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Bermuda's 2019 October History and News

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

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

Bermuda's Gibbs Hill Lighthouse

Benefit of website linkage to Bermuda Online while traveling

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

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

October 31

paragraphThe Bermuda Chamber of Commerce is holding a lunch-and-learn information session on “unconscious bias”. The session will be presented by Franklin Covey principal partner Martha Kirkland and leadership consultant Richard James. The interactive and informative session aims to give attendees a greater awareness of the impact of unconscious biases on their decision-making, as well as team engagement and contribution. The session is open to members and non-members, and will be held in the chamber offices on November 7 from 12.30pm to 2pm. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for non-members and can be purchased in advance from the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.

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October 30

paragraphHundreds of people face losing their homes through repossession by banks, a government backbencher warned last night. Michael Scott, a lawyer and Sandys North MP, said there should be “an assessment of how many distressed properties exist in our country”. Mr Scott was speaking after David Burt, the Premier, vowed on Monday night at a PLP delegates conference to set up a government watchdog for house repossessions. Mr Burt delivered the Progressive Labour Party’s agenda for the next year of legislation at the opening night of the conference. The Premier highlighted the plight of a 72-year-old woman made homeless after her house was repossessed. Mr Scott, who is representing the woman, said he was unable to comment on the specifics of the case as it was still before the courts. But he added: “The rules in the courts for foreclosure are Dickensian, and therefore I will welcome the Premier’s promised reforms.” And he promised “rules that will require alternative actions if a foreclosure will make homeowners homeless”. Mr Burt told the audience at St Paul AME Centennial Hall that the case, which involved a PLP member, had been brought to his attention by Mr Scott earlier this year. Banks bore the brunt of criticism in Mr Burt’s speech — although Mr Scott said non-traditional lenders, including insurance companies, were also involved in real estate finance. Nick Kempe, a senator and the shadow finance minister and who was in the audience for the speech, said it was “long on rhetoric and short on detail”. Mr Kempe added: “It’s great to ensure that foreclosure is not abused — that’s worthy of merit. You don’t want to hear those stories from back in the day of lawyers and banks trying to get homes from people on the cheap. But there’s a difference between that and Government telling banks they can’t foreclose when people have been wholly unable to service their debts.” Mr Kempe questioned what would happen if the Government committee told a bank that could not foreclose on a home put up as collateral against a loan. He asked: “Is the Government saying they would take over the shortfall in payments if foreclosure is not an option for banks? The unintended consequence could be that banks stop lending to certain individuals.” He added he would wait until Parliament reconvened next month to hear more details on the Government’s plans. A spokeswoman for HSBC said the bank’s policy was to work with customers with financial problems to “find the most appropriate solution”. She added: “We have found that these early discussions provide opportunities for us to work on all available options, and we have a strong record of supporting our clients through difficult periods.” The spokeswoman said the number of foreclosures in Bermuda was “low and foreclosures are only initiated as a last result. When they do occur, all foreclosures are brought before the courts for proper court approval as required by the law.”

paragraphTest results that showed the worst average score by public primary school pupils in maths in eight years were a shock, the head of a professional council for teachers admitted yesterday. Rebeka Sousa, president of the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics, said that the latest Cambridge Checkpoint result for Primary 6 children, rated as “poor”, was dispiriting. She added: “I think that as a maths educator you are disappointed in seeing these kind of results because you want all of our students to be successful.” Ms Sousa was speaking after the Cambridge Checkpoint results for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years were released on Monday. They showed that the average score by P6 children in academic year 2018-19 was 1.9, rated as “poor”. The previous lowest score, 2.2, was recorded in 2015-16. But Ms Sousa said that the test result was just one indicator of pupil progress in the subject and that Bermuda relied “too heavily” on it. She added: “You can’t just base it on this one result, this one day, this one test.” Ms Sousa said that the best way to ensure pupil success in maths was to examine how it was being taught. She added: “We want our teachers to look at mathematics from the perspective that it is about problem-solving, it is about critical thinking, it is about communication. Mathematics is a language, and we need to become more proficient in that.” The annual Cambridge assessments were designed to rate Primary 6 and middle school year 3 pupils on the three core subjects, English, maths and science. The Cambridge system uses scoring from zero, rated “very poor”, to 6, graded “excellent”. Scores from 3 to 4 are classified as “good”. Scores of between 2 and 3 are rated “OK”. Scores from 1 to 2 are “poor”. Llewellyn Simmons, the Director of Academics at the education ministry, said all pupils were expected to score 3 or better. Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, said that the Ministry of Education should “better utilise and support” the BCTM to help boost the Cambridge Checkpoint results. He said: “This organisation is comprised of dedicated and committed mathematics teacher from across all of our schools and they, on their own dime, take the initiative to study math pedagogy and to find more effective ways to teach mathematics.” Mr Simons said the BCTM was “doing a great job” to provide professional development and support to maths teachers, despite “very little resources and financial support from the Ministry of Education, despite the Ministry’s nod of approval”. He highlighted a speech made by David Burt, the Premier, at the opening night of the Progress Labour Party’s delegates conference on Monday, where Mr Burt talked about the need to challenge the status quo. Mr Simons said: “That same priority should be entertained when teaching maths in Bermuda. And this journey should be embarked upon with the input and support of the BCTM and its members. We cannot continue on the same well-trodden path and expect different results.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, declined to comment yesterday. Mr Rabain was asked several questions about the Cambridge Checkpoint results. He was asked if he was satisfied with the test for results and what they told him. Mr Rabain was also asked whether the average score for Primary 6 pupils in mathematics indicated an increased problem and if there were any reasons for the low score.

paragraphA new fundraising group has a target of $15 million to tackle “critical” upgrades to Bermuda College, the head of the organisation said yesterday. Mark Berry, the chairman of the Bermuda College Foundation, said there was a “significant list of needs” to be tackled at the college. He added: “It’s going to require significant funding to match those needs. Because of their significance, it is not going to be a quick fix. It is going to take time and a lot of effort.” Mr Berry warned: “We have no more time to wait. The time now is critical.” Mr Berry said that the college, now in its 45th year, had the potential to “be what it can be”. But he added: “It needs our help.” Mr Berry said the Government had been a “significant contributor” to the college over the years, but that the “needs have outpaced the revenue stream. Significant modernisation, upgrading and overall improvements are required to take the college to where we have as our vision — a fully funded, state-of-the art Bermuda College.” Mr Berry said that specific needs identified for immediate attention by the foundation included “modernisation and upgrades” to 52 classrooms and labs, and upgrades to IT infrastructure and classroom equipment. Mr Berry added that general upgrades to the school were also needed. He said: “There’s windows that need to be replaced, wiring, plumbing, ceiling tiles. It’s at the point where, really, it’s a time for action.” Mr Berry, the managing director and head of speciality reinsurance at Axa, studied accountancy at Bermuda College in 1979 and 1980. He took a summer job with an insurance company after his course. Mr Berry said: “I got into their accounting department because of my two years at Bermuda College.” He said that Ralph Richardson, a consultant for Bermuda College, had contacted him to take part in the foundation. Mr Berry said that he had accepted the post despite a busy schedule. He explained: “I get a real high. You feel really, really good. It is a meaty project, but it’s worth it. This is a good one.” Mr Berry said the other members of the foundation’s board of directors were “fabulous”. He highlighted the “tireless” work of Garry Madeiros, the deputy chairman. Mr Berry said that the foundation was accountable to its donors. He said: “We will hold the college accountable for delivering. We are advocates for our donors.” Duranda Greene, the president of Bermuda College, floated the idea of a foundation in 2011. The group, established as a separate entity from the college, has the sole task of raising funds on the college’s behalf. Mr Berry said that the “soft launch” of the foundation earlier this year had gone well. He added: “We’ve got a very, very good start. It’s humbling when people commit meaningfully. We are very excited.”

paragraphBusinesses seeking to provide electronic communication services on-island have been invited to submit their application to the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda. The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda, which oversees the island’s electronic communications and energy sectors, will accept licence applications during the period January 27 until February 28. Denton Williams, chief executive of the RA, said: “Consumers will benefit from new entrants to the marketplace, as increased competition typically leads to lower prices, greater product variety and higher product quality.” A moratorium on the granting of integrated communication operation licences was lifted by Walter Roban, Minister of Home Affairs, this year.

paragraphAxis Capital Holdings Limited suffered a “disappointing quarter” as its income was impacted by typhoons in Japan, Hurricane Dorian and some losses in its credit and aviation lines of business. The Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer made a profit of $28 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, in the third-quarter, which was down from $43 million, or 52 cents per share, a year ago. It made an operating loss of $33 million, or 39 cents per share, compared to operating income of $79 million for the same quarter last year. “This was a disappointing quarter, where our performance was marred by catastrophes that impacted our industry, coupled with mid-size losses in our credit and aviation lines,” Albert Benchimol, president and chief executive officer of Axis, said. “These losses obscure positive underlying trends that reflect our progress in building an organisation that will consistently deliver strong results. Specifically, even with higher mid-size loss experience, within our insurance segment, the current year ex-cat loss ratio is down more than a point this quarter versus the prior year. In our reinsurance segment, while the ex-cat loss ratio is higher this quarter, this same ratio is down over a point year-to-date, reflecting the continued execution of our strategy to improve risk adjusted returns. We remain focused on continuing our progress and are confident that these positive underlying trends can be sustained. Axis has leading positions in the markets that are experiencing the most significant pricing improvements which, combined with our underwriting actions and investments in digital capabilities, put us on a strong pathway towards long-term profitable growth.” The company’s combined ratio for the quarter was 109.4 per cent, compared to 97.9 per cent for the same period last year. Gross premiums written were down 1 per cent, or $17 million, at $1.4 billion. Pre-tax catastrophe and weather-related losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums were $160 million, compared with $92 million in 2018. Book value per diluted common share was $56.26, an increase of 27 cents, or 0.5 per cent.

paragraphArgo Group International Holdings Ltd has said its results for the third-quarter of 2019 will be adversely affected by several loss items, primarily related to its international operations. The company is due to release it earnings news on November 7. Mark Watson, chief executive officer of Argo Group, said: “The adjustment made to our current and prior accident year loss expectations over the last two quarters is related to large loss activity, business we have previously exited or where we have taken aggressive underwriting actions to improve profitability. These charges are a result of increased loss occurrence and a more challenging claims environment in some classes of business. Despite these challenges, we continue to experience strong results in our US operations and we are seeing rate improvement across several key lines of business both in the US as well as in our international operations.” In a statement, the Bermuda-based company said that key items affecting the quarter include:

paragraphThe Vasco da Gama Club is inviting the community to attend its family block party celebrating the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. The evening on Saturday will feature performances by the Portuguese School of Bermuda, the Vasco da Gama Folklore Group, In Motion School of Dance, the Somerset Brigade Band, Vision School of Dance and the Warwick Gombey Troupe. The Portuguese School and Folklore dancers will sell traditional Portuguese food, such as chouriço sandwiches, pork sandwiches and Portuguese doughnuts, or malasadas. Entertainment will include laser tag, fun castles, human billiards games and there will also be commemorative T-shirts for sale. The event will take place on Reid Street between Burnaby and Parliament Streets from 6pm and is part of a host of events centred around the public holiday on November 4. Paul Franco, the president of Vasco, said the Government had invited his club to organise the block party. He said: “We want all of Bermuda’s residents to come out and enjoy this fun, family evening. “In our view, the holiday does not belong to any one group or community — it was proclaimed for everyone. With this objective in mind, we are aiming to put on a programme that showcases how the Portuguese have integrated into the broader Bermudian community. We encourage everyone in Bermuda to come out and celebrate this important milestone; the first time that a diaspora Portuguese community has been recognised anywhere in the world, with its own public holiday.”

