dinner with, dead or alive, when people ask me who do I admire the most, dead or alive, when people ask me who do I get the best advice from, dead or alive, my two children are at the top of that list. They are compassionate, they are concerned about the world around them and they are a force for good.” The 48-year-old surgeon added: “For the young people in the room, we older people wear scars and wounds from battles that we have been in.” He added that the younger PLP leadership should mix with those who have gone before them, as they would be well-advised by their elders. Dr Frederick said: “As you grow your party and as you look for what must happen as you go forward, and what is in the best interests of Bermuda, I hope you will keep this in mind: that the purpose in life must be something that flattens the mountain of challenges that are in front of us.” He added: “What must always underscore what we do is love, a simple thing like love.” The Trinidadian-born academic, who started at Howard aged 16 and earned science and medical degrees by 22, told guests: “We are living in a very complex time, in which technology is bringing us to the fourth industrial revolution. What is different about this revolution is that it is touching every single thing, the physical world, the biological world, it is touching how we interact, it is transforming our digital enterprises.” Dr Frederick added that the “pace of change” was a concern and deserved attention. He said that technology came in many different forms and “for the most part” made lives better. But he explained it was important to prioritise innovations that will benefit many people rather than just advance self interest. Dr Frederick said: “I’ll give you an example, John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon, but it would be some 25 years later before we would put wheels on a suitcase. So when we talk about prioritizing, how many of us will go to the moon?” The gala’s theme of “Bermudian excellence” singled out 26 people including performers, business people and politicians, as well as the national football and cricket teams. David Burt, the Premier and PLP leader, told guests: “It is an absolute honour to take this stage as the leader of this great Progressive Labour Party, a party that has riches over the years, which personify Bermudian excellence.” He said: “It is the great future of technology that is going to change our world and that is going to transform Bermuda. But at the same point in time, as the world is changing, we have to make sure that we are ready to change with it.” Mr Burt also singled out the late Walton Brown, the Pembroke Central PLP MP who died suddenly last month. He said: “He was a gentle giant that fought for the people of this country and personified Bermudian excellence.” The PLP leader added: “We, as a party, have a lot more work to do and I am not blind to the challenges of which we all face.” He added that if members did not “remain united with each other” the party would be unable to accomplish its “ambitious agenda”. The gala included a special tribute to Nelson Bascome, a former PLP health minister, which marked the tenth anniversary of his death, as well as entertainment, including Gombey performances, live music, singing and dancing.

paragraphA 16-year-old girl sent for overseas treatment under a care order from government child protection services has died at a treatment centre in the United States, it was revealed yesterday. It is understood the teenager died at a secure treatment centre in Utah. The Government confirmed last night that an investigation had been launched into the death. Alfred Maybury, the director of the Department of Child and Family Services, put the phone down after he was contacted on his mobile about the sudden death by The Royal Gazette. Later calls to Mr Maybury were unanswered. Tiffanne Thomas, director of Therapeutic Consulting Services, who has acted as a litigation guardian for vulnerable youngsters, said last night: “It is my understanding that this young person was sent to a treatment facility overseas that has been deemed suitable to meet the needs of our most at-risk Bermudian children. “I have previously called for more oversight as it relates to sending our children overseas. For the Government to state on the record that personnel from DCFS visit children every six months is woefully inadequate and it suggests that we are simply sending our vulnerable children to a place that is out of sight and out of mind.” Ms Thomas added that more needed to be done by the DCFS to protect young people in care. She said: “I can say from my experience representing children that not only is this standard inadequate, but it is not entirely factual as it is not the lived experience of the many children whom I have had the privilege of representing. I have had many young people recall being overseas over the course of years without contact from anyone from DCFS. This longstanding practice needs to be evaluated and a more suitable and ethical approach to treatment must be developed. We cannot continue to simply invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a system that is not effectively and independently monitored.” Ms Thomas has campaigned for youngsters to be given proper representation at court hearings to decide their future and if they should be sent abroad for treatment. Efforts to contact several Utah-based facilities, where Bermudian children have been sent for years, and the Utah Department of Child and Family Services were unsuccessful. Ms Thomas said the death of the teenager in “what was supposed to be a secure environment that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, leaves many questions, which should cause a level of outrage in every citizen of this country”. She added: “Now is not the time for politically motivated press releases geared at ensuring that the Government is painted in a favourable light. Rather it is the time for honest and difficult conversations. After all, we are talking about the loss of a life. The life a child who is essentially the Government’s child because this child was under the care of DCFS.” The girl died on Saturday night but it is not yet known where she was being treated. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs said last night: “We regret to inform the public of the unfortunate passing of a child referred to an overseas facility for treatment. We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to the family. Out of respect for the family and the ongoing investigation into this matter, no further information will be provided at this time. We further call on all media outlets to operate in a professional, compassionate and respectful manner during this period of bereavement by the family.” Over the past year many concerns have been raised about the DCFS’s use of overseas facilities, with youngsters alleging they were forced or tricked into attending institutions where they were mistreated. Most of the children sent overseas through the psycho-educational programme since it began before 1999 did not have independent legal representation during court proceedings. The ministry said earlier this year that the department vetted overseas institutions every year and that children had weekly conference calls and were visited every six months by a case worker. It said the psycho-educational programme was for children “who could not be effectively serviced locally or those who had exhausted all local available therapeutic services”. But at least two schools where Bermudian students were sent — the Glen Mills Schools in Pennsylvania and the Family Foundation School in New York — were later closed over allegations of abuse. In June, a spokeswoman from the Ministry of Legal Affairs said: “The Department of Child and Family Service Psycho-Educational Programme provides children and youth with protection, care, and nurturance by licensed therapeutic overseas facilities.” She added: “The department’s first priority is to protect the welfare of children who require intervention and need additional care outside of what is being provided at home. Since the programme started, we can point to numerous positive outcomes. However, we are not at liberty to publicly release information or discuss those cases. It is up to individuals to share their stories.”

paragraphA community centre in Angle Street was renamed the Sammy Wilson Central Zone Community Centre yesterday to honour a Bermudian sportsman who was its custodian for almost 50 years. The centre, a long-time community hub in the north of the city, was given its new name to honour Mr Wilson, a noted tennis player. Tributes were also paid to Clarence Hill, Bermuda’s only Olympic medal-winner, with the facility’s gym being renamed the Clarence Hill Multi-Purpose Gymnasium. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, led the renaming ceremony at a block party on the street. Ms Foggo said: “The late Sammy Wilson was an avid sports enthusiast, tennis player and youth community activist during his time, and anybody from this area will recognize that. Sammy wanted the best for his children and individuals living in these surrounding neighborhoods. He envisioned a place where the community could come together and thrive, so he created the centre. Since its inception, it has become a place where seniors, community groups, entrepreneurs and young people have come together at a venue that is welcoming and supportive.” Ms Foggo also paid tribute to Mr Hill, who she said had helped put Bermuda on the map. “All Bermuda appreciates the success he had in the boxing arena, both locally and internationally. Clarence Hill has the distinction of being the only Bermudian thus far to have won an Olympic medal. As an inductee into our Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame, without a doubt he is considered one of our greatest athletes of any [generation].” Ms Foggo added that the renaming of the facility, known as Pembroke Youth Centre or PYC in the glory days, will also help “history come alive” for young Bermudians who might not have known about the pair of athletes. She said: “They didn’t come up in that era and they don’t know Mr Wilson, but after today it is someone they will know and they will know they are able to come here because of Sammy Wilson. Many of your young people, who are 10 and under, they don’t know who Clarence Hill is. They don’t know that there’s a Bermudian who is still living who actually won an Olympic medal. They will know from today onwards that we have an Olympic champion in our midst.” Ms Foggo also presented Mr Hill with a $10,000 cheque in belated recognition of his Olympic success. The sum matches that awarded to triathlete Flora Duffy and high jumper Clarance “Nicky” Saunders for their gold-medal success at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and 1990 respectively. Among the numerous events put on by the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation was an impromptu sparring session featuring Hill and Adrian Roach, a 17-year-old just starting out on his boxing journey. Dexter Smith, Editor of The Royal Gazette and godson of Mr Wilson, who passed away in 2009, said his godfather had supported many young people through his work at the centre, including himself, and in the community at large. Mr Smith said: “Sammy’s guiding hand at PYC helped to fulfil the needs of many a youngster, male and female alike. These young people were in search of direction or simply required an outlet.” Randy Rochester, another graduate of the PYC and now the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works, said the facility had made a difference in the lives of many young people. Mr Rochester said: “It is a tremendous asset to the community and it has been there for a number of young people over the years who have gone on to be outstanding members of the community. A lot of young men and women have been mentored there; it kept them on the straight and narrow.” He added that Mr Wilson mentored many young people. “He was kind of a father figure for many. He was always there for us.”

paragraphAn organisation set up to help other charities could be forced to shut before Christmas after almost 30 years unless donors come forward, its executive director has warned. Danielle Riviere, the executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy, said the charity needed a firm commitment of cash by December 15 to avoid closure. She added that the “the backbone of the non-profit sector” provided training and education, helped foster collaboration and supported the volunteer spirit — which would be lost to the charity sector if the Hamilton-based centre had to shut down. Ms Riviere said: “The centre’s mission is to build capacity within the non-profit sector so that donor dollars are used more effectively and efficiently. This includes training and education, providing resources like volunteer.bm, advocacy and leadership within the non-profit sector.” She added: “We need staffing — we have two employees, an executive director and a community engagement coordinator, and we need a programme director and a development and business relations director. It comes down to ensuring that we are able to sustainably move forward.” Ms Riviere took over as executive director and Joel Schaefer became board chairman last year and the two carried out a review of the centre’s direction and drew up a “theory of change” approach. She explained the review found that there was “a misconception that giving to the centre takes funds away from other charities.” But she added: “In fact, the opposite is true. What we do is help those organisations be more effective and at little or no cost to them.” Ms Riviere said she had also met interested parties to outline the theory of change approach, which was designed to make sure that charities could deliver their programmes in an efficient way and that donations were used to get the highest rate of return. She explained: “Our Theory of Change looks at three aspects, capacity building, research and data, and advocacy. It will provide the opportunity for non-profit organisations to function more cohesively, it will be an opportunity for them to gain the knowledge they need to look at impact data and it will provide a link between government, non-profits and donors.” Ms Riviere said: “Donors are learning and they are intrigued and interested. From July to October, we did stakeholder sessions with non-profit and donors — we know that they are interested but we are running out of time. What we need right now is really some transformative donors that understand the power of a centralized organisation focused on bringing about change within the non-profit sector that will refocus how we are able to deliver services. It will extend the donor dollar by making it more impactful for the non-profit that donors are already funding.” Mr Schaefer added: “We have so much important work to do for Bermuda, especially in a difficult economy where donor dollars are hard to come by.” Senior figures in the charity sector threw their support behind the organisation. Martha Dismont, the executive director of Family Centre, said: “The Centre on Philanthropy is a vital organisation supporting the strengthening of the charitable sector. “I have heard repeatedly from agencies in the third sector how difficult it has become to raise sufficient funds to operate.” She added: “The centre’s difficulty is indicative of everyone’s challenge in this sector to raise the necessary funds. The centre cannot support agencies if they are not supported to operate.” Kelly Hunt, the executive director of The Coalition for the Protection of Children, said: “The Centre on Philanthropy has been instrumental in terms of training, advocacy and the collaboration of not for profits in Bermuda. The implementation of their theory of change would have a much needed impact on the entire sector, which would be hugely valuable to the community as a whole. From our perspective, their dissolution would be a great loss for the island.” For more information or to make a donation to the Centre on Philanthropy, contact Ms Riviere on 236-7706 or e-mail driviere@centreonphilanthropy.org.

paragraphBermuda-based Bacardi Ltd says it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Stillhouse, a US-based industry disrupter

Stillhouse, bought by Bacardi

Bacardi, the largest privately-held spirits company in the world, made an initial investment in Stillhouse in 2014 and has provided additional funding and strategic support to the company over the years. This acquisition brings the brand fully into the Bacardi portfolio. The brand will be under the leadership of Pete Carr, President of Bacardi North America. Brad Beckerman, Stillhouse’s founder and chief executive officer, will step away from the business to pursue other opportunities. Bacardi said: “We are pleased to have come to a mutual agreement as we have always admired the Stillhouse brand for its innovation, disruption of categories, and marketing ingenuity. We believe in the brand’s growth potential and are excited to continue the pioneering vision that the founder set for Stillhouse.” Mr Beckerman said: “I am proud that my vision for Stillhouse will be taken to the next level by industry leader Bacardi.” Mr Beckerman has dismissed a prior lawsuit he brought against Bacardi and other parties, and no payment, settlement or concession of any kind was made by Bacardi or any other party. The acquisition was consummated on the same terms proposed by Bacardi prior to the commencement of the litigation, Bacardi said. Stillhouse is known for its American-made spirits and stainless steel cans.

paragraphThe Royal Bermuda Yacht Club celebrated 175 years of operation in style yesterday. The event started, fittingly, with a sail past the club’s home on Albouy’s Point. Commodore Jonathan Corless was joined for the occasion by Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, Craig Cannonier, Leader of the Opposition, and John Rankin, the Governor. David Furtado, general manager of the club, said organisers had been concerned that high winds might force them to give up on the planned sail past, but the weather held out just long enough. Mr Furtado said: “It was the perfect way to celebrate this major milestone for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. It was a beautiful day, from the co-operation of the weather, which held long enough for the sail past to the support of the membership. The weather held out just long enough for us to get out on the water, and it all went extremely well.” The RBYC was formally started on November 1, 1844 by a mix of British Army officers and Bermudian sailors. The next year, Prince Albert agreed to become a patron of the club and in 1846 the club received its Royal Charter, making it the 20th royal yacht club in the world and the third oldest outside of the UK. The RBYC moved to its home at Albouy’s Point in 1933.

paragraphChris Estwanik and Gayle Lindsay topped the podium in the Bacardi 8K yesterday, adding to the number of titles they have won during the road race’s 13-year history. Also in the field of 208 finishers was reigning Commonwealth Games triathlon champion Flora Duffy, who had returned home to run with family members. At the sharp end of the race, Estwanik, 39, broke clear of the chasing group within the opening mile and remained untroubled as he stretched his advantage. He finished in 26min 27sec to claim his sixth title in the Bacardi 8K event. He set the course record of 24:46 in 2011.“I wanted to run a steady pace. The last few races I’ve gone out hard and hung on,” he said, referring to sub-16min wins in two 5Ks during the past fortnight. This was one of the longest distances I’ve run in a while. The humidity was high, and it was eight years and 15 pounds ago since I ran two minutes faster on this course. I kept in a rhythm where I felt it was the type of pace I could hold for a ten miler.” He went out hard and then aimed to maintain a 5:15 mile pace. He appreciated the opportunity to test himself at a distance roughly two miles beyond a 5K. “You can fake a 5K, but if you get in to a five miler or longer and you don’t have the base training, it can show.” Spencer Butterfield was runner-up in 28:49, followed by Cody Lima in 29:26. Among the women, Lindsay secured her third win in four years, and joins Victoria Fiddick and Ashley Estwanik as the most prolific women’s winners in the event with three titles apiece. However, before the race she was anticipating a struggle to get on the podium, such was the quality of the competition that included two-times champion Rose-Anna Hoey, who won last year. “I thought Rose-Anna was going to go out hard and strong, so I was almost resigned to getting in behind her and seeing how long I could stay with her,” Lindsay, 31, said. “Our first kilometre was pretty fast, we went through in 3:50. I pulled back a little, then I felt her slow on the hill up from Spanish Point. I knew if I was going to make a break, it had to be at that point.” On Berkeley Road she checked behind and saw eventual runner-up Maddie Durkin not far away. “With her cycling and swimming in the triathlon, she is strong. She’s one to watch out for.” Lindsay, 31, won in 33:19, followed by Durkin in 33:36 and Hoey in 33:55. Among the other runners was Duffy, five-times and reigning Xterra Triathlon world champion, and a two-times ITU Triathlon world champion. Lindsay said: “I saw Flora had signed up and I wondered if she was going to win the whole thing and beat all the men. It would be good to see what she can do if she went all out. It’s nice that she came out and supported the race.” Duffy, 32, treated the event as a fun outing. Her parents Charles and Maria Duffy, and her brother Joel Duffy, were also taking part, as was her husband Dan Hugo. She said: “My plan was never to run fast. All my family ran, and my husband. We were just going to run with my brother Joel, but we took it out [too] fast, and then when he fell off the pace around Berkeley Hill I just decided, okay, maybe I’ll just run a little bit quicker.” Duffy’s parents, brother and her husband finished in a compact group with times that ranged from 41:27 to 41:46, while she finished 33rd overall in 37:03. She said it was “not really fast in my world, but it was nice. It’s nice to be out here racing in the community”. Duffy is currently in her “off-season” and has taken three weeks off from serious training. She said: “From here I will build back into training and hopefully I will have a solid winter, so that I’m all set for next year.” In the 8K walk, the winner was Carol Redahan in 58:48, followed by Joseph Matthew in 59:12, and Louise Charleson in 59:56. Other age division winners in the 8K, among the men were: D Sculley (masters) 31:53; Derek Thomas (senior masters) 35:50; Frederick Steede (over-60) 37:30. Among the women, other age division winners were: Deon Breary (masters) 34:55; Karen Smith (senior masters) 35:04; Maria Duffy (over-60) 41:34.

Spacer

November 17, Sunday

Spacer

November 16

paragraphThe Premier said he would push the Speaker of the House to deliver a written ruling to justify his decision to halt his ministerial statement yesterday on the floor of the House. Mr Burt and Speaker Dennis Lister clashed when Mr Burt tried to get Mr Lister to explain his ruling at a stormy session of the House of Assembly. Mr Lister returned to his seat to deliver the ruling after a 20-minute recess and ordered the Premier to move on to the next orders of business. Mr Burt said after the House rose for lunch that he had met the Speaker before the House convened to give him his prepared statement and that Mr Lister had “requested me to remove content”. He added: “I told the Speaker that rules do not allow for the Speaker to comment on the content of a statement. It cannot be the Speaker’s place to tell a government minister what he can or cannot say in the House. That in itself is censorship of the question of democracy. We have rules which state when things are out of order. There are certain things you are allowed to say in the House and you’re not allowed to say.” Mr Burt said that Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, would ask Mr Lister to explain “on what basis was the ruling made”. He added it put him in “a difficult position for a Speaker to then say that ‘no, you can’t say that’”. Mr Burt said he had “tremendous personal respect for the Speaker”. He added: “When I sit inside this office, I have to be guided by the Bermuda Constitution. When I go into the House of Assembly, I have to be guided by the standing orders.” Mr Burt dismissed repeated Opposition objections to his delivery of the statement as “electioneering”. He said Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, “staged” his challenges to the ministerial statement, which resulted in the Speaker ordering him to leave the House. Mr Burt added that his intent had been to update the House and that his actions were in line with the Constitution. He said: “The ministerial statement contained a number of things — most importantly that now we have a balanced budget, austerity is over and we can begin to return money to the people in form of tax cuts and increased capital spending now that we have a balanced budget. I think that’s important notice for the people of this country.” Several Opposition MPs protested that Mr Burt’s statement had been a “Throne Speech in disguise” and allowed them no right of reply. However, Mr Burt said the One Bermuda Alliance would have had “plenty of time in the Motion to Adjourn” or could “lay down a motion to discuss their particular things”. He added: “The funny thing is, part of that charade, and I will call it a charade by the Opposition, was to prevent the Government from sharing information.” Mr Burt insisted that by not holding a Throne Speech, he had dispensed with “ceremony or distraction” and that the legislature had not been dissolved, or prorogued, in the usual way. He added: “Many countries have different traditions. The Constitution of the country does not require a session of the Legislature to be limited to only eight or nine months. So the session continues. When the legislature is prorogued, that means the legislature does not sit, committees don’t sit, and questions can’t be asked. That’s what prorogation means — it means that the legislature doesn’t exist. We decided just to let the legislature continue to sit. A Throne Speech, which is at the beginning of a particular session, lays out the Government’s plan for that session. Sessions are traditionally ten months. It’s important to recognize that the work needed to continue and we’re continuing the work.” Mr Burt declined to reveal which parts of his ministerial statement had been objected to by Mr Lister. He said: “I don’t want to disclose the full contents of my conversation with the Speaker of the House. Mr Burt added: “I can tell you the statement was submitted in the time required.” He said that MPs met for a parliamentary prayer breakfast, held in the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, before the House session and that Mr Cannonier had given “a prayer for humility and unity”. Mr Burt added: “In that spirit, I practiced humility today because I did not want to engage, and I’m trying my best to remain calm. But the fact is, there are people counting on all 36 of us to work together.”

paragraphThe accountability process for government is “not functioning well”, says the independent auditor of public-sector financial statements. In the Auditor-General’s report for the financial year ended March 31, 2018, Heather Thomas said she was concerned over issues including a lack of supporting documentation and numerous public-sector organisations more than one year behind with their accounts. And she urged the Government to introduce effective long-term plans to deal with deficits and debt, as well as unfunded pension liabilities. Ms Thomas said: “In my view, Government needs to be clear about how its goals and priorities will be affected by fewer resources and needs to ensure that the reduced resources are aligned in a way that maximizes their effectiveness and has the least impact on the quality of its service delivery. Each year of inaction exacerbates the problems. The problems are serious. Government should make getting to grips with the debt and the deficit its highest priority.” The Auditor-General’s report was tabled in the House of Assembly today. Ms Thomas completed an audit of financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2017, which, she said, “present fairly, in all material aspects, the financial position of the Consolidated Fund. However, out of the 64 audits or reviews of annual financial statements of government-controlled and other organisations, funds, parish councils and aided schools’ capitation accounts that we completed during the year, 24 resulted in qualified opinions or disclaimers of opinion.” Explaining the significance of these opinions in layman’s terms, Ms Thomas said: “In a general sense, they mean that all is not well and that, typically, sufficient, appropriate documentary support for amounts recorded in the financial statements is not available. The number of qualified or disclaimed audit opinions, coupled with the fact that as at March 31, 2018 there were 40 organisations falling under my mandate that were at least one year behind with their financial statements (with a total of 133 sets of financial statements in arrears), is of great concern to me and, I suggest, should be to legislators and the people of Bermuda; the accountability process for Government is not functioning well.” In matters of special importance addressed in her report, Ms Thomas said the Government was “making decisions without knowing the combined financial position of all the organisations that make up the Government entity”. She added that there were “no effective, comprehensive long-term plans for reducing the annual and accumulated deficits or the associated debt, the unfunded liabilities of its major pension plans or the size of taxpayer indebtedness, all of which continue to grow unsustainably. Consequently, the resources available to carry out Government programmes effectively are predictably being impacted by increasing debt-servicing costs.” A response from the Ministry of Finance is included in the report. It states that the deficit had fallen every year from 2013/14 and that S&P, the credit rating agency, had affirmed Bermuda’s long-term sovereign credit rating at A+ in April 2018, raising the outlook to positive from stable, citing economic growth and the Government’s “prudent fiscal policy”. Ms Thomas repeated her previous call for the House of Assembly and the public to be provided with analysis to help them better understand the Government’s financial condition at the time when Consolidated Fund statements are published.

paragraphA radar problem in New York brought air traffic chaos to the skies around Bermuda today. Aircraft over parts of the North Atlantic, including Bermuda, were grounded or diverted after a software problem at the New York Federal Aviation Administration centre. Some planes already in the air were ordered to land at the island’s airport until the problem was fixed. The problem started at about 11.30am, but air traffic control services were operational again by about 1.30pm. A spokeswoman for Bermuda airport operators Skyport said: “As flights were unable to take-off or land during the outage, some flights already airborne were diverted to the LF Wade International Airport, including five departing the East Coast that were en route to Barbados and St Martin respectively.” She added: “The five flights that had been diverted to the island were refueled and cleared for departure shortly thereafter, while the regularly scheduled Delta flight 1773 to New York JFK, normally due to depart at 1.00pm, left the Island at 2.05pm. The spokeswoman said: “Regularly scheduled flights to Bermuda from Atlanta, Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston that had been temporarily grounded have been cleared to depart and are now set to arrive later this afternoon.” She added that passengers affected by the delays should contact their airlines for updates on departure and arrival times.

paragraphA bride-to-be and her friends were booted off a flight to the US yesterday as they headed for a pre-wedding party. The four were ordered off the American Airlines flight to Miami by cabin crew and the flight was delayed by about an hour. The group later travelled on another flight through Philadelphia. Sean Moran, a former head of business development at the Bermuda Business Development Agency, who wrote online that he was on the plane, claimed the decision to remove the women from the flight was “an extreme overreaction”. Mr Moran said on Facebook yesterday: “Livid. This beautiful bride-to-be and her wedding party are being kicked off the Bermuda-Miami flight for being too merry as they depart for her bachelorette party. Shame on American Airlines for an extreme overreaction that ruined a once-in-lifetime moment for my friend. I was sitting two rows ahead of them and they were just laughing and talking and taking selfies. These are all professional young women and they were looking forward to a fun weekend — nothing more.” Mr Moran added that he had made a complaint to the airline about the cabin crew’s handling of the situation. He wrote: “A warning would have sufficed. People forget what it was like to be young. No one on board agreed with the severe action taken.” His comment on Facebook sparked more than 200 comments as passengers on the women’s flight backed Mr Moran. One poster wrote: “Sadly, all the passengers around were confused and witnessed there was no reason for the deplaning.” Another added: “No one felt intimidated or bothered by these women.” The poster said it was “a bad call” by an “inexperienced” flight attendant. One comment read: “This is such a shame to hear. I’ve heard the same unfortunate story from a few people who are on this plane sitting near this group of women — who stood up for the group saying they had not caused any problem at all.” But other posters pointed out that many passengers applauded when the group was taken off the flight. One wrote: “There must be more to this story ... I worked for American and I know that they would only be taken off if the flight attendants felt that they were either a danger to the flight and passengers or that they would be too disruptive.” Another said that the 9/11 terror attack on the US in 2001 had “changed the face of air travel for ever, passengers must remember that”. The poster added: “Flight attendants are under a tremendous amount of pressure to maintain passenger safety as laid out by Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Under those regulations, they have the power to deplane any passenger who they believe may jeopardize the safety of other passengers. We may see this as a celebration, but the flight attendants see it as a potential danger to others.” American Airlines said yesterday that it had launched an investigation into the incident. A spokesman said: “We are concerned about the group’s comments and are conducting an investigation into what happened. We have connected with our customers on social media and our customer-relations team will be reaching out to them directly to gather more information about their experience.” Airport operators Skyport declined to comment on the grounds because it was a matter for the airline.

paragraphA wildlife photographer has launched a new book featuring land animals from Bermuda, Australia and Britain. Jessica Riederer’s limited edition book Wild in Bermuda and Beyond On Land features about 200 photographs taken over the past ten years and was designed to promote wildlife conservation. The 45-year-old, from Southampton, said: “The book is educational — it aims to get people discussing wildlife and having open conversations about our environment.” She added that she hoped the book would be adopted as part of the curriculum in Bermudian schools. Ms Riederer said: “There is not a lot of focus on wildlife and conservation in our education system and I really wanted to open up an awareness, awe and appreciation of nature. I would relish the opportunity to have it as part of our curriculum. Only three per cent of our plants are endemic, so with all these invasive species like casuarinas, we have lost a lot of our native species, such as the cicadas and animals that were dependent on our cedar forests. Our remaining endemic wildlife needs all the help that it can and if you care about something, you are more likely to work to preserve it.” The latest volume is her second book of nature photography. She launched her first, Bermuda: Wildlife and Landscape Images, in 2016. Ms Riederer, an animal behaviorist, is now at work on a third book, Wild in Bermuda’s Ocean, which will focus on her underwater work. She said: “I spend a lot of time in the water. I want to show people that you don’t necessarily have to have fancy equipment or to have a boat to get good photos underwater — I just use a little Olympus Tough. Right around the island there are so many different species to encounter. Most were found in shallow water right off shore.” Ms Riederer has worked with animals since 2000, first as an animal behaviorist at the Alice Springs Desert Park in the Australian Outback and as the head of education at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK. Her wildlife prints are also available for purchase from her website. Ms Riederer has printed 100 copies of her book which is on sale at Bookmart in Brown and Co, on Front Street, and costs $45.

paragraphA lecture next week will shed new light on the habits of young sharks in Bermuda waters. Choy Aming, co-founder of the Bermuda Shark Project, will give a talk about fresh information on baby tiger sharks, a study which followed a decade of research into adults of the species. Mr Aming, who gave a talk on his research at New York’s Explorers’ Club last week, has spent the past three years attaching satellite tags to the smaller animals and has discovered that they tend to stay closer to shore than adults. He explained: “I have managed to find a place where the little ones of about three to four feet are common, so I have been working on putting tags on them. Just finding them was tricky but it seems that they are much closer to shore — there is a little area you have to go about two miles off shore to find them. I didn’t know anything about them at all, except the odd time someone caught one, but now I have satellite tags out, I am starting to understand how they move in the reef and how they use it, which is all new. They use the reef more than initially thought — I don’t know what they are eating per se but I am slowly figuring out their hunting strategies. It seems they spend their time in the reef at night and move just off the reef platform in the day.” Mr Aming launched the Bermuda Shark Project in 2005 with the late veterinarian Neil Burnie. They tagged about 50 adult sharks, which led to the discovery of an annual tiger shark migration from the Caribbean to Bermuda. They also worked on tagging Galapagos sharks around the island. Mr Aming launched the latest stage of his research with sponsorship from the Bermuda Zoological Society and private donations. He tagged about five juveniles and said he wanted to tag more in the next few years to collect more information. Mr Aming, a senior aquarist at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, said: “I am mainly working by myself on this now with the help of a few assistants and am putting out one or two tags a year. I am slowly building it up and hope to go for five or ten years before I get enough individuals to make some concrete conclusions. Once you have 15 or 20 tags out, you can really start to understand the patterns.” Mr Aming discussed the Bermuda Shark Project at the Explorers’ Club. He said: “The event was sold out. Love them or hate them, everybody likes to hear about sharks and it went over really well. I got to meet some cool people including one guy who is on the front line of Costa Rican fisheries conservation. He is just getting into satellite tagging and I am interested in the advocacy stuff so we might be able to help each other very nicely.” Mr Aming’s island lecture will be delivered at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo’s Aquarium Hall on November 26 at 7pm. The event is free, but donations, which will be used to support the Junior Volunteer Borneo Expedition, will be accepted.

paragraphA transsexual Bermudian human rights activist who said she had been driven from the island by discrimination has died in Britain, where she spent the last years of her life. Brenda Smith died, aged 85, last month. Ms Smith campaigned for Bermuda’s human rights legislation to include gender identity as well as sexual orientation and took her case to the House of Commons in Britain in 2008. She made a submission on human rights in Bermuda and said she was “an abused septuagenarian male-to-female 23-years post-operative transsexual Bermudian”. In the submission, which is available online, Ms Smith said she spoke out to “respectfully to draw to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s attention the lack of human rights legislation to protect transsexual persons in Bermuda”. She also called for LGBTQ people internationally to put pressure on Bermuda and threaten to boycott the island. The Bermuda Government approved amendments to the Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in 2013. But for Ms Smith, the move did not go far enough. She criticized the Government in an interview with The Royal Gazette for its failure to include gender identity in the legislation. Fellow human rights activist Mark Anderson, a gay rights campaigner and entertainer whose alter ego is Sybil Barrington, Queen of Bermuda, said Ms Smith was a “trailblazer within the gay community”. Mr Anderson added: “The light has gone dim with the news of her passing.” He said Ms Smith had contacted him in 2006, when the Government banned him from taking part in the Bermuda Day Parade as Sybil, to give her support to his cause. Mr Anderson added: “She was one of Bermuda’s first transsexuals, who had to leave Bermuda because of the abuse. She was instrumental in fighting for recognition for transsexuals as a group.” He said he had visited Ms Smith at her home in Bodmin, Cornwall, in April and that Ms Smith commended him for his activism. Mr Anderson added: “In her day, she didn’t have the support that we have today. She told me there were Bermudians who actually took their own lives in her day because there was no outlet — these differences were something you couldn’t talk about.” Ms Smith’s Facebook page said Lana, Ms Smith’s middle name, was an anagram for her birth first name of Alan. Ms Smith’s background was part Danish and she was appointed the Honorary Consul for Denmark when she lived on the island. But she spent much of her life overseas, at first in the United States, and settled in Britain in 1989.