paragraphThey came at first to do the jobs Bermudians did not want to do, but the Portuguese have come to be known for much more than just a willingness to work hard. Members of the Portuguese and Azorean community discussed the aspects of their culture they cherish the most, as they prepared to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Portuguese arriving in Bermuda. A strong sense of community and the spectacle of religious festivals, as well as industriousness, were among the attributes they outlined as central to their culture. Eugene Lima, a retired welder and fabricator, highlighted festivals organised by the Portuguese community, including the Feast of the Holy Spirit Festival, which he created 25 years ago under the Roman Catholic pastoral committee. Other Portuguese festivals include the Feast of Sao Joao and the Santo Cristo festival. Mr Lima said: “The festivals are a big part of our heritage in the Azores and are all based on the Catholic faith. Every parish on the island commemorates their patron saint. These religious celebrations are very, very important to us. It is our tradition and what we bring our children up to understand and be a part of. We also have the folklore groups like the Portuguese dancers.” Robert Pires, the chairman of Bermuda Investment Advisory Services, added: “Really, what the Portuguese have provided for the community is a high degree of industriousness. They came here in the first instance to do jobs that Bermudians were not interested in — gardening, construction, and more recently cleaning. The Portuguese have also brought malasadas, Portuguese doughnuts which are one of the number one foods from Portugal that people like. We also brought red bean soup and we introduced codfish to the West Indies.” Mr Pires said: “The Azoreans are very hospitable people. They invite people into their homes and if they see people in need, they frequently go out and share with them what they have.” Theresa Ferreira moved to the island in 1966 to join her husband and worked as a caregiver, dressmaker and saleswoman. She is a volunteer for the Friends of Senior Citizens charity and works as a Pink Lady at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in her retirement. Ms Ferreira said the Portuguese “contribute a lot to Bermuda and a lot of people help each other. Years ago when they built their houses they would get together to help each other.” Bermuda will celebrate Portuguese Day, a public holiday in honour of the contributions of the Portuguese over the past 170 years, for the first time next Monday. Mr Lima is part of the organising committee, which has arranged a series of events around the holiday including a visit from Vasco Cordeiro, the Azorean President. He said: “It is well overdue that our community is recognised in Bermuda and our Premier was kind enough to give us this holiday. We appreciate it and are doing the best we can to bring the whole community together.” All three spoke of the need for Government to tackle immigration problems, which they said was the biggest challenge for Portuguese people in Bermuda. Mr Lima explained: “I think that a pathway to Bermuda status is very important not only to the Portuguese community but the community as a whole. Portuguese people have contributed a lot to Bermuda economically and socially. I think that the Government should recognise that and come up with a decision on how we are going to deal with our young people, who feel like they don’t have a country. They pack up and they leave and that hurts the economy.” Ms Ferreira said: “The community is doing very well compared to when I came in 1966. They have so many opportunities now that we did not have before. Immigration needs to be improved for the children. Some of them cannot have Bermudian status.”

A weekend of events to celebrate Portuguese Arrival Day

Saturday

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

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October 29

paragraphCo-operative banks and supermarkets will empower Bermudians to challenge the island’s status quo, David Burt said last night. Speaking at the opening night of the Progressive Labour Party’s delegates conference, the Premier said entrepreneurs could sidestep traditional banking if the Government repatriates some of the billions invested overseas through the National Pension Scheme. Mr Burt repeatedly promised to “get controversial” and touched on immigration reform, telling the descendants of those he said had benefited from past policies that comprehensive reform was coming, but that “it will not be your father’s immigration policy”. To a round of applause from the a audience at the St Paul AME Centennial Hall in Hamilton, the premier pledged that a government body would be tasked with reviewing foreclosures on homes “to ensure that banks are acting in a fair manner”. Shortly after opening, he warned: “Fasten your seatbelts.” Nick Kempe, the One Bermuda Alliance shadow finance minister, was among the hundreds attending the public meeting, themed “Transforming Bermuda, Transforming Ourselves”. Mr Burt told the audience that Bermuda had “two types of people”: those for and those against a status quo that had disadvantaged its majority black residents. As an example, Mr Burt cited his decision to break with the Westminster system’s traditions, adding: “Look at the furore set off by skipping the Throne Speech for one year.” The Premier was one of several speakers from the leadership, with Diallo Rabain, the education minister, warning of “an uncomfortable and necessary conversation” about the “repurposing and realigning” the island’s primary-school system. Mr Rabain said that talks would have to be held alongside the move to axe middle schools. He added that a change to the network of 18 primary schools would mean better use of resources and that talks would need to be “at arm’s length from politics”. Other speakers were party chairman Damon Wade; Alicia Kirby, the youth wing leader, and Jache Adams, the PLP treasurer. Mr Adams touched on the need for economic empowerment, saying political power was insufficient to change Bermuda. But Mr Burt’s speech dominated the night, as he told the crowd of supporters: “We must never lose sight of who the real enemies of progress are.” People who oppose his party’s plan are vested in those who “maintain control” of the wealth and economy, he said. The Premier added: “The structure of the economy is not set up to reduce costs, or to make life easiest for the working class. It’s not who is managing the system. It’s the system itself.” One of the night’s main pledges was to use recent legislation for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to start businesses that would “keep local companies honest while providing relief to many in this country. Not only will we start these companies — all of you will have the option to become shareholders.” Mr Burt said the island’s high food prices were fuelled in part by entrenched middlemen that kept costs up to 15 per cent higher, citing a conversation with an unnamed supermarket owner in the lead-up to the last General Election. He said entrepreneurs would access investment, in part by tapping into more than $3 billion in pension funds, now invested overseas by the island’s top insurers. Mr Burt said many would ask: “Where will we get the money, Premier? We’re barely about to save as it is. We do not have money to start our own supermarket. But guess what, family? Yes, we can.” To applause, he added: “The hopes and dreams of entrepreneurs who wish to compete with established, generational wealth, can no longer be deferred.” He said that supporters of Bermuda’s traditional way of business would never stop criticizing the PLP. Mr Burt added: “We were not elected to serve their interests. If there is one regret I have over the last two years, it is being too deferential to the interests that will never support our party’s aims. We have done it their way for 50 years, and it has not worked for the people of Bermuda. Enough is enough.” Mr Burt said that on November 15 in Parliament, he would go over the list of the PLP’s 52 objectives from last year’s Throne Speech, 19 of which he said were fully completed, with 33 “in progress”. New issues raised by the party’s caucus would go into a “top 20” for the Government’s agenda, including creating co-operative businesses with the island’s unions, providing unemployment insurance, and the re-purposing of school buildings for alternative education.

paragraphA trip to Monaco by the tourism minister to sell Bermuda as a superyacht destination to billionaires last month cost taxpayers more than $6,000. Zane DeSilva travelled to Monaco from September 21 to 26 at a cost of $6,052.37. A breakdown of the trip spend showed that air travel cost $3,209.80 and accommodation was $2,842.57. Mr DeSilva was part of a six-person delegation that attended the event to tout the Superyachts and Other Vessels (Miscellaneous) Act, which passed in July, to encourage superyacht visits to Bermuda. He was joined by Roland Andy Burrows, the chief executive, and Lynesha Lightbourne, the business development manager, both from the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Aideen Ratteray Pryse, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, Nicholas Sansom, the chief business development officer at the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, and Mark Soares, the owner of Bermuda Yacht Services, also attended the event. Details of the trip were posted on the Travel Calendar page of the Government’s website. Mr DeSilva delivered a speech at the Superyacht Finance Forum on September 24 and co-hosted the Bermuda Breakfast, an event hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport and the BDA in collaboration with luxury yachting lifestyle magazine Boat International the next day. The event was held at the Monaco Yacht Club. A question about the cost of the event sent to Government and BDA representatives earlier this month was not responded to. A ministry spokesman said this month that Mr DeSilva “was able to lend valuable insight to the superyacht community” through the two events. He added: “Previously, the Superyachts Act made amendments to a series of Acts to create a tourism product that makes Bermuda more attractive as a destination for yachting, and for superyachts in particular. Implementation of the Act is intended to move superyachts from vessels that attend a single event for a limited time to vessels that stay in our waters and, in that way, create a charter industry. Bermudians will benefit from the growth of the yachting industry through jobs associated with businesses that support the charters, and from fees that will go into the consolidated fund.” The spokesman said that the Bermuda delegation had been “very well received with keen interest expressed by those in the superyacht industry to learn more about opportunities to charter here”. He added: “The ministry is aware that superyacht captains have pressed for Bermuda to participate in the charter industry, and believes that Bermuda has a winning formula for success. This is a new beginning for Bermuda’s superyacht industry, and adds to the diversification of the tourism industry.”

paragraphA clash over the choice of a by-election candidate appears to have taken place between a Progressive Labour Party constituency and the Premier, according to an e-mail circulated yesterday. The apparent stand-off came after Jason Hayward, a PLP senator, was said to be the only candidate put forward by a party sub-committee for Pembroke Central, left vacant after the sudden death of PLP MP Walton Brown. But the e-mail claimed 65 per cent of branch members voted on Sunday against Mr Hayward and that a motion to field Jamaine Smith was ignored by David Burt, who attended the branch meeting. The e-mail added that Mr Burt’s “decision to take over and control” the meeting “could be misinterpreted as him influencing the process or demonstrating favoritism” towards Mr Hayward. It said that supporters of Ms Smith maintained she should be unveiled as the by-election candidate today for the November 21 contest. The e-mail added: “We ­— the Progressive Labour Party — should accept the will of the members of the branch, C17.” It was not clear last night if the party had decided to endorse Ms Smith as the candidate for the November 21 by-election. Mr Brown defeated Andrew Simons, of the One Bermuda Alliance, twice at the General Elections of December 2012 and July 2017. The e-mail explained that Mr Burt indicated at the branch meeting that 293 voters were polled last Thursday. Respondents were asked about possible PLP candidates “against prospective OBA candidate Nick Kempe”, who is the Opposition leader in the Senate. Results showed Mr Hayward, the Bermuda Public Services Union president, enjoyed a 16 per cent lead over Mr Kempe compared with a 9 per cent lead for Ms Smith. Pollsters were said to have found that George Scott had a 5 per cent lead on the OBA member. The survey also found that Curtis Richardson, who contested Paget East in the 2017 General Election and a later by-election caused by the retirement of One Bermuda Alliance MP Grant Gibbons, was 2 per cent behind Mr Kempe and Vance Campbell, a PLP senator, was 8 per cent behind. The e-mail said: “With quorum established, the branch members of constituency 17 listened to the persuasive recommendations and explanation around the science and importance of polling made by MP Chris Famous, sub-committee chair, and the party leader and Premier David Burt on the importance of the branch approving the sole candidate recommended by the Campaign Sub-committee, namely BPSU president and senator Jason Hayward. Sixty-five per cent of the branch members voted against the recommendation of the campaign sub-committee and party leader.” It added that the result suggested that Mr Hayward “cannot be presented to the branch again, at a later date, for adoption as the candidate for constituency 17”. The e-mail said that poll ratings for proposed PLP candidates showed Mr Hayward in the lead with Mr Scott in second place. Ms Smith and Mr Campbell were joint third, ahead of Mr Richardson in fourth place. It added: “We note that Jamaine Smith was only officially notified by the Candidates Committee, via e-mail on Saturday, 26 October 2019 at 2.27pm, that she had been cleared as an approved candidate to participate in the pool of candidates for the branch meeting on Sunday October 27 at 5pm.” The e-mail, addressed to the party chairman and candidates sub-committee members also highlighted “potential irregularities” at the meeting. It claimed: “The party leader decided to take over and chair a branch meeting, presumably to direct the branch and persuade them to accept the recommendation of the candidates sub-committee, which was nonetheless rejected. We note that, although the PLP constitution permits the party leader to be ex officio chairman of all committees and party organs, including branches, that his decision to take over and control the constituency 17 branch meeting, on 27 October 2019, appears unprecedented in contemporary PLP history and could be misinterpreted as him influencing the process of demonstrating favoritism towards the sole male candidate recommended by the candidates sub-committee, against the will, and 65 per cent vote, of the branch. A motion was put on the floor by branch member Ms S. Smith, as follows, ‘that the branch adopt Jamaine Smith as the candidate for constituency 17’, this motion was seconded by Ms S. Simmons and two branch members also commented that there was a substantive motion on the floor, yet, the party leader, after he took over the meeting as chairman, decided to ignore this motion and did not put the motion to a vote of branch members.” The e-mail said that the majority vote against adopting Mr Hayward as the candidate, the polling results and adorability ratings, along with the motion, indicated that Ms Smith should “represent constituency 17”. It added: “Kindly advise where Jamaine Smith should present herself on 29 October 2019 to be formally announced as the candidate.” Mr Hayward said yesterday that he had expressed interest in being considered as the candidate for Pembroke Central, but that he was “the type of person that lets the process play out”. He explained: “I was aware that my name was used in polling, I was aware of the meeting last night. I was briefed after the meeting that at this point they don’t know who the candidate is. I guess when they decide who’s the actual candidate to roll out I would be formally informed.” Ms Smith could not be contacted for comment. A PLP spokeswoman said yesterday: “The Progressive Labour Party candidate selection is an internal process and therefore will not be discussed in the media. It is customary that when the party selects a candidate, they are announced to the media at a press conference. The same practice will be followed when a candidate for Constituency 17 is selected.” Mr Burt and Mr Famous did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. The OBA did not reply to questions on who it planned to field in the Pembroke Central by-election.