Spacer

November 15

paragraphThe One Bermuda Alliance staged a walkout after leader Craig Cannonier was kicked out of the House of Assembly today. Premier David Burt was also accused of disrespecting Speaker of the House Dennis Lister and denied permission to deliver a ministerial statement in a morning of drama at Veritas Place. Mr Burt had attempted to read a speech entitled “Throne Speech 2018 and Beyond” in which he laid out the Progressive Labour Party’s future plans. The move enraged the Opposition, which claimed that the Premier’s decision to cancel the Throne Speech had left them without a mechanism for a reply. OBA members repeatedly interrupted Mr Burt, claiming he was “trampling on democracy” and dubbing his statement a “Throne Speech in disguise”. Mr Lister ordered Mr Cannonier out of the room before the rest of the OBA followed him out in protest. The Speaker then demanded Mr Burt hand over a copy of his speech so that he could examine it during a recess. Mr Lister ruled that the speech could not continue. He told the House: “Premier, based on the exchange we had last night with regards to items I asked to be removed and are still not, I am ruling we will not. I expected that to have been respected. It was not respected. We are moving on.” Mr Burt tried repeatedly to cut in with a point of order but an increasingly heated Mr Lister refused to allow it. The Speaker continued to overrule interruptions as Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, attempted to rise on a point of information. The Premier’s ministerial statement had the subtitled: “Charting a path for the future while challenging the status quo to build a Bermuda that works for everyone.” He had previously delivered sections of it at a PLP delegates conference last month after announcing there would be no Throne Speech this year. The statement, which was released in full by the Premier’s spokeswoman this afternoon, noted that last year’s Throne Speech contained many pledges which could not be completed in ten months, “so it made sense for the government to skip the ceremony while we kept working”. Mr Burt said: “It is unfortunate that a change such as this has been compared to an erosion of our democracy when, in fact, the opposite is the case.” The section of the statement which Mr Burt did not read included a progress report on the PLP’s election promises, and a call to “challenge the status quo” to create a Bermuda that works for everyone. Mr Cannonier held a press conference this afternoon and said the Premier had shown “disdain for the people of Bermuda”. The Opposition leader said: “Mr Burt has repeatedly shown his true colours which border on those of a wannabe dictator. His fear of being open to the sunshine of public scrutiny is palpable in everything he does.” Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette of the OBA’s action: “It was clearly staged. Everyone noticed that. They had a plan. The Opposition leader probably had a plan to get kicked out to draw attention. This is electioneering. That’s fine. They’re welcome to do that.” PLP backbencher Michael Scott told The Royal Gazette the Speaker’s actions were “a complete relinquishing of management of the ministerial statements”. Mr Scott said of Mr Burt’s statement: “To have it ambushed was a travesty.” OBA MP Ben Smith argued that his party’s “hand was forced”. The shadow sports minister said: “The only thing we could do was object to what was being done, because he was doing something that was against democracy.” He added: “We have no other way to actually allow for the Opposition voice to be heard. Our hand was forced.”

paragraphA government senator said last night he hoped to protect the most vulnerable people in Bermuda if he is elected as an MP next week. Jason Hayward, of the Progressive Labour Party, said he felt “sick” that some people had no healthcare access due to the high cost of insurance. He will stand in the Pembroke Central by-election next Thursday and said he hoped to carry on the legacy of the late Walton Brown, whose sudden death caused the Constituency 17 contest. Mr Hayward added: “We need to ensure that we have the proper social policies in place that will protect our most vulnerable, our children, our seniors and our population with disabilities. Sustainable economic growth and development is also something that we must actively pursue. Our economy must grow in a way that facilitates room for new business development and increased employment opportunities. We must increase the economic pie and the distribution of the pie must be more equitable in our society. We can achieve this through ensuring our population is adequately prepared for the current and future world of work, embracing technology and innovation, breaking down barriers that hinder business development and entrepreneurship and having sensible immigration policies that balance the needs of Bermuda’s labour force and the best interests of the Bermudian people.” The senator, who is president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, said a “major issue” that affected people all over the island was the high cost of living. He added: “Namely the cost of healthcare, housing and food. I am committed to work with my colleagues to ensure that we are putting policies in place that combat the high cost of living. It makes me sick to know that people don’t have access to healthcare because of affordability and I am deeply concerned when Bermudians feel they need to leave their island home because other jurisdictions provide more social security, opportunity and are more affordable.” Mr Hayward said he had lived in the parish for most of his life and spent much of his childhood “roaming Pembroke Central” and had gone to West Pembroke Primary School and the Berkeley Institute. He played junior football and cricket at the Western Stars Sports Club and is a member of the North Village Community Club, as well as the Young Men’s Social Club. Mr Hayward, who was unable to meet The Royal Gazette in person because he was recovering from surgery, and provided responses by e-mail, said: “I deeply admired Walton,; he had a wonderful mind and huge heart. He deeply cared about the people of this country. I share his passion for workers’ rights, I stood with him on the hill fighting against the One Bermuda Alliance’s harmful immigration policies and I share his vision of sovereign Bermuda. I am committed to carrying on his legacy of public service.” Mr Hayward said that history had shown that the PLP tended to do well in the constituency. However, he said: “One must not take the electorate for granted. The people of C17 will go to the polls and vote for who they believe will best represent their interest. And at this point I believe that my track record of service has demonstrated that I deeply care for my community and my country, and that I have the ability to add value and make change. While I have nothing negative to say about my opponent and support young persons pursuing their ambitions, the reality is the OBA candidate has very little chance to bring about the change required to progress the lives of the Bermudian people in a feeble opposition party.” Mr Hayward added that the transition from the Senate to the House of Assembly was “seemingly a natural path. I do recognize that the styles of debate differ in the Upper and Lower Houses. However, I am clear that my role as an MP is to ensure that I represent the best interest of those who have entrusted me with their confidence. I aim to be a strong voice in the House, one that is measured, reasonable and unwavering on items that advance the socio-economic position of the people of this beloved country.”

paragraphAn Opposition senator vowed to be the change that he believes voters want as he campaigned to become the island’s newest MP. Dwayne Robinson, of the One Bermuda Alliance, admitted he faced an “uphill battle” to win the Pembroke Central by-election next Thursday. However, he committed to providing representation for the people of Constituency 17 if he is voted in next week. The by-election was called after the sudden death of sitting Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown last month. Mr Brown won against former OBA candidate Andrew Simons by just six votes in 2012, but won a massive majority of 257 with 540 votes to 283 in 2017 in a PLP General Election landside, which appeared to make it a safe seat for the ruling party. Mr Robinson said: “It was always an uphill battle. When I came in, you have to be truthful and honest and say it is considered that, but knocking on the doors, you find that folks are more receptive to the person, and receptive to change, and they just want to be represented. If you can present yourself as a viable option to represent them the best, then I’m sure that they’re going to vote that way.” Mr Robinson said he hoped to emulate some of Mr Brown’s characteristics if elected. He added: “I never really got the chance to know him that well, as he was in the other party and I was very new, but I will say, from what I’ve heard, that he was a very impartial person as far as reaching across both aisles and I think that’s something that the country needs, to have less partisanship and more bipartisanship.” Mr Robinson was appointed to the Senate last year and said that a move to the House of Assembly would be “a matter of transitioning from seeing legislation in a finished product to being able to actually weigh in on it while it’s being crafted”. He said he planned to “connect with the people” of Constituency 17 if he won and that he hoped his arguments were “polished enough and convincing enough” to be supported by voters. Mr Robinson added: “From my canvassing experience ... a lot of people have repeatedly said that they feel like politicians are not looking out for them any more. So my main goal, if anything, is to showcase that I am looking out for people and to stay relevant and available and visible in that constituency and to continue to bring my arguments and stances directly to the people.” He agreed it seemed that voters feared politicians were power hungry or looked after their own interests and it was up to members of the legislature to shape their own reputations. Mr Robinson added: “I personally made it my goal to be the change I want to see. I do believe that folks are very disconnected from politics right now. The onus is not only on the voter to be an engaged voter, but also on us to give them something to vote for.” Mr Robinson added that he had been given “a really good reception” while canvassing. He said: “I think folks are looking for change; they’re tired of seeing the same old, same old and I know that they want a politician that is going to deliver results. I think that presenting myself as the new politician that’s going to give them those results has seen me being received very well.” Mr Robinson added that his priorities, if elected, included education reform to make sure that young people are equipped to take up the jobs available in Bermuda, such as in trades and the finance or reinsurance sectors. At Court Street salon and barbershop Hair Am I, where the senator is a regular customer, staff showed their support. Akilia Darrell, the owner, said: “I feel like he’s a humble person, he has been getting his hair cut at my salon for a while now. I didn’t even know he was in politics. I think going in humble definitely gives you an insight and a clean slate of where you’re going to begin and what you’re going to get done, and not focused on the whole image of ‘I’m a politician’.”

paragraphBermuda’s top police officer has said sex between teachers or other people in positions of trust and children in their care should be a crime, even if the young person is over the age of consent. Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley added outlawing all such relationships, including where they involved 16 or 17-year-olds, was “appropriate, because it’s just drawing the exact line”. He said: “It’s what happens internationally. This is pretty common ground.” Mr Corbishley was speaking after The Royal Gazette highlighted the case of Christine DaCosta, now 38, who was groomed for sex by her teacher Robert DiGiacomo while she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl at Mount Saint Agnes Academy. Police told her in 1999 and again more recently that, because she was over 16, the age of consent for sex, no offence had been committed. Ms DaCosta has now launched a campaign to make it a criminal offence for teachers and other people in positions of trust or authority to have sexual contact with youngsters under the age of 18. She was backed by child sex abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, as well as the Inter-Agency Committee on Children and Bishop Wes Spiewak, the head of the Catholic Church in Bermuda. Mr Corbishley did not discuss Ms DaCosta’s case, but said: “Sometimes you need ... cases that shine the light on where the gaps are and, whilst there is this regret and upset in terms of what’s happened, it’s an opportunity to say ‘how can we stop something like this happening again?’ or making it more difficult to happen again.” He explained that in Britain and other countries “if you are a teacher and this is a student, you commit a specified criminal offence”. Mr Corbishley added, “or if you are a scout leader and it’s a scout. I think that’s appropriate, because it’s just drawing the exact line. For me, and even as a father, I would want my kids to go to an environment where it was absolutely clear. Abuse is ... the use of power against somebody else. And the scary thing is, to some degree, legitimizing it to the point where the victims don’t realise they are being abused. Which is the reason why you need those things in place that make it absolutely clear that you are not relying on a victim saying that ‘I consented’ or ‘I didn’t consent’ or ‘I wasn’t aware’. It’s just simply: you can’t do that.” The Criminal Code only makes it an offence for a person in a position of trust or authority to sexually exploit a young person if they are under 16. And, unlike Britain, schools, camps, sports clubs and other places used by minors are not required to carry out police background checks on prospective employees. The Ministry of Education said last week it was “within best practice of the Department of Education to ensure that police vetting takes place during the recruitment of any teacher” and that new teachers in the public school system had to do Scars training before they started work. Private schools said they carried out police checks on potential staff members. Mr Corbishley said the ideal was to move away from a voluntary system to making checks a legal requirement. He added: “If you take any form of sexual abuse, there is always a power dynamic, whether it be in a school, youth club or wherever. This is where the discovery of historical offences is becoming more significant. I would support anything that increases the way in which we look after children and young people and protect them from abuse. And I think it’s always healthy to review and understand what legislation exists in Bermuda and what opportunities and lessons learnt are there from other parts of the world.” Mr Corbishley said he would support a review of Bermuda’s child protection laws so any gaps could be identified. He added the police could play a vital role as “significant players in the preventative agenda” as well as the primary investigators in criminal cases. Mr Corbishley said: “The most important thing is Bermuda giving a commitment that the interests of children are really important and I think there is a significant need for primary legislation to bring together lots and lots of different areas but, equally, to identify the gaps on issues. Some of that is around grooming. Some of that is around persons in positions of responsibility. Some of it is around how offenders are managed, whether it be in the community or elsewhere. Some of it is in regard to the recovery of evidence in certain environments. But we need to get to a point where we have a root and branch review. Not in a critical way, but a root and branch review of where we are, where do we need to be and where are those gaps. The BPS are highly supportive of that because, at the end of the day, what it will achieve is in the interests of children. The BPS has worked with the UK’s National Crime Agency to train officers in Bermuda in how to deal with vulnerable victims. Quite often, vulnerable victims are the most important, because occasionally they don’t have a voice at all, because of the situation they are in or maybe they don’t even realise they are victims, particularly if they are suffering abuse. We’ve created a new vulnerable persons investigation unit and we’ve also developed our child exploitation online team. There’s a considerable shift in the capability of the BPS to be able to do this. We are also developing really good and strong partnerships with other agencies and we are sharing information a lot more. However, it’s still at the absence of some areas of legislation which are really important and some measures that ... we need to improve around safeguarding.” The police’s Vulnerable Persons Unit is at 247-1678.

paragraphThe principal of a middle school is to resign next month, The Royal Gazette can reveal. Garita Coddington said that her last day as principal of Clearwater Middle School in St David’s would be December 31. News of the resignation came in a letter written by Ms Coddington to parents of Clearwater pupils on Wednesday. Ms Coddington added: “Until such time, I will continue to work with the school’s leaders and staff to ensure that they are in the best possible position to maintain the smooth and efficient day-to-day operations of the school.” She said that her resignation was made with “gratitude and mixed emotions”. Ms Coddington added: “After 20 years of dedicated service in the Bermuda public school system as a change agent, educator, role model, advocate and principal, I have decided to serve my fellow Bermudians in a different capacity.” She said that it had been “an honour and privilege” to have been an educator. Ms Coddington said that she was “most proud of the positive and trusting relationships” that she had forged with pupils, teachers, parents and the public. Ms Coddington was reassigned to Clearwater after TN Tatem Middle School, in Warwick, where she also served as principal, was closed due to mould and other health and safety issues last year. She said that she had enjoyed being a part of Clearwater school. Ms Coddington added: “It has been an honour to work with the dedicated colleagues who work hard to put the needs of students at the forefront. My short time as your leader has been memorable. You embraced me as the incoming leader and have been very supportive. For this, I am so grateful.” Ms Coddington did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. A spokeswoman for the education department said officials were “not aware that Ms Coddington planned to announce her resignation to students, parents and staff” on Wednesday. She added: “The department’s protocol for handling matters of this kind is to finalize a proper roll-out plan for a replacement and include that information in an official announcement emanating from the office of the Commissioner of Education. The department assures students, parents and staff that officers in the Department of Education are working diligently to have a principal in place for January 2020.”

paragraphPolaris Holding Company Ltd has reported a halving of its six-month profit to $493,000, or 40 cents per share, at the end of September. The company is the parent of Stevedoring Services Ltd, and also East End Asphalt, which it acquired in March. For the same six-month period last year, Polaris made a profit of $1.01 million, or 82 cents per share. In a statement, the company said: “On March 14, Polaris acquired a faltering East End Asphalt Company Ltd and over the past six months has rehabilitated the asphalt manufacturing and paving company, returning the business to its former glory as the island’s leading paving operator. “For East End Asphalt, the past two quarters have seen major capital investment and staffing realignment, driven by Polaris’ CEO Warren Jones, in a repeat of the skilful turnaround of Stevedoring Services’ fortunes when he was hired by the group in October 2013.” It said Travis Gilbert was appointed general manager of East End Asphalt last month, “with the asphalt company persuasively marketing to businesses and residential customers through a strategic pricing campaign and improved level of quality and care”. The company said its core business, Stevedoring Services, continues to benefit “from million-dollar heavy equipment purchases, telecommunication changes, training, and technological innovations introduced over the past few years, shifts which have transformed the business, as lauded by importers, the freight lines, customers, and its union and staff”. It added: “With 53 years of service under its belt, Stevedoring Services has never been in a better place. At the end of quarter two, Stevedoring Services was invited by the Corporation of Hamilton, through a request for proposal process, to tender for the continued facilitation of the Port of Hamilton’s Cargo Dock Area. A positive, progressive, Bermuda company, Polaris looks forward to March 2020 when the concessionaire will be announced. Stevedoring Services seeks to continue its planned evolution as it services the Bermuda public.” Polaris also wholly owns and operates Mill Reach Holding Company Ltd, which holds real estate located at Mill Reach Lane, Pembroke, and Equipment Sales and Rentals Ltd, which owns and leases heavy operating machinery and equipment to Stevedoring Services Ltd.

paragraphA national football team captain alleged to have assaulted a police officer at a sports ground earlier this year has had the charge thrown out of court, it was revealed yesterday. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, confirmed that “the Crown offered no evidence in the case” against Cecoy Robinson on October 30. Mr Mussenden added: “The information was dismissed and the defendant was discharged.” Mr Robinson, 32, from Hamilton Parish, denied the charge when he appeared at Magistrates’ Court on April 22.It was alleged that the assault had happened two days earlier as police carried out a liquor-licence check at the Bermuda Athletic Association in Pembroke. Mr Robinson is the captain of PHC Zebras. Bermuda will play a friendly match today against Major League Soccer side DC United in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, and play Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League in Toluca, Mexico, on Tuesday.

paragraphFormer Miss World Gina Swainson has welcomed a proposal for a commemoration of her historic triumph 40 years ago today with a street named after her in her childhood home of St George’s. Ms Swainson said last night she would be “extremely honoured” if the “lovely idea” of a permanent reminder of her triumph was created. She added: “Winning the crown 40 years ago was a special moment in my life and I have always appreciated the love and support I received from all Bermudians. Thank you for remembering.” Ms Swainson’s older sister, Donna Swainson, said the night the 21-year-old was crowned Miss World in the Royal Albert Hall, London, was “unbelievable” and that Wellington Back Road should be renamed to mark the event. “They should name the street after her. They should call Wellington Hill Gina Swainson Hill.” Donna said the area was a quiet, tight-knit neighborhood where “all the Swainsons lived — uncles, grandparents, everybody”. She added her sister’s Miss World win catapulted Bermuda into the global spotlight, and also put their neighborhood “on the map”. Donna said: “All kinds of cousins and relatives came out of the woodwork. The whole neighborhood was like a big party. Everybody was out in the street. They were so proud of Gina. It was a place where everyone looked after each other.” However, Donna admitted she was living with their brother, John, in San Diego on the big night and did not even know that her little sister had entered the contest. Their mother, Winifred, rang them with the news that Gina had won. Donna said: “People were calling; all my friends who had been watching it. I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic. I flew back home when they had the parade for her. It was wonderful.” Donna added Gina was “the baby” to her, her brother and their sister Katherine. She said: “The one thing I always remember was that, because she was the baby, I had to take her everywhere with me. I couldn’t stand it.” Donna added: “She remembers I used to make her walk in the middle of the road when we were coming home.” It had already been a big year for Gina, who had been runner-up in the Miss Universe contest earlier in 1979. The former Miss World is a now a counsellor for at-risk young people and lives in Surrey, in the UK, with husband Peter Jovetic. But Gina visited the island over the summer, and her older sister said she was “doing wonderfully”. Darlene Livingston, who went on to become a top name in Bermudian broadcasting, played dolls on Wellington Back Road with the Swainson sisters, and lived nearby. Ms Livingston said: “Gina is younger than I am. We were all close. Our families were about five houses apart.” She added: “I think a renaming is a great idea. Gina did something that had never, ever, ever been done before. It was huge; one of the proudest moment’s in the country’s history. We were thrilled. Gina was so gracious and beautiful, and so deserving. She was exactly the right choice for the crown.” A massive crowd packed Front Street for a parade thrown in Gina’s honour and a half-day holiday was declared. A commemorative postage stamp was issued in 1980. Ms Livingston said: “We were so proud of the fact that Gina had been born and bred in St George’s. It wasn’t just St George’s. It was the whole country, but we were especially proud and prouder that she came from Wellington Hill.” Ms Livingston said she had been pleased to meet her old friend over the summer. She said: “She’s just as lovely and engaging as ever, very down to earth, very much a family person. She’s a real sweetheart."

paragraphWhen Bermuda’s three-day running festival goes under starter’s order in January, The Royal Gazette’s involvement will go beyond providing reports on the road races. Because The Royal Gazette Ltd has been named as the title sponsor for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. The event is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its roots, and has a new name and four new sponsors. The weekend features races over one mile, 10K, half-marathon and marathon. Previously known as the Bermuda Marathon Weekend, and before that the Bermuda International Race Weekend, it is now called The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge. “The Royal Gazette is proud to join as the title sponsor of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge,” said Jonathan Howes, chief executive officer of Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of The Royal Gazette. “This is a significant annual event on the island’s sporting calendar and we are excited that our title sponsorship will be supporting the numerous local runners, fans, volunteers and visitors to our islands. The Bermuda Triangle Challenge is an exceptional three-day running event and we are certain that our islands and our visitors will be thrilled with the competition and the camaraderie of the 2020 event.” Butterfield Bank is title sponsor of the Front Street Mile races, and has reinstated a $10,000 bonus for the first person to run a sub four-minute mile on the course. The fastest time to date is 4min 2.6sec by Kenya’s Leonard Mucheru, which he achieved in 2002. BF&M is the title sponsor of the 10K walk and run, while PwC is the title sponsor of the half-marathon and marathon. The event started in 1975 when seven competitors lined up for Bermuda’s first international marathon. A 10K race was added in 1978, with mile races introduced in 1989, and then the half-marathon in 1993. A multi-distance race series that allowed competitors to tackle the mile, 10K and then either the half-marathon or marathon, was created in 2008. It is known as the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and lends its name to the new overarching title for the weekend, The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Freddie Evans, chairman of the event, said: “We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to name The Royal Gazette Ltd as our title sponsor of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Because of their generosity, our runners, residents and our visitors will all benefit substantially through a greatly improved three-day running weekend. We sincerely applaud The Royal Gazette’s commitment to this year’s event and are thrilled to welcome them as our title sponsor.” In past years, the event has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport, including former Olympic marathon champions Joan Benoit Samuelson and Frank Shorter, and former world marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuru. Other big-name competitors have included Geoff Smith, Ron Hill, Kathrine Switzer and former world record-holders Steve Cram and Steve Jones. Norway’s Grete Waitz, a nine-times champion in the New York City Marathon and the inaugural women’s world marathon champion, loved taking part in the Bermuda 10K and won the women’s title eight times during the 1980s. Mr Evans said: “Our ultimate goal with the Bermuda Triangle Challenge is to move it from being a good event to a world-class event that every runner wants to have on their competition calendar. With the benefit of The Royal Gazette and our other new sponsors and our management team, we are repositioning and building on the past successes. This is a long-term vision which our new affiliation with the Bermuda Tourism Authority will allow us to build this event.” The tourism authority has designated it as one of its signature events. Olympian Hazel Clark, sports marketing director at the BTA, said: “The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge is an opportunity for Bermuda to showcase its rich running history, energetic local fans, beautiful landscape and ability to deliver world-class sporting events. In 2020, the focus will be on further developing local involvement, enhancing participant experience and the development of our elite section ensuring the event continues to grow and thrive”. Guest speaker at January’s event will be Suzy Favor Hamilton. She is a three-times Olympian, and on the all-time rankings is the fifth-fastest American woman at 1,500m, having run 3:57.4 in 2000, the same year she was named USA Track & Field’s Female Distance Runner of the Year. After her running career, she stepped forward to share her story about her experiences with bipolar disorder, as well as her struggles with life during and after running. Her autobiography Fast Girl — A Life Spent Running from Madness was published in 2015 and became a New York Times bestseller. Ms Favor Hamilton will speak at the pasta dinner, presented by Chubb, at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on January 18. Register for The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge events at www.bermudaraceweekend.com.

Spacer

November 14

The Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, the Hon. Lovitta Foggo, JP, MP, is reminding the community, particularly local businesses that the Employment (Maternity Leave Extension and Paternity Leave) Amendment Act takes effect January 1, 2020. And Minister Foggo is encouraging local businesses to ensure that their organizations are compliant with the new legislative amendments. Businesses should note that the Act essentially:

Following the passage of the legislation in September Minister Foggo said, “The provision of maternity and paternity leave is a key element in enabling parents to forge bonds with their babies. While maternity leave has become standard in most countries around the world and in Bermuda, the provision of paternity leave globally has been neglected. Paternity leave helps foster better child relationships. We want to ensure fairness and equity. So, essentially, this Act amends the Employment Act 2000 to provide for vacation leave after the first six months of continuous employment, the extension of maternity leave and the provision of paternity leave. As the Minister responsible for labour, I was pleased to be able to guide this legislation through passage in the House of Assembly. I encourage all of our businesses to familiarize themselves with the new legislation so that they can ensure a fair and equitable workplace for all.”

paragraphThe United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Robert Wood Johnson, will speak on a panel at the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s Executive Forum in London this month. He will be joined on the panel by Sir Nicholas Soames, former UK defence minister and former Conservative Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, and Bermuda's Premier David Burt.  Fiona Luck, non-executive on the Lloyd’s of London Franchise Board and a veteran of Bermuda’s re/insurance industry, will act as moderator. The economic relationship between Bermuda, the US and the UK will be the theme of the discussion and the panellists will explore the implications of global trends, address key challenges from Brexit to US tax reform, and shed light on new opportunities to further develop economic ties. Under the theme “Navigating disruption for positive change”, the Bermuda Executive Forum London takes place on November 26. It will bring together government officials, regulators and industry leaders for a full-day agenda of panel discussions and keynotes across a range of sectors including re/insurance, asset management, family offices, financial services and technology. A networking reception will close the event in the evening. Roland Andy Burrows, chief executive officer of the BDA, said: “We look forward to welcoming Ambassador Johnson and Sir Nicholas Soames to our forum in London. Their participation, alongside our Premier, will ensure a dynamic and informative start to the day. The US and the UK are highly valued Bermuda partners and we have long enjoyed robust, mutually beneficial relationships that continue to thrive in many areas. As world-leading and innovative financial centres there’s clearly a lot of common ground for collaboration where we can work together to grow business and investment for the benefit of all.” Ambassador Johnson was nominated by US President Donald Trump on June 22, 2017. He made his first official visit to Bermuda in July this year when he spoke about the strength and long-term nature of Bermuda’s relationship with the US and expressed his admiration for the island’s unique capabilities and world-class expertise. A prominent businessman and philanthropist, Ambassador Johnson served for more than 30 years as the chairman and CEO of The Johnson Company, a private asset management firm founded in 1978, and as chairman and CEO of the New York Jets NFL team and New York Jets Foundation. He is the founding chairman of the Lupus Research Alliance and worked for many years with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Sir Nicholas, former Conservative Party grandee and grandson of the great wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, was the UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces from 1994-1997. Having previously worked as a stockbroker and on the staff of a US senator in Washington DC, he has specialist knowledge in the fields of Europe, defence, international affairs, aviation and trade and industry. He also has a longstanding involvement in the insurance and reinsurance business as a senior adviser to Marsh, the brokerage and risk management adviser. In March this year, Sir Nicholas met with Mr Burt as part of a wider Bermuda Government trip to the UK and Brussels. Mr Burrows added: “Against a backdrop of global economic and digital disruption, our event provides a platform for an open dialogue on how best to embrace change to bring about positive transformations and future growth. It is an ideal opportunity to directly engage with partners in the UK market, to share knowledge and forge new connections with prospective businesses and investors who would benefit from Bermuda’s global connectivity combined with its quality, stability and ease of doing business.” The BDA forum builds on a two-day event held in London last year opened by the Premier with more than 50 experts as speakers and panellists. The event attracted close to 200 delegates encompassing a wide range of industries, and featured the UK’s Chris Holmes, Lord of Richmond MBE, and Brian Duperreault, the Bermudian CEO of American International Group.

paragraphRecently, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, the Hon. Lovitta Foggo, JP, MP, met with local film maker Milton Raposo to discuss his upcoming documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs supported the project by providing a grant to assist with the film, which depicts a comprehensive account of Bermuda’s Portuguese heritage. Mr. Raposo, who has been working in video and film production since 2004, has produced a wide range of short creative films. FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda is the latest film to be created entirely by Mr. Raposo. As Mr. Raposo notes, it’s a linear, down through the ages historical documentary that tells the story of Bermuda’s Portuguese population with personal photos and a wide range of interviews from the community. The first screening on November 27th sold out in four days and a second screening has been added for November 30th at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Minister Foggo who met with Mr. Raposo at the Ministry Offices said, “I was pleased to sit down and have a chat with Milton about his upcoming documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda. Projects like Mr. Raposo’s serve as an undeniable reminder of the important and countless contributions that the Portuguese community have made in Bermuda. This compelling and insightful film is an important part of Bermuda’s story. He’s an incredibly talented visual artist and I am encouraging everyone to go and see this film.” Mr. Raposo added, “I’m greatly looking forward to unveiling this film in front of the Portuguese-Bermudian community and the Bermuda public at large. I hope it is as enlightening to everyone who watches as much as it was for me while working on it. I want to thank the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and, in particular, Acting Director Dr. Kim Dismont-Robinson for helping me get this over the finish line.”

paragraphJazz icon Dianne Reeves will be among the star performers at next year’s Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts. The Grammy Award-winning American singer will be the featured international artist at the event, which will run from January 17 to March 14. American a cappella group Naturally 7, Zimbabwean a cappella group Nobuntu and Portuguese fado singer Ana Moura will also perform at the festival. Bermudian artists scheduled to appear include Joy T. Barnum, Mohawk Radio Unplugged, featuring Mia Chambray and James Gregory, the Tony Bari Trio and John Woolridge. Romeo and Juliet will be the Bermuda Festival’s Shakespeare on the Rock presentation. The ballet based on the Shakespeare play will also be performed by Ballet Cymru, from Wales, and feature Bermudian dancer Krystal Lowe in a lead role. The festival, in its 45th year, will have the theme of “Come Together” and was designed to build bridges in the community through the performing arts. David Skinner, the festival chairman, said: “We live in a world that can, at times, feel increasingly polarized and the power of the arts to bridge gaps between us is unique. The price of admission gets you in the door, the experiences and feelings you take home with you are free. It will be well worth it.” The full line-up of the 2020 festival can be found at bermudafestival.org and in print at Visitors’ Centres, post offices and stores across the island. Tickets can be bought online at ptix.bm or by phone on 278-1511.

paragraphBermuda could become the world’s leading global centre for life reinsurance, an industry leader told attendees at the PwC Insurance Summit. Frank (Chip) Gillis, chairman, Athene Life Re, said: “We’ve gone from a handful of companies to more than 48 companies — that’s dramatic. There’s a greater number of companies here and there’s a greater acceptance in the broader market. I think because of the breadth of the market that has developed here, I think it’s an interesting place for new entrants as well as more seasoned companies. Bermuda has been number one in catastrophe cover, and ILS and captives for a while. And I think we are quickly developing into being number one in our sector.” With assets of $500 billion, attendees heard that the life reinsurance sector has become Bermuda’s largest insurance sector by assets, with panellists saying that more growth is expected in the sector over the coming year. Moderating a session on life reinsurance, Colm Homan, partner, insurance, PwC Bermuda, said that in the last few years “Bermuda has seen a number of new life companies establish quickly, backed by private equity, hedge funds, and wealthy private investors. A key takeaway from the panel was the very impressive growth the sector has demonstrated over the last five years and the optimism that our panellists had that this growth is going to continue. Despite the fact that investment returns are challenged at the moment, they had a lot of optimism that there is untapped potential in the market, in particular in the pensions area, and that this is going to provide an avenue for significant growth for Bermuda going forward. Another highlight was the confidence our panelists had that the combination of intellectual property and talent that’s available on the island and the pragmatic approach that the Bermuda Monetary Authority applies as regulator makes Bermuda the ideal incubator for some of the innovation that they are looking to bring to market and for the placement of new significant blocks of business on the island.” Marc-André Giguère, president and chief executive officer, Munich Re, US (life and health), said the sector could be poised to grow even faster than it has been, while Thomas Olunloyo, CEO, Legal & General Re, praised the “tremendous innovation” on the island. Robyn Wyatt, chief financial officer, Resolution Life, said: “There is absolutely just an enormous amount of money that is looking to be put to work somewhere. For life reinsurance, while the returns are not going to be super-enhanced, they are steady — they’re a steady cash flow.”

paragraphA decision to allow a quarry operation near a Bermuda National Trust reserve will be appealed, the charity said yesterday. A spokeswoman for the BNT said that the organisation had submitted an objection to the Development Applications Board over the plan for Judkin Lane in Hamilton Parish, which borders a Trust property and is near the Mangrove Lake nature reserve, but had been overruled. She added: “We do not believe that, given the scale of the development being sought and the very real potential for detrimental impacts in such a sensitive area, that the appropriate analysis was carried out, our objection given sufficient weight or representation to the DAB, and consequently we intend to appeal the decision.” She said that the BNT owned the neighboring property. The spokeswoman added: “We also own Mangrove Lake to the south of the property, which is an extremely sensitive and ecologically important nature reserve.” She said the proposed quarry was a “massive industrial process” and that it would use a driveway, which served as the sole access to two BNT residences. The spokeswoman added: “The impact on the residents of these properties and their safety is of extreme concern to us.” She said that the quarry would “undoubtedly adversely impact” residents in the area, as well and the surrounding sensitive lands. The spokeswoman added: “Quarrying development is only permitted on properties that have a development zoning, which this lot does not have.” She was speaking after the DAB last month gave planning permission limited to one year for quarrying at the Judkin Lane site. The spokeswoman said that the charity had also objected to the application for a new house and apartment on the property. The Bermuda Audubon Society and the Mid Ocean Club also objected to the house proposal. The planning application for the house construction is under review. The quarrying application for the property, owned by Nelson Cordeiro, was made by quarry operator Shawn Perott. Mr Cordeiro explained that the house construction would need a section of the hillside removed. He added that, rather than wasting stone from the site, it could be used to supply slate. Mr Cordeiro said: “It’s very good stone.” He denied the quarry operation would be a “massive industrial process” or that it would damage the surrounding area. Mr Cordeiro said: “It’s not a large, industrial, prolonged thing. It’s within a year.” Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, was asked about the claims by the BNT that the quarry would affect nearby residents and the property was not zoned for quarrying. Mr Roban was also asked if there was a shortage of roof slate. A spokeswoman for the ministry said: “As an appeal is to be lodged in this matter it would be injudicious to comment on this case.” Mr Perott said last month that homes damaged by September’s Hurricane Humberto could wait months for repairs because of a slate shortage. He estimated at the time that homeowners might have to wait between two and three months for slate. A government representative last month confirmed that emergency permits for slate cutting had been approved. A ministry spokeswoman said then that the Government was “aware of, and concerned about, the plight of homeowners who have lost roofs and suffered damages as a result of Hurricane Humberto”. She added that the waiting time for slate supplies was up to two weeks.

paragraphNew school supplies worth $40,000 were delivered this week to Bermuda’s public primary schools. The goods were given to teachers and pupils on Tuesday and yesterday by group Supporting Public Schools (SPS). Juliana Snelling, a lawyer and the founder of SPS, said that about $10,000 worth of used supplies were also dropped off at schools. Ms Snelling said that the response from pupils had been tremendous. She added: “Some of them came out with thank-you cards and thank-you posters already prepared.” Ms Snelling added that a number of pupils also made thank-you speeches. The two-day drive was the third time SPS had delivered school supplies since it was founded in June last year. Supplies for Primary 5 and Primary 6 pupils were targeted this time around after earlier efforts supported Primary 2 and 3 children. Ms Snelling said a total of about $185,000 worth of new supplies and equipment had been given to public primary schools, as well as about $150,000 in second-hand supplies, including computers, furniture and office supplies. Supplies are requested by teachers through a wish list and bought by members of the public through the SPS website. Ms Snelling said that the new goods donated this week ranged from traditional school supplies, including paper, pens and printers, to sports equipment such as yoga mats. She added that the mats were a popular item requested by teachers. Ms Snelling said: “We’ve gotten wonderful thank-yous from the children and told that they feel more at peace in their school because they are doing yoga.” She added that companies such as insurance firm Argus, reinsurer MS Amlin and Premier Tickets, as well as the Green family, owners of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, had all helped out. Ms Snelling added that Butterfield Bank had purchased $20,000 worth of new supplies. She said that Dwayne Outerbridge, Butterfield’s head of group asset management, had helped hand out supplies at Francis Patton Primary School in Hamilton Parish, where he was once a pupil. Ms Snelling said that Mr Outerbridge was a “big inspiration” to pupils. Mr Outerbridge added the bank was proud to support SPS for a second year “and to contribute tools and supplies the teachers and students need for an enhanced learning experience”. Zoë Kempe-Gibson, Butterfield’s marketing manager, said that bank staff had enjoyed delivering the supplies. She added: “It was wonderful to see the excitement on the children’s faces as printers, art supplies and books were offloaded from the delivery trucks.” Ms Kempe-Gibson said that SPS was an “amazing initiative”. She added: “It was great to see so many people from the community come together to help ensure our children and teachers succeed.”