paragraphSome jobs are becoming obsolete as advances in technology, automation and artificial intelligence transform the business world. That presents challenges for company leaders and individual employees. However, there are things they can do to survive and thrive in the evolving digital workplace landscape. Up-skilling is key. “It’s about skills not jobs, most people are taking a skills view,” said Bhushan Sethi, PwC’s joint global leader, people and organisation. He and two Bermuda-based colleagues shared a few pointers on the way ahead. Having the right core skills — also referred to as soft skills — is important. Mr Sethi described these as the ability to learn new technology, the ability to communicate and have conversations, and the ability to collaborate with other people in different departments and time zones. In addition, there is no getting away from the need for digital skills, he said. “Those are the skills of understanding what technology can do, what you can do with data and tell stories about your product, your client, your people. Not everyone is going to have to learn to code, but everyone is going to have to understand the power of technology, and the tools and data sets to improve their jobs.” Call centre representatives on a telephone may be obliterated by new technology, such as chat-bots. But that does not mean that the role of operations or customer services has gone, according to Mr Sethi. Similarly, specific roles such as in clerical, administrative, and HR are going to be impacted and possibly transformed. Felicia Steffen and Alastair McNeish, PwC Bermuda’s people and organisation leaders, also spoke on the subject. Ms Steffen said: “It’s not that jobs are going to go away, it’s that all jobs are going to require technical, digital aptitude. People who hold those jobs need to be willing to learn and understand that technology piece; you have to be adaptable.” Mr McNeish mentioned a survey that showed 50 per cent of financial services roles will be impacted to the point that a significant part of those operations needs to be upskilled and rebalanced. So, should companies be the ones taking the responsibility for retraining staff, or should it be up to the individual? Mr Sethi said: “Companies realise in very tight labour markets you have to upskill. You can’t hire your way out of this. Corporations are taking a lead, but individuals also have an insatiable desire to learn.” He referred to research by PwC that showed many employees, if encouraged by their company, would be willing to spend 15 hours a month of their own time learning “new stuff”. Mr McNeish said: “Perhaps we should be looking for a public-private investment on a regional basis to upskill people, because there is certainly a societal pressure to make sure you have a workforce that is ready for the future.” Another issue is the arrival of the younger generation who tend to place higher value on social-environmental issues and work-life balance, and this is reflected in whether they see a company or organisation as a desirable place to work, or not. Companies doing well in attracting younger people are very clear about what they stand for, said Mr Sethi. Businesses have to be clear on where they stand on the environment and big society issues like poverty, diversity, ethical violations, and how they embed that in every decision they make. Mr Sethi added: “It started with the millennials, who said we want to work with the companies who have similar values to our own, but it then allowed the rest of us to say we also want to work with some of these responsible companies, and maybe we will forgo a little bit of salary for longevity, sustainability — whether it is the environment or less layoffs. The big challenge is, you can’t say one thing and do another.” Bermuda-based companies are doing a pretty good job in social responsibility, said Ms Steffen. “They are doing projects where they are cleaning up the parks, and going out and doing those types of activities — and if those align with the needs of millennials that’s a great way to attract them, because they are doing what they say. They are not only investing funds [in these activities], they are allowing employees time to do those things,” she said. Workload and working hours is an issue in some larger corporations that have significantly cut their workforce, according to Mr Sethi. “Many of them are trying to transform their business and run their business as usual, and it is a real strain on their people. It manifests itself in absenteeism, some companies have had corporate suicides, and substance abuse — real bad outcomes for companies and societies,” he said. When asked what will happen if increasing digitalisation and automation shrinks the staffing requirements, resulting in people not having jobs and therefore not having the money to pay for many products and services, Mr Sethi said: “That’s a scenario — that there is not enough work for the workforce, whether it is in a country or globally. A potential response could be that you reduce working hours. France has mandates on working hours, and there is talk of it in the UK and US.” He said you could also introduce more compressed work schedules and job-sharing. “This is a prediction: in advanced economies that have a good track record of innovation and attracting good talent, like the US, I don’t think that will be the case. I think there will be enough work and enough businesses that get created, that there will be enough work for those that are willing to work and have the right skills. It’s not in the interest of businesses to have huge civil unrest and thousands of people unemployed when you are trying to sell goods and services, and it’s not in the government’s interests.” Mr Sethi was in Bermuda as a guest speaker at the Bermuda Human Resources Association Conference, held at the Fairmont Southampton. When asked what message he hoped the audience would take from his presentation, he said it was that there is no prediction or linear path that we are going to go on with regards to the change from a “analogue” to a digitally skilled workforce. In addition, he said it was an opportunity to engage in the conversation, and for the human resource leaders at the conference who are putting together their HR programmes, to think about their company’s hiring, and about advising their colleagues. He said it was about starting to see questions, such as: “It’s great that we are investing in technology, [but] where’s the training? How are we going to measure success? Have we thought about people on a compressed schedules or using gig-economy or contingent workers?” He added: “It is just being able to ask the question. In doing that, they elevate their role and naturally upskill themselves.”

paragraphRenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd saw its profit rise to $36.7 million, or 83 cents per diluted common share, in the third-quarter. That was up from $32.7 million, or 82 cents per share, a year ago. The Bermuda-based company’s earnings were negatively impacted by $154.9 million of losses attributed to Hurricane Dorian and Typhoon Faxai. Operating income was $13 million, or 29 cents per diluted common share, compared to $17.8 million, or 45 cents per share a year ago. Kevin O’Donnell, president and chief executive officer, said: “In an active period for the industry, we assisted our customers in managing the quarter’s catastrophic events while rapidly paying their claims. I am proud of our team’s hard work during the quarter and pleased to report positive net and operating income and growth in tangible book value per share plus accumulated dividends. Our value proposition lies in quantifying risk and absorbing large losses as they occur, contributing to the resilience of communities and building stronger relationships with our partners. As we look forward to 2020, these strong relationships combined with our differentiated strategy will provide us with many opportunities to continue delivering long-term value.” RenRe reported an annualized return on average common equity of 2.8 per cent and an annualized operating return on average common equity of 1 per cent in the third-quarter, compared to 3.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively, in the third-quarter of 2018.While book value per common share increased 0.8 per cent, or 90 cents, to $120.07. RenRe’s combined ratio for the quarter fell, year-on-year, from 105.5 per cent, to 100.4 per cent.

paragraphArch Capital Group Ltd has reported a profit of $382.1 million, or 92 cents per share, for the third-quarter. That is up from $217 million, or 53 cents per share, for the same period last year. After-tax operating income was $261 million, or 63 cents per share, up from 59 cents. The Bermuda-based company’s combined ratio was 84.2 per cent, up from 82.3 per cent. However, excluding catastrophic activity and prior year development, the combined ratio decreased 0.9 per cent to 80.9 per cent. Gross premiums written were $2.18 billion, up from $1.73 billion. Book value per common share of $25.61 at the end of September.

paragraphEverest Re Group Ltd’s after-tax operating income in the third-quarter was $138.4 million, or $3.39 per share, which beat analysts’ estimates of $2.21. However, its net profit was almost halved, at $104.4 million, compared to $198.4 million a year ago. That was $2.56 per diluted common share, down from $4.84 year-on-year. The Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer’s combined ratio worsened, rising from 100 per cent to 101.4 per cent. Everest’s third-quarter results were impacted by $280 million of current year catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, related to Hurricane Dorian and Typhoon Faxai. Dominic Addesso, president and chief executive officer of Everest Re, said: “Everest generated an impressive 13 per cent annualized net income return on equity for the nine months year-to-date. Our business and balance sheet are built to provide meaningful protection for our clients, as was the case this quarter with the previously announced catastrophe losses from Hurricane Dorian and Typhoon Faxai.” He added: “Everest’s mix of business between reinsurance and insurance, supported by robust investment income, results in a strategic balance that has contributed to our longevity and success over many years.” Gross written premiums for the quarter were $2.4 billion, an increase of 9 per cent compared to the third-quarter of 2018. Direct insurance premiums were up 29 per cent, from the third-quarter 2018, to $666.6 million. Worldwide reinsurance premiums increased 3 per cent to $1.7 billion for the quarter, compared to a year ago. Net investment income increased 12 per cent to $181.1 million. Book value per share was up from $193.37 at December 31, 2018 to $220.28 at September 30.

paragraphJohn Kane, the World Rugby Classic president, has tipped reigning champions Argentina to defend their crown once again and complete a hat-trick of titles. With the 32nd instalment of the ever-popular event starting on Saturday, the Pumas will be looked on as pre-tournament favourites after storming to a successful defence of their title in scintillating fashion after a 25-0 victory over the Ireland Rugby Legends in last year’s showpiece final. With the likes of Eusebio Guinazu, a prop, who featured in the 2007 World Cup, among his 36 caps for his country, as well as other seasoned internationals Manuel Carizza and Gonzalo Tiesi, capped 44 and 38 times respectively among their ranks, Kane warned Ventura’s side may be even stronger than before. “Argentina will certainly be the team to beat once again for me,” Kane said. “They’ve won it for the last two years and will be looking to make it a hat-trick of titles. Argentina come here every year looking to be champions and this year will be no different. One massive factor is that their squad is full of international players who play to a high level. It’s quite hard to know exactly what sort of squads will turn up but, for sure, I think they will be the ones to look out for.” If anyone is going to dash Argentina’s charge, Kane has backed one of the Classic Springboks, the Classic Lions or last years runners-up Ireland as their biggest threats. The Lions will be led by Delon Armitage, capped 26 times by England and will be supported by host of seasoned internationals including Welsh pair Daffyd James and Ceri Sweeney, capped 48 and 35 times respectively for their country. Butch James will be one of the standout players for the Classic Springboks, having helped his country to Rugby World Cup glory in 2007, while the Ireland squad boasts the likes of Shane Byrne, capped 41 times, as well as touring with the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand in 2005. “I think the Irish, English and South Africans will have very strong squads,” Kane added. “The Irish, in particular, will be desperate to go one better then last year having lost in the final to Argentina in their first appearance in the tournament for 25 years. They’ll come back this year with a very strong selection and where last year was a tester for them coming back they’ll be back even stronger this time round.”

paragraphA historical society yesterday appealed for volunteers and palmetto leaves to help repair a replica of a 400 year old Bermuda settler’s home damaged during last month’s Hurricane Humberto. The cabin, built using the methods the first settlers used in 1612, lost much of its palmetto-thatched roof in the hurricane and it is estimated that several hundred leaves will be needed to repair it. Rick Spurling, president of the St David’s Island Historical Society, which owns the cabin and the nearby Carter House and Museum, said: “In about two weeks time, we are going to start re-thatching the roof. “We estimate we will need about 100 Bermuda palmetto, Sabal bermudana, leaves each day that we work on it and we need to put up about 800 leaves in total. We have a few areas including Carter House where we can collect about 100 leaves. After that, we will need the public’s support to get leaves here, but we can’t receive them all at once, they need to be staggered. Once they have been cut they need to rest for three days, so they become supple, but we can’t leave them for more than ten days, as they start to stiffen up, so there is a window.” Mr Spurling added: “We don’t want old leaves and we definitely don’t want Chinese fan palms which look very similar, they do not work.” He was speaking as staff and volunteers yesterday started to pull down the thatching from the damaged roof. The society will also check the cabin for structural damage. Mr Spurling said anyone who wanted to donate palmetto leaves should contact him, so that a delivery schedule can be drawn up. The thatching crew will be hired by the organisation, but Mr Spurling said volunteers were also needed to assist the professionals, with their work. He added: “We will need volunteers from about November 5 to 20, we need leaves and labour. We will assess all the wood and determine whether we need to replace lathes or rafters that support the roof. We are using cedar wood which is protected, you can’t cut them down, but when you have a hurricane like we just had, we have maybe ten branches and we will use them to shore up the roof.” The cabin used Virginia cedar when it was built in 2012. It was hoped the work would be completed in time for the annual Carter House Family Christmas event, scheduled for December 1 from 4pm to 7pm.

paragraphParents and staff at a childcare centre have branded a suspected arson attack as “reckless and extremely dangerous”. The Happy Valley Child Care Centre said yesterday that the fire at the Pembroke centre on Saturday caused “a significant amount of damage” to the building, toys, bikes and other equipment. Trina Davis-Williams, the president of the Parents Teachers Association, said the attack was “totally unacceptable, dangerous and simply beyond comprehension”. She added: “To show such total disregard for the wellbeing of the children and property tells us that this person is intent on destroying our property and they must be caught as soon as possible.” Ms Davis-Williams said that the programme served some of Bermuda’s most vulnerable children. She added: “Why someone would want to attack that, I just cannot understand.” Fire destroyed a minibus at the school in June. It was used to transport children to educational programmes and for trips. Andalyn Swan, a co-ordinator at the centre, said that the minibus was “an essential component of the programme”. She added: “We have been struggling to make things work. We have had to cancel some of the outings as we simply cannot afford the costs of transport.” Ms Swan thanked the public for donations to help buy a replacement minibus. She said: “Thanks to the generosity of local and international companies and the public we are only $25,000 away from our fundraising goal.” The Happy Valley centre said it provides full-time childcare for children aged three months to four years. He said that 60 per cent of the children were classed as “at risk” or came from referrals by the Department of Child and Family Services, the Child Development Programme, Teen Services and the Department of Health. A police spokesman said: “The BPS is conducting inquiries in conjunction with the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service.”

paragraphThe average score by public primary school pupils in maths in 2018-19 was the worst in eight years, it was revealed yesterday. The latest Cambridge Checkpoint score for Primary 6 children was 1.9 — rated as “poor”. The previous lowest score recorded by Cambridge Checkpoint experts was 2.2 in academic year 2015-16. The latest results released by the Government showed that the average P6 scores dropped in maths, English and science from the 2017-18 school year to the last school year. The annual assessments are designed to rate Primary 6 and middle school year 3 pupils on the three core subjects. The Cambridge system uses a scoring system from 0, rated “very poor”, to 6, graded “excellent”. Scores from 3 to 4 are classified as “good”. Scores of between 2 and 3 are rated “OK.” Scores from 1 to 2 are rated as being “poor”. Llewellyn Simmons, the Director of Academics at the education ministry, said all pupils were expected to score 3 or better. The results showed that the average P6 pupil grade fell in all three subject areas from 2017-18 to 2018-19. The average pupil score in all three subjects also failed to hit the ministry target of 3 or better in the last school year. The average P6 score in English dropped to 2.7 in 2018-19 from 3.3 the year before. The average science score fell to 2.3 from 3.4 over the same period. The average pupil score in maths slipped to 1.9 in 2018-19, ranked as “poor”, from 2.4 in 2017-18. But public middle school pupils showed improvement in all three areas over the same period and beat the ministry target of 3 or better. The average M3 score in English went up to 3.5 in 2018-19 from 2.7 the previous year. The average score in science was 4.1 in 2018-19, up from 2.9 the year before. The average pupil score in maths jumped to 3.1 from 2.1 over the same period. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said that the results “clearly indicate the strengths and areas of improvement for the system”. She added that a meeting was held last month with “school leaders” to review the results and work on improvements. Ms Richards said: “Maths is an area that requires dedicated attention and intervention. School leaders will address the improvement needs for mathematics in their instructional leadership practices and in their school improvement plans.” She added that the school improvement plan had been restructured. Ms Richards explained: “It now requires each school leader to focus specifically on targeting improvements for reading, writing and mathematics.” Dr Simmons said that teachers were “expected to hold individual tutorial interventions for mathematics”. He added that they also had to use DreamBox Learning, an online software provider that focuses on maths education, “as an intervention”. Mr Simmons said: “The Department of Education is in consultation with Adam Unwin-Berrey, the regional curriculum leader for mathematics in the Midlands and Northern England, and his team from the Academies Enterprise Trust to build on the work he has started with primary schools around mathematics.”

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October 28

paragraphDiscontent voiced by doctors at an event on healthcare reform demonstrates mistrust of the Government, the shadow health minister said yesterday. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said: “It was very clear to me that doctors were expressing their concern and frustration at being dictated to, under the guise of consultation. There clearly has not been a meeting of the minds in respect of how the proposed changes will impact the doctors who are an integral part of this entire process.” She was speaking after a town hall meeting was held in the East End last week to discuss changes to healthcare coverage in Bermuda. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, announced in August that the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 was to replace the Standard Health Benefit coverage for all island residents. The level of coverage that will be provided and who will administer the scheme have not been determined. Ms Wilson said in August that there would be a four-month consultation period on what the plan should include and cost. The most recent town hall meeting on the proposed change was held at Penno’s Wharf last Thursday. Ms Wilson was joined at the event by Jennifer Attride-Stirling, the Permanent Secretary of Health, and Ricky Brathwaite, the acting chief executive officer of the Bermuda Health Council. The 75-minute meeting included a question-and-answer session. Several times during the session answers were interrupted by reactions from the crowd. Anthony Richardson, a Progressive Labour Party senator, was at the event. He said in an op-ed released at the weekend that he was “utterly shocked” by the behaviour of some doctors who attended. Mr Richardson said that the doctors had “attended en masse, without declaring their presence”, and had “booed and heckled”, Ms Wilson, Ms Attride-Stirling and Mr Brathwaite. He added: “They are prepared to hold Bermuda for ransom. I thought they were here for the patients and not the money.” Mr Richardson said that doctors had been unwilling to listen to the event’s speakers who had repeatedly said that consultation on the proposed reforms was ongoing. He added: “They insisted on speaking and behaving as if it was all a done deal and there was nothing more to discuss. They refused to accept facts regarding existing health insurance laws and published data on insured headcounts.” Mr Richardson said that it was “truly sad to see this side of doctors”. He added: “Thankfully, we know that not all doctors are like that as it is only the vocal angry ones whose greed and self-interest drives them to put profit before patients, and to favour fiction over facts. We know that there are plenty of good doctors who don’t share this perspective. Mr Richardson added: “They have patient health at the forefront of their minds.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that doctors would have been “considered remiss” if they had not attended the event. She added: “They attend, and they are criticized. Whereas the senator has an obligation to express his support for his Government’s position, the doctors have a responsibility to their patients to ensure that what is being driven by the Government will not have a negative impact on the level of care. Everyone does not roll over and play dead when the Government speaks, and the lack of clarity so far is creating anxiety.”

paragraphA prominent business leader claimed the ruling Progressive Labour Party’s failure to address an immigration crisis has dealt an “unconscionable” human rights blow to the Portuguese community. Robert Pires, the chief executive of Bermuda Investment Advisory Services, said that mixed-status families remained the biggest challenge of the Portuguese community, and that many of them have lived on the island for decades without citizenship. He added that the slowness of reform was partly because of racial hostility, which he claimed that the PLP has historically tried to exploit. The PLP government has repeatedly delayed tabling a Bill designed to ease the plight of mixed-status families. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, insisted that the Government was committed to immigration reform and must “strike the right balance”. Mr Caines denounced the suggestion of a racial agenda as inflammatory and irresponsible. Mr Pires, a fourth-generation Bermudian, was speaking as the island prepares to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. He told The Royal Gazette: “The biggest challenge for us is mixed-status families, but I don’t think it is a priority for this government, otherwise they would have brought the legislation forward. From a human rights perspective, this should have been dealt with 20 years ago. Many of these people have been 30 to 40 years on the island without any citizenship, which is just unconscionable.” The businessman added: “These are not illegal immigrants, such as what [Donald] Trump is worried about coming across the Mexican border. These people gave their time and paid their taxes, but they have no rights.” Mr Caines responded: “The Government rejects the assertion that it is not focused on delivering comprehensive immigration reform in Bermuda. This government values the contributions of our Portuguese community, and also wholeheartedly rejects the notion that we are not sensitive to the immigration issues facing them.” Mr Pires was one of three Portuguese people to be awarded the Medal of Merit Award at the General Assembly of the World Council of the Houses of the Azores, hosted on the island this month. He was the spokesman for the now defunct Coalition on Long-Term Residents, in which he represented the Portuguese community, joined with the West Indian and Jamaican Associations. The PLP pledged in its 2018 Throne Speech that it would address issues surrounding mixed-status families. Mr Caines has said the new legislation will “provide the justice mixed-status families deserve, while ensuring Bermudians have a place of primacy, in their homeland”. The minister initially said he would table the Bill in July, but it has remained on the back burner since then. David Burt, the Premier, did not name immigration when he revealed the items on the legislative agenda before the end of the year including, economic opportunities, the development of the St George’s marina, the consolidation of labour laws and the development of a medical cannabis regime. Mr Pires claimed that immigration reform delays are partly because of racial discrimination against the Portuguese community. He said: “The PLP has traditionally tried to exploit a divide between people of colour and those of us who are not. It created problems for me over the years with regards to my business and work permits and hostility, from certain sectors. Mr Pires explained: I don’t have those difficulties now, but that is what happened.” However, Mr Caines responded: “Mr Pires’s racial discrimination allegations against the Government regarding our Portuguese community are inflammatory, irresponsible and unfortunate.” Bermuda-born Michael Barbosa, who cannot apply for Bermudian status because he was born on the island to non-Bermudian parents, is awaiting an outcome on his case from the Privy Council. Mr Pires said: “I am suspicious that the Government is afraid to put to the House of Assembly their plan for mixed-status families, because it might all be washed away with the decision on the Barbosa case, that everybody is waiting for. What Bermuda is claiming is that even though this person was born in Bermuda, even though this person has a British passport, they should not be given citizenship. The Government has sidestepped it for the time being, which is really a Band-Aid for an old wound, by saying, ‘well, he can live here for ever, but we are not going to give him citizenship’,” Mr Pires concluded. Mr Caines would not specify when the legislation would be ready. He added: “We are keen to strike the right balance regarding immigration reform because, while we recognize there are issues that need to be addressed, we also need to ensure that Bermudians have a place of primacy, in their own country.”