paragraphAn international animal rights group has launched a campaign to get travel agencies to boycott animal attractions such as Bermuda’s Dolphin Quest. But the company hit back with an appeal to its customer base and sea creature conservationists to defend the work of the company against “animal rights extremists”. Rae Stone, the co-founder of Dolphin Quest, said that major organisations including World Animal Protection and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, were on a “misguided” and “malicious crusade” to close all zoos, aquariums and marine parks. Dr Stone, a vet, said in her letter to Dolphin Quest “Ocean Action Team members”: “This ban includes accredited and humane certified programmes like Dolphin Quest. Pressuring travel platforms to discontinue support of leading accredited zoological institutions will harm the very animals these organisations claim to protect. The natural consequence will be a loss of funding created by responsible tourism for critical scientific studies, conservation programmes and to cover the high cost of providing extraordinary animal care.” Dr Stone was speaking after the two groups targeted travel companies such as booking.com and expedia.com and asked them to stop promotion and ticket sales for places that they claimed exploited animals held in captivity. Dr Stone and Jay Sweeney, also a vet, opened the first Dolphin Quest in Hawaii in 1988. Its Bermudian operation started in 1996 near the Fairmont Southampton and later moved to Dockyard after a hurricane destroyed the original enclosure. A portion of the company’s worldwide proceeds is donated to support marine education, conservation and research. But a spokeswoman for World Animal Protection, which launched the campaign to pressure the Expedia Group to stop earning profits through promotion of the “cruel, multibillion-dollar captive dolphin industry”, said that attractions such as Dolphin Quest overplayed the importance of their role in conservation. The spokeswoman insisted: “Even though some facilities have better conditions than others, a relatively large tank is still a tank — tiny, barren and devoid of natural stimulation.” She added that the Dolphin Quest site at the Keep in Dockyard gave “a good context of why even large sea pens aren’t close to providing an environment that a dolphin actually needs to thrive in. Sheltered in a port where large cruise ships dock just 100 metres away from the sea pens, and nested between buildings, this is not an environment suited for dolphins. For these facilities to now hold the travel industry hostage by claiming that only through them the welfare of the dolphins can be ensured, while continuing to expand, is highly questionable. Ultimately, any commercial facility that makes a profit from captive wild animals has the responsibility of their care and needs to be prepared to revise practices or shift their animals to facilities that are able to do so. The profit made by such institutions that refuse to stop breeding captive dolphins is prolonging a fundamentally inhumane situation. Travel companies selling captive dolphin attractions is a form of irresponsible tourism as it provides the financial incentive for more dolphins to be bred into this commercial industry.” But Dr Stone said that paying customers had contributed “millions of dollars in support of critically important marine mammal conservation, education and scientific studies to protect wild dolphins”. And she asked supporters to contact the chief executives at booking.com and expedia.com to back Dolphin Quest. Dr Stone accused the animal welfare groups of confusion between responsible operators and those that exploited wild animals held in captivity. She said: “Lumping selfies with sloths stolen from the Amazon jungle with meaningful animal experiences in world renowned zoological institutions illustrates their ignorance of true animal welfare. They either don’t care about dolphins or haven’t thought through the consequences of their malicious crusade.” She highlighted Dolphin Quest’s accreditation by bodies including the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association. She added that Dolphin Quest operations were also certified by major US animal charity American Humane. Dr Stone said: “Animal species are disappearing at an alarming rate due, in large part, to human impact on the environment. It is more important than ever to inspire environmental stewardship through meaningful animal experiences in tourism like Dolphin Quest.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority, booking.com and expedia.com did not respond to requests for comment.

paragraphMailboxes has announced the launch of a new website as part of its continuing modernisation drive. Kenny Thomson, president of Mailboxes, said the launch of website mailboxes.bm was indicative of his desire to push technology to help make the company more customer-focused. Mr Thomson said: “We are all living such hectic lives — we need to make our service as quick and easy as possible. My dad [Stephen Thomson] was innovative when he started this business 29 years ago. Now I have taken over I want to keep pushing the boundaries and innovating to provide the best for our loyal customers. “The new website is more user-friendly and the cost calculator is one way that we are using technology to increase transparency, by helping customers easily determine their total shipping costs. We’ve taken the guesswork out of shipping internationally. We have also dropped our prices and now all, but the largest packages, are totally free from any dimensional weight charges — you only pay for the exact weight of the shipment.” Mailboxes said the firm has developed a database that enables staff to accurately track the location of packages and their associated items, leading to increased operational efficiencies. The firm said the impending release of this database will allow all users to view their own orders and track their progress from start to finish. These advancements follow the news earlier this year that the firm bought an American freight-consolidating company in New Jersey. Mailboxes said that purchase was fuelled by a desire to increase efficiencies and make its service faster and more cost effective for its Bermudian customers. Mr Thomson said: ”Our goal is to rival our technology-driven overseas counterparts while retaining our local, family-run values. We are the largest express shipper on-island and it is our amazing customers that make us continue to strive to develop the company further. We want to ensure the most customer-centric service options that make their lives easier. We offer the fastest shipping times, excellent pricing and we always think we have the friendliest staff on island.” The company has slashed its annual membership sign-up fee in half to $10 from now until Christmas. Mailboxes said its weekly consolidation service means that shoppers who purchase items in a range of stores in the US can ship them to Bermuda together, resulting in cost savings. Mr Thomson said: “None of our competitors can offer this service, which makes us unique. We have even more exciting changes planned for 2020 so just watch this space.”

Spacer

November 13

paragraphA longstanding leader of the British Virgin Islands, Ralph O’Neal, died yesterday. He was 85. Premier David Burt said Mr O’Neal, who served as the British Overseas Territory’s premier from 2007 to 2011, was BVI’s longest-serving elected representative. He added: “Ralph O’Neal was a powerful voice on behalf of the people of the British Virgin Islands. He was a leading Caribbean statesman who commanded great respect among the leaders of the Overseas Territories.” Mr O’Neal studied economics at Oxford University in England and served BVI as leader of the opposition, chief minister and premier. Mr Burt said: “On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I send our thoughts and prayers to his family, his political colleagues and to the people of the BVI in whose service he spent so much of his life.” Mr O’Neal was first appointed chief minister, which later became the premier, in 1995. The BVI House of Assembly voted to name the Government’s Central Administration Complex in his honour last month.

paragraphThe merger of pupils and staff from two middle schools into a single space has created “total mayhem”, a teacher has claimed. The insider said that the plan for the transfer of teachers and pupils from TN Tatem Middle School to Dellwood Middle School was “inadequate”. The source added: “Not only was the integration plan for students inadequate, but the integration of the teaching staff was more inadequate.” TN Tatem, in Warwick, was closed in April due to mould and other health and safety problems. The teacher, who asked not to be named, said that there were not enough resources such as printers, copiers and wi-fi, as well as desks and chairs, at Dellwood, in Pembroke. The source added: “It was just total mayhem. No forethought was put into the logistics of basically moving an entire school into another school that was oversubscribed already. Teachers were just thrown to the wolves in a callous and non-thoughtful manner with no regard to the impact that would be felt.” The insider said that a shortage of classrooms meant that some teachers were forced to “lug resources between four to five different classrooms and disrupt the planning of the teachers who those classrooms belong to”. Tina Duke, the Dellwood principal, and Nishanthi Bailey, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, did not respond to requests for comment. Mike Charles, the BUT’s general secretary, declined to comment. A Dellwood Parent Teacher Student Association representative said: “The PTA executive has nothing to say to the media on the matter.” Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said that relocation of TN Tatem teachers to Dellwood had meant that teachers had been forced to share classrooms. But she added: “The overall format was based on a student-first model, with the most important variable being the quality of teaching and not the ownership of classroom space. With this model, core teachers are given ample planning time so that if they are using a shared space they can allocate personal and team planning time accordingly.” Ms Richards said that the DoE had organised a team to help with scheduling at the school. She added: “The recommendations were shared with the Dellwood leadership team, which has the ultimate responsibility of the schools’ schedule.” Ms Richards said that all school staff had access to computers and phones and that all school printers were working. She added that a full internet upgrade at the school had also been completed. But Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, said that the Ministry of Education “urgently” needed to deal with teaching conditions at Dellwood “caused by a poorly planned merger with TN Tatem”. Mr Simons said in a statement released last week that teachers at the school felt “stress caused by cramped quarters and lack of proper IT equipment”. He added that he had been told that the integration plan for merging pupils and staff from TN Tatem into Dellwood was “woefully deficient”. The MoE last week released a 29-page consultation document on whether to close TN Tatem for good. The document said that the temporary closure of the school “has shown that public middle school students can be accommodated in the other four middle schools. Enrolment at the time of the temporary closure, as well as the continued system-wide decrease in enrolment indicate that TN Tatem Middle School is not longer required to serve as a middle school.” It said that if the decision was made to keep TN Tatem closed, a “significant portion” of the school’s budget would be reinvested in Bermuda’s other middle schools. The document added that no TN Tatem staff would be made redundant if a decision was made to close the school permanently. But it said: “A decision has not yet been made and will only be made following consultation with stakeholders and after all of the consultation responses have been considered.” The public can register its views through an online consultation form or by e-mail to educationconsultation@moed.bm. Responses can also be hand delivered to the MoE headquarters at Church Street, Hamilton. Three consultation meetings will also be held, all at CedarBridge Academy. A meeting for public school staff members will be held on November 19 from 4.15pm to 6.15pm. Members of the TN Tatem community will have a meeting the following day from 6pm to 8pm. Members of the public can attend a meeting on November 21, also from 6pm to 8pm. The public consultation period will last until December and the decision will be announced by January 29 next year.

paragraphDwayne Caines, the City of Hamilton chief operating officer, thanked the community this morning after a man who stole his bike returned the vehicle. Mr Caines posted on Facebook that the man, whose picture was made public in connection with the theft yesterday, had brought the bike back “without a scratch on it” and had apologised, saying “he did not realise it was my bike when he took it”. The bike was stolen from behind City Hall in Hamilton between 9.30 and 9.55am. Police subsequently released a photograph of a man wanted over the theft. Mr Caines said the man had been “inundated with people telling him whose bike it was”. A police spokesman said: “The complainant stated the bike was locked and left in what was thought to be a safe space.” A blue rain suit and a grey helmet were stored inside the bike. The man was said to be light skinned and about 5ft 8in tall. He was wearing a black rain jacket, grey or khaki-coloured pants, blue sneakers and a blue helmet. Police also appealed for witnesses.

paragraphJournalists and the public have a role to play in ensuring families have privacy to process the sudden death of a loved one, the sister of the late MP Shawn Crockwell said yesterday. Juanae Crockwell said the media should wait to release information until police had confirmed all next of kin had been informed. And she asked members of the public to think before they shared a message about a death. Ms Crockwell said it was hard to learn about her brother’s death in June 2017 through a WhatsApp chat group. She added: “What happens is that Bermuda is so small, once the information is disseminated, the family has no privacy, whether they are a public person or not. The ripple effect is a lot for a family.” She suggested a grace period before news of a death was published or broadcast by the media but said she recognised that was unlikely in the age of the internet and social media. But Ms Crockwell added: “I just don’t understand why it has to be done so quickly. The public lose nothing by having to wait, I would say, 24 hours, but let’s say 12 hours. But the family lose so much by having it broadcast so quickly.” Ms Crockwell said the recent death of Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown and the speed with which it was reported brought back memories of her brother’s death. She added: “Someone sent me a screenshot of TNN announcing that a 57-year-old MP was found dead and, literally, my heart sank . I just know that feeling of your loved one is dead but the media has to tell everyone. I’m not anti-media. The media has a role. I have accepted that it will probably never be legislated or mandated. But please give the next of kin some time to call some other people.” In a complaint to police about her brother’s death allegedly being leaked to the public by a police officer, Ms Crockwell gave a timeline for that day:

Bermuda Police Service sent out a press release confirming Mr Crockwell had died at 6.53pm. Ms Crockwell said: “The BPS indicates that the next of kin was officially notified of Shawn’s death at 5.55pm. I have always taken issue with that timeline because I personally believe it was well after 6pm. However, 5.55pm is what our liaison officer gave us as the official time.” She added that The Royal Gazette posted a story online about an MP being found dead at 6.03pm. “That timeline allows for eight minutes between the moment the next of kin was officially notified and when the public was officially notified. Eight minutes is not ... adequate time for any family to wrap their heads around the death of their loved one. Even if all the protocols would have been followed and Shawn’s death had not been leaked, we still would have only had eight minutes between private notification and public announcement. A family deserves more than eight minutes.” Dexter Smith, the Editor of The Royal Gazette, said: “We can most definitely do better. While it is too late to put in place sensitivity training as a prerequisite for Bermuda residents gaining internet access, we in the media must be more empathetic. That construct is built in to the processes already in place via not reporting on a death until police have given official confirmation and then not releasing a name until police have done the same. This should remove any doubt that all next of kin have been informed. The greater the profile the deceased possesses in the community, the more blurred the lines become between being empathetic and being duty-bound to inform the public of a significant event as soon as is reasonable. The cases of Shawn Crockwell and, latterly, Walton Brown are examples of when Bermuda and her media did not get it quite right — for that we can only apologise to the families. Unless a prominent figure meets their end in a public environment, family members should not be learning of their passing through the media or through social media. For a community our size, it is morally wrong and it feels wrong. As the authoritative media in this country, we need to take the lead. That said, I patently disagree with Ms Crockwell’s wishes for a 12-hour stay — that is unsustainable in today’s world of instant communication and far in excess of the time required normally for authorities to get through their processes of contacting all next of kin.” A police spokesman said: “Once police personnel have attended the scene of a sudden death and conducted the necessary inquiries, the official announcement of the individual’s identity is only made public by the BPS after the deceased’s next of kin has been notified. This is a longstanding police policy regarding sudden deaths — which has been reiterated to the media and the public over the years — and continues to be our standard.”

paragraphThe sister of the late MP Shawn Crockwell demanded answers yesterday on how his sudden death was leaked to the public before his family were told. Juanae Crockwell complained to the Bermuda Police Service about the disclosure almost 2½ years ago, but remains in the dark over who released the information on social media. She alleged, in a letter to the Commissioner of Police, that a police officer shared the news on WhatsApp hours before the family were notified and that she and other close relatives found out he had died after they saw messages posted in chat groups. Ms Crockwell said: “The complaints are so important because the police need the trust of the community in order to be effective, in order to solve crimes, in order to perform their duties. I felt betrayed because the information was leaked. It has been two years and nothing.” Former One Bermuda Alliance tourism minister Mr Crockwell, 47, died in June 2017 and Ms Crockwell lodged her formal complaint on August 17 that year. But she has been told nothing since about the results of the investigation or the outcome of an earlier complaint she made about the leak of photographs of documents found in Mr Crockwell’s briefcase and an e-mail on his mobile phone while both items were in police custody. Late last night, police responded to a request from The Royal Gazette for comment. Acting deputy police commissioner Antoine Daniels said investigations into both complaints found “absolutely no evidence to support her allegations that police officers provided any information via WhatsApp or shared confidential documents with anyone”. He said those findings were submitted to the chairman of the Police Complaints Authority in May this year. Ms Crockwell said: “It’s deplorable that they haven’t communicated it to me. I’m going to read about it in the newspaper instead.” She said the PCA, an independent body set up to investigate allegations of misconduct by the police, had not contacted the family about either complaint. The PCA did not respond to questions yesterday. Ms Crockwell said the alleged police leak, and a separate leak from a Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service employee, led to speculation over her brother’s death. She added that it made it hard at first for her to accept the cause of death given after a private coroner’s inquest was held. Ms Crockwell said she was at her house and about to head to the supermarket with her mother on the Saturday afternoon that Mr Crockwell’s body was discovered at his Hamilton Parish home. She answered a call from a friend who asked if she was OK and told her to contact her parents immediately. Ms Crockwell said: “I was so perplexed. They said ‘there’s an MP that was found dead’.” Seconds later, her best friend and cousin alerted her to a post in a WhatsApp chat group for Crockwell family members. A relative offered condolences to “friends and family of Shawn Crockwell” at 4.55pm. The man wrote: “Heard he passed away. This cop in my football chat just told us.” The relative added: “This cop told me this s***.” Ms Crockwell said: “My mom was outside. I didn’t believe it was true. I called Shawn — it rang. I left a message saying ‘there’s this silly rumor’.” She managed to reach a close friend of her brother’s minutes later, who confirmed the news. Ms Crockwell said: “I just lost it. Of course, my mom heard me. I was in the living room. I remember falling to the ground. I was like ‘I can’t breathe’. I ran outside. That’s when my mom heard. I didn’t want to tell her.” Ms Crockwell, who has another brother, Mark, added that she was unable to break the news to her mother. She said: “My mom called my dad. I remember her saying ‘call the boys’. I couldn’t tell her, I just couldn’t. We ended up going to my parents’ house. The unfortunate part was the rest of my immediate family was having similar experiences. My brother Mark was going through the same thing.” Ms Crockwell added that the news circulated so fast that her parents’ landline was flooded with calls and friends and relatives rushed to the house to offer support. She said: “Bermuda knows that Shawn is dead but we haven’t had any official communication from anyone. Not only were we robbed of that proper communication but then we didn’t even have any time to ourselves to just be ourselves.” Ms Crockwell recalled Wayne Caines, a Progressive Labour Party politician and good friend of her brother’s, arriving at the house. She added: “I saw him walk up the steps. I flipped. I said ‘the only reason you are here is because Shawn is dead’. I didn’t want to let him in because this makes it real.” The relative who posted the condolences on WhatsApp refused to tell Ms Crockwell the name of the police officer who allegedly revealed her brother’s death in the football chat group. She passed the relative’s name and his contact details to police. Ms Crockwell said she made her complaint so the officer would be identified and disciplined if they were found to have breached the service’s code of conduct, which requires officers to only disclose information in the course of their duties. She added: “We never wanted people to lose their jobs; we just felt this was wrong and it should be addressed. If I had known who the officer was, I wouldn’t have had to go through a complaint. The only way I could rest about it was to make a complaint and hope that the Police Complaints Authority would do sufficient investigation to see what happened.” The family also complained to the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service about a voice note on Mr Crockwell’s death, recorded by a firefighter and posted on WhatsApp. The BFRS at the time confirmed it had launched an investigation but has not responded to several requests for comment on the outcome. Ms Crockwell said she had not heard back from the fire service but understood the officer, as a first responder, was investigated and disciplined by the Council for Allied Health Professionals. She added that she believed that message was recorded and posted after 6pm. Ms Crockwell said: “It was so hurtful. I get it — he was a public figure and the public probably had an interest in it. But ... four hours hadn’t even passed. We hadn’t even come to grips with it. It was so hurtful that his death was immediately made into this conspiracy theory. People were saying that he was murdered. It made it really hard for me to believe the cause of death because of all the speculation.” Anyone with information regarding Ms Crockwell’s allegations should call police on 295-0011 or the Crime Stoppers confidential hotline on 800-8477.

paragraphHSBC Bank of Bermuda has announced the introduction of an additional layer of security for its credit card holders. Customers who sign up for the “Credit Card Alert” programme receive personalized e-mail notifications whenever international, local and online credit card transactions are made on their accounts. The new programme, HSBC said, is designed to protect customers from fraud by allowing them to detect unfamiliar, potentially fraudulent transactions earlier. Tanya Bule, interim head of retail banking and wealth management and marketing at HBSC, said: “We are proud to be the first financial institution in Bermuda to offer our customers this enhanced level of security.” She added: “The bank cannot eradicate fraud completely, but with Credit Card Alerts we can provide our customers with the means to work together with us to minimise the potential negative impact. Alerts can be fully customized, with customers benefiting from having the ability to filter out the alerts by transaction type, transaction amount and limit amounts.” HSBC said more than $5 billion in card-related fraud losses have been reported globally this year. In Bermuda, this type of fraud has impacted the island via fraudsters’ use of card skimming devices at on-island ATMs. If successful, the information obtained from cards through this process can create “dummy cards” containing customers’ magnetic stripe information that could subsequently be used to purchase goods or services. HSBC said while the overall global trend of reported fraud losses is marginally improving (mostly due to the continued roll out of chip and pin), the majority of fraud losses globally continue to occur when the card is not present during online and telephone purchases.

paragraphOpinion. By Thomas Olunloyo, chief executive of Bermuda-based Legal & General Reinsurance, the global reinsurance hub of the Legal & General Group, a multinational financial services company. "To value risk in insurance, we start by identifying vulnerability. One area of vulnerability that could impede the future development of Bermuda is the heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels. This reliance exposes Bermuda to fluctuations in prices, shifting international regulations on carbon emissions and fossil fuels, and the volatility of trade wars. The cost of this risk is high, as Bermuda spends more than $80 million per year on imported fuels for electricity. The Integrated Resource Plan released in July has set out to transform Bermuda’s energy infrastructure. However, to achieve this, the private sector must step up to provide the long-term capital needed to make this a reality. In 2017, weather and climate-related hazards resulted in global losses of about $320 billion. Some Caribbean countries are struggling to recover from devastating hurricane seasons and rising global temperatures have necessitated greater electricity usage. With a way of life that is vulnerable to the changing climate and a cost of living that is ranked as one of the highest in the world, stabilizing energy costs for Bermuda has become a priority. As an island dependent on imports, Bermuda can be a beacon to the world for clean-energy generation. Leading by example will increase Bermuda’s resilience to natural hazards and ensure our long-term economic sustainability. Investing in renewable infrastructure de-risks our energy programme by bringing additional, locally produced energy contributors into the system. This will stimulate the local economy by supporting Bermuda businesses and creating jobs. It is therefore promising that the Regulatory Authority set an ambitious target of 85 per cent of the island’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2035 in the IRP. The RA, the Government and the business and community stakeholders who contributed to the formation of the IRP should be commended for this vision. The IRP’s goals are forward-thinking, potentially transformative and, most importantly, achievable. It is true that the initial upfront cost for this is high, with a significant investment of an estimated $400 million to $500 million required, but this investment will offset the continuing spend on imported fossil fuels and so more than justify itself. To accelerate Bermuda’s clean-energy revolution, the private sector must step up to work alongside the Government to generate the needed investment in the energy infrastructure of the island. Willing investors exist — Legal & General is one. Globally, L&G has already deployed more than $1 billion in renewable-energy investment, helping technologies to reach maturity and bringing down costs for consumers. Business should be both socially as well as economically useful and, therefore, look to make long-term investments that enable positive change while also generating stable returns over time. We are committed to engaging with governments and businesses to provide real solutions to address climate change. We want to help Bermuda achieve its renewable-energy goals. The starting point is to rapidly accelerate solar deployment within the next few years to reach two megawatts of annual installations per annum, more than double the existing installation rates, and to maintain this rate through 2030. There is no time to lose. These goals are achievable, but only if the private sector steps up and collaborates effectively to supply the investment and expertise. I began this article by talking about risks. The risks to Bermuda meeting its renewable-energy targets are not that the technologies fail us, or that investors lose interest; the risk is that we fail to combine our resources to make the changes required for success. In my next article, I will address how collaboration is the key to increasing investment, creating jobs and bringing down energy costs. It is time to deliver a more reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible source of energy to Bermuda, with businesses working in support of the IRP’s important targets.

paragraphNina London wanted to write a book about her life but put it off for years. Looking back, she realizes she just wasn’t ready. “We always think there will be another day or time that we can accomplish our dream,” said Ms London, whose column, Life Begins at 50, appears every Thursday in The Royal Gazette. And then in 2015 she got a huge wake-up call; she had cancer. “That is when I started to think I shouldn’t delay,” said Ms London, who was then 50 and planning her wedding to Bill Rosser. “That was huge. I understood that time is not infinite. We think we will live for ever. We think we will have time.” She’s uncertain why, but it didn’t give her the push she needed. “Maybe I was not confident enough whether it would be successful,” said Ms London, who had already written five books, all related to business. “Then I started thinking it is not about being successful; for me it is a different goal. I want to share my world.” A life coach, she started writing her inspirational column for this paper in 2016. Her idea was to talk about finding self-fulfilment and happiness after the age of 50. Although it wasn’t a book, it was a start. Then a year ago she decided it was time to take the dream all the way. She selected her best columns and put them together for Live Love Laugh: From Siberia to Bermuda. “I was very proud,” Ms London said, explaining how she laughed, screamed, did a little dance and then cried when she saw the first copy. “It was a personal victory. I put so much of my heart into every article I wrote.” She was pleased by the response she got at several book signings last month. “People said how much they look forward to my column; [that they] go straight to the Lifestyle section,” she said. “One woman cut out my column and sent it to her sister in Vancouver.” Ms London grew up in communist Russia, next to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Her family were originally from an area near the coast of the Black Sea but during the 1917 Revolution, they were forcibly removed to Irkutsk as punishment for being wealthy and educated. Her grandparents lost all their money and were separated from their friends but managed to rebuild their lives. As a little girl Ms London dreamt of seeing the world but few people in Russia then had permission to travel. She particularly wanted to one day see the ocean. “I was a competitive swimmer. I started swimming at age 7 at a swimming club. I always wanted to experience the salt water. Often I was imagining myself smelling the wind and feeling the salt on my face. That was something that pushed me to do things differently, not to be afraid to try something new.” As an adult, she worked as a science teacher in a university near her home. In 1997 an opportunity to do a professional exchange in California came up and she snatched it, taking her young daughter Maria and 67-year-old mother, Vera, with her. While there, Ms London spent several years studying towards a doctorate. “I never finished the PhD,” she said, proudly sharing that her daughter earned hers from Yale University. In 2002, Ms London’s student visa ran out and she returned to Russia. In Moscow, she spent six years training staff at a pharmaceutical company. “In Russia, there were no books about leadership, time management or sales,” she said. So she wrote her own using her given name, Nina Telpoukhovskaia. The first run of Recipes of Successful Sales sold 40,000 copies; a similar number sold in a second run. Years later she changed her surname to London in homage to Jack London, the American novelist. She eventually emigrated to Canada but found the weather in Vancouver too cold. “I like warmth,” she said. “I thought, ‘Let’s try something different.’ I went to work on a cruise ship. I went on a six-month contract and my last destination after five months in the Caribbean was Bermuda.” In May 2011 she bumped into her future husband while poking around Dockyard in search of Glass Beach. She asked him for directions, he offered to take her to a beach in Southampton and the rest is history. Aside from her writing she’s focused on Nina London, the life coaching business that ultimately led to Live Love Laugh. “I work with my clients and I see how some of them have changed their life in six months,” she said. “In six months they became different people and changed their habits.” Her advice to anyone who wants to achieve a dream is to work towards it every day. “If you are very, very focused, people in the universe will start helping you,” she said. “Amazing things can happen because you are so passionate and believe in what you are doing.”

Spacer

November 12

paragraphA man whose bid for belonger status was rejected by London’s Privy Council could have grounds to take his fight to the European Court of Human Rights, his lawyer said last night. Michael Barbosa was born in Bermuda in 1976 to non-Bermudian parents but was told yesterday that he has no right of abode in the country nor the right to be treated as a person who belongs to Bermuda. His legal battle with the offices of the Minister of Home Affairs and the Attorney-General started in August 2015, but a subsequent ruling by the Court of Appeal was upheld by judges in London yesterday. The outcome is likely to be a blow for up to 300 people resident in Bermuda with restricted rights. Peter Sanderson, Mr Barbosa’s lawyer, said later: “The result is naturally disappointing. However, what is even more disappointing is that, since 2008, Bermuda’s political system has been unable to accommodate the limited number of people who were born in Bermuda and have spent most of their lives here but lack legal recognition. I believe there is an argument that the continued denial of rights for people who were born or brought up in Bermuda is a breach of their private and family lives. There is the potential for Mr Barbosa’s case to be referred further to the European Court of Human Rights, and this is something that will be considered. I would invite anybody else who is affected by these issues, or wishes to offer support, to get in touch.” In the original case, Mr Barbosa argued that he had been unfairly prevented from seeking status on the basis of place of origin. His circumstances meant that he was declared a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, which became British Overseas Territories citizenship. Mr Barbosa moved to the Azores with his parents when he was 16, but returned to Bermuda in about 2003, obtained a work permit and has lived on the island since. In 2007, he married his wife, Christine, who was born in the Philippines, and Mr Barbosa was granted indefinite leave to remain in Bermuda in 2013. However, he remained ineligible to apply for Bermudian status or a permanent resident’s certificate. Proceedings started when the Barbosas wished to bring Mrs Barbosa’s niece to Bermuda from the Philippines and adopt her. They were told that the adoption would not be permitted because they were not residents of Bermuda within the meaning of the Adoption of Children Act 2006. Mr Sanderson explained: “The issue before the Privy Council concerned what rights he had as a BOT citizen in Bermuda.” Richard Drabble, QC, argued — during a hearing before Lord Reed, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin and Lord Sales in June — that Mr Barbosa legally belongs to Bermuda on the basis of common law. Yesterday’s decision upheld a November 2016 ruling by the Court of Appeal that overturned the guidance given earlier that year by Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman in the Supreme Court. A summary published on the Privy Council website explained: “Mr Barbosa does not have a relevant common law or other right which informs the proper interpretation of section 11 of the Bermudian Constitution. The concept of belonging to an overseas territory does not derive from the common law. Instead, it derives from the local constitution or the local legislation of the overseas territory in question. Mr Barbosa cannot appeal to the common law to modify the meaning of the Constitution. There is no anomaly or inconsistency in the fact that Mr Barbosa is a British Overseas Territories citizen by virtue of having been born in Bermuda, and yet he is not treated as a person who belongs to Bermuda for the purposes of the Constitution.” Mr Sanderson said last night: “A positive result could have provided a straightforward way for a couple hundred people born and brought up in Bermuda, who are eligible to register as British Overseas Territories citizens, to be able to live and work in Bermuda. However, there are other options for children who were born or brought up in Bermuda. Naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories citizen is a less straightforward process, but is a meaningful option for people who grew up in Bermuda and find themselves as adults without any other way of living here.” The lawyer said that the Supreme Court’s 2016 judgment noted that the government at the time, under the One Bermuda Alliance, was considering pathways to status and “gave Mr Barbosa liberty to restore the matter in the event that no pathway was provided for him”. Mr Sanderson added: “Mr Barbosa now has the ability to apply back to the Supreme Court regarding the lack of a pathway to Bermudian status. The 2016 judgment provides a precedent for other people who were born and brought up in Bermuda, but lack a pathway to Bermudian status, to similarly apply to the court, given the lack of progress on pathways to status.” Mr Justice Hellman ruled in favour of Mr Barbosa in a March 2016 Supreme Court judgment, making declarations that he belongs to Bermuda within the meaning of the Constitution and that he had been discriminated against. However, the home affairs minister and the Attorney-General appealed, saying the judge was wrong to find that Mr Barbosa was a person who belonged to Bermuda under the Constitution, as it provides an “exhaustive definition” of those deemed to belong to Bermuda. The Court of Appeal later set aside Mr Justice Hellman’s declarations. Mr Barbosa then took his case to the Privy Council, where the respondents were represented by James Guthrie, QC, and Crown counsel Lauren Sadler-Best. It was recently suggested by Robert Pires, a prominent business leader, that the Government might be “afraid” to introduce its plan to tackle the issue of mixed-status families until the outcome of Mr Barbosa’s case was known. Tabling of the legislation has been delayed at least twice this year. The Ministry of National Security, which took over responsibility for immigration from the Ministry of Home Affairs last November, confirmed it was aware of the Privy Council ruling. A spokeswoman added last night: “The work of the Bipartisan Immigration Reform Group is ongoing.” The office of the Attorney-General was also contacted for comment yesterday, but there was no response by press time.

paragraphSir Edward Zacca, the former President of the Court of Appeal, died yesterday. Sir Edward, a Jamaican, served on the Bermuda Court of Appeal for 18 years until his retirement in 2014, passed at home after a short illness. He was 88. Sir Edward was appointed as Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Bermuda in 1996, and served as president from January 2004 to the end of 2014. He was involved in at least 180 reported judgments during that time. Larry Mussenden, the Director of the Department Public Prosecutions, noted Sir Edward’s extensive service in leading judiciary roles in Bermuda and across the Caribbean. Mr Mussenden said he was able to learn from Sir Edward’s vast experience while he served as a defence lawyer. He said: “Sir Edward was able to recognize who the parties were that were appearing in front of him. He was able to relate to the average person and figure out exactly what was going on. This meant he could get right to the heart of the case as he made his decisions. We could all learn from the way he committed himself to his cases and understood the law, and his experience over many years of analysing cases and making good judgments.” Mr Mussenden offered condolences on behalf of the Department of Public Prosecutions Office to Sir Edward’s family. He added: “We are very grateful for his contribution to the judiciary.” Sir Edward was born in St Andrew, Jamaica, in July 1931. He was educated at Kingston College and Called to the Bar at Middle Temple in February 1954. After a spell in private practice in Jamaica, he was appointed as Clerk of Courts in 1958. Two years later, he was appointed Resident Magistrate, and eight years after that he became a Puisne Judge before his appointment as Judge of Appeal in 1975. Sir Edward became Chief Justice of Jamaica in July, 1985, and six years later he was made Acting Governor-General. In 1992, he was appointed to the Privy Council. More recently, he served in the Courts of Appeal in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. He was knighted in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his service to the Overseas Territories. The Gleaner in Jamaica reported that a minute of silence was observed in Sir Edward’s honour yesterday at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Paula Llewellyn, the Director of Public Prosecutions in Jamaica, told The Gleaner: “I’m almost speechless. He was such a pleasant, urbane and courteous individual who was committed to service throughout the region. He will be remembered as one of the great judicial officers.” Outside the courtroom, Sir Edward’s interests in his younger years included tennis, swimming, and gardening. Sir Edward is survived by his wife Hope Margaret and his children, Christopher, Edward Jr and Karen.