paragraphA call to change the law to protect 16 and 17-year-olds from predators has won backing from a group advocating on behalf of children. The Inter-Agency Committee for Children and Families said Bermuda’s law on sexual exploitation should apply to anyone up to the age of 18 “to better protect all youth” from grooming. It supports the call made last week by Christine DaCosta, 38, who was groomed by her teacher for sex when she was 17 and a student at Mount St Agnes Academy. Ms DaCosta said in The Royal Gazette last Friday that adults who worked with children could groom girls before they reached the age of consent, but avoid prosecution by not having sex with them until they reached the age of 16. An IAC spokeswoman said yesterday: “Given a child is being redefined in the Criminal Code as any person under the age of 18, the laws around sexual exploitation should similarly be defined to apply for anyone under the age of 18. “IAC does not believe that a 17-year-old can provide consent when in a relationship with an adult who is a person of trust or authority. The spokeswoman explained: “A person of trust or authority means there is an unequal relationship between the adult and the young person, making the young person susceptible to the influence of the adult. The spokeswoman added: “This vulnerability is pronounced if grooming has occurred.” The section of the Criminal Code which deals with sexual exploitation by a person in a position of trust or authority defines a “young person” as someone under 16. Child sexual abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets had already said the Criminal Code should be amended to protect anyone still at school from sexual exploitation. The IAC is a group of social and human services providers that monitors the critical issues faced by children and advocates on their behalf, particularly to safeguard them against physical, emotional and sexual abuse. It noted that some offenders groom children by building a trusting relationship and emotional connection with them so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. The spokeswoman said: “To better protect all youth against these forms of sexual abuse, IAC believes the laws of sexual exploitation should apply to anyone up to the age of 18. By addressing this ambiguity, IAC believes we will be enhancing our child safeguarding practices which will ultimately lend further protection to children, who by reason of their age, are deemed vulnerable.” Robert DiGiacomo, then aged 44, was Ms DaCosta’s history teacher and family friend in 1998 when he persuaded the teenager to have sexual contact with him on several occasions and sex on one occasion. Ms DaCosta said last week: “I don’t want to see another generation of children vulnerable to this kind of abuse.” The Most Reverend Wes Spiewak, Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, has also supported the call to bring the age of minority up to 18. The Ministry of Legal Affairs has argued it was a “misconception” to say the law enabled those in positions of trust or authority to have sex with children aged over 16 without committing a criminal offence. A spokeswoman said in The Royal Gazette last Friday: “Whilst a person in a position of trust or authority who has sex with a girl aged 16 or 17 could not commit the offence of sexual exploitation, they would be liable to a conviction for the offence of sexual assault.” Ms DaCosta’s call for a change in the law is specifically in relation to grooming which leads to consensual sex. The ministry spokeswoman has not responded to a question on whether an offence of sexual assault would apply in cases where sex between a teacher and a student over 16 was consensual. The ministry did not respond to a request for comment on IAC’s statement yesterday.

paragraphBermuda College has notified the general public about a phishing email in circulation, referencing a price inquiry, and requesting recipients to provide information to the College. The College’s IT Department has said the fraudulent email is one that typically is sent under the guise of a known sender, and carries an attachment that one is invited to open. The name of College President, Dr. Duranda Greene is mentioned in this instance, along with her pictures, and a deadline is included to convey a sense of urgency. The College was alerted Monday morning to the phishing attempt and has, accordingly, contacted the Bermuda Police Service. The College is asking anyone who receives the email, which also uses the old College logo, to not open the attachment, take a screen shot and send it to support@college.bm, before deleting it.

paragraphControversial former Bermuda resident Lana Marks has been confirmed as the American ambassador to South Africa by the US Senate almost a year after President Donald Trump appointed her to the post. The one-time Bermuda tennis champion was confirmed on October 4 and the appointment is the completion of a circle for the businesswoman, as she will return to the land of her birth. Ms Marks, 65, and her 80-year-old husband, Neville, a British psychiatrist, left Bermuda after lengthy court battles, moved to the United States and became American citizens. The couple were convicted in the Supreme Court in 1982 of employing without Immigration approval, Lucia King, a black South African nanny and of keeping her under slave-like conditions. They were cleared on appeal in July 1983 — after just ten minutes of deliberation by the Court of Appeal — the next year. Ms Marks was also cleared of two counts of submitting false immigration documents. Both were given 12-month conditional discharges. The couple were represented by then Opposition leader, the future Dame Lois Browne-Evans, who eventually withdrew from the case. Dr Marks was ordered to leave the country just a week before the appeal was heard after his work permit was not renewed. He later took legal action but in July 1995, the Privy Council refused to grant permission to appeal the ruling that upheld the Government’s decision to not renew his work permit. The couple lived at “Silver Dollar”, on Knapton Hill, Smith’s, for almost a decade and now live in Palm Beach, Florida. The last ambassador in South Africa left his post in January 2017. Ms Marks told the Senate committee in July that her Lithuanian-Jewish father, Alec Bank, emigrated to South Africa in the 1930s, but was angered at the launch of apartheid laws on racial segregation in 1948. She added: “He realised that the values of his adopted country did not match the values he held dear.” She told Congress she began making luxury handbags — which now sell for thousands of dollars each — on the kitchen table in her two-bedroom apartment in Miami and built it into a global business. When Lindsay Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina, asked Mrs Marks why she should get the Pretoria posting, since she had no government experience, she highlighted her inside knowledge of South Africa, as well as her business acumen. She argued her business experience would help her to boost commerce and added that she could speak three of South Africa’s official languages fluently — English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. Ms Marks earned praise from Democrats Tim Kaine, of Virginia, and Chris Coons, of Maryland, particularly on land reform. She told Congress: “In 1994, I became an American citizen. By coincidence this was also the year that Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. In just 25 years, the country of my birth has undergone a miraculous transformation, through its peaceful transition away from the brutal apartheid regime and now stand as a pillar of democracy. It fills me with great personal pride to witness the legacy of Nelson Mandela in this remarkable evolution of South Africa.” Ms Marks also highlighted extensive business ties between the two countries and the battle against HIV/Aids and said it was “heartening” to see Cyril Ramaphosa as president. Ms Marks was born in East London, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The former Mid-Ocean News tennis correspondent’s website says she studied with the Royal Academy of Ballet. People magazine once reported that Ms Marks was a “close” friend of Diana, Princess of Wales. Of her friendship with the Princess, Marks said she felt guilt over having indirectly participated in the circumstances surrounding her tragic death on August 31, 1997. She had intended to travel with the Princess to Milan on a short vacation, but cancelled those plans after her father’s illness and death. Ms Marks said that she believed that was what led to the Princess’s decision to instead travel with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, to Sardinia and Paris, where she died in a car crash.

paragraphA man known by many as Bermuda’s king of bees was a hardworking and humble man, his family and friends said yesterday. Randolph Furbert, the former president of the Bermuda Beekeepers Association, died last Thursday at age 85. Paul Furbert yesterday said that his father was a “God-fearing man who was very giving, a natural leader and a mentor to many”. He said that said the Hamilton Parish resident should be remembered as a “role model and guide”. Mr Furbert added: “He desired to see his people succeed and offered his knowledge, skills and resources, to help many.” He said that his father had stood as a father, grandfather and “papa” to many generations “who have developed valuable work ethics and spiritual values whilst working with him”. Mr Furbert said his father was “open and comfortable in all environments — rich and poor, black or white. A great man has passed.” John Furbert, Mr Furbert’s other son, described his father as true family man. He added: “He was very loving.” Mr Furbert said that his father was a longstanding congregation member of Crawl Gospel Hall and an avid traveler. "He would go to every beekeeping gathering overseas. Wherever it was in the world, he made sure he got there.” Thomas Sinclair, a former president of the Bermuda Beekeepers Association, said Mr Furbert was a man who loved his bees, his family and his faith. He described Mr Furbert as Bermuda’s best known modern beekeeper and said that his contribution to the BBA had been “huge”. Mr Sinclair said: “He did an awful lot for the association. He was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise. He always had words of wisdom. He’s going to be an absolute huge miss.” Mr Sinclair said Mr Furbert had a quick wit and was “the king of the one-liners”. He explained: “Just some of the little things that he said — you know, like: ‘the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement’.” Mr Sinclair said Mr Furbert was a well-travelled beekeeper who made friends easily wherever he went. “He was very well liked. And not because he was a keen researcher, it was just his love of bees and his friendly personality. People just knew he was special. He brought out the best of other beekeepers and beekeeping in Bermuda.” Karla Eisen, the Virginia state delegate for the US-based Eastern Apicultural Society, said that Mr Furbert had been a regular attendee at the non-profit’s annual summer conference. Ms Eisen said that she met Mr Furbert at an EAS event in Rhode Island in 2011. She added: “I was fortunate enough to be able to visit him in Bermuda a year or two after meeting him and he was kind enough to take me and my husband on a tour of several of his apiaries. He was a kind and welcoming man filled with passion for the honey bee and a desire to share his passion. He was a welcome sight when he attended the annual American beekeeping meetings with his spirited personality and lovely voice.” Mr Furbert is survived by wife Gail, sons Paul and John, and daughter Heather Roberts.

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paragraphThe Opposition leader claimed last night it was “extremely concerning” that the Government appeared too broke to host a Throne Speech event. Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, was speaking after Jamahl Simmons, the Minister without Portfolio, said the Progressive Labour Party administration had decided to save “the over $10,000 spent on the pomp and ceremony while continuing to sit in the legislature and deliver for the people of Bermuda” rather than have the traditional Throne Speech delivered by John Rankin, the Governor. Mr Simmons said that David Burt, the Premier and PLP leader, would outline proposed legislation for the year at the opening night of the party’s delegates’ conference on Monday and the public was invited to attend. But Mr Cannonier said yesterday: “I find it extremely concerning that, in October, Government already appears to be that broke. That is something the public should be very worried about indeed. Why can’t it afford $10,000? Is because of the $1.2 million given to former premier Ewart Brown? Is it due to the $300,000 extra in ministerial payroll — which is benefiting the same minister who tries to persuade us that canceling the speech is saving money?” He added: “It is just a weak excuse — and we can all see through that.” The Royal Gazette reported last November that a Cabinet reshuffle increased the ministerial salary bill by $221,851, to $1,338,964. Mr Burt announced on Tuesday that Parliament will continue to meet every other week until mid-December without the traditional Convening of the Legislature. The move meant that the usual ceremony on the Cabinet Office lawn, when the Speech from the Throne is delivered, will not be held. Mr Cannonier said: “The OBA is not concerned with pomp and ceremony, if the cost is the reason then let’s get rid of the pomp. As far as we are concerned the Premier could address the House and read it himself. As I have stated, a good leader lays out their plans clearly and communicates them effectively with all stakeholders — not just the party faithful. The Throne Speech also shows the Government is being transparent and is prepared to accept scrutiny. At a time when Bermudians are struggling to pay bills, they need a vision and a leader to deliver that vision. The Premier has let down his people.”

paragraphPolice have launched a probe into how a sex offender convicted in July got a court letter that said he had not been in trouble with the law for the past three years, it was revealed yesterday. A police spokesman said that a complaint about Malik Zuill “regarding use of a fraudulent document has been received and inquiries are under way”. He was speaking after Alexandra Wheatley, the Supreme Court Registrar, confirmed on Thursday that the letter given to Zuill was an error by the court system. Ms Wheatley did not explain how the court document was “issued incorrectly”. Ms Wheatley said that she would not “have an opportunity to respond in a meaningful way” until yesterday afternoon, but she did not respond to a request for further comment. She said on Thursday: “I can, however, indicate in the interim that the letter issued to Mr Zuill was issued incorrectly and was an error of the courts.” Ms Wheatley added: “A new letter has been produced reflecting Mr Zuill’s true conviction position. However, I have no authority whatsoever to disclose a document which has been requested by another party and contains private and confidential information.” Zuill was convicted in July of the luring and sexual assault of an underage girl — but claimed to have no convictions in the past three years. He sent a court-issued letter to the British Broadcasting Corporation that confirmed his “innocence” after they broadcast a television show that featured his arrest as a fugitive in Liverpool. Zuill sent the same letter to The Royal Gazette and insisted that the story about his arrest in England should be removed from the newspaper’s website. But Larry Mussenden, the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, later confirmed that Zuill was convicted and sentenced to five months imprisonment in July, as reported by the BBC and The Royal Gazette. Mr Mussenden declined further comment. Zuill was due to face his 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 was extradited to the island on April 24 and remanded in custody until his trail date on July 1. He pleaded guilty to a sex assault on an underage girl and the use of a phone to commit the act. He was sentenced to five months imprisonment a week later, but was released immediately because of time served in custody. Zuill’s arrest was featured in an episode of the BBC One television programme Fugitives, which followed the work of a specialist police unit. The Royal Gazette reported Zuill’s appearance in the programme last month. Zuill later sent the court letter, dated August 21, to The Royal Gazette in an e-mail. The letter said: “Re: Malik Zuill. D.O.B. December 28, 1996. “The above captioned individual has no criminal convictions recorded at the courts in the past three (3) years.” It carried a stamp with the seal of the Magistrates’ Court of Bermuda and was signed by Donneisha Butterfield, Court Associate. Zuill said in the email: “I am asking that you have the article published removed immediately for legal reasons. If you cannot comply, I will be forced to take legal action. I have copied in my lawyer, if you have any queries.” Elizabeth Christopher, Zuill’s defence lawyer during the trial, was copied into his e-mail. She did not respond to requests for comment. Magistrates’ Court staff confirmed on Tuesday that Donneisha Butterfield worked at court services. Ms Butterfield could not be contacted for comment.