paragraphThe roster of speakers at the first Bermuda Entrepreneurship Summit has been boosted with the addition of Sean Reel, executive director of Ignite Bermuda. In addition, now among the international speakers is Zach Ursiny, chief executive officer of Advantage Coaching and Training. The all-day event on November 21 is being organised by ChessBoxing champion Matt Thomas, and award-winning author and TED speaker Jared Kleinert. A number of international attendees taking part in the separate Meeting of the Minds gathering, organised by Mr Kleinert, are expected to participate in the summit, which will be held at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Ignite Bermuda’s Mr Reel will share insights on starting and growing a business in Bermuda. He is an investor, director and mentor to more than 50 companies and has worked in senior roles for large international companies and early stage business. Ignite Bermuda is an entrepreneurial accelerator that took on the first cohorts for its six-month programme in May. It is now accepting applications for its second intake. Mr Reel will be on the “Business in Bermuda” panel, which also features Erica Smith, executive director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation; Michael Branco, of Fireminds; and Kidist “Pinky” Emery, of Salon Pink. Bermudian-born Gaynete Jones, a best-selling author, motivational speaker and founder of GAME Changing Industries, is among the keynote speakers for the day. The summit will explore entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship. Individuals and companies are encouraged to attend to learn a variety of business strategies and tips. These include turning reputation into revenue, starting a profitable “side hustle”, why you should spend more time working in your “zone of genius” and ways to start and scale a business in Bermuda and grow a Bermudian business internationally. International speakers include Elyse Archer, a personal brand strategist and video confidence creator; and Tim Francis, founder of ProfitFactory.com. While the aforementioned Mr Ursiny, will share secrets of peak performance at work and with your team. Advantage Coaching and Training’s clients have included Wells Fargo, Bank of American, ING and UBS. Co-founder of the summit, Mr Kleinert, was named “Most Connected Millennial” by USA Today. He will share knowledge on how to quickly build a world-class network. While Mr Thomas will offer tips and strategies for achieving peak mental, physical and emotional health. Meanwhile, Wayne Furbert, Minister of the Cabinet Office, is to give the opening remarks. The summit’s list of sponsors and partners has been expanded and now includes the Bermuda Business Development Agency, the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club, Ptix.bm and the BEDC, KPMG, AAC, and Meeting of the Minds.

paragraphThe Bermuda Entertainment Union has launched a bid to drum up new members with an open mic event. Participants will perform stand-up comedy, song, spoken word, instrumental music and dance at the Leopards Club on Friday, from 7pm to 9.30pm. People will also be able to give their views on the future of the entertainment industry and members of the executive will be available for one-on-one conversations. A spokesman said: “We are also looking for new talent who are interested in unionism and are interested in forging a new direction for entertainment in Bermuda by running for office.” Anyone interested should e-mail info@bermudaentertainmentunion.com or call 703-6248 for more information.

paragraphA new fast food eatery is to open this week on Bermudiana Road. Burger Shack will offer flame-broiled burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers and salmon burgers along with a range of “combo” options that include not only the traditional French fries, but also quinoa. A spokesman for Burger Shack said operators spent last year researching burger outlets overseas, and this year spent “months and months flying overseas” to find the right ingredients. He said: “The cool thing about the burger is it’s flame-broiled, so it has a slight char to it — we’re very excited about the flavour we get out of the equipment. The veggie burger tastes fresh-pulled from the garden. That doesn’t exist anywhere on the island, it’s unique. And the salmon burger, that thing should be on a dining room plate. It’s awesome. The inclusion of quinoa as a burger combo option reflects modern tastes. We’re totally aware of what’s being said around eating habits — we made sure we stepped up to the plate to find options for every palate.” The outlet is to be operated by Thomas United Company Ltd, the multi-concept food service company that also runs a quartet of Four Star establishments, two Glaze Bakery-Cafe locations, and Freddie’s Food Court inside Warwick Pharmacy. Burger Shack will deliver to customers in Hamilton, Pembroke, Paget and Devonshire. The organisation is advertising for delivery drivers and part-time customer service positions.

paragraphPhilanthropist and immensely successful businessman and investor Allan Gray has died in Bermuda at 81. Described as “an unassuming man and full of class”, the island resident was media-shy, but his achievements are widely known in the business world and far beyond. He and his wife, Gill, moved to Bermuda in 1997, six years after his company Orbis Investment Management had relocated its headquarters to the island. Today, Orbis is overseen by his son William and has 72 staff on the island, with offices on Front Street. It has another nine offices around the world, and has $34 billion in assets under management. Born Allan William Buchanan Gray, in South Africa in 1938, Mr Gray became a self-made billionaire and one of Africa’s richest men. He created a lasting legacy by donating a vast portion of his fortune to be used for philanthropic purposes. The impact of that decision was evident in a sea of tributes that lit up social media as news of his passing spread. On Twitter, a popular tag for those leaving tributes was #ThankyouAllanGray. One person wrote: “The more tweets I read about the impact Allan Gray had on the people who benefited from the education programmes the more I realise the value of his impact on many generations of South Africa.” While another stated: “I’m convinced Allan Gray really lived out his purpose on this here Earth. I am for ever changed, and more so, I am for ever grateful.” Mr Gray studied at Harvard Business School, graduating with an MBA in 1965. He worked for asset management firm Fidelity Management and Research in Boston, before returning to South Africa in 1973 to create what became Allan Gray Investment Management, a Cape Town-headquartered company serving a number of African countries. In 1989, he founded Orbis in London, moving its headquarters to Bermuda in 1991. Five years ago, South African media company Moneyweb compared the return on investment success of Orbis and Allan Gray Investment Management to that of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Philanthropy became an increasing focus for Mr Gray, and in his final “chairman’s letter” for Orbis, in 2015, he wrote: “We consider this both the right thing to do and a small but necessary contribution towards a society full of hope for all humanity. The free enterprise system has done so much for so many, and it behoves the few whom it rewards particularly well to help those less fortunate.” His philanthropy work began in 1979 when he and his wife founded the Allan and Gill Gray Charitable Trust. In 2006, he established the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation to fund bursaries and scholarships for Southern African scholars and students, mainly from under-resourced communities, with the specific purpose of developing entrepreneurial talent. His last years were spent setting up the Allan & Gill Gray Foundation, donating his family’s controlling stake in the Orbis and Allan Gray groups to the foundation. All dividends that the foundation receives are devoted entirely and exclusively to philanthropy. The foundation has established the Philanthropy Initiative through which contributions are made to charitable partners in the locales where Allan Gray Limited and Orbis offices are situated, including Bermuda. The current programme theme aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all, and to promote lifelong learning. Mr Gray shied away from publicity and for the most part remained out of the spotlight. An example of this came in 2007 when, in response to an interview request by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, a spokeswoman for Allan Gray Limited said: “He doesn’t do interviews. He lives in Bermuda, and he’s the humblest man on the planet”. Bermuda’s bridge-playing community enjoyed his support, particularly for the Bermuda Bowl. Mr Gray served on the committee at the time the Orbis World Bridge Championships were held at the Fairmont Southampton in 2000. Among those at the two-week championships was film star and famous bridge player Omar Sharif. David Ezekiel, who writes the bridge column for The Royal Gazette, said: “Allan will be greatly missed by the many people he and his family have touched and supported in Bermuda since they made Bermuda their home and established Orbis on the island. He was an unassuming man and full of class, and without the support of Orbis the 50th anniversary of the world championships of bridge, The Bermuda Bowl, could never have been staged here in 2000. Allan was a great supporter of bridge and the funding provided by Orbis has continued to help aspiring bridge players long after the tournament was over. His philanthropic efforts both here and in South Africa were immense, and will undoubtedly continue through his foundations and his family. All of us in the bridge fraternity and in the Bermuda community will miss him greatly, and our thoughts at this time are with his family.” Mr Gray died of natural causes on Sunday. A statement issued through Orbis expressed deep sadness. It said: “Allan made an immeasurable impact on many lives as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist in Bermuda, and globally. He has earned his rest. Allan leaves behind a lasting legacy. He founded Allan Gray and Orbis with the singular purpose of creating long-term wealth for clients and the firms continue to be guided by Allan’s strong values and his philosophy and approach to investing. He saw philanthropy as a natural extension of the impact that the investment business aims to make in people’s lives, spending considerable focus and energy later in his career on philanthropic endeavours. Allan’s important legacy is exemplified by the work of the 1,500 employees of the asset management firms he founded, the benefits accruing to their many clients, and the ongoing impact which the philanthropic efforts he founded will continue to have. He made a difference.” Mr Gray handed over the leadership of Orbis to his son William in 2000, and resigned from the board in 2010. He stepped away from his remaining investment responsibilities at Orbis in 2012 and officially retired from the company in 2016. He leaves behind his wife Gill, their three children Trevor, Jenny and Will together with their spouses Carrie, Buddy and Ali, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

paragraphRats filmed scurrying across the grounds of a central parish grocery store have prompted Vector Control teams to introduce weekly inspections at the site. The rodents were caught on camera in the trash area outside Arnold’s Family Market in Pembroke. Video footage circulated on social media last week and a government spokeswoman said later that pest experts put down poison to tackle the problem. Frank Arnold, the supermarket’s owner, explained on Friday: “We are aware and troubled by the video circulating on social media of rodents in the area of our trash compactor. We had already contacted Bermuda Government Vector Control to set baits to help rectify the rodent problem around our trash compactor area, which has been dealt with. Our customers can be assured we are tackling this issue to eliminate the presence of rodents by the exterior compactor area.” The clip, which appeared to have been taken from inside a car, showed an outdoor area with a blue trash compactor. A number of rats could be seen scuttling across the ground beside parked bikes and into shrubbery. People can be heard squealing and one described the rodents as “a family” as they watched the creatures. A Department of Health spokeswoman said on Friday: “Inspectors from Vector Control went to Arnold’s on St John’s Road today based on the video footage circulating and have advised the manager of several items that are required for rodent control in the area near the dumpsters. Arnold’s management have been instructed to clean the dumpster area that has caused this outbreak as an attractant and food source. Vector Control has deployed rat poison in this area. Vector Control inspectors will do weekly checks. People with commercial properties are reminded to make sure they had sufficient and adequate means of storing and removal of all refuse or trash. Make sure that all garbage and in particular foodstuffs are not allowed to accumulate to an unacceptable level. Keep all refuse containers firmly covered at all times in order to deny access to rodents. Ensure that all refuse containers are cleaned regularly so as not to be attractive to rodents. Residents are to make sure that all garbage or refuse is not allowed to accumulate near your property. Only leave out your rubbish on the day of collection. If you need to dispose of rubbish at any other time, you can of course access the waste disposal facilities at Tynes Bay. Do not dump rubbish in hedges, ditches or gardens — this is illegal and may involve legal action being taken against the culprit. Be careful not to drop any food items around your home or when out and about. Always use the bins provided.." Residents and business operators with concerns about rats were asked to call Vector Control on 278-5397.

paragraphMothers will be offered free advice on how to access child maintenance by an expert in family law tomorrow. Cristen Suess is to present information and answer questions on the topic at an event hosted by the Women’s Resource Centre. She said the seminar came after a number of people contacted her with similar queries, as well as misinformation about the subject in the community. Ms Suess, an associate at Wakefield Quin, explained: “I noticed that there’s a repeated trend of women coming to clinics or reaching out to me on Facebook with questions about maintenance. I felt like it would be great to get everybody together and just give them some advice in a neutral space for people to ask all of their questions.” She added that the Lunch and Learn session, to run from midday until 1pm, will include paperwork and information about the process to apply for maintenance support from a child’s father. “When you make an application to the Family Court in Magistrates’ Court, it’s all free and the staff at Family Court are amazing. The most common questions I encounter are: am I entitled to maintenance, and how much would I get? It’s really not a cookie-cutter answer because everything is done on a case-by-case basis, it really depends on the circumstances. What I do tell people is that if you have a child, both parents under the law are responsible for maintaining that child.” The lawyer believed efforts were being made to clear a “huge backlog” of cases in the Magistrates’ family court. She said that it seemed that the process had also been made as straightforward as possible. Ms Suess explained that someone seeking maintenance needed to have the child’s birth certificate and must fill out forms that included information about both parents as well as the individual’s income and expenses. She said that queries often came up in Facebook groups around similar issues. “A lot of people will post anonymously, they always have the same question: what should I do? Or if they’ve already gotten to the maintenance portion it’s about enforcement. I try to comment on all the legal questions so that I can just steer them in the right direction because there’s a lot of misconception out there. I would say that in the past year or so I’ve had complete strangers message me ... they all seem to be having the same sorts of issues. I don’t know if it’s on the increase in terms of the number of applications but maintenance is certainly a hot topic in the family law field. It’s the one that’s the most contentious.” The free session, which includes lunch provided by The Supermart, will be held at the WRC’s location on the second floor of Sofia House on Church Street. To register, call the WRC on 295-3882 or e-mail wrc@wrcbermuda.com

Spacer

November 11, Monday, Public Holiday

paragraphHundreds of people came out today to honour Bermuda’s war veterans and the fallen as the island marked Remembrance Day. The crowds lined Front Street near the Cenotaph at Cabinet Office as the small band of surviving veterans marched on parade alongside the Royal Bermuda Regiment, and its Band & Corps of Drums, the Junior Leaders, the Bermuda Police Service and the Sea Cadets. Randolph Hayward, who will be 96 on Thursday, served with the 1st Battalion of the Caribbean Regiment as part of its Bermuda Contingent in Italy and in the deserts of North Africa in the Second World War. Mr Hayward said he was now too frail to march, but watched the commemoration from a seat near the Cenotaph. He added: “It was very good, but I can’t walk. I had to be seated. I remembered things.” Mr Hayward said he was pleased to see so young people either on parade on in the crowd. Bandsman Alexander Miller, at 16 one of the youngest soldiers at the ceremony, played the traditional Last Post on the lawn of Cabinet Office. Alexander said: “I did this last year as well, so that calmed my nerves.” The Warwick Academy pupil added: “I can’t imagine what they went through in the war, so I respect them and honour them. It was a privilege to play.” Private Asiyah Jones, 24, from Devonshire, was among the chefs who started their day at 7am to ensure the veterans lunch went without a hitch. Private Jones, who helped serve the food, said: “I enjoyed it. I liked meeting the veterans.” Among the crowds were visitors Evan Shukan, from Maryland, a member of the US Public Health Service, which provides medical personnel to the US Coast Guard, and Andrea Dolch, from Washington DC, who works for aid organisation the US Agency for International Development. Mr Shukan said: “It seemed like an interesting thing to go to and it struck me how much this sort of thing, in a small country, is that bit more meaningful. It was interesting seeing the different branches of the services. And we can’t forget these things.” Ms Dolch added: “I thought it was a great Remembrance ceremony.” John Rankin, the Governor, who led the Cenotaph wreath-laying ceremony, said at a lunch for veterans and their families afterwards: “We were blessed with good weather for the Remembrance parade this year and it was wonderful to see so many veterans there to whom we were able to pay respects. I was also pleased to see so many people attending from across the island. Remembrance Day is an important opportunity to thank all those who served to protect the freedom we enjoy today. We will remember them.” David Burt, the Premier, who also mingled with veterans and their families at the lunch, provided by RBR chefs, added: “It was a beautiful day and it was good to see everyone out. It was a wonderful ceremony that we are proud to continue.” He added he was pleased that the uniformed services on parade had attracted praise for their performance. Mr Burt said: “That’s absolutely as it should be. It’s important to continue these traditions.” RBR Acting Commanding Officer Major Ben Beasley, who laid a wreath at the Cenotaph alongside the Governor, Premier and other dignitaries, said: “It’s always humbling to see members of the public come out and support such a solemn event. It’s the least we can do to honour those who gave so much for our freedom.” Major Beasley added: “Our ceremonial duties, while the most public, are only one of the roles the Royal Bermuda Regiment performs for the country. But it’s a very important role, especially on occasions like this.” Colonel David Gibbons, who has recently taken over from long-serving Colonel Eugene Raynor as Honorary Colonel of the RBR, said: “It was, again, a remarkably good attendance.” He added: “The Regiment and the Band & Corps of Drums did a great job. The bugler, in particular, gave an excellent performance.” Colonel Gibbons said: “We want to see some more former members of the regiment joining in. As time goes on, we will have to fill those ranks of people who have served."

paragraphA covered veranda that will offer shade and shelter for diners who want to sit outside to enjoy their meal or snack, is to be built outside the Crown & Anchor restaurant at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Construction begins tomorrow, and it is expected the new area will be ready for guests early in the new year. The present outdoor seating area will be closed during the construction phase, although the indoor restaurant and seating will remain open, with the exception of a ten-day closure starting on November 18. “We’re incredibly excited to be creating a stylish new outdoor space for our guests to enjoy at Crown & Anchor. Already a popular hotspot for visitors and locals alike, we expect that the new veranda, which will offer shade from the Bermuda sunshine and shelter from the elements, will only increase the restaurant and bar’s appeal,” Tim Morrison, general manager of Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said. Spanish cedar and Bermudian stone will be used in the construction of the veranda. The hotel said “the space will invoke light and airy sophistication and reflect the architectural style seen in the courtyard’s pergola”. The veranda has been designed by Botelho Wood Architects and the project will be carried out by local firms D&J Construction and P&M Electrical. The ten-day closure of the indoor Crown & Anchor starts on November 18. The Monday night quiz night will be cancelled on November 18 and 25. The hotel’s afternoon tea, coffee and doughnuts and Happy Hour on the November 22 will be served in Marcus’. Additionally, 1609, the hotel’s open-air dining option, will remain open through to the beginning of the holiday season on November 30.

Spacer

November 10, Sunday

paragraphA representative of Bermuda laid a wreath on behalf of the country at a Remembrance ceremony in London, England for the first time today. Kimberley Durrant, the director of the government’s London office, took part in the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in the UK capital. It was the first time representatives of inhabited British Overseas Territories and the three Crown Dependencies laid their own wreaths in recognition of contributions in both World Wars as well as other conflicts. The act was performed by the Queen and the British foreign secretary in previous years. John Rankin, the Governor, said: “Bermudians fought with Allied Forces in both World Wars and we rightly honour their contribution each year on Remembrance Day in Bermuda. I’m delighted that a representative of Bermuda has laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in London in memory of those who helped to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.” Government House said the change came “at an especially poignant time” as it was the 100th anniversary of Remembrance Sunday. Other new wreaths were also included in the ceremony, including one from Nepal to honour the Gurkha and by the foreign and home secretaries on behalf of the intelligence agencies. David Burt, the Premier, said: “The recognition of the brave service of Bermudian men and women in the World Wars is a much welcomed addition to the London Service of Remembrance.” Representatives also laid wreaths on behalf of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Crown Dependencies were Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. Bermuda’s Remembrance Day Parade will take place at the Cenotaph on Front Street from 10.30am tomorrow.

Spacer 

November 9

paragraphPart-time Bermuda resident and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg could mount a last-minute challenge in the Democratic presidential primary race. Sources said that Mr Bloomberg, who owns a home in Tucker’s Town and is a regular visitor to the island, was expected to file paperwork this week in Alabama — but that he has not yet made a decision to enter the race to face Donald Trump in next year’s election. Howard Wolfson, an adviser to Mr Bloomberg, said on Thursday that the former Mayor of New York City had become concerned about the weakness of the Democratic field. He added that Mr Bloomberg saw the President as an “unprecedented threat to our nation”. Mr Wolfson said: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that. If Mike runs, he would offer a new choice to Democrats built on a unique record running America’s biggest city, building a business from scratch and taking on some of America’s toughest challenges as a high-impact philanthropist.” Mr Bloomberg, 77, has prepared to enter presidential contests before. He considered a nomination run earlier this year and also in 2016. It is understood that members of his staff are already in Alabama to gather signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary. Mr Bloomberg and his staff called several prominent Democrats on Thursday to tell them he was considering a run, including former Nevada senator Harry Reid, the retired majority leader who is still a power broker in the early caucus state. Mr Bloomberg’s team also contacted Gina Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island and the chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association. Mr Reid said that Mr Bloomberg had not said he planned to run for president, but that the significance of the call was obvious. He added: “It wasn’t just to wish me a good weekend”. Analysts said that Mr Bloomberg would be a threat to Barack Obama’s former vice-president Joe Biden, a middle of the road candidate who has struggled to raise cash to fund his candidacy. It is believed that Mr Bloomberg bowed out of the 2020 race because of Mr Biden’s apparent strength, but has become concerned that he is not on track to win the Democratic nomination. It is also understood that he does not see the two leading liberals in the race, Elizabeth Warren a senator in Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders a Vermont senator, as potential winners against Trump. Ms Warren, who has clashed with Mr Bloomberg over her proposals to tax the super-rich, said his potential run for the Democratic nomination was “another example of the wealthy wanting our government and economy to only work for themselves”. She added: “It’s not enough just to have somebody come in, anybody, and say they’re going to buy this election.” Faiz Shakir, Mr Sanders’s campaign manager, added: “More billionaires seeking more political power surely isn’t the change America needs”. Advisers to Mr Bloomberg said he would likely make up his mind about the race within days, rather than weeks. However, Michael Gray, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, said Mr Bloomberg’s wealth could make him an important wild card in the race. Mr Gray added: “It shakes things up, obviously.” A Fox News poll in late October found Mr Bloomberg faces more opposition than enthusiasm at the outset of the primaries. Presented with Mr Bloomberg as a hypothetical entrant into the primary, 32 per cent of Democratic primary voters said they would never vote for him and 6 per cent of Democratic primary voters said they would definitely support him. Mr Bloomberg could still opt against a run, even preliminary steps towards a campaign could damage Mr Biden’s challenge. It understood the Biden campaign expected strong support from centrists Democrats, traditional party donors and sectors of the business community to push him across the line.

paragraphA veteran of the Korean War and the Suez Crisis, Donald Jolliffe has a tattoo on his arm designed to highlight the strict code of his specialist unit in Korea. Mr Jolliffe said: “It means ‘death before dishonor’ — that’s why I don’t want to break secrecy.” Mr Jolliffe, 89, was speaking as he prepared for the annual Remembrance Day commemorations on Monday. Mr Jolliffe said attendance at the November 11 parade brought mixed emotions as one of the island’s dwindling population of war veterans. He said: “It’s important to me. It means I was recognised. It makes me feel good to march there and think about the ones I left behind.” Mr Jolliffe was 14 when he joined the British army cadets in the last years of the Second World War in his home town of Pontypool in Wales. He said: “We called it the British answer to the Hitler Youth. We used to follow the Home Guard around as scouts.” The city had been used as a landmark for the Luftwaffe to bomb a nearby Royal Ordnance Factory. Mr Jolliffe said he had to take cover in air-raid shelters during the war and later, as a young engineer and plumber, he helped to repair the devastation caused by bombing in London. He added: “After the war, the British wanted to keep an army, so they had conscription. I put in for the Royal Navy, but I’m colour blind, so I couldn’t.” He was accepted into the British Army instead and served as part of special unit in the United Nations forces in the Korean War, which raged from 1950 to 1953. Mr Jolliffe was sent in 1951 as part of an international unit that specialized in “blowing things up”. He said: “I don’t talk much about it. It was a special squad and I was signed to secrecy — but it involved blowing up bridges and roads.” It also involved jumping out of an aircraft at 15,000 feet. Mr Jolliffe underwent successful surgery for cancer last December at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and a surgeon asked him if he was “scared” before the 18-hour procedure. The veteran said: “I told him the only time I was scared was when I had to jump out of a plane. I was scared the parachute wouldn’t open — so please make sure this one opens.” His distinctive tattoo was part of what marked him as a member of his demolition squad, which was ordered to destroy bridges and roads to hamper the enemy’s ability to move around. Mr Jolliffe’s drilling skills also made him a valuable asset during the 1956 Suez Crisis, which was recognised as a war only in 2004. He said: “You can’t have an army without water. I was given a bulldozer with a drilling rig to find it.” The Suez conflict involved a joint British and French attack on Egypt after Israel had invaded the country. But it later emerged that Britain, France and Israel had engineered the war in a bid to regain control of the strategic Suez Canal, which had been nationalised by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mr Jolliffe said, while in Egypt, he discovered a German truck destroyed by a landmine in the Second World War with the skeletons of several German soldiers still inside. He added: “There was a German Iron Cross medal. I liberated it.” Mr Jolliffe said he believed the Royal Bermuda Regiment now had the medal. He was invalided home with severe injuries to his chest and stomach after his bulldozer ran over a mine. Mr Jolliffe was given a medal for injuries suffered in the line of duty — but not until 2004, when the British Government awarded service medals to Suez veterans. Mr Jolliffe said he had spent the last 58 years in Bermuda and his drilling and engineering experience kept him busy for the rest of his working life. He credited his wife, Rachel, who he met in 2008, for his long life. Mr Jolliffe said: “I would not be here if it were not for her and her strength behind me.” He will attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies on Monday at the Cenotaph on Front Street in Hamilton, accompanied by his daughter, Deryn Higgins, grandchildren Evan and Rhiannon, and his wife’s daughter Andrea with her daughter, Mackenzie. Mrs Jolliffe said: “I’m always impressed with the turnout. I find it quite heartwarming to see all the people who come out, young and old.” She said her husband had stocked boxes of traditional poppies used to raise funds for veterans “for years and years now”. Mr Jolliffe added: “It’s important to me.” He added that he still remembered his fellow soldiers who never came home. Mr Jolliffe said: “I can name them. I feel bad about those fellows I left behind. I went on a cruise many years ago and went to Seoul. Up on a hill there, I saw the graves of a couple of them.” The parade will start at 10.30am on Monday at the Cenotaph on Front Street.

paragraphPolice seized items after raiding the property of prominent lawyer Justin Williams today. Officers spent several hours carrying out a search of Mr Williams’s home on Point Shares Road, in Fairylands, Pembroke, after arriving at about 6.30am. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said that they had also searched a boat connected to the property during the day. He confirmed that items had been seized. Two police vehicles remained at the home this afternoon. Speaking from the scene, Detective Superintendent Nicholas Pedro told the media: “We are executing two warrants: one under the Firearms Act and another under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, otherwise known as PACE, in relation to some ongoing investigations that we are conducting.” Mr Pedro added: “If there is anybody in the neighborhood that’s aware of anything they would like to speak to us about, they can speak to our Vulnerable Person Unit in confidence.” He said that police were investigating “several matters” and that not all matters dealt with firearms. Mr Pedro added: “We are conducting some inquiries on the premises and have obtained warrants to search for evidence pursuant to those matters that we are investigating. That’s about all I can say at this point.” He said that no one was currently in police custody. Mr Pedro added: “I won’t say anything more than that.” Mr Williams, the founder of Williams Barristers & Attorneys, is a former president of the Bermuda Bar Council and has served as an acting magistrate, and as chairman of the St John Ambulance Bermuda.

paragraphMembers of a 35-year-old gym have been told that the fitness centre will close at the end of this month. The Athletic Club announced on Thursday that its clients’ memberships will be transferred to Magnum Power Force Gym on Church Street, Hamilton, from December 1. Kym Herron Scott, TAC’s owner, said she had decided to close down because she planned to “take a new direction in her own life”. A newsletter to members said: “With the increased costs in running a company and the lease not being renewed, December 1 seems like the right time to move the clientele and keep the membership costs down. Kym Scott chose Magnum Power Force Gym as the new home for members. “Memberships will be honoured at their current rates for the next three months or until their annual membership is up for renewal. Class cards will also be honoured.” The club, which is in the Cedar Parkade Building on Washington Street, celebrated its 35th anniversary in September and will close its doors on November 30. Ms Herron Scott said: “I have agreed to assist with the transition of the current TAC members as needed and will be available at Magnum to help with the process. I am confident that as we focus on best services and products, our clients will see the great value of the Magnum brand.” Ms Herron Scott said it was a “pleasure and honor” to serve TAC members for 32 of the company’s 35 years. She added: “For many, this is a sad time, like saying goodbye to an old friend, but we will continue to support your fitness journey.

paragraphShocked beachgoers yesterday found a beach beauty spot blighted by a burnt-out bonfire loaded with nails and broken glass. But rugby players from South Africa’s Classic Springboks team in the World Rugby Classic pitched in to clean up Jobson’s Cove, in Warwick. The players stepped in after fitness instructor Kelly Ingham discovered the cove strewn with “thousands” of large nails. Ms Ingham said she believed partygoers left the mess the night before. She added: “It was disgusting — I was down there at 8.30am to work out and I found it with broken glass all around. There were thousands of nails in the fire. For people to leave that type of mess with children running around is crazy.” She posted pictures on Facebook, contacted the Department of Parks and waited at the scene to make sure no one stood on glass or nails. The big-hearted rugby players arrived later in the morning to help tidy up. The Department of Parks said anyone who planned a bonfire on a public beach had to get a permit and agree to the department’s bonfire policy before being granted permission.

paragraphArgentina's The Classic Pumas sealed an impressive hat-trick of World Rugby Classic titles by retaining their crown with a 16-6 victory over South Africa's Classic Springboks at North Field, National Sports Centre, last night. The tournament favourites overturned a 3-0 half-time deficit, with the boot of Gonzalo Gutierrez Taboada proving pivotal, kicking 11 of his side’s overall points to guide them to the title. Martin Yanguela, a Puma’s official hailed the efforts of his side and spoke of his delight adding another successful chapter in their World Rugby Classic story. “It’s an incredible achievement for us,” he said. “To win it three times in a row is incredible, at this level it is an amazing achievement. We’ve been coming here for many years, we have become a big part of the World Rugby Classic story. Hopefully, we can come back next year and try to make it four in a row.” Yanguela pinpointed the Puma’s kicking tactics as the key to completing the impressive turnaround against the greater physicality of the Springboks. “Because of the wind, we kept kicking the ball into South Africa’s half and then made them make the effort to run from deep in the field. The pressure we put on them became a big problem for them.” The Pumas spurned the first opportunity to break the deadlock from a penalty in the fourth minute as Taboada slipped while striking the ball and could only watch on as it sailed wide. To make matters worse, South Africa opened the scoring from a penalty of their own as Rheinhard Gerber sent his kick from 35 metres sailing through the posts. The Pumas spent the remaining 20 minutes camped inside the South African half, but could not find a way through the dogged Springboks defence. The Springboks were breached just four minutes into the second-half as Argentina scored what proved the only try of the encounter. Federico Aramburu received the ball at speed, with his momentum carrying him through the defensive line to race clear and score between the posts. Taboada was left with the simple task of slotting home the conversion. The match then became a tale of penalties with Taboada taking centre stage. His first opportunity in the 37th minute proved successful despite another untimely slip taking the score to 10-3, before he spurned a more difficult attempt four minutes later. South Africa’s ill-discipline continued to cost them as Taboada duly accepted another penalty opportunity, just a minute after his last, extending the Pumas advantage to 13-3. South Africa responded with a penalty of their own in the 44th minute courtesy of the boot of Gerber to reduce the deficit, only for Taboada to restore Argentina’s ten-point advantage just four minutes later with his third successful kick. The final ten minutes saw the Springboks throw everything at the Pumas who, despite being reduced to 14 men for the final three minutes after Antonio Ahualli was sin-binned, weathered the onslaught. The USA Eagles survived a first-half onslaught against France to retain their Plate title with a 14-7 win last night. Perhaps smelling blood given that it was Eagles’ second match in as many days after the finals were brought forward because of bad weather forecast for tonight, it was France who made the brighter start. The Eagles cause was hardly helped when Eric Deuchle was sin-binned in the fifth minute allowing the French to make the most of their numerical advantage and open the scoring off the back of a driving maul through Thomas Soucaze. Benoit Marfaing made no mistake with the conversion. The momentum appeared to swing further in France’s favour when Eagles’ Stanislas Durand was injured early in the second half, although the US did manage to pull level albeit against the run play. An interception by Fred Wintermantel acted as a catalyst for the Eagles comeback, with the flanker sending Peter Dahl flying down the left to score his side’s first try. Matt Turner kicked the extra points. France were searching for a way to unlock the Eagles defence when they were awarded a penalty. However, Marfaing handed the US a reprieve, his effort lacking the required mustard in the windy conditions. With 11 minutes remaining, the stage was set for Bermuda captain Aldo Campbell to ensure Eagles retained their title with a marauding run through the middle to score the match-winning try. Turner’s boot made in 14-7. “Aldo came to the US to our Tiger Rugby Academy [in Columbus, Ohio] years ago,” Paul Holmes, the Eagles coach said. “For him to score the winning try was an amazing. This is massive for us and it’s really exciting to win back-to-back [Plate] titles.”

paragraphA Bermudian opera singer and teacher with an international reputation who nurtured the island’s singing talent has died. Marcelle Clamens was 65. The mother of three who founded the Talent Explosion with her husband, Michael, was a lifelong singer who launched her career in 1990. A soprano trained at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Ms Clamens performed in top venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Her family said she was a part-time vocal teacher at Saltus and also taught at Simons Music School and Bermuda School of Music. Michaela Antoinette, Ms Clamens’s daughter, said: “She gave her all to her students — all her energy and love. All her students have to know she loved them individually for their talents and who they were.” Michaela added: “We want to thank everybody who has reached out to us. She was a beautiful soul who was loved and cherished by everyone.” Ms Clamens also used her talent to raise money for scholarships for Bermudian students. The family said it had set a provisional date of December 14, two days before what would have been Ms Clamens’s birthday, for a musical celebration of her life. A pupil of music teacher Daniel Hill, her first taste of fame came in 1990 with a performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Bermuda Philharmonic and she became a regular on Bermudian and overseas stages. Ms Clamens, a former secretary at the Bank of Bermuda, made a strong impression when she began studies at Cincinnati. Barbara Honn, a professor at the school, said: “She has a quality that only about ten per cent of singers possess — and that is her exciting communicative quality. You can’t teach people that. The moment the curtain goes up, people are captivated by her.” Ms Clamens also studied languages, including German and French, to help with her opera repertoire. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1996 and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1998. She and her husband launched Talent Explosion in 2003 and the show endured as an annual fixture for eight years. She told The Royal Gazette in 2009, just before she performed at the Bermuda Festival in celebration of Bermuda’s 400th anniversary: “My voice is still young and vibrant — I keep it that way through personal training and also the occasional help of my coach, David Brewer, via long-distance phone calls.” Ms Clamens began to focus on teaching as well as family in her later years, and on the gardens at her home in Mount Hill. She died this week after an illness. She is survived by another daughter, Michelle Clamens, a son, Michael, as well as by her husband.