paragraphA new mural in a Hamilton car park was designed to inspire children to play outside more often. The City of Hamilton unveiled the 15-metre-long mural at the Par-la-Ville car park’s Church Street entrance yesterday after the final touches were completed earlier this week. Tai-Quan Ottley, who spent the summer working on the piece, said: “Finishing it was a big relief for me. I had to use stencils for the figures and actually make them by hand. It took at least about a half an hour to develop them.” The mural shows silhouettes of children playing outdoor games like jump rope and hopscotch against a sunset-inspired background. Mr Ottley explained that the mural was his second submission to the VIVID Art Project and the largest piece he has ever created. The mural was created to promote outdoor activity and a return to Bermuda’s cultural roots. Mr Ottley explained: “I want the artwork to inspire people, especially children, to just go outside and play. It should also invoke in adults a memory when they would go outside and play. I hope people are inspired to get back to the roots of being outside — playing, having fun and just getting away from technology. Personally, I remember marbles were quite fun and I liked flying kites.” Mr Ottley said that he got the idea for the artwork after he watched a friend encourage her children to play outside. He added: “They were always inside playing their video games or watching television and they had this nice big yard. I was laughing to myself because I wished I could have had that as a kid, so I just wanted to show everybody what it was like.” Mr Ottley said that outdoor activity was an important form of exercise for young children. He added that the mural was also a way for him to evoke memories of his childhood. I just wanted to show it to everybody because that would make them remember what is was like. They might just get their children outside and show them how to play marbles or show them how to play jacks. The children are the future and, as adults, we were once children, so we can connect with the artwork as well.” Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said: “The city has a duty to instil vibrancy in the city. To be able to do that through the arts gives us the opportunity to put the spotlight on the hugely talented artists in our community. Tai-Quan’s mural is a wonderful depiction of life back in the day, a time before tablets and phones when playing outside was the only option.”

paragraphThe winners of the prestigious male and female Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards will be announced during the World Sailing Annual Conference being hosted by Bermuda this year. Three female and five male nominees have been short-listed for the awards, including Laser Radial world and European Champion Anne-Marie Rindom, of Denmark, and Australian pair Mat Belcher and Will Ryan, the 470 world, European and Hempel World Cup Series champions. The winners will be determined via a public vote that will contribute to 50 per cent of the overall count with the remaining 50 per cent to be decided by World Sailing’s Member National Authorities. They will be announced on Tuesday at the awards ceremony at the Fairmont Southampton. The conference begins today and runs until November 3. The World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability, the Hempel Team of the Year and the Boat of the Year Award winners will also be announced while the Beppe Croce Trophy, President Development Award and eSailing World Championship Trophy will be presented during the event, celebrating outstanding achievement and exceptional contributions to the sport of sailing over the past year. More than 400 delegates from about 70 nations are expected to attend to be a part of key decisions that influence the future of the sport and impact professional and recreational sailors that will be made throughout the weeklong event. Delegates attending the conference include sailors with experience in multiple disciplines of the sport, committee members, class associations, event organisers, member national authorities and boat manufacturers. Four commissions, ten subcommittees and ten committees will discuss numerous topics. World Sailing received nearly 200 submissions proposing changes to regulations, policies and rules before the conference. The submissions are to be reviewed by expert committees who in turn will put forward their recommendations and opinions to World Sailing’s Council. The council will then meet on November 1 and 2 to either approve, reject or defer the recommendations and proposals from the committees that will be ratified at the annual meeting on November 3. Matters expected to dominate discussions include a proposal to reform the governance of World Sailing, the 2021-2028 events strategy, selection of the Paris 2024 windsurfer equipment and the release of a new Para World Sailing strategy. A series of events takes place over the course of the conference, including commission meetings and forums on sailing regulations and policies and events of competition and celebration:

“Bermuda is a nation with sailing at its core,” noted World Sailing president Kim Andersen. “In recent years, the island has been at the forefront of the sailing world with its hosting of the America’s Cup. That legacy is evident, and the sport has grown here as a result. World Sailing is delighted to be in Bermuda for its annual conference. Many of the delegates know Bermuda very well, and alongside the discussions and debates, we’re sure they will also enjoy experiencing everything the island has to offer.”

paragraphA firefighter nicknamed “Superman” earned the title, his grieving wife said this week. Ramsay Saggar, who was 51, died on October 16 and will be buried with full Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service honours tomorrow. Crystal Saggar, married to Mr Saggar for 25 years, said her brother-in-law, David, used the nickname after her husband comforted a crying woman after the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001. She explained: “He was just trying to talk to her, trying to calm her down and try and help her through the grief. My brother-in-law ... from that moment on, he felt that he became his Superman.” Ms Saggar said that her brother-in-law was not the only one to use the nickname. She added: “So many other people referred to him as a Superman because he was a fireman. He was a hero.” Ms Saggar said that her husband, also known as “Bo Bo” and “Bo”, was “very gentle, very caring, very kind. He was very passionate about his love of others. He always tended to put the needs of others ahead of his. He just always wanted to make sure that other people were happy.” Ms Saggar said her husband was a dedicated and committed father to sons Marley, 20, and Ramsay, 24. She added: “He put the love of his sons before anything else. His sons and myself. A lot of people always said that whenever they were with him he always talked about his sons and myself.. My husband and I were soul mates. We had so many hopes and dreams together. Our time was always spent together — it didn’t matter what we were doing, we were always together. It’s difficult. I’m just trying to figure out how to go on.” Ms Saggar said that her husband was a keen golfer and member of the Par 5 Golf Club, an association that plays courses in Bermuda and overseas. She added that Mr Saggar, a supporter of London’s Tottenham Hotspur FC, split his Sundays between golf and football. Chief Fire Officer Lloyd Burchall of the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service said Mr Saggar was a “diamond in the rough”, who was committed to his job and cared about his family, his coworkers and the community. Mr Burchall said that the loss of Mr Saggar had “left a tremendous gap. I don’t think somebody will easily step into his shoes and provide the type of guidance and caring that he had produced. He stood out above the rest.” Mr Burchall said that Mr Saggar thrived when doing his job. He highlighted a car crash that happened on Harrington Sound Road. Mr Burchall said that a motorcyclist had tried to ride through the scene of the crash and hit Mr Saggar and another firefighter as Mr Saggar helped a crash victim. He said that when emergency medical technicians tried to check Mr Saggar for injuries he told them to look after his colleague first. Mr Burchall added: “That just sums up the way he was.” Mr Saggar started his career with the BFRS in 1996 and Mr Burchall said that he was a mentor to newer members of the service. He added: “He wanted to ensure that the younger firefighters that had come under him also had the same dedication and skill set that were necessary to be a professional.” Mr Burchall said that Mr Saggar’s love for his job was evident to the end. “I believe he worked right up until the day he went to hospital. His main concern, especially when he was in the hospital, was that he wanted his crew to be taken care of.” Firefighters will form a guard of honour at the service for Mr Saggar and provide a graveside salute. Mr Burchall said that his family would also be presented with one of his helmets. He added: “The other one will be mounted in a spot at the Hamilton Fire Station.”

paragraphTheatre fans will be able to cruise to Bermuda next autumn with a glittering cast of Broadway stars as part of a theatre-themed cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. The inaugural Broadway Cruise, set to sail from New York next October, will feature performances by Allan Cumming and fellow Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti. Mr Cumming, who won a Tony for Cabaret, has appeared in a variety of stage and screen productions including the James Bond blockbuster Goldeneye and the hit television show The Good Wife. Ms Benanti won a Tony for her role in Gypsy. They will be joined by Broadway talent from shows including Cabaret, My Fair Lady, School of Rock, Porgy and Bess and Mean Girls. The cruise will also include talks from make-up artists and costume designers, as well as choreographers. Mr Cumming said: “It’s going to be a super-duper Broadway extravaganza. I’m going to be performing twice on the main deck. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”

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paragraphThe Ministry of Finance has completed the $170 million purchase of Government-guaranteed loans at the stalled Caroline Bay resort, it was announced yesterday. The move means island-based reinsurers Arch Capital Group and Axis Capital Holdings have no remaining interest in the Morgan’s Point development. Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, earlier condemned the former One Bermuda Alliance government for putting the island “on the hook” for the guarantee three years ago. Mr Dickinson was required to increase the debt ceiling by $250 million to $2.75 billion last month so the ministry could secure a $200 million credit issued by Butterfield Bank and HSBC to purchase the loans. He said yesterday: “While the investments by Arch and Axis were guaranteed by the Government, their support for the project and Bermuda in general goes back far earlier. With respect to these project loans, until recently they had not received a single interest or principal payment. I would like to personally thank them for their patience and continued commitment to Bermuda.” Preston Hutchings, the chief investment officer of Arch Capital Group, said: “Caroline Bay was, and still can be, an important project to stimulate employment and tourism growth in Bermuda. We were delighted to support it, but unfortunately the developers experienced financial difficulties that to date have prevented completion of their vision.” Mr Hutchings said Arch had worked with the minister to try to “achieve a different result”. He added: “Unfortunately, that did not work out, but I would like to thank the minister for keeping us duly informed throughout the process. I wish all parties success in seeing the project through to a better result, and we will continue to be committed to Bermuda.” Albert Benchimol, the president of Axis, said: “The current status of this project is unfortunate, but we are grateful for the responsiveness of the minister and the Government in working towards a conclusion to this difficult situation. We made this investment to support Bermuda’s economic growth and we remain committed to the island and its economy.” Mr Dickinson added: “I would also like to thank the local banks and their teams who supported the Government by providing favourable terms and timely execution of the credit facility to help meet our short-term obligations.”

paragraphThe home affairs minister has held discussions with potential investors in renewable energy projects. Walter Roban met top staff from reinsurance firm Legal & General Re to “discuss investment opportunities that could help Bermuda achieve future renewable energy goals”. The meeting on Tuesday included Thomas Olunloyo, the CEO of Bermuda-based Legal & General Re, and Laura Mason, the London-based CEO of Legal & General Retirement, Institutional. Mr Roban said: “I am pleased to have met with Mr Olunloyo and Ms Mason to discuss the best path of investment and partnership between this ministry and Legal & General regarding renewable energy projects. L&G has a breadth of experience in the renewables sector having invested over $1 billion worldwide in renewable energy companies and technology, and we look forward to exploring what can be done in Bermuda.” The minister said the partnership was in line with sustainability programmes such as the solar technology rebate programme, the LED Exchange initiative, the solar photovoltaic installation at the “Finger” at the airport, and work with green energy experts from the Rocky Mountain Institute. Mr Roban added: “The time to embrace new approaches towards achieving more energy independence while creating jobs and greater equity in the community is now.”