Spacer

November 8

paragraphBermuda’s temporary blacklisting by the European Union this year provided valuable lessons, Curtis Dickinson told an insurance industry audience yesterday. The Minister of Finance said the importance of regular engagement with the island’s major trading partners had become clear from the episode. Bermuda was put on the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in March over what David Burt, the Premier, described as a “drafting error” in proposed economic substance legislation. The island was removed from the blacklist in May after the error had been rectified. Speaking yesterday at the PwC Insurance Summit, presented by the Financial Times, Mr Dickinson described the blacklisting as a “bump in the road” as a result of “an unfortunate and unnecessary incident. We decided that we were not going to cower in the corner,” Mr Dickinson told Olver Ralph, the FT’s insurance correspondent on stage at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club. “We immediately decided to engage the European Commission. We had political, as well as technical level, engagements and at the earliest opportunity we were removed from the list. A couple of good things came out of that experience. We had an opportunity to strengthen our engagement with the EU members states and the EU officials in Brussels.” With a greater appreciation of the need to engage internationally, Mr Dickinson said he had asked his finance ministry team to draw up a strategy for continued engagement with the EU, US and, with Brexit looming, the UK. “Engagement helps us to tell our story, to remain relevant and to build relationships,” he said. “It’s easier to pick up the phone and call someone you know and offer an explanation about an issue than it is to start afresh all the time.” Mr Ralph asked the finance minister how he expected the insurance market to evolve. “My expectation is that we will now start to see the introduction of artificial intelligence and distributed-ledger technology, which will start to digitize how insurance is delivered,” Mr Dickinson said. Coping with the changing environment called for a strong partnership between business, regulator and government, working together to remain relevant, he added. The Bermuda Monetary Authority, the financial-services regulator, had already introduced a framework to accommodate innovators. Mr Ralph asked Mr Dickinson about the Premier’s speech at last month’s Progressive Labour Party delegates conference, in which Mr Burt said the economy was not working for most Bermudians and the Government intended to change the status quo. “My sense is that the Premier was focusing on the local economy,” Mr Dickinson said. “The international business sector thrives in the face of competition. Our small size does sometimes offer opportunities for monopolistic behaviour. I think that the challenge we have as the Government with our international business partners is that the cost of doing business is incredibly expensive. As a government we have to figure out how to wrestle and control some of those costs. I take the view that we need to provide an environment that is good for business and doing that will provide an economy that’s good for Bermuda.” On the subject of ensuring Bermudians have the skills to enable the island to compete in the 21st-century economy, Mr Dickinson said successive governments had struggled to reform the education system. He said it was important for Bermudians to buy into the idea of education as a continuous process. “I take the view that your bachelor’s degree is evidence that you’re willing to learn — now go and learn some more,” Mr Dickinson said. “In light of the fact that the world is getting smaller and competition is increasing, it’s important that our talent is upgrading its skills to remain relevant.”

paragraphTwo senators are the lone contenders in the by-election on November 21 for Pembroke Central, the constituency left vacant by the death of sitting Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown last month. At the close of nomination day yesterday, the contest for Constituency 17 was down to Jason Hayward, of the PLP, and Dwayne Robinson, of the One Bermuda Alliance. Mr Hayward announced in advance on the PLP’s Facebook page that, after successfully undergoing surgery, he would be unable to attend at the polling station, St Paul AME Church in Hamilton.

paragraphThe Ministry of Education announced the launch of a consultation on T.N. Tatem Middle School. The Ministry is consulting on whether or not to close T.N. Tatem Middle School permanently. The consultation document is being sent to critical stakeholders and is available on the Ministry of Education website using the following link: T.N. Tatem Middle School Consultation Document. Consultation responses can be submitted via the online consultation response form, or by email to educationconsultation@moed.bm, or delivered by hand to the Ministry of Education Headquarters at 44 Church Street (West Building) Hamilton. The following consultation meetings will also be held for Staff Members of the Bermuda Public School System, Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m, CedarBridge Cafetorium, The T.N. Tatem School Community on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the CedarBridge Cafetorium and for other School Communities and the General Public on Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m at the CedarBridge Cafetorium. The consultation will run from November 8th, to December 20th, 2019.

paragraphThe Bermuda Police Service failed to conduct a “reasonable search” for records they hold about the 2016 demonstration outside Parliament, which led to protesters being pepper-sprayed by officers, according to Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez. In a decision issued yesterday, Ms Gutierrez said the police must now conduct a reasonable search in response to a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette. She said the BPS were right to withhold some parts of a restricted document written by Bermuda’s most senior police commanders before the protest, but wrong to deny access to other parts of the operational order. Ms Gutierrez ordered the police to disclose some parts of the operational order which were previously redacted and to identify the “Gold” and “Silver” Commanders who wrote the order and were in charge of policing the protest. She said the information had to be released by December 12, along with a new decision on any further records found. “The Information Commissioner recognizes that there is a public interest in promoting greater public understanding of the process or decisions made by the BPS in relation to the policing of the protest on December 2, 2016, which was a significant event in Bermuda’s history,” wrote Ms Gutierrez. “[The Royal Gazette] was correct to point out that the public has the right to know which police leaders were the decision-makers that day and that the BPS leadership has been the subject of criticism by the PCA [Police Complaints Authority] and the NPoCC ]National Police Chiefs Council] on its handling of the protest. “As [The Royal Gazette] notes, preventing disclosure of the decision-makers’ identities weakens full accountability.” Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, said yesterday: “We are aware of recent correspondence from the ICO, which we are addressing.”

paragraphMore than 250 delegates, many from overseas, heard from chief executives of the world’s largest insurers and reinsurers at the PwC Insurance Summit yesterday. The event is now in its 14th year and was presented by the Financial Times and two of its leading journalists along with PwC insurance leaders. “We chose to focus on adaptability this year because for us it sums up the flux in our industry today — and looking ahead — the need to be nimble, flexible and resilient in the face if that change,” Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda Territory and Insurance leader, said. “What’s unique about our event is we are fortunate enough to attract very senior people from the industry, who want to share their perspectives and who want to engage in debate and dialogue. We do encourage a more provocative, challenging thinking and I think this is what the industry needs. This is genuine thought leadership event that we at PwC are very proud of.” A keynote address by Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of American International Group, reinforced perspectives of the importance of the Bermuda market overall, particularly for companies looking to get established quickly and deploy capital quickly. He called Bermuda “a safe bet when you are forming a company”. He said Bermuda will continue to survive if it continues to be “the innovative place for the market”. Mr Duperreault called cyber “the single biggest global risk we face”, and shared his perspective on the opportunity Bermuda has to bring cyber to market and innovate around cyber-risk. He said: “Some kind of a cyber breakthrough has got to happen and my bet is it happens here.” The summit also heard from chief executives, including Nigel Frudd, CEO of Sompo International, on the topic of consolidation and building scale. Mr Frudd said scale is “not the answer that conquers all”, and that he believed the industry was currently seeing a “breathing space” in terms of M&A, adding, “There will be future consolidation, but of a different type.” Paul Brand, co-founder and deputy CEO of start-up Convex Insurance, noted that small players may have the opportunity to adopt more modern technologies and react more quickly to opportunities that technology companies offer because they have a much more “blank sheet of paper to operate on”. Florida state commissioner David Altmaier was on a panel discussing climate risk and closing the protection gap in private flood insurance. It was noted that 60 per cent of Florida hurricane risk is now reinsured by the Bermuda market. Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “PwC is an important partner to the BDA and a significant contributor to Bermuda’s economy. Working together with the Financial Times, PwC put together a truly impressive line-up of speakers who are at the forefront of industry. “Under the theme Ensuring Adaptability for the Road Ahead, this event will serve to highlight our country’s strengths and ability to respond to changing market conditions, meeting the increasingly sophisticated and complex needs of today’s insurance leaders.” The summit was held at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club.

paragraphSome 23 artists visited the island last week for the Bermuda Plein Air Festival held biennially. The event stems from a humble offer 20 years ago. It was then that Jonah Jones opened up his garden, inviting fellow artists to paint there. Their meetings grew into Bermuda Plein Air, which today holds weekly painting sessions at locations across the island. Member Rhona Emmerson came up with the idea of an international festival, the first of which was held in 2015 “Word is getting out with artists expressing an interest,” said Mr Jones. “A lot of them have brought guests with them and some are staying longer, past the festival. The festival really shows Bermuda in its best light. It is a great time to paint, rather than in July or August. These artists will be taking their paintings home and talking about the island, so it has great potential. They are staying in hotels and vacation rentals which is good for Bermuda.” He started Bermuda Plein Air after he moved here in 1990 with his partner, Jo Stanton. “It grew out of a Sunday painting group which I kicked off when we were living in an old six-acre estate in Somerset. I started an on-location painting group under the auspices of the [Bermuda Arts Centre], where I had my studio at the time. We had a little book for people to sign in. They paid a fee and there was a mix of professional and amateur artists. We would donate the funds to the art centre and it ended up being a really popular group.” The idea took hold, ultimately leading to this year’s festival which attracted more than 50 artists and offered cash prizes totaling $15,000. Roughly 300 pieces of art were produced and displayed at a one-night exhibit at the Bermuda Arts Centre. Heidi Cowen, the Dockyard gallery’s administrator, said: “The festival is good enough to attract quality artists from overseas and we are getting some amazing artists; the calibre of artists is improving each year. We also have the backing of Michael Harding, who makes his own oil paint in the US and was a judge this year, and Armadillo Arts and Crafts in the US as our two main sponsors. The festival is putting Bermuda on the map in the larger art world.” Originally from Uxbridge, England, Mr Jones trained as a chef with the Royal Marines. He worked as a chef here while studying art at Bermuda College with Charles Zuill and Diana Amos. Courses in the US helped hone his skills and, in 1999, he left his job as a chef to paint full time. He has since exhibited in numerous group and solo shows and has become known for his oil paintings. Most recently, Mr Jones challenged himself to create a painting a day for an entire year. “I post them on my Instagram page and write a little about the thought process and about how it went. I am most of the way through now. I did the same thing exactly ten years ago. It is a diary of where I have been and what I have done.” Last year, he held a solo exhibit at the Bermuda Society of Arts featuring more abstract landscape depictions. “We bought an old house on Cambridge Road a few years ago with a nice artistic history and I built some studio and gallery space in the house,” he said. “I offer a private lesson to any tourists who come to stay, or a one-hour guided cycle trip.”

Spacer

November 7

paragraphOpposition backbencher Trevor Moniz has accused the Government of “sleazy” and “Trumpian” behaviour for spending public funds on a flyer touting its own achievements. Taxpayers forked out more than $5,000 for the four-page pamphlet, according to a press release issued by the Department of Communications on Tuesday evening. Mr Moniz said it was “entirely inappropriate” for public funds to have been spent on the flyer, particularly in the run-up to the Pembroke Central by-election on November 21. “It certainly looks like a party political piece of publishing,” said the former attorney-general. “It talks about promises that were made but, of course, they weren’t made by the Government. They were made by the PLP (Progressive Labour Party). It seems like a piece of propaganda for the by-election that should have been paid for by the PLP and not the taxpayers.” Mr Moniz added: “They are using a government publication to criticize the OBA (One Bermuda Alliance). It’s a very sleazy way to behave. It’s very Trumpian. It’s a way of saying ‘we don’t care what the rules are, we are just going to do what we want’.” The front page of the flyer is marked “On Her Majesty’s Service” and “Government of Bermuda”. Titled Two Years Working for the People and signed by David Burt, the Premier, the flyer describes how “we have made progress in delivering on our promises to you” after “a period when austerity was imposed on every aspect of public services …” Mr Burt writes: “Two years ago, the people of Bermuda decisively gave your government a convincing mandate for change. Hardworking men and women saw in us the promise of a brighter future for their children and a clear vision for a more just society. Thus far, my colleagues and I have been humbled by the opportunity to serve the people of Bermuda. We promised to work hard every day to create opportunities for economic growth and to move Bermudians from an era of exclusion from the prosperity that Bermuda can provide, to one where success is determined through equal access to opportunity. That work has begun.” The Premier goes on to list 25 achievements of “your government”, including the creation of 144 jobs, lower unemployment, higher pensions, tougher immigration policies, and the decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis. Mr Burt writes: “There is so much more to do. There are so many more Bermudians in need of a helping hand … Your government is determined to do all we can to deliver on our promises and govern in a spirit that allows Bermudians to do more than just make it …” A press release issued on Tuesday night announced that Bermudians should “expect to receive a mailer providing an update on government activities”. It stated that the “two-year review document” provided an “easy-to-read bullet overview on some highlights from each ministry” and cost 19 cents per household ($5,719 in total) to produce. Mr Burt said: “This document is a summary of how we have delivered for the people of Bermuda over the past two years and acknowledges the continued mission to change the status quo that has failed so many of our fellow Bermudians.” Nick Kempe, the OBA leader in the Senate, also accused the Government of “wanton misuse of taxpayer funds” over the flyer, which he said “conveniently arrived in mailboxes at the time of a by-election”. Mr Kempe told the Senate: “If people check their mailboxes they will notice what seems to be a thinly veiled political communication that has been funded by the taxpayer and sent out to everyone. It is a turn for the worse and I am hoping that we can see a shift towards a more accountable use of political capital and taxpayer funds.” The Opposition Whip, Susan Jackson, accused the Premier last month of “anti-democratic behaviour” by “manipulating how and when the houses of Parliament conduct the people’s business”. She said Mr Burt argued with the Speaker about introducing legislation without warning and held a vote to overrule him, in a session she said was “conveniently” not broadcast live or recorded by Hansard. Mr Kempe also noted how Mr Burt had replaced the Throne Speech with a speech at the PLP delegates’ conference. A Government spokeswoman said last night that 30,000 flyers were printed and confirmed the cost of $5,719. She added: “There was no cost for postage.” The spokeswoman also said that the flyer was paid for by the Cabinet Office and the Department of Communications. She then added that governments around the world “regularly update the public on things that matter to them, this government will be no different.”

paragraphFormer premier Ewart Brown has said his memoirs, which went on sale this week, have given him the chance to set the record straight. Dr Brown said yesterday: “I feel that the Bermuda public in particular has been told a plethora of falsehoods about me. “They have witnessed character assassination. I was determined to give them my side.” Dr Brown, who served as Premier under the Progressive Labour Party from 2006 to 2010, said the response to Whom Shall I Fear? Pushing the Politics of Change had been “fantastic”. More than five years in the making, the book chronicles Dr Brown’s personal and political life. The book jacket describes him as “a lightning rod for controversy”, with one of its final chapters titled “Out of Office, Under Eternal Investigation”. Although Dr Brown has never been charged with any offence, the physician has found himself the target of a police investigation since 2011. The book was subject to “a few delays”, he said, adding: “But one of the major ones was the publisher saying, why don’t we wait until the investigation in Bermuda is completed?” Dr Brown said he told the company, Rivertowns Books, that “they might never”. Accusations of political corruption have dogged Dr Brown since the 2011 Supreme Court trial of David and Antoinette Bolden. The couple were eventually cleared of accusations of theft and money laundering, but found guilty of one count of misleading the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Under oath, Mr Bolden claimed an unidentified government minister had told him Dr Brown was seeking a kickback from his businesses. In his book, Dr Brown called the allegations “completely preposterous” and wrote that they “furnished a pretext for an open-ended investigation, driven by innuendo and wishful thinking”. Asked why he would end up targeted for an eight-year smear campaign, Dr Brown said yesterday: “I think it’s probably for a combination of reasons. One is my clearly stated intention to fight racism, and the fact that I did it in an environment where that was considered inappropriate.” He added: “In Bermuda, black men who declare their opposition to racism are frequent targets of business and personal assassination.” Addressing race relations was one hallmark of his term as Premier: Dr Brown launched the Bermuda Race Relations Initiative in 2007, with the Big Conversation aimed at fostering dialogue. He said: “That was my attempt as Premier to bring people together in conversation.” But he expressed pessimism yesterday at the island’s progress on race, saying there had been “very little. I think that on a personal basis, there’s more communication,” Dr Brown said. "There’s a big conversation going on in spite of things. Race is being discussed in Bermuda today more than ever, on an individual basis.” He said “hardly any major decision or programme can be discussed in Bermuda without race being brought into it”. The memoir recounts Dr Brown’s experiences as a “campus radical” at Howard University in Washington, DC, where he encountered black activists Stokely Carmichael and Cleveland Sellers recruiting students to sign up black voters for a prominent civil rights organisation, the Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee. Dr Brown went on to become a physician, with a thriving practice in California, and a growing involvement in the PLP culminating in an invitation in 1990 from Freddie Wade, the late party leader, to come back to Bermuda and get involved. He won his seat in Parliament in the General Election of October 1993, ousting former premier Sir John Sharpe, and went on to play a pivotal role in the party. Dr Brown’s book lays much of the blame for his targeting on “the white establishment’s control of most of the country’s news media”, with frequent broadsides at The Royal Gazette. The memoir alludes frequently to the Gazette and the United Bermuda Party, which held the Government until the PLP electoral victory of 1998, functioning as a “Combined Opposition”. But the book documents intrigues within the PLP and Dr Brown’s occasional frustrations with party leaders. Dr Brown, who has been accused of wielding control over the PLP, said yesterday that he had “a healthy distance from the internal workings of the party”. He said he was asked for counsel “on occasion”, adding: “All former leaders carry an influence, or should.” “I’m still a lifetime PLP member and former party leader, and interested in the future of the party,” he said. Dr Brown has about 1,000 copies of the hardcover book available, priced at $50. Rivertowns Books plans an official publication in February, but Dr Brown said he had made an exception for Bermuda. Asked if he planned to write more, Dr Brown said: “I’m going to take a deep breath. This one wasn’t easy. I don’t think future publications are going to require the same amount of research and work.” While Dr Brown declined to elaborate on future topics, he offered a hint by referring to himself as “a sports fanatic”. Meanwhile, he said: “I would like to thank the people of Bermuda for a wonderful reception.” The book will be on sale today from noon to 5pm at the Bermuda Industrial Union.

Ewart Brown’s autobiography calls the former premier “outspoken, accomplished and frequently controversial”.

Topics from Whom Shall I Fear? include:

paragraphThe organisation responsible for handling allegations of teacher misconduct does not have the resources to carry out its statutory duties, according to its chairman. Crenstant Williams told The Royal Gazette that though the law governing the Bermuda Educators Council gave it the power to investigate allegations against teachers, carry out disciplinary proceedings and issue teaching bans, it did not do so. Instead, the Department of Education deals with allegations of teacher misconduct in public schools, behind closed doors. Complaints about teachers in private schools are dealt with by the schools themselves, not the department. Mr Williams said: “Currently, we do not have a professional conduct committee. It’s one of the things that we want to form. The council is not a full-time functioning body. We are not open every single day. I’m a classroom teacher. I can’t be in the classroom and at the council.” Mr Williams spoke to the newspaper after the RG reported on October 25 the case of Christine DaCosta, who was groomed for sex by teacher Robert DiGiacomo while a student at Mount Saint Agnes Academy in 1999. Mr DiGiacomo, then a 44-year-old married father of three, was made to resign from the private Catholic school and banned from entering the premises. But MSA did not carry out a full investigation or subject the teacher to disciplinary proceedings. The Bermuda Educators Council Act was passed by Parliament three years later, with the aim of maintaining and improving standards of professional conduct of educators, as well as raising teaching standards. The law enabled a council to be set up and gave it disciplinary functions, such as the ability to investigate alleged teacher misconduct and issue disciplinary and prohibition orders where allegations were proven. Its statutory powers mirror those of the Teaching Regulation Agency in Britain, which conducts disciplinary proceedings in public, for the most part, and publishes online the outcomes of hearings. But Mr Williams said the role of the council was limited to issuing licences to teachers at public and private schools. Those licensed are listed on a register of educators. Mr Williams said he was “sickened” to read Ms DaCosta’s story and immediately asked the administrator of the register to ensure Mr DiGiacomo’s name was not on the list. “We don’t take that lightly,” he said. Mr Williams added that council members wanted to form a professional conduct committee and carry out disciplinary functions. “It should be [for] all the schools, public and private,” he said. “The educators’ council represents all teachers. In my personal view, we should all be singing from the same hymn sheet.” He said the council recently spoke to Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, and was hopeful it could happen. “Normally, the Ministry [of Education] is the one to deal with alleged misconduct,” he said. “We don’t have the manpower to do it.” The chairman said that, if the council was a “full-time functioning body”, a case such as the one involving MSA could result in a public disciplinary hearing and a prohibition order to prevent the person from teaching again. “For me, it’s a gentleman having sexual relations with students. It shouldn’t have to go behind closed doors.” Ms DaCosta said yesterday she was dismayed there still appeared to be so little oversight of teachers, 20 years after her case was reported. “There is a need to try to get some controls around this. It’s bigger than just me and bigger than just one story. I am just so infuriated by how I was let down by the system that I want the system to change. I think all the schools should adhere to a single protocol and, if I had my way, there would be a body where incidents of sexual misconduct could be reported to.” Ms DaCosta, now 38, said the agency dealing with teacher misconduct should be independent from the Government and the schools, and should be required to hire an outside firm with experience of sexual misconduct cases to investigate all such allegations. “Most schools have as their motto that they aim to protect and nurture,” she said. “We have to have the courage of our convictions. Do we want to protect our children or not?” A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said the BEC was self-regulating, adding: “The functioning of a professional conduct committee is the remit of the BEC, as legislated in the BEC Act. Complaints against teacher misconduct in the public school system are dealt with by the Department of Education, in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It was “within best practice of the Department of Education to ensure that police vetting takes place during the recruitment of any teacher” and that new teachers in the public school system had to do training provided by child sex abuse prevention charity Scars before starting work. The ministry and the department are steadfast in our commitment to protect the welfare and innocence of all students in our schools.  Questions for Mr Rabain on whether there was enough oversight of teachers, whether disciplinary proceedings should be public and on whether resources would be allocated to the BEC to allow a professional conduct committee to be formed went unanswered. MSA told Ms DaCosta in May that an investigation it commissioned this year was “satisfied that lessons have been learnt following your disclosure and current safeguarding procedures, practices and protocols have been developed over time and are in line with expected standards of practice in Bermuda”. Several private schools shared details of their child safeguarding policies and confirmed that neither the Ministry of Education nor Department of Education was involved in dealing with teacher misconduct allegations. The schools said child abuse allegations were reported to the Department of Child and Family Services and the police.

paragraphMiami International Holdings has acquired a controlling interest in the Bermuda Stock Exchange. MIH is the parent holding company of the MIAX, MIAX Pearl and MIAX Emerald options exchanges. The US company said the stake in the BSX aligns directly with MIH’s corporate strategy and allows the company to expand its world-class technology, derivatives trading and regulatory expertise. “We are very pleased to welcome the BSX to the MIH family,” said Thomas Gallagher, chairman and chief executive officer of MIH. “As we looked to establish our international presence and address emerging markets such as digital assets, we found that the Bermuda Government’s commitment to fintech regulation, with legislation such as the Digital Asset Business Act 2018, coupled with Bermuda’s established re/insurance market, made the BSX and the country of Bermuda very attractive to us. Bermuda’s re/insurance industry and the BSX’s contribution to its products and services is strengthened by our ability to provide additional support to the evolving global re/insurance market through innovative products such as exchange traded risk. This transaction enables both MIH and the BSX the ability to offer innovative products and services on a global scale.” Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the BSX, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with such a well-recognised exchange operator and technology innovator as MIH. This alignment better positions both parties to compete and serve customers across a broad range of asset classes by uniting our brands, expertise and infrastructure. Since the creation of the BSX in 1971, we have fostered growth and maturity within Bermuda’s domestic capital market, re/insurance market and now we turn our sights to fintech. We are honoured that MIH has recognised these attributes in the BSX and its acquisition of a controlling ownership position reflects the confidence that MIH has in the BSX, Bermuda and its economy.” Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said: “The Digital Asset Business Act 2018, or Daba, is pioneering legislation developed by the Bermuda Government to match the pace of the ever-changing fintech industry. Daba provides a credible regulatory framework to regulate and protect those in the digital asset business while simultaneously promoting technical and business innovation. The Bermuda Government is pleased to see MIH’s commitment to innovation and the growth of the digital asset industry, and now that MIH has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in the BSX, we are confident that Daba will enable both MIH and the BSX success in this emerging market.” Mr Gallagher added: “MIH fully understands the importance and the significance of the BSX to Bermuda, and we remain committed to maintaining the BSX’s heritage and existing operations. We are delighted to partner with the BSX team that has helped to expand Bermuda’s domestic capital market and we will continue to support Greg Wojciechowski in his endeavours as a member of the board of directors of the World Federation of Stock Exchanges, of which the BSX is a full member.” The BSX is a fully electronic offshore securities market regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. It specializes in the listing and trading of capital market instruments such as equities, debt issues, funds, hedge funds, derivative warrants and insurance-linked securities. The BSX is a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges and an affiliate member of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions. It is recognised as a Designated Offshore Securities Market by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and a Recognised Stock Exchange by UK HM Revenue and Customs. For further information regarding MIH and the MIAX Exchange Group, please visit www.MIAXOptions.com or contact MIAX Trading Operations at TradingOperations@MIAXOptions.com

paragraphReinsurers face multiple challenges in a fast-changing world, Brian Duperreault told delegates at a conference in Hamilton yesterday. In his keynote address at the S&P Bermuda Reinsurance Conference yesterday, the chief executive officer of American International Group also hinted at the depth of his own challenges in turning around the fortunes of the New York-based insurance giant. Mr Duperreault said low interest rates were crimping reinsurers’ investment returns, while climate change and an increasing frequency and severity of natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and wildfires were hitting underwriting returns. The industry was also grappling with how to cover cyber-risk and dealing with “social inflation” — a term linked with the propensity of the legal system to make larger awards to plaintiffs. “There’s probably not been a better time to be alive,” Mr Duperreault said. “Crime, hunger, disease, childhood mortality, poverty — all are down globally. Yet we feel things are getting worse. In many ways I think that’s exacerbated by social media and our own biases. That process has destroyed certain concepts like what is true. We’re not sure what true is any more. If you don’t know what’s true or who’s truthful, then you destroy trust. The insurance industry is based on the concepts of using truth to make a decision and getting the trust of the people you want to insure. So this is not a great combination for us.” A string of natural disasters during the past 2½ years had caused uncertainty in the retrocession market, to which reinsurers cede risk, and particularly insurance-linked securities such as catastrophe bonds. I’d say the alternate capital market is almost exhausted. We’ve had trapped capital for three straight years. I’d say that’s unsettling for all in the reinsurance market at the moment. There could be some withdrawal in response to the trapped capital, but longer term it’s a stable market — we’ll see.” Insurance industry veteran Mr Duperreault took over the reins at AIG in 2017. Last year, AIG had significant losses, but he said work to limit exposures has been bearing fruit. “I just needed to fix AIG,” Mr Duperreault said. “We were doing things in an unprofessional way, taking way too much risk, not pricing it well. We had to cut our gross limits, write new terms and conditions and we had to go to the reinsurance markets.” The support of reinsurers had helped AIG to fix its underwriting portfolio, he added. Others followed AIG’s lead, Mr Duperreault said, which had impacted insurance market dynamics. AIG reported last week that it swung to profit in the third quarter, generating net income of $648 million compared to a loss of $1.3 billion in the corresponding quarter last year. Mr Duperreault is a veteran of the Bermudian insurance market, having served in the C-suite of companies including Ace (now Chubb) and Hamilton Insurance Group. He was bullish on the island’s prospects as an industry hub. “The place you want to go to start a new company is Bermuda,” he said. “It remains the premier location for entrepreneurs with great ideas and that speaks for itself. The regulatory climate is excellent — the BMA does a great job.” Consolidation in the market was a “natural phenomenon”, he said, with the market seeing new formation as well as combination. “It’s healthy for the market to see mergers, but it’s also healthy to see new entrants and Bermuda has both. I think Bermuda has a great future as long as it continues to be innovative and draw capital for new ideas.” Mr Duperreault also revealed his optimism for a US-China trade deal, a development that would improve international business confidence. I was just in China with the US-China Business Council to talk with the Chinese Government about trade, particularly with the US,” Mr Duperreault said. When I was there in April, I would say it was a very difficult environment, I was very pessimistic when I left. This time I saw a complete change in terms of wanting to get something done. I think you’re seeing that play out, let’s hope that gets done. But that is phase one of a very long process between two superpowers. But if we get trade stabilized we have a chance of seeing something better.”

Spacer

November 6

paragraphBermuda Legislation to draw a legal line between cannabis and hemp has been passed by the House of Assembly. The Misuse of Drugs (Hemp) Amendment Act 2019 amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 to create a distinction between cannabis and hemp to allow for the importation, possession, supply and sale of hemp products. The new law defined hemp as the cannabis sativa plant, or any part of it, with a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 1 per cent. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive component of cannabis. Premier David Burt said at last Friday’s sitting of the House that the legislation was to be introduced as part of wider legal changes designed to legalise medicinal cannabis which are expected to be tabled before Christmas. But he added: “There are particular matters dealing with hemp and the importation of hemp products right now which need to be dealt with and addressed.” Mr Burt said the legalisation would stop “unfair treatment” of business owners by police. He added: “To the entrepreneurs who have been challenged with this I am sorry that it has taken this long, but we are going to make sure that we resolve this issue. We hope that this will bring clarity to Bermuda Police Service which is still seemingly doing their job enforcing the law as it currently stands.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the shadow health minister, thanked the Government for the legislation on behalf of the business community. She said that the legal change made it clear which products could be sold in Bermuda. Ms Gordon Pamplin added: “The importers will know what’s appropriate and what’s not and they will act accordingly.” Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, questioned how the Government had decided on the 1 per cent THC content. He highlighted that in Britain, the United States and Canada hemp products were defined as having THC content of not more than 0.3 per cent. Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, also questioned the 1 per cent threshold. He said: “Not all products that are imported will actually say the THC content. It will be interesting to hear from the minister how we are monitoring that.” But Mr Cannonier added: “I am glad to see that this will open up entrepreneurial opportunities to Bermudians.” Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that the 1 per cent THC content threshold would give consumers a greater choice. She said: “The majority of hemp products do contain a minimum of one per cent with respect to the THC level.

paragraphA newlywed senator was unveiled yesterday as the One Bermuda Alliance candidate for the Pembroke Central by-election. Opposition leader Craig Cannonier announced that Dwayne Robinson will run for Constituency 17 against Jason Hayward on November 21. Mr Robinson, who has just returned from his honeymoon, said that the expectation that Nick Kempe, the opposition Senate leader, would be selected was “mostly speculation” by the public. He added: “Nick Kempe has always been a mentor for me by coming in and showing me the ropes of the Senate. We’re definitely on the same page and are working together for the benefit of Bermuda.” Mr Robinson was speaking at the OBA’s headquarters on Reid Street, Hamilton, after he was announced as the candidate. The by-election was called after the sudden death of sitting Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown last month. Mr Robinson said that the election was “not under the circumstances that any of us would have wanted”, but that he was “willing to answer the call of the people”. He added that, if elected, he hoped to focus on environmental issues such as clean energy and climate change. Mr Robinson also said that he planned to speak to members of the constituency to expand on his platform. He added: “The OBA is prepared and is ready to take on a new direction for Bermuda and for the betterment of Bermuda. I’m not going to make any grand statements and I’m not going to make any grandiose gestures. But I will say that I am committed to fight on behalf of the Constituency 17 members and on behalf of Bermuda in the House of Assembly to assure that legislation that comes out is held to account and is in the best interests of all the members in that particular constituency and Bermudians as a whole.” Mr Robinson, 25, who was appointed to the Senate in 2018, is the cofounder of the political comedy show It’s That Type of Party and the production teams Superbia Productions and Neo Apex Productions. He will run against Jason Hayward, a government senator and president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, who was announced as the PLP by-election candidate last week. Mr Robinson said that he was “extremely confident” in his ability to compete against Mr Hayward, who was appointed to the Senate in 2017. He explained: “I do respect the senator and the things he’s done for Bermuda, but I also do understand that there is a need for representation for those under 30. There is a need for a person my age to be up there speaking on behalf of us.” Mr Cannonier said Mr Robinson was “a fine young man and a star whose election came on the heels of his honeymoon. I can’t say enough about the support and the faith that I have in him as we move forward in looking for solutions to Bermuda’s many challenges. Bermuda is facing challenging times — all you have to do is look in the newspaper — but we have an opportunity to bring Bermuda together. We believe that the One Bermuda Alliance, with the inclusion of our new candidate, will help us find solutions for what it is that we need to do.”

paragraphThe island’s psychiatric hospital failed to do enough to help a schizophrenic son, his mother has claimed. Carol Burrows, 65, said that the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute did little to help her look after 28-year-old Eric Richardson, who she had to throw out of her home after he attacked her several times. Ms Burrows added: “Whenever they let him go I did not get any visits from anybody from MWI. It’s like they were happy to see him go.” Ms Burrows, from Warwick, said that paranoid schizophrenia was diagnosed in her son ten years ago and he had been in and out of MWI for years. He also suffered from a drug abuse problem. She explained that caring for her son became difficult because he often refused to take his medication. Ms Burrows said: “When there’s a crisis, it is usually brought on by the individual not taking their meds. Sometimes it escalates to the point where, in Eric’s case, he starts to get aggressive.” She added Mr Richardson was detained in MWI under the Mental Health Act, in August 2017, to ensure he took his medication. However, Ms Burrows said that there were no follow-up tests with Mr Richardson after his release to see if he was coping or if his family needed any help. Ms Burrows added the hospital offered parent support groups, but provided no advice or information on how to handle an at-home patient. She explained: “I did go to one last year that offered strategies and, again, those strategies did not particularly work with Eric.” Ms Burrows said that she alerted MWI to concerns over Eric’s behaviour last December and in April, but he was assessed as stable after two examinations. However, Mr Richardson attacked Ms Burrows, punching her several times in the head, only days after the second evaluation. Ms Burrows said: “The time where I pressed charges, I called them on Friday. He attacked me on the Sunday. They said ‘just see how the weekend goes’.” Ms Burrows said that a psychological assessment carried out during the police investigation found that Mr Richardson suffered from severe cognitive impairment. She added that this was not picked up by doctors at MWI. Ms Burrows also said: “This was not the first time he had hit me; it was the first time I contacted the police. I pressed charges in the hopes of getting him into Mental Health Court to get help.” Curtis Burrows, Mr Richardson’s uncle and a former psychiatric nurse, said that he was not confident that his nephew’s treatment plan had been adhered to. He added: “My nephew was in the hospital for six weeks last time and I had purposely asked him ‘How many times have you spoken to your nurse?’ I think he said once.” Mr Burrows said Ms Burrow’s main interest was her son’s health.“ It’s not to say ‘well, let’s press charges against MWI and the establishment for malpractice. If ever there was a period where there possibly could have been grounds for malpractice, it was that instance when, for five months, she was crying out because there was no compliance on his part. Something more should have been done than ‘see how the weekend goes’.” A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Hospitals Board said for MWI could only step in against an adult’s will when they posed a threat to themselves or others. She explained patients, whether voluntary or compulsory, were assessed inside 24 hours of admission and a treatment plan was prepared. The spokeswoman said the plan was updated throughout a patient’s stay, based on the patient’s progress and information from the family and an outpatient case worker. The spokeswoman added that meetings with a psychiatric nurse were optional for voluntary patients who had been discharged. She said that detained patients had to take their medication and undergo scheduled assessments. She added: “While we cannot make details of an individual’s care public, we would urge the individual or his family to contact us so we can review their experience in more detail. We would be keen to make process improvements if warranted, as our primary concern remains the care and safety of our service users and the community.”

paragraphThe commanding officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment is absent from his job, but John Rankin, the Governor, has refused to reveal the reason why. Government House confirmed to The Royal Gazette that Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley was “currently on leave”. However, Mr Rankin, the regiment’s commander-in-chief, declined to answer questions on Colonel Curley’s sudden absence from his post. A spokeswoman said: “In line with established policy, Government House does not comment on personnel issues.” Captain Paolo Odoli, the regiment’s adjutant, said: “I can confirm that the CO is on leave. Any further questions should be directed to Government House.” Major Ben Beasley, the regiment’s second in command, is acting CO in Colonel Curley’s absence. He also referred questions to Government House. Some of the Governor’s responsibilities in relation to the regiment, including budget, recruitment and answers to parliamentary questions, are deferred to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. Questions put to Mr Caines yesterday, via the Department of Communications, received no response. A spokeswoman said: “Any matters regarding the commanding officer of the RBR should be referred to Government House, as the remit of the RBR falls under Government House.” Colonel Curley became the sixteenth commanding officer of the regiment in February 2016. He is understood to have gone on leave at some point last month.

paragraphOpinion and statement about our announced purchase of BELCO. By Ian Robertson, chief executive officer of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation. "When Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation was founded in 1988 to develop and own generating stations in mostly remote regions of Canada, it was imperative to build and maintain strong relationships with the communities in which we operate — primarily through job creation, excellent customer service and contributing to the communities where we live. This commitment to communities is a huge part of the reason why, over the course of 30 years, Algonquin has grown to become a diversified generation, transmission and distribution utility with more than $10 billion in assets. Through our operating subsidiaries, we provide safe, reliable and affordable rate-regulated natural gas, water and electricity generation, transmission and distribution utility services to nearly 800,000 customers in Canada and the United States, via more than 54 generation and distribution facilities. From our inception, we have approached business growth with a long-term view to creating value for our customers and communities through investment in long-lived, sustainable assets that are built for the future. Our ability to build a portfolio of close to 1,500MW of wind, solar and hydroelectric generating capacity speaks to that commitment, as well as a drive to be leaders in the renewable energy space. With the power of more than 2,300 talented employees, we are well on our way to our goal.

paragraphChildren have always been Ezra Turner’s inspiration. The bartender would tell them stories as they sat around at Coral Beach Club waiting for their parents’ tennis lessons to finish. Encouraged by their response, he decided to write the tales down and have them published. Rock Lessons appeared in 2000 as a collection of short stories. Mr Turner recently completed his eighth book, The Adventure of Ki. “I am dyslexic, which makes it more challenging,” he said. “But when you have a gift, you don’t control it, the gift controls you. When I was in school they didn’t understand what [dyslexia] was but I had to deal with it. I had to take pictures in my head to teach myself how to read. Fortunately, I have a photographic memory, which helped me study.” Mr Turner’s latest book tells the story of Ki and his fascination with the pictures on the backpack he receives for his eighth birthday. “Rivers, lakes and mountains, most of all it was the white horse with wings that caught his imagination,” the book’s synopsis reads. Ki dreams all day that he was riding the white horse and that they flew off in the pursuit of many adventures.” In 2002, Mr Turner received The Golden Loquat Award from Dale Butler’s Writers’ Machine for his “valuable contribution to Bermuda’s literature”. He has presented some of his books to primary schools and donated several to Westgate Correctional Facility for prisoners to give to their children as gifts. “If you’re talking about children’s books, I’ve written as much or more than any other Bermudian. My books are about what’s good for kids; morals and lessons for kids. That’s my mission. I’ve got many ideas and I observe people. I observe everything around me and try to make the world a better place. I may not make a lot of money from [my writing] but the lessons and morals will last for ever.” There’s a “magic” to his writing, the author said. “When you have a gift, an idea can hit you; it can come one time. I see the beginning, the middle and the end. I’ve just got to fill in the rest of the story. Some take longer than others. Some come just like that. It’s magic.” Mr Turner, who now works at Grotto Bay Beach Resort & Spa, hopes his stories highlight the positives the younger generation has to offer. “Children are the future. They’re what makes the next Bermuda,” he said. “[As a community], we’ve lost a lot of the respect and principles we had before. If you see children today, they don’t speak, they use a certain language with no care who they hurt. It’s not just in Bermuda, it’s worldwide; something that’s fed from the internet and part of our civilization. But with a few tools and lessons on the way, the books are something for them to lean on. [They teach that] it’s OK to be nice. You don’t have to be that tough person to achieve your goals. Sometimes if you just dream, it helps. It means that you believe in yourself and that you can accomplish something as long as you try. You can fail, but as long as you try, that’s what matters.” They are lessons he taught his own children when they were growing up. We get so many write-ups about the bads and wrongs people do but there are a lot of gifted Bermudians doing great things,” he said. “What we lack is unity. We lack people working together. Through my stories I prepare children mentally so when they [are faced with a bad choice], they won’t do it. With my children, I gave them an invisible scale to weigh out things before they made decisions. I told them to consider the good and the bad, and make a decision then. Don’t make it based on emotions. Sometimes if you sleep on things you wake up the next day and feel differently about them.”

Spacer

November 5

paragraphThe Azores president said last night that Bermuda’s recognition of the Azorean contribution to Bermuda made him proud. Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the Azores regional government, said the first Portuguese immigrants who arrived 170 years ago were “heroic”. He said: “Nowadays it’s easy to consider the challenge of leaving your homeland behind and going to other places. But imagine 170 years ago what it would mean to leave everything and — because you went by sea — you were not sure if you would come back. When I see this kind of saga recognised and acknowledged — when I see official institutions like the Bermuda Government paying tribute to all this effort — I feel proud of being an Azorean.” Mr Cordeiro was speaking at an event held at Vasco Da Gama Club after a day of activities to mark the inaugural holiday. The president joined David Burt, the Premier, for a ceremonial tree planting at the Botanical Gardens in Paget. The pair also opened the new home of the House of the Azores charity located near Admiralty House in Pembroke. Mr Cordeiro and the Azorean delegation will visit Portuguese Rock at Spittal Pond today. Mr Cordeiro said that his talks with Mr Burt had been “excellent” and that he had invited the Premier to visit the Azores next year. He added: “I hope we will be able to arrange everything so he can also know and visit the place where so many people came to Bermuda from.” Mr Cordeiro said that he hoped his visit to the island — his first — would help develop the relationship between the Azores and Bermuda. He added: “I would say that right now what you have is a relationship based on affection — people live here, they came from the Azores, they miss the Azores. But I think it’s important to take this relationship to the political level, to the institutional level. So this visit is also to try to do that.” Mr Cordeiro said that from a young age he had heard about Bermuda from the stories told by people in his community about those who had travelled to the island. He added: “It was something that was kind of in my imagination from my childhood — to see what Bermuda looked like.” Paulo Franco, the Vasco president, said Mr Cordeiro’s visit was significant to Bermuda’s Portuguese community and that there was great pride over the national holiday. Mr Franco said that while the holiday was to honour the contributions of the Portuguese the celebration was about more than the one community. He explained: “Our stance has always been that we need to share this holiday with the whole of Bermuda. It was a holiday given to the Bermudian people in recognition of the Portuguese. A holiday is holiday for all. Our stance was always that we wanted to share the moment — be as open and welcoming to the community to participate as possible.” Mr Franco highlighted the diverse turnout to the block party that packed Reid Street on Saturday. He said: “It was just very nice to see many different people come together.” Richard Ambrosio, the vice-president of Vasco Da Gama Club, said that Mr Cordeiro’s visit signified interest on behalf of the Azorean Government to “deepen” the relationship between Bermuda and the Azores. He added: “It shows that Bermuda is not forgotten and that it merits the attention of those in power back in our ancestral homeland.” Mr Ambrosio said that the holiday served as recognition of the role played by the Portuguese community in Bermuda that spanned generations. He added: “It signifies that we are a part of the community — of the Bermudian family.”

paragraphEmployment income rose by 1.2 per cent in Bermuda in the second quarter of this year, according to data from the Office of the Tax Commissioner. The island’s working population earned a total of $873.28 million during the April-through-June period, up by $10.58 million from the corresponding quarter in 2018. The majority of the gains were achieved by the international business sector, in which the combined pay packet grew by more than $8 million to $284.49 million. The biggest percentage gain came in the public administration and defence sector, which includes government workers. The sector recorded an increase of $4.57 million in employment income, representing a 4.3 per cent year-over-year gain, as workers earned a total of $111.78 million. The largest percentage fall came in the transport and communication segment, in which employment compensation totaled $17.05 million, down 9.4 per cent year over year. The data was published in the Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics, issued by the Department of Statistics on Friday. The report also highlighted the continuing trend of rising government revenues. Data from the Office of the Accountant-General showed that the Government took in $270.3 million in the three-month period, up 6.8 per cent year over year. Payroll tax, which amounted to $131.6 million for the three-month period, up 3.7 per cent, was by far the largest contributor to government coffers in the second quarter. There was a notable decline of 9 per cent in Customs duty, the second-largest contributor to revenues, which fell to $53.7 million in the quarter, down from $59 million a year earlier. On the island’s company register, there was little sign of an exodus prompted by EU-inspired economic substance rules, as the second quarter ended with 16,447 companies registered, up by 18 from a year earlier. However, new registrations fell by 26.6 per cent to 212, a third successive quarter of year-over-year decline.

paragraphMore than 730 employers or self-employed are behind with pension contributions at the end of 2017, the House of Assembly heard on Friday. But Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, said 106 “compliance meetings” had been held with people behind on payments in 2017 in an attempt to get them up to date. He added that the Pensions Commission had taken legal action against 20 employers, or their directors and officers, that year compared with three in 2010. Mr Dickinson was speaking as he tabled the Pensions Commission annual reports for 2011 to 2017. He said: “The Pensions Commission has advised that delays in the submission of annual financial statements between 2011 and 2017 were initially caused by resourcing issues at both the Office of the Auditor-General and the Pensions Commission.” Mr Dickinson added: “Notwithstanding the delay in tabling this annual report ... all audits were successfully completed with clean opinions. I am also pleased to advise that the commission’s 2018 audit has been completed and the commission has received another clean opinion on its 2018 financial statements.” He added the 2018 annual report would be tabled in the House next year. Mr Dickinson said 3,096 employers and 22,006 employees or self-employed were enrolled in registered pension plans at the end of 2017. That compared with 2,996 employers and 23,722 employees or self-employed signed up to plans in 2010. Mr Dickinson said: “The commission estimates that there was $2.36 billion held in employer pension plans and a further $656 million in domestic prescribed retirement products at the end of 2017 compared to $1.4 billion and $239 million, respectively, at the end of 2010.” He added that the Pensions Commission had approved $24.3 million in financial hardship withdrawals over the reported period.

paragraphOpinion. By Marcus Jones, a One Bermuda Alliance senator.  As a child growing up, Halloween was my least enjoyable celebration. Although candy and chocolates were part of the bounty accumulated during a night of trick-or-treat, it was those fun-loving children masquerading as witches and ghosts that scared me the most. But the good thing about this annual event is that it can be endured for one night a year and its practice is merely a fantasy, a horrible nightmare, if you will, that will not recur or have a devastating impact on one’s future wellbeing. This Progressive Labour Party government is doing its best to create a Halloween-style nightmare by policies and tax-increasing measures that ultimately burden its residents with a higher cost of living, specifically within the realms of its healthcare reform plan. Unlike Halloween, it has the potential to be a recurring nightmare and can have a devastating impact on one’s future wellbeing. The Government and its detractors can agree on a few things:

On September 16, I attended a town hall meeting at the St James Church Hall in Sandys and the questions of the attendees reflected the concerns of the wider population of residents on the island. The Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, and her team did their best to provide answers, but there were more questions left hanging to make anybody feel uneasy about the remedies for an out-of-control healthcare system that needs reform, not total restructuring, to cure what ails it. Here were some of the questions;

Question: Why were there no plans for under/uninsured persons?

Answer: Too expensive because no risk-pooling. It would marginalize the poor as second-rate.

Observation: At the beginning of the night, the number representing the under/uninsured was at 8,000. By the end of the night, that number had crept up to 12,000. Which number is it? How many of the underinsured voluntarily chose the HIP option of health insurance, as they did not deem themselves needing a comprehensive, major medical scheme? All four leading healthcare insurance providers are on record as being willing to consider a plan to underwrite those who are not insured because of unaffordability or unemployment. Why was this proposal not explored by the Government?

Question: Will there be different levels of coverage?

Answer: No difference in tiers. Any further coverage, consumer will need to purchase additional private coverage.

Observation: The mere fact that consumers require supplemental coverage, whether they can pay for it or their employers provide additional medical services creates a two-tiered system of healthcare.

Question: Does the new insurance plan cover you when unemployed?

Answer: Financial assistance was the remedy in old plan and in reform, subsidy included if people unemployed.

Observation: Not everyone unemployed or made redundant in the old plan could qualify for financial assistance and there was no economic impact assessment presented that would demonstrate the potential cost to the taxpayer to underwrite that demographic of the population. When considering the consultation invested by this government to get as much feedback from industry professionals and the residents at large, there is a fundamental flaw in its approach. Like its attempt to drive through legislation that would reduce the authority of the corporations of Hamilton and St George, consultation was merely a gratuitous attempt to show the appearance of seeking feedback, when its ultimate plans were already etched in stone. The public see through this phony quest for gathering advice and input from stakeholders, and have had it with going through the charade. As an act of good faith, the Government should inform the electorate that their buy-in for major structural change in the healthcare system is not needed or valued, so just fall in line. Socialized healthcare is the long-term goal of this government and no matter how one dresses it up, increased taxation to underwrite this future reformation will be the order of the day. Even this first step towards this goal, proposed to be implemented in a soft launching in August 2020, in the words of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association “would not lower healthcare cost without negatively impacting the quality of care and waiting times of services”. So, this government’s promise to lower cost while increasing service is a fallacy. Another consideration that the Government has been silent on is the unintended consequence that will result in this single-payer system that it will be introducing. Wisely, the Government has confirmed that it will not be taking on the responsibility of collecting premiums, but will outsource to another entity that has the expertise to administer this system. But that private company will be interested in turning a profit, in addition to the layer of governmental oversight and administration that will be a factor, resulting in additional cost. But what is universally more troubling is that this reformed system will eliminate the private insurers from the bulk of their healthcare business. How many international businesses will opt to get healthcare coverage from overseas providers, arrange for doctors’ visits, purchasing of pharmaceutical products, specialist visits overseas, thus leaving the local providers with a smaller piece of the healthcare pie? With reduced business, there is a reduced need to provide healthcare-related products and services resulting in a reduced need for employees. Do I see redundancies in the healthcare industry’s future? It is inevitable. An economy that is in serious decline and a working population in decline, reducing the number of persons able to carry the burden of an ever-increasing cost of healthcare, make for a formula for disaster. But rather than end on a sour note, there is hope for the average Bermuda resident looking for relief in their monthly costs. The Government should look to halt its fast train ride to universal healthcare and solve its original overarching problems related to healthcare.

Those problems are twofold:

We can avoid the Halloween-like scares within healthcare reform that can be a recurring nightmare and have a devastating effect on the country’s future wellbeing.

paragraphA documentary on the history of the Portuguese and how they came to Bermuda is due to be released at the end of this month after ten years of work. Milton Raposo, a Bermudian film-maker of Portuguese ancestry, said the film, Fabric: Portuguese History in Bermuda, starts in the Middle Ages and explores the culture and heritage of the Portuguese. Mr Raposo said film project was born out of curiosity about his own roots. He explained: “There is a very base-level knowledge of the community that gets passed down through generations which eventually gets watered down or broad-stroked. I wanted to learn more and so I took it upon myself to find out and turn it into a film.” Mr Raposo said: “The film starts in the Middle Ages, goes into the European migrations, to the first Madeirans to arrive in Bermuda in 1849 to the 20th-century injustices the community experienced such as family separations and job discrimination. As for culture, it’s really religion that is the main cultural focus for the Portuguese and so there is a great section on what religion and faith means to the Portuguese — not just Catholic, but also the evangelical faith, too. There is a beautiful sequence I shot in May during the Santo Cristo festa in the Azores.” Produced by Mr Raposo’s Method Media Bermuda, the film is 100 minutes long. Mr Raposo said that he had not planned on the release of the film this year, but was spurred on by the celebration of the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants in Bermuda and yesterday’s public holiday to honour the event. Mr Raposo researched, wrote, shot and edited most of the film himself and carried out about 25 interviews, including some in Portugal. The film includes interviews with Isaura Reis, a former immigration inspector, Anthony Correia, a former United Bermuda Party MP, Manuel Medeiros, former Bermuda resident, Gilberto Pavao, folklorist, Fernandina Amaral, wife of the late farmer Joseph Amaral, and author and historian Patricia Marirea Mudd. Mr Raposo said he had enjoyed the creation of the documentary. “It’s been a very revealing exercise for me to learn what the Portuguese mean to Bermuda. The Portuguese occupy a very special space in Bermuda’s history. It’s very peculiar in a way because there is no other emphasis on any other nationality like Bermuda had, and still does have, on the Portuguese. And the reasons as to why the Portuguese left their homes for a strange land, I hope, reveals something about them to the larger Bermudian audience.”

paragraphAn autobiographical book by a controversial former Bermuda premier will be unveiled tonight. Ewart Brown’s Whom Shall I Fear? Pushing the Politics of Change will be launched at St Paul AME Church’s Centennial Hall in Hamilton from 5pm to 7pm. The 434-page book was billed as a “event-filled memoir” of the turbulent times of Dr Brown. A spokesman said that Dr Brown “recounts how he transformed Bermuda’s local transport with a system of fast ferries, provided new pivotal air service for resident and visitors alike with the introduction of lower-cost international carriers and increased cruise travel to Bermuda by mega ships with the development of Bermuda’s Dockyard as an internationally competitive port destination that locals also enjoy”. He added that the book also discussed Dr Brown’s work to place more Bermudians in top-level jobs, create opportunities for young black entrepreneurs and black business owners and to introduce FutureCare — “the country’s first comprehensive health insurance programme for senior citizens”. Dr Brown entered Bermuda politics as an MP in 1993 for the Progressive Labour Party and was Premier of Bermuda from 2006 to 2010. The spokesman said the book also detailed Dr Brown’s “secret negotiations” with United States President Barack Obama’s White House to give asylum to four Uighurs released from a detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in June 2009. He said that the book also highlighted “memorable interactions” with activists including Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton and political leaders such as US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and British prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, as well as with musician Bob Marley. The spokesman added that Dr Brown’s book “tells a story rich in human and political insight that will fascinate readers interested in the global African diaspora and its continuing quest for racial justice and equality”. Events are also planned for tomorrow night from 5pm to 7pm at the National Gallery and from noon to 5pm on Thursday at the Bermuda Industrial Union.

paragraphBermuda-based Fidelis Insurance has taken an equity stake in Perigon Product Recall Ltd, a new managing general agency, and will be providing underwriting capacity. Perigon’s focus will be product recall and product contamination coverage for food and beverage producers, restaurant operations, auto manufacturers as well as a broad range of other recall classes of insurance. This will be managed through Pine Walk Capital Ltd, Fidelis’ subsidiary MGA platform. Ian Bailey will run Perigon, bringing more than 20 years’ experience in the industry and 15 years specializing in the field of product recall and contamination. Mr Bailey started his career at Independent Insurance and then moved to RSA, before his focus on product recall began at AIG, before he then went on to XL Catlin and later Hiscox.

paragraphHiscox said its business saw growth across all segments over the first nine months of the year as gross premiums written climbed 7.3 per cent. The insurer and reinsurer also had a busy third quarter for catastrophe claims and has set aside $165 million to cover expected losses from Hurricane Dorian and typhoons Faxai and Hagibis. In its trading statement for the first three quarters of 2019, the Bermuda-based company said premiums totaled $3.21 billion through September 30, up from $3.04 billion in the same period of last year. The Hiscox Re and ILS segment, which has a significant presence at the group’s head office in Wessex House on Reid Street, Hamilton, generated $823.6 million of that premium, a rise of 6.1 per cent over last year. Hiscox said its ILS assets under management were more than $1.5 billion. Hiscox commented: “Widespread rate improvement is still hampered by the fluidity of reinsurance capacity available from traditional and alternative sources. Parts of the market are responding, and there is selective positive rate momentum, though generally confined to lines hardest hit by losses, such as retrocession and wildfire liability. In many areas however, rate is currently insufficient to warrant increased participation.” Premium in the retail division rose 7 per cent to $1.67 billion, while the London Market segment added 9.7 per cent to total $722.3 million. Bronek Masojada, Hiscox’s chief executive officer, said: “The third quarter has been an active period for claims, with the market experiencing significant catastrophe losses from storms in the US, the Caribbean and Japan. Paying claims is what we are here for, and we have reserved $165 million for claims from Hurricane Dorian and Typhoons Faxai and Hagibis. We expect an additional impact from lower fees and profit commissions. It is pleasing to see good growth across all of our segments, with Hiscox London Market leading the way as conditions continue to improve. In Hiscox Retail, growth is accelerating following the decisive action we have taken in the US and UK, and Europe is delivering strong double-digit growth. We are on track to meet our full year growth guidance for the retail segment. Pricing momentum in the London market and reinsurance continues to be positive. In Hiscox Retail, rates in the UK and Europe remain broadly flat across the portfolio. In the US, there are early signs that the market is responding to adverse claims trends in casualty business, where we are taking an increasingly cautious approach to reserving. Yet again the balance between our retail and big-ticket businesses has given Hiscox resilience in the face of challenging events. From these challenges comes opportunity.” Hiscox said the $165 million reserved for catastrophe claims was “materially in excess of the group’s catastrophe budget for the second half”. The company added that it was exposed to the recent California wildfires but said the size of any potential loss was unclear so far. Hiscox’s shares fell 35p, or 2.37 per cent, to close at 1,440p on the London Stock Exchange yesterday.

paragraphAmerican International Group’s shares gained on Friday and yesterday after the insurer reported net income of $648 million for the third quarter. The result was a positive swing from a net loss of $1.3 billion in the corresponding period last year. However, profits were limited by catastrophe losses and a $143 million charge related to an actuarial review of its life and retirement business, which resulted in AIG having to put aside extra cash to meet future claims. The insurer posted a profit of $505 million, or 56 cents per share, on an adjusted basis, well below analysts’ expectations of $1 per share. Shares of AIG climbed 1.5 per cent on Friday after the results were announced and climbed another 2.18 per cent yesterday to close on $54.93 in New York. AIG is in the midst of a turnaround, launched by chief executive officer Brian Duperreault, who took charge in 2017. “Our results this quarter reflect the significant, ongoing work across the company to lay a foundation for long-term, sustainable and profitable growth,” Mr Duperreault said. “Results are in line with our expectations, particularly in general insurance, which demonstrated a significant improvement over the prior-year quarter driven by our focus on underwriting excellence, expense discipline and enhanced reinsurance strategy. Life and retirement continued to produce solid results despite ongoing headwinds from the sustained low interest rate environment. This business remains on track to deliver double-digit returns for the full year. As we approach 2020, we remain confident we will deliver underwriting profitability for the full year 2019 and deliver double-digit return on common equity by the end of 2021. We still have much work ahead of us, but we are well on our way to positioning AIG as a leading global insurance company.” Mr Duperreault has deployed a reinsurance programme to offset catastrophe losses, which he said “played out as designed”. Some of those changes involve AIG’s speciality commercial unit, Lexington Insurance. It reduced total casualty insurance limits by 58 per cent during the quarter while increasing premium rates by more than 30 per cent, AIG chief financial officer Mark Lyons said in a call with analysts. AIG has also been building up “meaningful” cash reserves for potential mass tort claims, Lyons said. AIG’s net pre-tax catastrophe loss narrowed to $511 million in the quarter from $1.6 billion a year earlier. The company also reported a smaller underwriting loss in its general insurance business, $249 million, compared with $1.73 billion last year.

paragraphKroll Bond Rating Agency will host an Environmental, Social and Governance Breakfast on November 8 at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Pat Welch, KBRA’s chief credit officer, will open the event with a conversation on the ESG factors relevant to insurance transactions. The breakfast panel discussion, moderated by Kathleen Faries, chairwoman of ILS Bermuda, will focus on the connection between insurance-linked securities and ESG. Panellists include Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange; Arthur Wightman, regional markets insurance leader and territory leader, PwC Caribbean; and Ariane West, director of structured finance at Nephila Climate. “We are very excited to be hosting our inaugural ESG event in Bermuda,” KBRA president and CEO Jim Nadler said. “As the importance of ESG continues to grow, KBRA is actively analysing the changing dynamics of ESG factors and their effect on credit, to make our ratings analysis more transparent and thorough. We look forward to discussing how ESG factors influence our insurance methodology and ratings given how relevant ESG factors are to the insurance sector. " BDA chief executive Roland Andy Burrows said: "We are delighted to welcome KBRA to Bermuda and the Bermuda Business Development Agency is proud to be supporting the ESG Bermuda Breakfast.  Globally, the importance of ESG factors to money managers and investors is increasing, driven in large part by climate change concerns and demand from the affluent millennial generation. As a world-leading international financial centre — celebrated for its stability, quality, and ease of doing business — Bermuda plays an important role in driving the sustainable economy forward. Events such as the upcoming breakfast serve not only to highlight the island’s relevance in this space — given our market dominance in insurance-linked securities, which have been recognised by the UN as a sustainable development investment — but also to inform and educate the business community on growing trends.” View the agenda and RSVP for KBRA’s ESG Breakfast on the PDF attached to this webpage under the heading, Related Media. For more information, e-mail events@kbra.com.

paragraphLen Dineen, the Irish Rugby Legends manager, refused to get carried away despite getting their World Rugby Classic campaign off in style with a comfortable 25-8 victory over USA Classic Eagles at North Field, National Sports Centre, last night. Last year’s beaten finalists signaled their return with a dominant display, building on a 8-0 half-time advantage with a controlled second-half, adding three further tries to eventually prevail and book their semi-final berth. Having come into the tournament aiming to avenge last year’s disappointment, Dineen conceded his relief at getting over the first hurdle, but was quick to downplay their ambitions with hotly tipped Argentina and South Africa still in contention for the title. South Africa overcame the Classic Lions in a hard-fought 17-5 success in last night’s second game. “It was all about getting off to a good start against a good United States team,” he said. “They gave us a really good game but thankfully we managed to do enough for the win. To get into the semi-final was the first objective and so we are really delighted to be there. For some of our guys that was their first experience of the Classic and I think they found out pretty quickly the good level of competition they’re up against. It’s great to get over that first hurdle and now we’ll roll up our sleeves and go again. I think we’ll have a couple of knocks going forward but we’ll patch them up and go again. It’s great to get through but we won’t be getting carried away, particularly looking at the South Africa and Argentina squads, they’ll be strong competition and so we’ll just focus on ourselves and see what we can do.” After an even opening ten minutes, Ireland finally broke the deadlock when wing Danny Barnes finished off a flowing move to score in the bottom-right corner. Fergal Campion failed with the seemingly simple conversion as his side held a 5-0 lead. However, Campion made amends seven minutes before the interval, sending a 30-yard penalty attempt sailing through the post to gift the Irish a 8-0 half-time advantage. For all their defensive efforts in the opening 30 minutes to limit the opposition, the Classic Eagles were breached with just three minutes played after the interval. After a prolonged period of pressure in the left corner, Ireland were finally awarded a penalty try, with Campion again falling short with the extras, leaving the score at 13-0. In the 41st minute, the Eagles finally got on the scoreboard through Robbie Shaw’s cleanly struck penalty to reduce the deficit, before missing with another penalty attempt three minutes later, leaving the score at 13-3. Back came Ireland with a another try with ten minutes remaining as a scrum lead to the ball being worked out to Barnes who raced clear to score his second try of the evening. Chris Keane took responsibility with the conversion and fired it through the posts to extend their lead to 20-3. To their credit, the Eagles responded brilliantly to the setback scoring the try of the night two minutes later as Marcus Satavu received the ball before evading three challenges to crash over in the left corner. Shaw fell just wide with the conversion leaving the score at 20-8. However, there was to be no late dramatic comeback as Ireland scored the final try in the closing moments as Alex Dunlop breached the Eagles’ defensive line to saunter over the line. Des Dillon sent the conversion over the posts. Meanwhile, the second encounter proved far more strongly contested as the Classic Springboks outfought the Classic Lions. The South Africans got off to a flying start scoring all of their points in a dominant opening 22 minutes. The first two tries came courtesy of the blistering pace of Tonderai Chavhanga with the wing scoring in the fifth and nineteenth minutes, the second converted by Rheinhard Gerber. It was extended to 17-0 two minutes later as scrum half Charl McLeod intercepted a wayward pass to race clear and score an unconverted try. The Lions scored their only points of the match in the 24th minute when Johnnie Beaties probing run down the left was rewarded by Ryan Grant powering over. The second-half proved a one-sided affair in the Lions’ favour, but for all of their dominance they could not break down the resolute South Africa defence who had to manage being a man down for ten minutes after Morgan Newman received a yellow card for a high tackle.

paragraphBrendon Todd entered rich company in more ways than he could have imagined on Sunday after shooting a record-equaling 62 to win the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship by four strokes. In carding 24 under par to almost lap the field, the 34-year-old Pittsburgh native joined none other than Tiger Woods in becoming the second player in the 2019-20 season to win an inaugural PGA Tour event. While 80 wins separate men who are miles apart on the order of golfing pedigree, they are united in having overcome great adversity. Woods’s travails have been well chronicled, the most recent being another knee surgery that preceded victory at the Zozo Championship, which tied him with Sam Snead for the most PGA Tour wins at 82. But, for Todd, the road back from the yips, a run of 36 missed cuts out of 37 and a return to the lower reaches of professional golf presented a different challenge. His first tour win at the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic in 2014 had seemed a distant memory, 100 starts ago, and there were genuine thoughts of walking away from the sport to start a business. The thousands who gathered at Port Royal Golf Course are grateful he found his way back, for they were witnesses to a virtuoso performance that put the tournament to bed before the turn and elicited genuine hope of seeing a magical 59. A sub-60 round has been achieved only ten times on the PGA Tour, with Jim Furyk’s 58 in the final round at the 2016 Travelers Championship being the record. Todd needed two birdies on his final three holes to join that illustrious company, but finished par, par, bogey to match the course record set by Scottie Scheffler in the first round on Thursday. “With two or three to play, I was trying to shoot 59, so I had to play a little more conservatively on 17 just because there’s no reason to give anything back, so I didn’t make birdie there,” he said. “[From there] I pretty much knew 59 was out the window, but I was still playing smart and laid it back off the [par-five 17th] tee. Then I missed the green left and then I’m like, well, I want to shoot a bogey-free 61 today.” Sole possession of the course record went when a six-footer for par at the last drifted past the hole for his only blemish of the day, but unlike Furyk whose 58 did not come with a winner’s cheque — the 2018 US Ryder Cup captain finishing joint fifth at TPC River Highlands — Todd takes home $540,000. He also pockets 300 FedEx Cup points, gains exemption on the tour through the 2021-22 season, and has earned a place at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the PGA Championship, The Players Championship, well established as “the fifth major”, and six other invitational events this season. He said: “I’m thrilled, over the moon. A year ago, I was talking to my manager about potentially opening up another business and not sure if I was going to keep playing. So to turn it around in one year and regain status and then have a big win like this is just a dream come true and hopefully a springboard to a really long, successful career.” Other than a pleasing 63 on Friday, there were few signs that Todd would match the consistency of third-round leader Harry Higgs, who did not make bogey until his 50th hole. But the older man was on fire from the start on Sunday, with both his irons and the putter — nine birdies in his first 11 holes, including seven straight from the 2nd through the 8th, not only overcoming the two-stroke deficit at the start, but quickly establishing a lead that left his rivals scrambling and at one point grew to as large as seven. “I had probably one of the best range warm-ups I’ve had in a little while,” Todd said. “I think I told my caddie that’s the best my swing’s felt in ten years, but in reality it’s probably the best it’s felt ever because I’m a much better ball-striker than I was ten years ago and in college, and even during the times where I was winning tournaments. My goal was just to go out there and play my game, play aggressively and just fire away — try and birdie every hole.” The friendliest conditions of the week were conducive to low scoring, but not every golfer filled his boots. Each of the previous eight players this season to hold the 54-hole lead went on to lift the title, and Higgs had expressed his confidence the day before that he could be the ninth. But, on a relatively windless day, the 27-year-old from New Jersey was swept away in the Todd tsunami, his challenge effectively over at the par-five 7th where he took double bogey for a three-shot swing after another straightforward birdie for the runaway champion in waiting. That Higgs recovered his composure to shoot three-under 68, capturing second place and the $327,000 cheque that came with it, owed much to a scrambling ability that ranked as best of the week — and a lengthy eagle putt at No 17 that got him to 20 under and broke a five-way tie for second. But that second shot on No 7? “I hit a good shot there,” said Higgs of the approach that ended long left and down an embankment, where he was blocked out by a tree, had no relief and was forced to play out left-handed. “Looking back on it, I just hit the wrong club. The club that I hit, I thought I was going to end up 25, 30 feet left of [the pin].” On the green in five, with Todd putting for eagle, the tour rookie was playing for second at best from a long way out. I probably could have played a bit more conservative in a way, but it’s hard to do that when someone’s rattling off a million birdies in a row.  I turned to Mike [his caddie] after he birdied 11 and said this guy might shoot 56 today. Every shot he hit was just perfect; every putt he hit was perfect. It was fun to watch. It was hard to focus because I was almost cheering him on the whole time. Like, I want to see how good this is going to be for him. But then there was the task at hand. I made the goal, maybe when I made the turn, that I want to finish solo second. I was very fortunate to do that.” The four-way tie for third featured Hank Lebioda, who flew under the radar with a flawless, career-best 63, and two-round leader Scheffler, who bounced back from a disappointing 69 on Saturday to close with 66. Also on 18 under were Brian Gay (67) and Aaron Wise (65). Bo Hoag, who was in the final grouping with Todd and Higgs, struggled to a 71 after a difficult day on the greens and slipped eight places to joint eleventh. Boo Weekley, the 2008 US Ryder Cup star, carded his third 66 of the week, but his chances of contending were scuppered by a three-over 74 on Saturday’s “moving day”. He finished joint eighteenth at 12 under, as did Lanto Griffin, who did enough to retain a slim, 24-point lead in the FedEx Cup standings over WGC-HSBC Champions winner Rory McIlroy.