paragraphHotel owners were urged to use their resources to help make Bermuda a year-round destination at the Bermuda Hotel Association’s Annual General Meeting. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works and Acting Minister of Tourism and Transport, said there is reason to be optimistic about the future of Bermuda’s tourism industry. Colonel Burch added that Government will work to encourage home-grown talent in the tourism sector and the Government’s integrated resource plan will help to protect Bermuda’s natural beauty for years to come. Colonel Burch’s remarks follow: "I am grateful that you have accepted me as a stand-in for the substantive Minister of Tourism & Transport, the Honourable Zane DeSilva — I believe that I am eminently qualified for such a task as the owner of that brand new hotel soon to open on the South Shore in Warwick — the Bermudiana Beach Resort. Actually, I don’t own the hotel — we all own it — those same buildings that some said would fall into sea, but yet they are still standing and will soon be fully utilized! On a more serious note though I wish to thank the Directors and members of the Bermuda Hotel Association for this opportunity to address you today at your Annual General Meeting. In the spirit of collective responsibility of the Cabinet — I am somewhat familiar with the work Minister DeSilva is doing in the Tourism space — so I feel comfortable addressing you. Your association plays a critical role in upholding the standards and professionalism of this industry. You also represent a crucial driver of economic success for our tourism industry. So, I applaud you, and all the work that you do — not only in carrying on Bermuda’s legacy of world-class hospitality, but also in helping to forge its future. Last week at the annual Bermuda Tourism Summit — attended by many of you — Minister DeSilva spoke a bit about the power of partnership and collaboration. I’d like to reiterate that again here today. Collaboration and partnership are our competitive edge. It’s our superglue. Our secret sauce. In tourism … and everything else we do. I know they matter to all of you. It’s important to Government, and the Tourism Ministry, too. That’s why the Ministry acts as a key partner alongside the Bermuda Tourism Authority, and stakeholders like the BHA, to help progress our National Tourism Plan. Each organisation is an essential piece of that puzzle, just as you and your properties are, and we all have a critical role to play. Tourism is, of course, one of our country’s two core economic pillars, alongside international business. But they go hand-in-hand ... business and tourism are very much interdependent on each other. And our hotels are critical to the success of both sectors. Certainly, in the tourism industry, our hotels play a strategic role in sustaining and growing air visitor arrivals — the metric which the National Tourism Plan identifies as vital to the industry’s overall success. We live in challenging times, for the tourism industry in particular. Competition from other destinations is high, as you well know. The cost of air travel to and from the island is also high, and subject to decisions often beyond our control. The global economy is facing pressures such as trade tariffs, federal elections, and divisive issues like Brexit that can wreak havoc on our customers’ pocketbooks and travel plans. But there are many reasons to feel optimistic about Bermuda’s hospitality industry right now:

These are all advancements worth celebrating, and they should translate into a growth in hotel beds, tourism revenue, local optimism and positive global recognition of the Bermuda brand. We recently braved the effects of Hurricane Humberto. I know several of you suffered the impact of physical damage and are reinvesting in repair roofs, rooms, and public areas. I applaud you for keeping our visitors safe and sound. Our message to the world the day after Humberto was that Bermuda was open for business — which it was. You just wouldn’t see that type of determined resilience from many other affected communities after a Cat-3 Hurricane. It’s a testament to our ability as an island with first-rate infrastructure, insurance coverage, and long- and short-range community planning to bounce back quickly. I am confident we can meet other global challenges the same way. The spirit of shared responsibility and togetherness will guide our success in this industry. And everyone has a role to play. There are three significant and fast-approaching challenges/opportunities I wish to highlight for your members today. They will challenge us, but also offer substantial opportunity: The first concerns workforce development. As new hotels open in the next two years — the St Regis, the Azura Bermuda, and Bermudiana Beach Resort — and as your existing needs also grow due to the ageing population, we hope to work with you to attract, and retain, Bermudians to fill new openings in the industry. A PwC study found that by 2021, the gap between Bermuda’s future talent supply and demand for hospitality workers may range between 555 and 814 positions. That’s driven largely by the total estimated 335 new hotel rooms due to become available. The range is based on differing scenarios in 2021, depending on whether new properties open by target dates. Our Government’s Department of Workforce Development is currently working with the BTA and the Bermuda College on an outreach initiative to connect with Bermudians who may be interested in hospitality careers. We’ve created a database through which they can be alerted about job openings, specific training, and learning and development opportunities if they need to refresh or learn new skills. It’s a first step in a larger campaign that we hope can prepare Bermudians to be ready for the opportunities ahead. We invite you to work with us to ensure we leverage the home-grown talent we have in our own community to fill those jobs. I know from my responsibilities in Public Works that both the St Regis and Bermudiana Beach Resort are approaching staffing in a very different manner than the traditional way by recruiting and training staff in the St Regis and Hiltons ways before the hotels open. In the case of Bermudiana Beach Resort — there is a strong likelihood that the general manager will be a Bermudian. That said — we are fully cognizant that not every job can be filled by a Bermudian — but we are determined to put Bermudians first and equally commit to working with you to fulfil those remaining jobs with guest workers without any difficulties. The second ‘challenging opportunity’ revolves around our Government’s plans to address environmental protection and long-range energy conservation. The National Tourism Plan adopts this as a goal called “Greener” — the “G’’ in its AGILITY mission. I’m talking about the Government’s new I-R-P, our ‘‘Integrated Resource Plan,” which has a to-do list across Ministries and its ambitions include substantially reducing single-use plastics and lowering energy consumption. In the case of environmental protection — specifically the marine environment — Bermuda through the advocacy of Keep Bermuda Beautiful is fully conversed with the United Nations Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region. There is much to be learnt from their research that in many instances is parallel to ours. The collaboration in this regard will greatly assist us in developing our own action plans. Additionally, the work of our Water and Waste Water section will also go a long way in addressing once and for all the discharge of raw sewage into the waters surrounding Bermuda. A pilot programme is already under way in the East End to serve as a template for the entire island. The IRP could be transformative for the island and lead the way for our tourism industry — so your support will be essential. Hotels will naturally play a leading role, not only in achieving the concrete goals of energy reduction, but also by setting an example for our community and sending a message to the world about Bermuda’s commitment to sustainability. Lastly, I hope you won’t take offence if I stray just a tiny bit out of the tourism lane and issue a challenge to you around innovation and price. I think we all agree that empty hotel rooms in winter do no one any good. Let’s work — collaboratively — to get heads in beds year-round. Your industry now has technology tools available to allow you to make informed decisions around revenue management and to attract visitors in ways that would have been impossible just a few short years ago. Let’s use those resources to get people here during the non-summer season when we all know Bermuda is a perfect escape … but only if the price is right. You and your businesses understand all those principles. And I know you are already committed to keeping this industry forward-looking. Our government and the Tourism Ministry commend you for the quality hospitality and professional service you deliver every single day to our visitors, and we’re committed to working with you and other partners to keep this industry strong and growing. By working together, I truly believe we can continue to set Bermuda apart. So, I want to thank you again for allowing me to stand in for Minister DeSilva and wish you much success in the coming year."

paragraphA teacher in Bermuda who had consensual sex with a pupil would not commit the offence of “sexual exploitation by a person in a position of trust or authority” if the child is aged 16 or over — unlike in Britain. It has been an offence there since 2001 for a person older than 18 in a specified “position of trust” to have sexual contact with anyone under the age of 18, even if the relationship was consensual. Under Britain’s Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, those in positions of trust include people who look after children under 18 who are receiving full-time education at an educational institution, such as a school or college. Adults who are convicted face a prison term of between six months and five years. Bermuda’s Criminal Code has a section that makes it an offence for “a person who, being in a position of trust or authority towards a young person” sexually exploits them. Although the code, after a recent amendment, now defines a child as being a person under 18, the section on sexual exploitation applies only where the “young person” is under 16. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, tabled a string of child-safeguarding measures in the Senate this year that she said would bring Bermuda into line with the international standards set by the Lanzarote Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. Article 18 of the convention requires countries to criminalize intentional conduct involving a person engaging in sexual activities with a child “where abuse is made of a recognised position of trust, authority or influence over the child”. The Lanzarote Committee says, in most countries that have signed up to the convention, “teachers and other educators commit a criminal offence if they engage in sexual activities with a pupil under the age of 18 years”. In England, a teacher who has sex with a pupil or a former pupil can be banned for life from teaching, as happened to former Bermuda teacher Matthew McGowan in 2017. Mr McGowan, who taught at Warwick Academy between 2007 and 2010, was given a lifetime ban after he “engaged in sexual activity” with a former pupil at Wycombe Abbey girls’ boarding school in Buckinghamshire. Britain’s Teaching Regulation Agency, an executive branch of the Department for Education, enforces teachers’ disciplinary regulations in all schools, sixth-form colleges, children’s homes and youth accommodation. It investigates reports of serious teacher misconduct and can refer cases to a professional conduct panel. The panel then investigates whether a prohibition order should be issued. Hearings of professional conduct panels must take place in public, except where it appears necessary in the interests of justice for them to be private, or where a teacher makes a request that a hearing should be private and the panel does not consider that to be contrary to the public interest. The hearings can also be held in private to protect the interests of children or vulnerable witnesses. A list of forthcoming hearings and hearing outcomes is available online. Schools, local authorities and teacher supply agencies can check the record of any qualified teacher at no charge. The Bermuda Educators Council has similar disciplinary powers for registered teachers, including the ability to issue a prohibition order, but it is not clear if it uses them. Its investigating committee can launch an inquiry where it is alleged or it appears that a registered educator is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or has been convicted at any time of a relevant offence. The investigating committee can then refer cases to a professional conduct committee. All hearings of the professional conduct committee must take place in public, with the same exceptions as in England. The Bermuda Educators’ Council Act says the council “may publish” information about disciplinary orders “as they see fit”. Delaey Robinson, a government backbencher when the law was passed in 2002, said at the time that much of the council’s business would be conducted in the open. The Royal Gazette was unable to find any published results or reports of past professional misconduct hearings held by the Bermuda Educators Council. A request for information to the council and the Ministry of Education did not receive a response by press time.

paragraphThe Bermuda Government does not believe there is a “gap in the law” that allows adults in positions of trust or authority to sexually exploit children aged over 16. Christine Da Costa, who was targeted by a teacher at Mount Saint Agnes Academy when she was 17, said there should be legislative change to close a loophole that allowed teachers, sports coaches and others who work with young people to groom and exploit children over the age of consent. She was backed by the child sexual abuse prevention charity Scars. The Criminal Code makes it an offence for “a person who, being in a position of trust or authority towards a young person” sexually exploited them. The law defines a young person as someone under 16. Ms DaCosta said: “The laws around sexual exploitation at the hands of a schoolteacher do not safeguard you unless you are under the age of 16.” Debi Ray-Rivers, the executive director of Scars, said: “We agree that there should be further legislative reform to the Criminal Code that would make it an offence for persons in positions of trust — that is, coaches, teachers, clergy, parents, etc — to sexually abuse any person of school-leaving age, which could also include 18 or 19-year-olds. In other words, you could still be in school until the age of 19. Position of trust assumes unequal relationship and the student or child or athlete is susceptible to the influence of the person in trust.” Ms DaCosta said she was told by police in 1999 that her history teacher, Robert Di Giacomo, then 44, had not committed a criminal offence by having sex with her because she was aged over 16 and it was consensual. She added: “I was considered an adult who was able to make a fully rational decision on this. The adolescent brain does not stop developing until the age of 25. It’s time for a paradigm and mental shift in our society.” A Ministry of Legal Affairs spokeswoman said it could not comment on Ms Da Costa’s case, but that it was a “misconception” to say the law enabled those in positions of trust or authority to have sex with children aged over 16 without committing a criminal offence. The spokeswoman added: “Whilst a person in a position of trust or authority who has sex with a girl aged 16 or 17 could not commit the offence of sexual exploitation, they would be liable to a conviction for the offence of sexual assault. The circumstances described do not identify a gap in the law. Whilst there is no separate offence, there are offences which cover non-consensual sexual activity, including full intercourse and touching for a sexual purpose, where the victim is over 16 years of age and the offender is in a position of trust.” The Centre Against Abuse says sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behaviour that happened without consent. Ms Da Costa’s call for a change in the law is specifically in relation to grooming which leads to consensual sex. The ministry spokeswoman did not respond to a question on whether an offence of sexual assault would apply in cases where sex between a teacher and a student over 16 was consensual. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, tabled a string of legislative changes in the Senate in July, designed to protect children from sexual predators, with many of them due to come into force on November 1. The measures approved by Parliament included defining “child” in the Criminal Code as a person under 18 and compelled the courts to impose more severe penalties where a sexual offence was committed by someone who had abused their authority. The ministry spokeswoman said such penalties would be applicable to those convicted of sexual assault. A report by Bermuda’s Inter-Agency Committee for Children and Families in 2014 highlighted the early sexual initiation and high proportion of sexually active teenagers on the island, including cases where teenage girls were in “relationships” with older men and power was unequally distributed. The report said: “Further anecdotal evidence suggests that Bermuda may not necessarily take a hard line towards older men who engage in sexual relations with young girls.” It added that strengthening the protection for young girls to reduce their level of exposure to sexual abuse was critical.