paragraphYou name it and Horst Augustinovic collects it — walking sticks, books, stationery from hotels long gone. “This is what you do when you don’t have children,” the 80-year-old joked. But by far, his favourite is his collection of postcards, stamps, envelopes and mail censored during wartime. A double closet in his office is filled, floor to ceiling, with binders containing items gathered over the past five decades. A few years ago, he was in an antique shop in Germany when he came across a letter from the Second World War written by a woman in Warsaw, Poland, to her husband in New York. It was obvious that the letter had been seized and detained by British censorship officials in Bermuda. “It was written in Polish so I couldn’t read it, but I bought it because of the censorship marks,” said Mr Augustinovic, who eventually had a friend of a friend translate the contents for him. “It’s a very personal letter. In it, the wife says over and over how she misses her husband.” Particularly sad was that the woman’s husband never received it. After the war the letter was released and sent on to New York, but never collected. Eventually, it was sent back to Poland. The letter features in Censorship and Bermuda’s Role in Winning the Second World War. Mr Augustinovic’s sixth book, it published in October. His first, The Golden Age of Bermuda Postcards, was released in 2011. His other books have all focused on Bermuda trivia. “This one was more serious,” he said of his latest tome. “The postcard book was more fun.” Censorship and Bermuda’s Role in Winning the Second World War started out as an article for Bermuda Post, the Bermuda Collectors Society’s quarterly journal. To complete it, Mr Augustinovic reached out to Vivienne Gardner knowing she had a photograph from her father William Gilmore’s days as a censor here. It turned out that she not only had a photograph, but a treasure trove of rare documents. Mr Augustinovic felt compelled to write a book, ultimately drawing on Mr Gilmore’s collection, his own and that of another censor, Lawrence Gurrin, Bermuda’s first archivist. Mr Augustinovic was born a month after the Second World War erupted. His parents, Stephanie and Roman, lived in an industrial part of Austria and evacuated him to the country to live with his grandmother, thinking he’d be safer from air raids. Ironically, one of his earliest memories is of watching two American B17 bombers being blown up in the skies over her home in Metnitz. “I was four,” he recalled. “One of them was in flames and disappeared into the next valley and the other came straight for us and crashed behind the house in a wooded area.” The sole pilot that survived was taken prisoner; seven others died. “I remember seeing dead bodies lying there, burnt,” he said. “That’s an image that never leaves you.” His father was in an elite Austrian mountaineering division during the war. When the conflict was over, his mother started working for the British Government. When Mr Augustinovic was eight, he moved to London, England with his mother who had split from his father. He had a rough time there and was frequently bullied. “The headmaster of the school I went to in London had lost a leg in Dunkirk,” he said. “I wasn’t exactly his favourite kid.” He liked boxing and was often paired against a child much bigger than him at school. He’d return home bruised, with his clothes in tatters. His consolation was stamp collecting. “In those days every child had a stamp book,” he said. “I liked the colourful ones, or the ones with animals from Africa.” After two years, he was sent to boarding school back in Vienna. “I got whooping cough from the smog in London,” he said. “Sometimes it was so thick you couldn’t see another person on the street.” As a teenager he was interested in science, so he was sent to a graphic arts school with a strong focus on chemistry. It was there that he learnt his trade, printing. In 1961, he was living in Quebec, Canada when he spotted an advertisement for a job in Bermuda. Not liking Montreal all that much, he applied for it and got it. He arrived here that September and joined the Bermuda Press on the commercial printing side. He loved the island, but was shocked by how old fashioned a lot of the equipment at the company was. In Vienna, he’d met his future wife Heidi, who came to Bermuda a month after he did. The couple married on December 9 at the Registry General’s office. “She was 19, underage,” he said. “You had to be 21. I had to write to her parents to get their permission for us to get married. By December, she had permission. We had one friend we took along. The registrar said you need two witnesses. He said, ‘I’ll get my secretary.’ That is how we got married.” In 1964, he left the Bermuda Press for the Island Press and helped to start the Bermuda Sun newspaper. He worked there for 15 years. Today. Mr Augustinovic loves cruising the internet for treasures for himself and his wife, who collects silver souvenir spoons and miniature portraits.  He also enjoys auctions, poking through antique shops and spending time at the Bermuda Archives learning about different aspects of the island’s history. Censorship and Bermuda’s Role in Winning the Second World War is on sale now at the Bookmart at Brown & Co.

Spacer

November 4 Public Holiday

paragraphThe new House of the Azores was opened this afternoon. Premier David Burt and Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the Azores regional government, unveiled a plaque at the Casa Dos Acores - House of the Azores - charity near Admiralty House in Pembroke. Mr Burt said, “Since its founding in 2015, The House of the Azores Bermuda has worked to promote and preserve the heritage of the Azores in Bermuda. Bermudians of Azorean descent are connected to these two islands by the strongest of bonds - family. “This site and its conversion into a headquarters for this charity is an excellent example of how Government and community groups can work together for a common goal.” Mr Burt added: “The House of the Azores may be dedicated to the preservation of Azorean culture but, like Bermuda’s Portuguese community, they aim to support local charities that benefit all Bermudians regardless of their family background.” He said his Government had pledge to “bring about greater understanding of racial relationships and diversity”. Mr Burt added the Government had also used the 2018 operating plan for the civil service to help promote a Bermuda where “culture and historical legacy is valued, preserved and sustained.” He said: “I am honoured to join President Cordeiro in opening this new building. This occasion reinforces the strong link we have determined to develop between our two islands and is an important step in the preservation of our shared cultural and historical legacy. Thank you.” Mr Cordeiro and the rest of the Azorean delegation, in Bermuda for the 170th anniversary of the island’s first Portuguese immigrants, will today visit Portuguese Rock at Spittal Pond in Smith’s before they return home.

Spacer

November 3, Sunday

Azores President & PremierparagraphA ceremonial procession celebrating 170 years of Portuguese culture in Bermuda was held this afternoon in Hamilton. Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the Portuguese regional government in the Azores, walked alongside Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, as onlookers lined the street. The Procession of Faith set out from St Theresa’s Cathedral on Cedar Avenue at 3pm, after a special Mass. It came after the Premier last night held a reception to honour Mr Cordeiro, who arrived yesterday. About 150 people joined David Burt to welcome Mr Cordeiro, in Bermuda to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants. Mr Burt told the gathering that 58 Portuguese men, women and children had arrived on the ship the Golden Rule in 1849. Mr Burt said: “There was no common language and Bermuda was a sight unseen and unknown and so we can safely assume, as with any new journey, that there must have been some degree of trepidation. In the same vein, we cannot know how these men and women were originally received in this country. The Bermuda of 1849 had not long shed the yoke of slavery and the majority of Bermudians would likely have been wary of a new group introduced to an island still wrestling with the concept of freedom.” Mr Burt added: “What is certain that our history is a shared one — not always agreeable, oftentimes tense, but in these 21 square miles we inevitably have common experiences. Our goals are the same, we work hard, devote ourselves to our families and pour into our children what we want our society to be and urge them to change things we could not.” Guests at the event at Rosewood Tucker’s Point in Hamilton Parish included John Rankin, the Governor, Government ministers and Portuguese Bermudians. Mr Burt said that Bermudian families had been “educated with, played sports with and married into families of Portuguese heritage”. He added: “The resultant melting pot has expanded the reach of Portuguese culture in the community and makes the recognition of this milestone anniversary significant to a wide cross-section of Bermudian society.” 

Mr Burt, who exchanged gifts with Mr Cordeiro, said it was “an honour” to welcome him and the members of his delegation to Bermuda. He added: “Your presence signals the importance of promoting strong links between our islands and our people.” Tonight, Mr Cordeiro will attend a gala dinner at Discovery Hall in CedarBridge Academy, ahead of tomorrow’s public holiday honouring the occasion.

paragraphA dog stolen in a burglary on Friday was today returned to its owners. A police spokesman said Yoyo, a Yorkshire terrier, was found near the Gulfstream restaurant in Southampton earlier today and returned to his owners. The dog was taken in a break-in at a house in South Road, Warwick, on Friday afternoon, along with a remote control model car. The spokesman added that the burglary was still under investigation and appealed for witnesses.

paragraphBermuda 2019 Rugby Classic. Italy 23, Rugby Canada 22. In the annual Bermuda Rugby sports event now in progress, Canada were denied an opening World Rugby Classic win after suffering a heartbreaking last gasp defeat at the hands of Italy at North Field, National Sports Centre, last night. Battling back from a 17-5 deficit at half-time, Canada fought back during a topsy-turvy second-half, to hold a 22-20 advantage heading into added time with victory seemingly secured. However, their anticipated celebrations were ultimately dashed as Italy struck a decisive penalty deep into added time with the last kick of the game to snatch victory. “The last second penalty awarded against us came incredibly late and we’re extremely disappointed in the manner in which it came about,” Jonathan Goldie, the Canada coach, said. “We felt we had done enough to win the game and so to lose in that way is very hard to take. It was a very close game obviously. The guys had a very slow start but we fought our way back into the game in the second half and showed how strong a team we are. We are obviously gutted but we will come back in the next game and build on the positives. I felt we showed we were the better side and the guys can certainly have their heads held high.” After a fairly even start to the encounter, Italy broke the deadlock in the ninth minute through Ramiro Pez’s simple penalty, taking the score to 3-0. That advantage was extended in the fourteenth minute as Italy scored the opening try of the match. A brilliantly executed driving maul deep into Canada’s half resulting in hooker Davide Giazzon crashing over in the right corner. Pez made light work of the conversion giving his side a 10-0 lead. The set back appeared to jolt the Canadian’s into life as Tim Rhone was denied a try with a last gasp tackle, before his side finally reduced the deficit in the nineteenth minute. The ball was worked out to the right-hand side, where it found wing Jared Stephens to bundle over in the corner. Rhone failed to add the difficult conversion, leaving the score at 10-5. However, it was Italy who finished the half in the ascendancy with their physical advantage again proving decisive in the closing moments as another driving maul resulting in another try for Giazzon. Pez’s conversion flew between the posts taking his side into the interval with a 17-5 advantage. Canada returned to the field and quickly set about imposing themselves on the Argentina defence. Their efforts paid off in the 41st minute as a brilliant tackle by Flanker Adam van Stavern saw possession find its way to the hands of Mark Tarver, who evaded two tackles before handing off to Derek Townsend to charge over. Rhone made no mistake with the conversion as the deficit was cut to just five points. Building on that momentum, Canada overturned the deficit completely just six minutes later with their third try of the evening. Kol Henrickson broke through the Italian defensive line before racing clear to score. Rhone again added the extras to give his side the lead for the first time with the score at 19-17. It was an advantage that did not last long, however, as within two minutes Italy went back ahead through another Pez penalty giving his side a 20-19 lead with ten minutes remaining. Back came Canada with a penalty of their own courtesy of Rhone to snatch back the advantage in the 53rd minute, setting up a thrilling finale. As the clock ticked into added time Italy gained a line out deep into Canadian territory as they aimed to set up a final play. Keeping possession, three phases of play followed before Italy were handed a golden opportunity to claim victory with a penalty awarded 25-yards out in front of the posts much to the disbelief of the Canada bench. As everyone inside North Field held their breath, Pez proved the calmest man in the vicinity, striking the ball sweetly through the posts to snatch victory and send the Italian bench into rapturous celebrations.

SCORERS. Canada. Tries: Townsend, 41, Henrickson, 47. Penalties: Rhone, 53. Conversions: Stephens, 19, Rhone, 41, 47. Italy.  Tries: Davide Giazzon, 14, 23. Penalties: Pez, 9, 49, 80+4. Conversions: Pez, 14, 23.

paragraphChris Estwanik made an impressive return to the local road-racing scene as he finished more than 1½ minutes ahead of his nearest rival in the David Saul Memorial — Fidelity 5K road race today. Among the women, Gayle Lindsay secured a third-consecutive title, staying ten seconds clear of teenager Daria Desmond. Estwanik has dominated the island’s running scene for most of the past decade, however, he has competed less frequently in recent years because of injury and recovery. The 5K was his first island race since winning the RenaissanceRe ten-miler in April. Any concern that he might be a little race-rusty was quickly dispelled as he opened up a 20-metre gap over the chasing pack in the first 30 seconds of the race. He had taken inspiration from seeing his 8-year-old son Harrison finish first boy and third overall in the junior 1km race, with a time of 4min 34sec. “I had no plan, I was just going to run hard the first mile. My son ran his one-kilometre in 4:34, so I said I’m going to run my first mile fast and I just came up short. Then I paid the price for it because I ran that first mile so fast,” Estwanik, 39, said. His overall pace was 5:07 per mile. “But I’m just grateful to be out here. I’d love to build from this and come up with more of a plan. Victoria Fiddick has offered to help me with that — to be smarter with my training. Also, I’ve known the Saul family for a long time, and they are awesome, so it is good to come out and support them.” Looking ahead at possible race appearances, he hopes to compete in the Axa Man on The Run 5K and Bacardi 8K, which take place over the next two weekends. Estwanik finished in 15:52 and was followed over the line by Spencer Butterfield in 17:26, and Ryan Outerbridge, 16, first in the 10-18 boys’ division in 17:40. In the women’s race, Lindsay continued her string of successes, which included last month’s PartnerRe 5K title, winning in 19:55. She was pursued by Desmond, Deon Breary and Liana Medeiros, the latter two runners-up in the PartnerRe race. However, it was 13-year-old Desmond who managed to stay in closest contention this time to finish second in 20:05, and first in the 10-18 girls’ division. Breary was third woman overall, and the masters’ division winner, in 20:07. Lindsay, 31, competed in the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile road race in New York, in September, finishing in 5:20. She hopes to run in the Butterfield Bank Front Street Mile to defend her local women’s title during the Bermuda Triangle Challenge weekend in January. The 5K was marking its 23rd anniversary and attracted about 300 competitors in the adult race, junior race, and walk. The race became known as the David Saul Memorial — Fidelity 5K two years ago in honour of Dr Saul, the former premier and national record-setting road runner who died in 2017. The event also raised funds for the Neil Burnie Foundation, set up in memory of the late vet who had a passion for the ocean.  It was a close battle in the junior 1K race, with winner Zyari Lawrence, 9, and runner-up Jaylen Lewis, 8, both clocking the same time of 4:27, followed by first boy Harrison Estwanik, 8, in 4:34. The four- to six-year-old age group was won by Ronan Davige, 6, in 4:45, while the first girl was Zara Bule, 6, in 5:36. The competitive 5K walk was won by Junior Watts in 37:15, from first woman Gilda Cann in 40:47, and Cristy Vente in 42:12. Among the men’s age division winners in the 5K were: James Roberts (masters) 18:43; Neil de Ste Croix (senior masters) in 18:40; and Kent Richardson (over-60) in 22:22. Other winners in the women’s age divisions were: Tricia Holbrook (senior master) in 22:31; Maria Duffy (over-60) in 24:57; and Marian Lines (over-70) in 40:55.

• Among runners from Bermuda who competed in Sunday’s New York City Marathon was Manuel Lopes who finished in 3hr 39min 10sec, Anna Laura Hocking 3:39:31; Robert Maycock 3:59:50; Marcallo Ausenda 4:20:23; and Terri Durrant in 4:41:45.

Spacer

November 2

paragraphThe House of Assembly yesterday passed legislation to increase Bermuda’s debt to about $2.75 billion. But Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, told MPs the Government Loans Amendment (No 2) Act had taken effect on September 13. Mr Dickinson said the legislation took effect under the Provisional Collection of Revenue Act, 1975. The Act gave the Government room to cover a $165 million guarantee, plus related expenses, for the Caroline Bay development at Morgan’s Point, Southampton. Mr Dickinson emphasised the Government’s credit line of $200 million agreed with island banks did not amount to a loan. He explained that it was “simply the flexibility to borrow up to that amount”. The Government has drawn about $170 million so far to buy loans for the stalled development. Mr Dickinson said that the Government had decided to acquire the claims of the lenders, “as opposed to just paying up on the guarantee”. He explained that route put the Government in a stronger position. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Shadow Minister of Health, told the House that the government guarantee had been essential for the development to proceed under the land swap agreement when the project moved from the Southlands site, in Warwick, to the Morgan’s Point site in Southampton. She said the former United States base had been left contaminated and that without the guarantee “there would never have been a project at that site”. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said the Bill was “straightforward”. She added: “Certainly we understand the reason for the debt ceiling to be raised.

paragraphRetired Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller will head an investigation into alleged land grabs. Premier David Burt announced the members of the Commission of Inquiry at the House of Assembly yesterday. A motion to set up an inquiry was tabled by late Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown in 2014. Mrs Justice Wade-Miller, the island’s first female Acting Chief Justice, served as a puisne judge for 25 years. She was also the first woman in Bermuda to be appointed a substantive magistrate, and then a high court judge. Other members of the Commission of Inquiry will be lawyers Lynda Milligan-Whyte and Maxine Binns, business manager Frederica Forth, former PLP MP Wayne Perinchief, environmentalist Jonathan Starling and land surveyor Quinton Stovell Jr. Mr Burt told the House: “This now forms part of the legacy of the late Honourable Member Walton Brown, who was its champion. It is in our late colleague’s honour that I am pleased today to advise this Honourable House of the members appointed to this important commission.” Mr Burt earlier said the commission’s scope would include the investigation of “historic losses of citizens’ property in Bermuda through theft of property, dispossession of property, adverse possession claims, and/or such other unlawful or irregular means by which land was lost in Bermuda”. Mr Brown’s motion to ask the Governor to set up a Commission of Inquiry into all known claims of property loss or dispossession was passed by Parliament in July 2014. George Fergusson, the former Governor, rejected the request, which sparked a march on Government House. The controversy led to a change in the law that gave the Premier power to appoint a Commission of Inquiry without the Governor’s approval. Public service head Derrick Binns announced yesterday that Marva O’Brien, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Legal Affairs, has been temporarily reassigned to support the Commission of Inquiry. Ms O’Brien will also provide support to the Ageing Well Committee. Jasmin Smith, the Director of the Transport Control Department, has been temporarily reassigned as acting permanent secretary for legal affairs. Terry Spencer has been appointed the acting director of TCD.

paragraphThe One Bermuda Alliance leader and a former United Bermuda Party premier refused a call from the Premier to apologise for past immigration policies. Craig Cannonier, the OBA’s first premier and now Opposition leader, declined to apologise because the OBA had “nothing to do with the past of the UBP”. He added: “This tying us together is pure politics and it’s gutter politics by a premier that is lost for ideas on what to do with this country.” Mr Cannonier was speaking after David Burt, the Premier, called for an apology from the former UBP, which was formed in 1964 and dissolved in 2011, and the OBA, which contested its first General Election in 2012, for “what their immigration policies did to this country” at the Progressive Labour Party’s delegates conference, held in Hamilton on Monday. Mr Burt said: “A large part of what makes our immigration debate so toxic is that neither the old UBP, or its new creation the OBA, have ever apologised for what their immigration policies did to this country. The unjustly applied discretionary grant of status, the grant of the vote to people who had been here for ten minutes, the deliberate recruitment of certain demographic groups to the exclusion of others and not one word of atonement or recognition of what they did to create the divided society we have today. He added: “Humble yourselves, publicly accept what you did, show some remorse and then maybe this country has a hope of healing the divide.” But Mr Cannonier said that the OBA had attempted to create immigration policies that would help to stimulate the economy after it won the 2012 General Election. He also criticized Mr Burt for a failure to create a comprehensive immigration policy designed to give Bermudians a reason to stay on the island. Mr Cannonier said: “People are leaving the country, so Bermudians are paying more taxes and increased taxes because this premier has not gotten off his behind and done something about immigration. We were promised something in September or July and here we are now almost going into Christmas and nothing has happened. And then he sits here and hypocritically says ‘we’re going to blame the UBP for back in the day and we’re going to bring the OBA in on this’ and they haven’t done anything about it? Unless this government gets on its feet and does something, talking about the past is not going to get us where we need to be. I’m a black male, I recognize the atrocities of the past and what took place in voting rights and the like. But what we need to be focusing in on right now is what do we do about here and now. We need to be creating new wealth and you don’t create new wealth by spending all your time looking in the rear-view mirror. If you want to go forward, you’ve got to look through the windshield.” Sir John Swan, who was UBP Premier from 1982 to 1995, also declined to apologise. He said: “We act based upon the circumstances of the time. I’ve been out of politics for the last 25 years so I’m not prepared to apologise or comment any further on the subject.”

paragraphPremier David Burt announced that Jason Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, will stand in the seat after the sudden death of sitting Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown last month. Mr Hayward said that the circumstances made his nomination “somewhat bittersweet”. He added: “I don’t stand here with the intent to walk in his shoes, but what I expect to do is continue his unwavering commitment to public service.” Mr Hayward said that he intended to focus on workers’ rights and “social and economic inequalities” if elected. He added that quality education and affordable healthcare were also priorities. He said: “Individuals in that constituency need a strong voice in the House of Assembly and I aim to be that strong voice. I have been a committed public servant for at least the last 15 years of my life and I ask the members of Constituency 17 Pembroke Central to support me on November 21 in being your representative.” Mr Hayward was speaking at the PLP’s Alaska Hall headquarters in Hamilton after he was announced as the candidate. A e-mail sent to The Royal Gazette claimed that 65 per cent of branch members voted last Sunday against Mr Hayward and that a motion to field Jamaine Smith was ignored by Mr Burt, who attended the meeting. Mr Burt said yesterday that candidate selection was an internal matter for the party. He added that Mr Hayward was “a household name for his vigorous defence of, and his advocacy for, workers’ rights in Bermuda”. Mr Burt said: “Without question he is a man of the people who has put himself on the frontline to ensure that he stands up for the rights of Bermudians. He is a progressive thinker who is committed to challenging the status quo that exists in this country. I am absolutely certain that he will be an asset to our team in the House of Assembly.” Mr Hayward also declined to comment on Ms Smith’s candidacy for the seat. Mr Hayward, who became president of the BPSU in 2014, was appointed to the Senate in 2017. The OBA has not yet named its candidate for the by-election, but it understood that One Bermuda Alliance senator Nick Kempe is the front-runner.

paragraphA block party to celebrate 170 years of Portuguese culture in Bermuda brought a sea of colour to the streets of Hamilton tonight. More than 1,000 people packed Reid Street, where the area around the Vasco da Gama Club has been closed off until midnight for food and festivities. Antonio Amaral, a farmer whose Azorean ancestry goes back to the fishing village of Rabo de Peixe turned out for the “sights and sounds and food”. Mr Amaral said: “My mom’s 90 years old and she doesn’t do much cooking, so it’s good to come to something like this and get some cuisine. This is a one-off holiday, the first, and it’s a good thing for all of us. Obviously Bermuda is multicultural now and the Portuguese play a large part in our make-up. Through the generations, everybody has integrated into the Bermudian way of life. Especially with the food.” Jason Correia was out for the night with Elena, his wife, and their children Emmelyn and Bailey. Mr Correia said: “I haven’t experienced anything quite like this. It’s a lot different from the religious festivals.” He said the event was a change from the annual Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres festival, with its parade through Hamilton after the traditional church service at St Theresa’s Cathedral. Mr Correia said: “This has a lot more intermingling of the Bermuda community as a whole. This is bringing out the wider population.” He added: “Having grown up in Vasco, it’s great to see this for the Portuguese.” Mr Correia’s ancestry can be traced back to the island of São Miguel, like many Azorean Bermudians. He said: “That’s the main island. I used to go there as a kid and visit my grandparents.” Helen and Joe Lima enjoyed the food and the spectacle. Mrs Lima, a Bermudian whose husband also comes from São Miguel, said the night out had been “fantastic”. Mr Lima said he had been “surprised, at first” by the announcement that the island would celebrate its Portuguese citizens this year with a series of events and a public holiday on Monday. He said: “It’s a great thing. I came to Bermuda when I was 16 — my dad was here for ten years — he used to work at the Bermudiana Hotel. Now I’ve been here 52 years.” Mr Lima said he had been back to the Azores “four or five times”. But he added: “I only have one home. I got married here, my children were born here — my life is here.” He said the festival was also a chance to see “a lot of people I didn’t see for years”. Mr Lima added: “That’s Bermuda. Even though the island is so small, everybody’s got their own lives.” The president of the Azores, Vasco Cordeiro, is to visit the Azorean exhibit at Commissioner’s House in Dockyard before a special Mass at St Theresa’s at 1.30pm tomorrow. The service will be followed by a Procession of Faith through the streets of Hamilton.

paragraphCrowds of Portuguese residents gathered to cheer and wave flags to welcome the president of the Azores government to Bermuda today. Vasco Cordeiro touched down in Bermuda as part of celebrations leading up to the public holiday on Monday to celebrate 170 years since the first arrival of Portuguese immigrants to the island. A crowd at LF Wade International Airport, many draped in flags and accompanied by their Bermudian-born children, waited to greet him. Antonio Cabral, a 32-year resident of Bermuda who came to the island from São Miguel in the Azores in 1987, said: “I’ve come for my president.” Mr Cabral, who works for a cleaning company, said he had come to Bermuda for work opportunities and stayed on. Maria, his wife, said: “It is very special — it’s our president, somebody very important to us. I would love to welcome him here to our Bermuda — it’s where we live, even though we don’t forget.” Mrs Cabral added: “I try to go back every year. I will go this month — my husband has not been there in nine years but this year we are going together.” The couple had three children in Bermuda and said they felt as though they had “two homes”. Mrs Cabral said: “I feel like my heart is divided. I tell my kids all the time, this is your land — you were born here, and where you are born you never forget. I came here at 23, so I didn’t forget my home. For my kids, it’s the same. This is their home.” José DeCouto stood nearby with a Bermuda flag draped over his shoulder and holding a Portuguese flag. Mr DeCouto, who has worked for 25 years at Dunkley’s Dairy, said: “If I can, I will give him a hug. He is doing a great job.” He added: “I am in love with the Azores. I love going there. It gives me peace. Every time I go back there, I feel different. There, you feel like you are in heaven.” He said the celebrations were “a great thing for Portuguese people — I am very proud to be Portuguese”. Mr DeCouto added: “We are hard working people and I am very glad that we have done this. It would be nice if we could every year, but I’m not going to push that.” Mr DeCouto’s family came from Ribeira Grande in the Azores, but his Bermuda roots run deep. His great aunt came to the island in the late 1940s, followed by his grandfather, who worked at the Gibbons family estate, Palm Grove, in Devonshire. Mr DeCouto said: “He in turn brought my father here in 1967. He could not bring his family. But the law changed in 1968. I came with my mother and two sister, and I have been here ever since.” He said he regarded both Bermuda and the Azores as home. Mr DeCouto added: “I have two homes — here and there. I go every year and spend a month, and when I turn 60 I will spend six months here and six months there. The Azores is absolutely beautiful.” Many in the crowd sang “Azores” and broke into cheers as Mr Cordeiro came through Customs to greet them. The president was met by Walter Roban, the deputy premier and home affairs minister, and left in a motorcade for a visit this afternoon to John Rankin, the Governor. According to a spokeswoman for Government House, Mr Rankin and Mr Cordeiro’s discussions included the historical connection between Bermuda and the Azores, and how the relationship between our two countries remains strong and vibrant. Mr Rankin said: “It was a pleasure to meet president Cordeiro and to welcome him to Bermuda. The links between Bermuda and the Azores are important from both an historical and present-day perspective. Since their arrival 170 years ago, the members of the Portuguese and Azorean community have made an important economic and social contribution to life in Bermuda. Today, the community is a vital part of what makes Bermuda a unique place and I hope that the Portuguese Day holiday will be an opportunity to recognize, celebrate and strengthen the ties between us.” Celebrations start tonight in Hamilton, where a block party sponsored by the Vasco da Gama Club will highlight Portuguese culture and cuisine from 6pm to midnight. The bash on Reid Street, between Burnaby and Parliament Streets, includes Gombeys and dance groups with music and family entertainment.

paragraphA writer and researcher said better education about the impact of Portuguese people on Bermuda is needed. Sandra Rouja said the contribution of people of Portuguese heritage to Bermuda had been overlooked in schools. She added: “I think the Portuguese language should be offered as an option for students in school, I don’t see it as mandatory, that always brings up issues, but it could be offered or in conjunction with doing another language. I think the Government should at least see if there is enough interest to do it, it is not offered in schools, Vasco Da Gama has vocal teachers, but I would like the schools to offer it. I also think a year, or even a term, of history should be offered and maybe film or something to whet appetites so the students start to look at the Portuguese in Bermuda. There are a lot of young people who have Portuguese ancestors even and they don’t know a lot of their history because they are not being taught it. They function at every single level from gardeners to politicians to lawyers, doctors, artists, dancers accountants … people in every single profession in Bermuda. It is not just the Portuguese — a lot of people don’t realise how integrated the Portuguese decedents are in Bermuda and how we are included in the diaspora of Bermudians. We are talking about 170 years of Portuguese influence in Bermuda and of contributing to our economy and ethic.” Ms Rouja was speaking as the island prepared to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda with a public holiday on Monday and a series of events. Ms Rouja, whose background is British and Portuguese and has ancestors who arrived from the Azores in the 1880s, wrote the first Bermuda Government-funded book in English and Portuguese. The book, I Sing of the Sea/Canto do Mar, published in 2013, was inspired by her love of the natural world and has been used in Bermuda’s public and private schools for a variety of subjects, including social studies. Michael Weeks, a former government minister, now a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, earlier this year called for a new approach to people of Portuguese descent. He said it was “time to welcome our Portuguese-Bermudians home”. Mr Weeks said the teaching of Portuguese as a second language in schools would benefit children of Portuguese descent and help highlight their contribution to the country. Ms Rouja has written several other books including Happy Days in Bermuda, for children, and The Saint George Dream, a collection of short stories. She has also contributed to anthologies, magazines and has lectured on writing and family history. She worked for a decade in the Bermuda National Archives as a researcher and curator which helped stimulate her interest in storytelling and history.

paragraphBermuda quickly bounced back from the impact of Hurricane Humberto, but some of the island’s bird species may take longer to recover. David Wingate, a veteran conservationist, wrote in the Bermuda Audubon Society’s autumn newsletter that some bird species handle the after effects of a hurricane better than others. Dr Wingate said Hurricane Humberto was particularly bad for birds, because of the mini tornadoes that downed trees and tore off roofs and the lack of rain. He said: “It was a dry hurricane, meaning that there was no heavy rain to wash the wind-carried salt spray off the foliage. Assuming most birds survived the hurricane itself, and amazingly most seem to, even when the hurricane hits at night, the real problems begin to occur in the aftermath.” The availability of food is a problem for some species, but Bermuda’s native birds have had time to adapt. Dr Wingate said: “The birds that suffer most are the tree foraging insect eaters like most of the warblers and our local “chick of the village” — an endemic race of White-eyed vireo. Nevertheless, the latter does surprisingly well, having adapted over hundreds of thousands of years to just such periodic events. While mostly an insect feeder, I have seen the local vireo switch readily to berries and even predate on anolis lizards close to its own size after hurricanes.” Dr Wingate added that Miguel Mejias, a Bermudian researcher, is carrying out a study of the White-eyed vireo. He said: “His follow-up surveys next year should provide a very accurate measurement of their hurricane and post-hurricane mortality.” Dr Wingate said other species thrive after a hurricane, particularly seed-eating birds. “Seed-eating species can reap a bonanza, especially in casuarina groves, where uprooting and broken branches induce the seed cones to open en masse and release their seed. I noted that house sparrows took immediate advantage of this. Likewise, the food supply of ground-feeding seed-eaters, like mourning and ground doves, and soil-probing species like starlings and bluebirds, are relatively unaffected.” Dr Wingate said some migratory birds might skip over Bermuda in the wake of a storm if food is not available. Species that are blown to the island may be forced to stay and cope with the conditions. He said: “These are hit doubly hard in the aftermath of a hurricane because they are often already starving when they find the island. Ironically, it is this latter group which make up the bulk of our migrant fallout because they are so desperate to find land that they converge to high density on it as soon as they come within sight of it.”

paragraphA horse had to be put down after it suffered severe injuries in a savage dog attack, it was revealed yesterday. The owners of the 15-year-old mare warned that dog attacks could be made on other horses — or even children. Gail Wright, who owned Starfire with two friends, said: “We want the public to know so they can be extra vigilant. You wouldn’t want this to happen to another animal or especially a child.” Ms Wright, 75, from Southampton, with friends Andrea Gannon and Scott and Francesca Swainson, adopted Starfire about five years ago and stabled her in an abandoned quarry off George’s Bay Road. Ms Wright said that a horrified Ms Gannon found the horse badly bitten and covered in blood when she went to feed her last Thursday. She added: “She immediately called the vet and then called me and my husband and the other owners. She had injuries in numerous places. At that time we didn’t know what had happened but to us they looked like dog bites. Her rear right leg was severely damaged. Her two front legs had been bitten and there was a massive injury to her neck and jaw along with multiple smaller injuries.” Ms Wright said: “We stayed with her until the vet arrived. I just kept thinking how horrendous this must have been for her.” Ms Wright said that the vet later confirmed that the injuries were caused by dog bites, but was unable to say if the attack involved more than one. She added that Starfire’s injuries were so bad, they had no option but to have her put down. Ms Wright said: “We didn’t want her to die in this way. We’re all very upset for her. She was certainly loved by all of us and she suffered — it was not the way she should have died at all.” Ms Wright added that Starfire had slowed down later in life, but had been a “fiery” horse earlier in life. She said: “When I met her she was an older lady, so I think she had calmed down a bit by then as most people do when they get older.” Ms Wright added that she had been unable to trace the dog or its owners, but that she had alerted the Animal Warden service. She said that she and the other owners thought it was important to warn the public. Ms Wright added: “We wanted the public to know from a safety perspective because we would never forgive ourselves if something similar happened to somebody else.” Ms Gannon, from Sandys, said that Starfire was “quirky” and “stubborn” with “a very definite mind of her own”. She added: “She got upset and vocal when you were late for her usual feeding time. But she was also gentle and loving, patient with children and great around other animals when friends’ dogs visited or when she met dogs on the Railway Trail.”

paragraphBermuda 2019 Rugby Classic. Pumas 40 France Classic Rugby 8. Reigning champions Argentina sent out an ominous warning to their World Rugby Classic rivals with victory over France Classic Rugby at North Field, National Sports Centre, last night. The hotly tipped favourites kicked off their pursuit for a third straight title in perfect fashion, running in six tries, building on a 12-3 half-time lead to blitz the France in the second half and run out convincing winners. “The first game is always very difficult because the team has to get accustomed to the tournament,” Rodolfo Ventura, the Argentina manager, said. “The second half we seemed to gain control of the match and that was really pleasing to see. I didn’t expect to have such a convincing win in the first match of the tournament and especially against a very good France side. It is the perfect start for us. We have to keep focused and take things step by step and hopefully go all the way again.” The defending champions got off a blistering start scoring their first try after just two minutes as a prolonged period of pressure, resulted in the highly impressive Gonzalo Gutierrez Taboada racing clear to score under the posts. Taboada also added the extras to gift his side an early 7-0 advantage. After a ten-minute lull in action, France hit back to reduce the deficit to four points through Yannick Lafforgue’s cleanly struck penalty from 35 yards. However, Argentina quickly regained control and scored their second try just six minutes later after some intricate play from left to right. The ball eventually found it’s way out to winger Mauro Comuzzi who used his pace to run clear of the defensive line to score in the corner. On this occasion Taboada failed to add the extras, sending the difficult conversion from the right-hand side narrowly wide of the posts as Argentina took a 12-3 lead into the break. It was the French who came out after the restart rejuvenated and set about putting pressure on the opposition from the get go. Their endeavours were rewarded seven minutes into the second half, with the try of the match through Julien Saubade’s individual brilliance. Collecting the ball on the left wing, Saubade set himself up with a chip and chase over the defence, winning the foot race to crash over in the corner. Lafforgue sent the difficult conversion wide of the posts as Argentina’s advantage stood at four points. However Ventura’s side quickly seized the initiative to run in a further four unanswered tries to quash any chance of a France comeback. The first of which came in the 40th minute as man of the match Taboada break clear to race through and score, before converting his own try to take the score to 19-8. Just three minutes later they broke through again, this time Bernardo Stortoni brilliantly evading two tackles to saunter over the line. Taboada’s conversion kissed the upright on its way over to take the scoreline to 26-8. Refusing to rest on their laurels, Argentina continued in search of further scoring opportunities with a fifth try duly arriving with five minutes remaining as Taboada completed his hat-trick. He also added the simple conversion in front of the posts to take the score to 33-8. As the clock ticked over into added on time, there was just enough time for Prop Federico Bock to get his name on the scoresheet, receiving possession 30-yards out before bulldozing his way past the French defence to race clear. Just as he opened the scoring, Taboada fittingly had the final say, adding the easy conversion to take the score to 40-8 and wrap up proceedings.

SCORERS. Argentina. Tries: Taboada, 2, 40, 55, Comuzzi, 18, Stortoni, 43, Bock, 59. Conversion: Taboada, 2, 40, 43, 55. France.  Tries: Saubade, 37. Penalties: Lafforgue, 12.

paragraphBermuda 2019 Rugby Classic. Len Dineen, the Ireland manager, is confident valuable lessons have been learnt from last year’s World Rugby Classic after agonizingly missing out on title glory. After a 25-year absence from the tournament, the Ireland Rugby Legends returned in spectacular fashion, progressing all the way to the final only to fall at the final hurdle in a 25-0 defeat to reigning champions Argentina. Ahead of their opening clash against the United States on Monday, Dineen is desperate to avenge that disappointment and go one step further this time round. “After last year we are relishing being part of the Classic again,” he said. “Last year was a learning process for us. We came up just short so we’ll definitely be aiming to go one better this time around. We definitely learnt a lot of lessons. The biggest one was that we didn’t use the bench smartly enough and the chance of utilizing rolling substitutes. At times last year the guys were flat out on the field and so we will try and be smarter and put those lessons into practice.” A host of forced absentees means Dineen will have a slightly changed squad from last year, however, he will have a strong contingent of former internationals including Anthony Horgan, John Kelly, David Corkley and Shane Byrne to call upon. Despite the riches of experience among his squad, the manager believes back-to-back champions Argentina will still be the team to beat this year, while also warning his side against complacency, particularly in their opener against the Classic Eagles. “We’re returning to Bermuda with a strong squad,” added Dineen. “I’ve been boosted by a number of recently retired players, so we’ll certainly be leaning on them to make a big impact. For sure Argentina will be the team to beat again this year. At times last year I looked at their squad with a degree of envy, they certainly set the standards. We know they will play down their expectations but they are always very well prepared and resourced. We also have to be wary of South Africa who look very strong on paper. We won’t underestimate anyone and that includes the United States who we face in our opening game. We need to get a win and get going. That first encounter is always difficult because you never really know what to expect. They will be raring to try and get one over us and so we will have to be prepared for that.”

Spacer

November 1

paragraphLegislation to increase Bermuda’s debt ceiling is expected to be debated today in the first sitting of the new session of the House of Assembly. The Government Loans Amendment (No 2) Act, tabled in September, will increase the debt ceiling by $250 million to $2.75 billion. Government said the increase was needed because of the $170 million purchase of Government-guaranteed loans for the stalled Caroline Bay resort development. MPs are also expected to debate the Casino Gaming (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act, designed to strengthen the island’s casino gaming regulations. Also on the schedule for debate are the Incorporated Segregated Accounts Company Act and the Misuse of Drugs Hemp Amendment Act. The first piece of legislation will introduce a regime for the registration of incorporated segregated accounts companies. The second will create a legal distinction between cannabis products and hemp products to allow the legal importation and sale of hemp. David Burt, the Premier, earlier announced that the members of a Commission of Inquiry into historic land losses in Bermuda, a cause championed by the late MP Walton Brown, will also be revealed today.

paragraphConstruction of an East End development “is on time and on budget”, the finance minister announced this morning. Curtis Dickinson told MPs that the St Regis hotel in St George’s is expected to open for spring 2021. He added: “This project has and continues to provide jobs for Bermudians in the construction phase as well as jobs for Bermudians once the facility becomes operational. This is indeed a historic project for the tourism industry, the St George’s community and Bermuda as a whole.” Mr Dickinson was speaking in the House of Assembly to announce the execution of the Government guarantee on behalf of Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd. The guarantee relates to loans to finance development costs and expenses related to the construction of the resort. A development agreement was signed with Hotelco before a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2017. Mr Dickinson said that under the guarantee the Government cannot be legally required to fund more than $25 million to repay the lender should Hotelco be unable to fulfil its obligations. He added: “The financing being guaranteed is provided under a loan facility maturing in 15 years.” Mr Dickinson said that the Government would be compensated for providing the guarantee. He added: “Also of note is the fact that initially the developer invested a greater sum of their own equity capital into the project and is a sign of good faith and a show of confidence, by the developers, in the viability of the project.” Mr Dickinson said the Government guarantee relates to the bank loans and not the developer’s equity. He said that as of September the total investment in the new development was $65 million and was “100 per cent funded by equity of the developers”. Mr Dickinson said that the 120-room resort will include a casino, spa and golf resort. He added that the resort “will potentially provide for many opportunities for local residents and businesses to participate first in the construction of the development and eventually in the running of this tourism facility in the East End”.

paragraphThe Minister of Public Works said yesterday he expected to get a recommendation for the replacements for two bridges inside the next few weeks. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the deadline for submissions on replacements for the Swing Bridge and Longbird Bridge in St George’s was today. He added he could not discuss the level of interest in doing the work generated by the request for information, but that he expected to be briefed soon. He said yesterday: “The engineers who are responsible for bridges, our structural engineers, will do an assessment of the responses that we have had and make a recommendation to me about the next step and the way forward. I expect that will take a couple of weeks. It will be a couple of weeks after that before any recommendation comes forward to me.” The request for information to replace the Longbird and Swing Bridges was issued on June 7, but the deadline for submissions was extended from August 30 to November 1. It was earlier predicted that the existing bridges would reach the end of their useful lives in 2021. Information in documents released in August indicated that designs for the bridges were 90 per cent complete. It was announced in December 2017 that three British companies, Ramboll, the lead consultant, as well as Knight Architects and Eadon Consultants, would work together on the replacements. The RFI explained that the Ministry of Public Works wanted organisations to supplement the design team “in regard to financing, fabricating and building” the bridges. A request was made for further information and drawings to help companies put together “initial budget information”.

paragraph2019 Portuguese 175th anniversary stampsA set of stamps will be released today to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. Wayne Furbert, the Cabinet Office minister, said: “The stamp series is modeled after the portrait of the ship, the Golden Rule, which delivered the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda in 1849.” Mr Furbert explained “History shares that the first group of immigrants arrived in Bermuda on November 4, 1849, with 58 individuals, consisting of 35 men, 16 women and seven children. The historic and considerable contribution of this first group of Portuguese immigrants from Madeira aboard the Golden Rule was significant — the creation of sustainable and successful agricultural economy in Bermuda." Mr Furbert was speaking as he unveiled the stamps at the historic Perot Post Office in Hamilton’s Queen Street yesterday. He said: “Today, our island derives great benefit economically, socially and politically from the contribution of Bermudians of Portuguese descent whose ancestors arrived on the island, not only from Madeira but also from mainland Portugal and the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Cape Verde. This government and the Bermuda Post Office is pleased and honoured to celebrate this historical milestone.” Andrea Moniz-DeSouza, the Honorary Consul of Portugal, who was presented with a set of the stamps, said the announcement of a national holiday on Monday to mark the anniversary was “an immense honour” for the Portuguese community. She added: “This is an extra-special honour for us. Thank you to the community, thank you to all the Bermudians for recognizing us, that we’re part of you also. I think that’s one of the major themes for us — is making Bermudians of all cultures, nationalities, backgrounds realise we’re all one, and we should be able to celebrate each other and where we come from.” Susan Moore-Williams, the acting Postmaster General, said: “This presentation in respect of the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants in Bermuda could not be held in a more fitting place. This is the Perot Post Office, which itself is very historic and it is, of course, the home of the Philatelic Bureau. When we think about stamps in the post office, this is our glamorous side, because stamps are not only wonderful in terms of their intrinsic value for stamp collectors, but they’re also beautiful and colourful and they tell a lot about the history of Bermuda.” She added: “There’s something for everyone because, in respect of the images of our stamps, we also have a lot of what we call philatelic retail items. Those items are things such as tea towels, coasters, we have notebooks, we have greeting cards.”

paragraphThe Attorney-General was accused yesterday of a denial of legal protection to a five-year-old boy through a failure to fund independent court representation for him. Lawyers filed an application for leave to apply for judicial review by Martha Dismont, on behalf of the child, whose litigation guardian was said to have withdrawn her services in November 2018, because she had not been paid. Appeal judges ruled in June that ministers had “for some time” breached obligations set out in the Children Act 1998 because they failed to introduce a scheme to fund litigation guardians. They found that meant that children involved in specified proceedings had been denied effective access to, and participation and representation in, court cases. Papers filed at the Supreme Court yesterday alleged that, more than four months since the judgment, no funds had been provided and not even an interim scheme had been set up. Ms Dismont said in an affidavit: “This situation for the applicant and all other affected children is simply unacceptable and inexplicable. How can we expect children to respect the law and the court system when those who are obliged to protect children refuse to respect the law and a judgment of the Court of Appeal?” The affidavit accompanied the application, which was filed against the Attorney-General, a position at present held by Kathy Lynn Simmons, who is also the Minister of Legal Affairs. Ms Dismont is the founder and executive director of charity Family Centre, but filed the affidavit in a personal capacity. She explained in the document that the boy’s litigation guardian, who was Tiffanne Thomas, withdrew her services last November because of the minister’s “failure to pay her”. Ms Dismont wrote: “Consequently, the applicant no longer has an independent social worker to make submissions and recommendations on the child’s welfare. The respondent’s failure to pay the litigation guardian is also denying the applicant legal representation. Although he has a lawyer, the law does not permit a lawyer to take instructions from a five-year-old. The lawyer must act under the instructions of a litigation guardian. In this case, there is not one due to the respondent’s failure to pay her.” She added that the child and his lawyer, Saul Dismont, were “deprived full access” to records on the boy held by the Department of Child and Family Services because only a litigation guardian can obtain and use them in evidence. Ms Dismont referred to the Court of Appeal findings published in June and said judges “unanimously held” that the minister was obliged to provide funding for litigation guardians and lawyers and that a failure to do so was “breaching children’s human rights”. She said: “However, the judgment has had no effect on the respondent.” Ms Dismont highlighted that no litigation guardians had been appointed since the appeal court judgment was handed down four months ago. She said: “Due to the ongoing failure of the respondent, there are now no lawyers or litigation guardians available to be appointed in any new matters and the applicant’s lawyer will also soon be forced to apply to withdraw from all the cases he has been appointed in. The applicant is entitled to the benefit of the application of the law, the protection of law and a fair trial. But he is being denied all of them due to the respondent’s flagrant disregard for children, as stated by the Court of Appeal. For 20 years, the Children Act has required the minister responsible for the Act to establish panels of persons from whom litigation guardians may be appointed. No minister has ever done it.” Section 35 of the Act relates to the representation of children and their interests in some legal proceedings. The act said that “specified proceedings” included cases involving care or supervision orders, the consideration of custody orders, and in respect of contact between a child who is the subject of a care order and another person. Ms Dismont claimed that charities were promised two years ago that they would be involved in the selection of litigation guardians and the panel’s requirements. She added that for the past four months, the minister “has repeated that she will provide a panel of litigation guardians for the court to choose from” but that has not happened. Ms Dismont highlighted a letter from 2016 when she said the Attorney-General’s Chambers, under the previous potholder, Trevor Moniz of the now Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, wrote to Mr Dismont that “the minister will exercise his authority to establish a panel ... with the intent that the work be performed on a pro bono basis”. But Ms Dismont added that the panel was never created. She said: “Therefore, given the history of this issue and the respondent’s dismissal of the law and a judgment of the Court of Appeal, I have no confidence that the respondent will fulfil her obligations to the applicant unless this action is brought.” The application filed in the civil jurisdiction of Supreme Court yesterday sought relief in respect of the minister’s “refusal to abide by” the Court of Appeal judgment, and her “decision to deny the applicant’s right to a fair trial”, by a failure to put in place a scheme to fund litigation guardians and counsel. It also asked for relief in relation to the failure of the minister to appoint a panel of litigation guardians. The paperwork explained that the boy sought measures including an order that the minister would “immediately stop breaching” his right to a fair trial, which required the provision of funding for litigation guardians and counsel. It asked the court to declare that the Attorney-General would be in contempt of court “if she does not abide by the judgment ... and provide funding for litigation guardians and counsel appointed under the Act” or if she does not set up a panel of litigation guardians. Relief also included “an order for vindicatory and exemplary damages” to be paid to the boy for each day that the minister “continues to breach” his right to a fair trial. The Government did not respond to a request for comment.

paragraphAn affordable housing complex is to get two new blocks which will include a total of 28 three-bedroom homes, the public works minister said yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the extra space at the Harbourview Village in St David’s represented a “hand up that honest, hard-working Bermudians deserve and we are happy to provide it”. He added: “This is more than housing. This project represents continuing economic empowerment — Bermudian families owning a piece of the rock.” Colonel Burch said the Bermuda Housing Corporation had a waiting list of 123 for affordable homes — but that that did not give a full picture of demand. He added: “In my opinion, it is not an accurate number. Our experience is that when Bermudians do not see an opportunity they lose hope in registering with the corporation. I suspect, as has been in the past when we have had these sorts of announcements, people will flock to the corporation and say they really want to participate. There are people who on a daily basis who are asking those who serve in Parliament for accommodation, and often times if you ask if they are registered at the corporation they say the don’t have any houses.” Colonel Burch said that he had given “serious thought” to a survey because people would be encouraged to take part and a more accurate figure could be recorded. He added: “Then we will really be able to plan for addressing the challenges Bermudians face in housing.” He said people on the hunt for affordable housing should register at the BHC as the Government continued to work to tackle the shortage problem. Colonel Burch added: “This announcement today is just the beginning. There are several other plans relatively well advanced that will be announced in the not too distant future.” He said the Harbourview scheme was started by the non-profit Bermuda Homes for People, which promised to provide affordable homes for $199,000 and organised a 2005 lottery for prospective buyers. The BHP became insolvent later that same year. Colonel Burch said: “They fell into difficulties and the Government stepped in to complete that project and honour that commitment. Of course, the cost of the project far exceeded the $199,000 purchase price and was heavily subsidised by the Government through the BHC so the original commitment was met. Much of the criticism you hear today about government debt under the PLP administrations is for projects such as this, and for that we make no apology.” The original approval for the site gave permission for six buildings with a total of 96 units. Four buildings, with a total of 58 units, were built and opened their doors in 2011. Colonel Burch said the Government planned to construct the final two buildings, but the designs will be modified to ease the need for three-bedroom homes after a survey this year identified a need for larger properties. He added that planning permission for six buildings and the associated infrastructure was approved in 2011, which would accelerate the process. Keino Furbert-Jacobs, project manager with the BHC, added the construction of the buildings was expected to take about 18 months after the ground is broken. Colonel Burch said that he and Tinée Furbert, the area MP, had already met existing owners at Harbourview Village to talk about the expansion. He added: “Of course, the big question is how much will these units cost — certainly not $199,000, but as soon as the tendering process is completed we will have a clear indication of price. The advantage anyone interested in participating in this project has though is that the BHC is not motivated by private developer-type profits but by developing projects that can support themselves. Additionally, the BHC is considering a rent-to-buy option to further assist families.”

paragraphThe Government has asked for proposals to bring an empty fire-damaged building on the edge of Hamilton back to life. The Ministry of Public Works put out a request for proposal last Friday for a new use for Teucer House on Cedar Avenue. The building was built in 1903 and bought by the Government in 1955. It was used as a health clinic and as the offices for Teen Services, but the building was abandoned after a 2013 fire that destroyed the roof and upper floor. A plan to restore the building was submitted in 2015, but work never started. The public works ministry said it wanted applications for the redevelopment or full renovation of the property. The RFP said: “The proposal must be based on necessary preliminary survey of the property and proposed works after making necessary Planning/Development Control enquiries. No detailed architectural designs shall be required for the submission, but the proposal will be considered as the basis for detailed redevelopment or renovations proposal in the subsequent stage, if such initial proposal is considered by the Government to be feasible and viable.” Application documents are available online and at the third floor of Hamilton’s General Post Office. Completed applications must be submitted by 3pm on November 25.

paragraphBermudian hospitality businesspeople Dennie O’Connor and Jennifer Turini Ysseldyke are on a roll. Yesterday, the joint venture in which they are partners was awarded the food and beverage concession in the new airport passenger terminal that is expected to open next year. Bermuda Travel Concessions is a joint venture with airport food and beverage giants SSP America, which said its nearly 37,000 employees serve approximately 1.5 million passengers daily in 33 countries. The organisation will operate three restaurants and a market-style convenience store in the airport terminal. The news comes less than two months after Mr O’Connor was announced as operations director and Ms Turini Ysseldyke as operations and programme manager of the group set to overhaul Snorkel Park to create a “beachfront fun zone”. Mr O’Connor, who owns Cosmopolitan Club Lounge and is co-owner of Beach Boys Ltd, operators of the concession at Tobacco Bay, described the airport opportunity as “exciting, motivating and surreal. We are grateful for Skyport’s ability to see that Bermudian-driven food and beverage culture and hospitality, coupled with the experience and expertise of an international company like SSP, will result in the highest standards and outcomes for a successful concession. We are also grateful for SSP’s commitment to collaborate and invest in Bermuda and its people. This collaborative effort gives us a chance to enhance our offerings, bolster the tourism industry, and provide excellent employment opportunities for Bermudians.” Ms Turini Ysseldyke and Mr O’Connor said that anyone who had expressed interest in the food and beverage bid was invited by Skyport to a meeting at which it provided details of the RFP process and its requirements. Addressing the 20 people present, Skyport encouraged collaboration due to the size of the project, Ms Turini Ysseldyke and Mr O’Connor said, adding that attendees were asked if they were comfortable with their e-mail addresses being shared with other attendees in order to foster such collaboration. Ms Turini Ysseldyke said: “Dennie and I reached out to multiple groups/individuals on that e-mail who were open to collaboration because we knew that that was our best shot at a successful bid, not only from a financial standpoint, but an experiential one as well. From there, our dialogue with SSP began and blossomed into a partnership. SSP responded with interest. From there, we continued to have open discussions and ‘feel each other out’ to see if it would be a good fit for both parties. We discovered we had similar visions, and felt this was the right partnership to pursue.” Ms Turini Ysseldyke and Mr O’Connor said they collaborated with SSP in the development of the restaurant concepts. “SSP was very open and receptive of all our suggestions, ideas, and changes for all the restaurant concepts and vice versa,” Ms Turini Ysseldyke said. “In order to achieve the best outcome, we knew that everyone’s strengths had to be highlighted. Dennie and I bring the knowledge of what works best specifically to Bermuda. We understand our people, culture, tastes, etc. SSP has the historical data and 50-plus years focusing solely on travel concessions, so they know what works in high-traffic, quickly paced environments.” Going forward, Ms Turini Ysseldyke and Mr O’Connor said of the process with SSP: “It is an ongoing process of communication and refinement. We want to deliver the best product for both tourists and locals alike. Essentially our restaurants will be our visitors’ first or last experience of Bermuda, so we want their experience to reflect a strong sense of Bermudian culture, pride, and hospitality. For our locals, we want them to enjoy a delicious meal and dining experience that they are proud of, and that’s reflective of our beautiful island home. Our next steps include fostering relationships with other companies and distributors on island to allow for more collaboration and economic multipliers, and continued communication with Skyport and the Government of Bermuda to ensure everyone is satisfied.” It is expected that more than 40 jobs will be created by the new joint venture. The new restaurants are The Whistling Rum Bar & Grill, Rock & Barrel Gastro Bar and The Heron & the Sea Public House. Each location will have full dining and takeaway options, Skyport said. The Whistling Rum Bar & Grill, located before the check-in area, will feature a full-service outdoor patio offering al fresco dining. A landside bar and grill will serve options including jerk roasted chicken, fish tacos, fish chowder and warm rum cake, as well as beer, international wines and sparkling wines, and signature cocktails. Rock & Barrel Gastro Bar, with views over the runway and Ferry Reach, will be located in the US departures lounge. Skyport said it will feature design elements that draw inspiration from the natural woods, stones and turquoise waters of the island while blending in what it described as “an eclectic industrial vibe”. The full-service gastro bar will feature signature Bermudian cocktails, local and international brews and freshly prepared island dishes, and an open-air full-service patio. The Heron & the Sea will be the main dining option in the international departures area, Skyport said, and will offer a range of beverages in a pub-influenced setting. Bermudian-inspired dishes with a focus on seafood will include fish chowder, scallops, blackened wahoo and shrimp kebabs with guava BBQ sauce. Skyport said the market-style convenience store will be located in the arrivals public meet-and-greet area for those coming in from late flights, offering quick bites and coffee to go. Aaron Adderley, president of Skyport, said: “It was important for us to introduce an innovative dining concept for the new passenger terminal building. We were pleased to see two young Bermudians team up with the world’s largest food and beverage operator to form Bermuda Travel Concessions. “They both have a proven track record in delivering successful restaurant and entertainment experiences, and this partnership is an ideal outcome. We look forward to welcoming next year, travellers and members of the community to enjoy the elevated offerings.” Kyle Phillips, senior director of business development, SSP America, said: “The Bermuda LF Wade International Airport team sought an elevated experience for its passengers, and SSP America answered the call. Our strategy was to deliver the ‘taste of place’ for which we’re known, as well as unsurpassed operational know how. We’re looking forward to being part of the BDA Airport community.”

paragraphBermudians holding the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants designation can now be recognised professionally in Bermuda, in a field where only members of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda had been previously accorded recognition. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said yesterday that the legislative amendments behind the change, which came into effect on October 21, would “open doors” for Bermudians. Local students can obtain the ACCA designation at the Bermuda College, and will not have to travel overseas to qualify as CPAs to practise professionally on the island. Mr Rabain added: “As a profession that is heavily reliant on non-Bermudian accountants, it was critical to the Government to ensure avenues are open to Bermudians who wish to join the accounting profession. It is this government’s goal to see the partnership between the ACCA and the Bermuda College flourish, and enable Bermudians to obtain professional accounting designation without needing to leave their island home.”

paragraphLONDON (AP) — Willis Towers Watson yesterday reported third-quarter earnings of $75 million. The London-based company, which has a Bermuda-incorporated subsidiary, said it had net income of 58 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $1.31 per share. The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of ten analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.30 per share. The advisory, broking and solutions company posted revenue of $1.99 billion in the period, which also beat Street forecasts. Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.98 billion. Willis Towers Watson shares have increased 25 per cent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 35 per cent in the last 12 months.

paragraphMarkel Corp reported third-quarter earnings of $193.4 million as underwriting performance improved. The Glen Allen, Virginia-based company with re/insurance operations in Bermuda said it had net income of $13.95 per share. The results exceeded analysts’ expectations. The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $7.55 per share. The insurer posted revenue of $2.03 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $2 billion, which met Wall Street forecasts. For the nine months ended September 30, operating revenues totaled $6.9 billion, up from $5.8 billion in the corresponding period of last year. The combined ratio — the proportion of premium income spent on claims and expenses — improved to 94 per cent for the third quarter of 2019 compared to 99 per cent for the third quarter of 2018. Markel shares have increased slightly more than 9 per cent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased 11 per cent in the last 12 months. Thomas Gayner and Richard Whitt, co-chief executive officers, said: “Our operating results for the quarter continue to reflect profitable top line growth across the company. We produced a meaningful underwriting profit, despite catastrophes losses during the period, and we’re seeing excellent results from our Markel Ventures operations. Our investment portfolio continues to make meaningful contributions to both net income and comprehensive income, driven by favourable market conditions.”

paragraphScottie Scheffler blazed a course record to grab early control of the inaugural PGA Tour Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course yesterday. The 23-year-old Dallas native leads the field by one shot after firing an opening nine-under-par 62, which included eight birdies, an eagle at the 17th and a solitary bogey. Scheffler made the turn at six under and was equally as steady coming in, despite carding a bogey on the final hole after missing one of only three greens in regulation during his stroll around the Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed par-71 layout. A birdie on his 1st hole, the 10th, set the tone for the former University of Texas player’s superb round, which also tied his career low score. “I got off to a good start,” Scheffler said. “I played a great front nine and then kept hitting it well. Then we made the turn and I started to keep hitting good shots and gave myself some good looks. I had a lot of good looks inside of ten feet for birdie and did a good job of rolling those in.” The previous course record of seven under par was jointly held by Bermuda’s Camiko Smith and Australian Adam Scott. Scott set the record on the way to victory at the 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which was equaled by Smith four years later while competing in the Gosling’s Invitational. Scheffler was not the only one taking advantage of excellent scoring conditions as there is a bunch of players breathing right down his neck to keep things tight at the top of the pecking order. One shot behind the leader is Wes Roach whose 63 included eight birdies, an eagle at the 7th and two bogeys, tied his career best score. “I putted nicely, hit a lot of good shots,” the Knoxville, Tennessee, native said. “Overall, pleased with the start.” Tied for third a further shot back is the trio of Rob Oppenheim, Bo Hoag and Russell Knox, who all shot seven under. Oppenheim, one of four players posting bogey-free rounds, birdied seven of the first eight holes then parred the final ten. “It’s kind of a dream start to come out here and birdie seven of the first eight,” he said. “Made a lot of putts. ... I didn’t play much different, just the putter was hot on the first nine and kind of a little cold the last nine. It was a great start, unfortunate I didn’t keep it going. But if you told me seven under to start the day, start the week, I’d sign up.” Harry Higgs, Robert Streb and Knox were the other players posting bogey-free rounds. Such is the congestion at the top of the leaderboard that only five shots separate the top 24. Lanto Griffin, the FedEx Cup points leader, was among a bunch of players who posted even par. Also competing are local professionals Michael Sims, Dwayne Pearman and Daniel Augustus, as well as Jarryd Dillas and Kenny Leseur, the only amateur players in the field. Sims, a former Web.com Tour player, coped best among them as he carded a 72 that left him tied with a group of players including former Masters champion Mike Weir. Augustus is one shot further back with former PGA Championship winner and US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III. Dillas posted five over, while Leseur, who at the age of 15 is the eighth-youngest player to compete in a PGA Tour event, carded six over. Pearman is propping up the field after shooting 80.

paragraphA Bermudian son of Portuguese immigrants who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Second World War and later lived in Canada has died. Ernest Abel Benevides, who lived in Canada, was 96. Mr Benevides, whose grandfather, Manuel, brought the family to the island in 1905 and was recruited as the founding pastor of the Portuguese Evangelical Church in Bermuda, died on Monday. Mr Benevides, who was born in the family home on Valley Road, Paget, worked in a nearby grocery store as well as at a livery stable before he became one of the first three Portuguese pupils to attend Saltus Grammar School. Mr Benevides’s family in Canada said he was sent to Saltus after encouragement from Minnie Hewitt, a teacher from Nova Scotia, who worked at Gilbert Institute in Paget. He became a top student at Saltus and later wrote about some of his wartime experiences for the school magazine. Mr Benevides excelled as a swimmer and became a show diver at island hotels. He trained with W.F. “Chummy” Hayward, the founder of the Bermuda Olympic Association, and hoped to represent Bermuda at the Olympic Games. The start of the war meant the 1940 Games, originally scheduled for Tokyo, Japan, but moved to Helsinki, Finland, were cancelled after hostilities began. Mr Benevides went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in November 1939 and his ship had to dodge German U-boats. He wrote later: “My father, mother and sisters all came aboard to say goodbye, no doubt wondering if they would ever see me again.” Mr Benevides earned a bachelor’s degree in English, maths and French, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force after graduation in 1943. He had risen to the rank of Pilot Officer by the time the war ended and went on to study law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Sally Benevides Hopkins, his daughter, said: “As such, he was the first Portuguese-Bermudian to graduate from university and join a profession. He was a lawyer in the firm of Deacon, Benevides and Thompson for 50 years, and was a notary public and a Queen’s Counsel.” She added: “As a lawyer, he represented many Bermudians in Canada.” He married Isobel Wishart in 1959 and the couple had three children, Sally, Grant and Hugh. Mr Benevides was a member of the East York Danforth Lions Club for more than 50 years, which included a time a president. He was a keen hunter, fisherman and camper, as well as a skier and tackled the daunting ski jump at Mont Tremblant in Quebec. Mr Benevides’s family said he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004 and had lived at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Residence in Toronto since 2007.

Spacer

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 History 1800 to 1899 History 1900 to 1939 pre-war
History 1939 to 1951 History 1952 to 1999 History 2000-2006
History 2007 Jan to April History 2007 May/ June History 2007 July
History 2007 August History 2007 September-December History 2008 to 2010
History 2011 through 2012 History 2013 History 2014 part 1
History 2014 part 2 History 2015 January History 2015 February
History 2015 March History 2015 April History 2015 May
History 2015 June History 2015 July History 2015 August
History 2015 September History 2015 October History 2015 November
History 2015 December History 2016 January History 2016 February
History 2016 March History 2016 April History 2016 May
History 2016 June History 2016 July History 2016 August
History 2016 September History 2016 October History 2016 November
History 2016 December History 2017 January History 2017 February
History 2017 March History 2017 April History 2017 May
History 2017 June History 2017 July History 2017 August
History 2017 September History 2017 October History 2017 November
History 2017 December History 2018 January History 2018 February
History 2018 March History 2018 April History 2018 May
History 2018 June History 2018 July History 2018 August
History 2018 September History 2018 October History 2018 November
History 2018 December History 2019 January History 2019 February
History 2019 March History 2019 April History 2019 May
History 2019 June History 2019 July History 2019 August
History 2019 September History 2019 October History 2019 November
History 2019 December History 2020 January History 2020 February......End of listings

Bermuda Online

Authored, researched, compiled and website-managed by Keith A. Forbes. Last Updated: August 9, 2020
Multi-national © 2020 by Bermuda Online. All Rights Reserved