paragraphMount St. Agnes AcademyThe Catholic Bishop of Hamilton said yesterday he would launch an investigation if more victims of former Mount Saint Agnes Academy history teacher Robert DiGiacomo came forward. The Most Reverend Wes Spiewak said former pupils should contact him if they knew of any wrongdoing that occurred during Mr DiGiacomo’s 20-year teaching career at the Catholic private school. He added: “I will go forward with all the investigation possible. If anything comes to light in this case, I am open to any proper action in this sense, in co-operation with the police.” The bishop was speaking after Christine DaCosta, a former MSA pupil, asked the board of governors of the school last year to launch an investigation into how the school handled her complaint of sexual exploitation by Mr DiGiacomo in 1999. She requested the school look into whether Mr DiGiacomo, whose wife, Margaret, was deputy principal at MSA until her retirement this summer and who still does substitute teaching at the school, groomed any other pupils. Ms DaCosta suggested the Hamilton school should follow the example of Saltus Grammar School, which hired New York-based security company T&M Protection Resources last year to investigate historic allegations of sexual touching and grooming of pupils against a former primary schoolteacher. T&M set up a widely publicised confidential hotline and e-mail address for those with information to come forward. Interviews were held with 12 former pupils, and T&M’s report, which concluded that sexual assaults had happened, was passed to police. But Paul Fortuna, the chairman of the MSA board of governors, told Ms DaCosta it was not “appropriate” for MSA to investigate whether there were other victims, as that would be “straying into a criminal investigation”. The school instead hired British-based lawyer Helen Snowball to conduct an inquiry, with its scope limited to determining how the relationship with Ms DaCosta was able to develop, how it was discovered, what sanctions/safeguarding followed, whether other staff knew about it and to review historic and present child-safeguarding policies. It concluded in May this year that MSA did not “have knowledge of Robert DiGiacomo’s propensity to engage in inappropriate behaviour before his misconduct” in relation to Ms DaCosta, and that no other staff knew about their relationship. Another former pupil, Ms X, told The Royal Gazette that Mr DiGiacomo forcibly kissed her in 1981 and that the school asked her father for information about the incident several years later [see separate story]. MSA’s investigation last year included an interview with Ms X. Ms DaCosta said: “Victims don’t tend to just come out of isolation for fear of the shame and guilt.  They have the power to help try and uncover if there were more victims, but they are choosing to steer clear of trying to uncover the potential of an ugly past.” The school told Ms DaCosta that the school principal in 1999 took “all necessary safeguarding steps by reporting the matter to [the Department of Child and] Family Services, and writing to stakeholders to advise that Robert DiGiacomo should not be allowed to take a teaching or coaching role in the future”. Mr DiGiacomo, a retired major in the US Army Reserve who once worked in the former United Bermuda Party’s central office, is now a professional development coach and a representative in Bermuda, of the US-based Christian leadership expert John C. Maxwell. Mr Fortuna said: “The school received a complaint from a former pupil on November 9, 2018, which made very serious allegations against a former member of teaching staff, in respect of events dating back 20 years when she was a 17-year old pupil at MSA. MSA responded to the complaint by commissioning an independent law firm to carry out a thorough investigation which revealed that the teacher in question tendered his resignation when the subject of the complaint was revealed to senior members of teaching staff. He was escorted from MSA premises and never returned to the school campus. The school has not received any other complaints from former pupils, but if any complaints are made, they will also be thoroughly investigated.” The board chairman and Susan Moench, the MSA principal, declined to be interviewed. Mr Fortuna said: “We will be making no further comment in regards to this matter.” Bishop Spiewak, who came to Bermuda in 2015, said MSA did the right thing in 1999 by removing Mr DiGiacomo from the school. He added: “I believe the actions corresponded to the standards and norms of the time.” He said the case had caused the Church and school to develop a policy to tackle the exploitation of minors. Teachers at MSA, along with anyone working in the Catholic Church in Bermuda, are also now required to undergo training from child sex abuse prevention charity Scars. Sister Judith Rollo, who was principal of MSA in 1999, was asked to comment. She said in an e-mail: “I am very fond of Christine and feel for her pain. However, I will make no comment on this matter.”

paragraphChristine DaCosta “vividly” remembers the moment in 1998 when Robert DiGiacomo, her history teacher at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, told her he loved her. The encounter happened on a Saturday night after Mass, during April’s Holy Week, after he walked her from church to her bike. Ms DaCosta said the incident changed the nature of their relationship — and the entire course of her life. Ms DaCosta, now 38, told The Royal Gazette she had spent the past 20 years trying to come to terms with what she now viewed as a clear case of grooming and sexual exploitation by a man more than twice her age. Back then, she had just turned 17 and knew Mr DiGiacomo, then 44, as the father of her best friend and a “very close family friend”, as well as her teacher. Ms DaCosta said: “This man was someone I trusted beyond measure. I would describe this relationship as that of a father-daughter type of love. He was someone I looked up to and went to with many of my adolescent issues. He was a part of my life from the age of 5.” She alleged that after he “professed his love” for her, Mr DiGiacomo asked her to come to school early the next Monday to see him. Ms DaCosta said that it was not unusual for her to attend school early or stay behind late to do classroom duties or get extra help with schoolwork from Mr DiGiacomo — she had done so since the age of about 15, when the history teacher had made clear she was a favourite pupil. But this time was different. She went to school early, as requested, and recalled how he kissed her, put his hand up her skirt and rubbed her legs and buttocks. Ms DaCosta said she was shocked and experienced a “slew of emotions” — including guilt, because he was her best friend’s father and a married man. She claimed that Mr DiGiacomo afterwards launched a “relentless pursuit” of her, which resulted in a relationship developing between them. Ms DaCosta alleged the teacher tried to have sex with her on school premises on one occasion, but he was interrupted by a janitor. On another occasion, in his home while his family were out, they did have sex. Ms DaCosta described that encounter in a letter she sent to Mr DiGiacomo’s wife, Margaret, earlier this year. She wrote that she was a virgin at the time and added: “I often wonder how different things would have been for me had your husband not robbed me of so much.” An academic and outgoing student — Ms DaCosta was MSA’s valedictorian at her 1999 graduation — she told her family nothing about the relationship, but some friends, including other pupils, knew. One former pupil, who asked not to be named, told The Royal Gazette how she once walked in on Mr DiGiacomo and Ms DaCosta in a darkened classroom at the end of the school day and felt something was wrong. The relationship continued and father-of-three Mr DiGiacomo wrote letters to his pupil in 1998 and into early 1999. He also bought her lingerie and jewellery. The letters were signed “Frank” — Mr DiGiacomo’s middle name — and were filled with declarations of love, promises of a blissful future together and references to Ms DaCosta’s maturity and physical appearance, as well his jealousy about “other guys”. He wrote in one letter: “You are so much more mature than your age. I love you and you love me.” In another, he said: “My desire for you never ceases.” Mr DiGiacomo wrote in another letter: “There is so much I want to say to you. So much I want to do with you to bring you joy, pleasure and happiness. Does this sound like a man on a fling or a man who is so in love with someone that he knows was sent by God at a time that he needed love.” A school counsellor in late 1998 noticed something wrong and tried to find out more from Ms DaCosta. Hesitant at first, the teenager eventually told the counsellor about the relationship and how unhappy and confused it had made her. The counsellor reported the matter to the school principal, Sister Judith Rollo, and Mr DiGiacomo was told to resign in January 1999. Sister Judith is understood to have escorted Mr DiGiacomo from the premises, before he checked himself into St Brendan’s psychiatric hospital for a weeklong stay. The former pupil who saw the pair in a classroom said students were asked to pray for him. The teacher’s resignation was reported on the front page of The Royal Gazette on February 2, 1999. The article said he had quit “in the midst of allegations of misconduct involving a female student” and “reportedly maintained his innocence”. The Most Reverend Wes Spiewak, the Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, said yesterday he believed Ms DaCosta’s account entirely. He added: “I believe everybody believes. Nobody had any doubt that she’s absolutely true, from the beginning. This is why the reaction was so strong and so determined.” The bishop ordered Mr DiGiacomo’s parish priest late last year to stop the former teacher from performing Bible readings to the congregation. Bishop Spiewak said: “I believe it was my duty to say ‘you don’t have the right to do that. I don’t send you to hell [but] because of what you did, you should not read the word of God’. Christine, to see this person reading this in church, it would be an offence. I don’t want this person to be any more engaged in anything that places him on the sanctuary.” Ms DaCosta graduated as the school’s top student in 1999, with excellent results despite the “emotional turmoil” she had suffered. But a series of suicide attempts, battles with alcohol addiction, bulimia, and self-harm marred her young adulthood. She said: “I remember when the pain was too great it would leave me crippled. It was too unbearable. I would go on my regular runs and I would run with my eyes closed into traffic, hoping someone would hit me. I had several close calls.” She said years of therapy, plus help from child sex abuse prevention charity Scars, had brought her to a point where she understood her 17-year-old self “was not complicit”. Ms DaCosta explained: “It took 20 years to realise that I was taken advantage of and used for someone’s sexual gratification and that he was solely responsible, as someone who took advantage of his position of power.” Earlier this year, she protested outside Parliament for tougher laws against those who exploit minors. Debi Ray-Rivers, the founder and executive director of Scars, said: “The psychological trauma caused by those in that position can destroy one’s ... trust in anyone or anything. Trust is such an important characteristic for healthy development, but when it’s violated, who can you trust? That’s the spillover of what happens when adults in positions of trust groom, manipulate and become sexually attracted to the young people they are supposed to be protecting.” Ms DaCosta said she felt let down by the school authorities, who refused last year to investigate whether the teacher targeted other pupils, but still had the utmost respect for the MSA teaching staff. She wrote to her former history teacher earlier this year. She told him: “The scars are very much still deep lacerations below the surface of my skin, but the cracks have now been filled. What is left is much stronger and more beautiful than before. I learnt how to let the light in enough to keep your darkness away.”

paragraphHistory teacher Robert DiGiacomo forcibly kissed a 17-year-old schoolgirl on the night of her graduation from Mount Saint Agnes Academy and later went to her home with a gift of jewellery. The woman, referred to as Ms X to protect her identity, told The Royal Gazette the two incidents happened in 1981, when Mr DiGiacomo would have been 27. She said she remembered him starting work at the Catholic private school in Hamilton during her four years there and being a “cocky” young man who tried to appear “cool” to the pupils. Ms X said: “In retrospect, he was weird and creepy, but I was one of those students who always wanted to do what the teacher said. I always wanted to please the teacher. There were times when he would ask me to stay behind after class and chat. I could occasionally be a smart arse. He would single me out and say he wanted to speak with me after class. I had a boyfriend at the time who was away in boarding school. He would want to know how my boyfriend was. He was a referee for basketball and I played on the teams, so would see him after school. In the classroom, in athletics, he was always there.” She said Mr DiGiacomo got more familiar with her over time. Ms X added that on graduation night, she attended a party with fellow pupils in Point Shares and Mr DiGiacomo was there, along with a few other teachers. She said the pupils planned to go on to the Disco 40 nightclub. Ms X added: “I thought he had left and gone, but he came around the steps. He stood in front of me and blocked the path. He said it was graduation, we weren’t going to be seeing so much of one another. I just remember he grabbed my shoulders and started to kiss me in a way that was not appropriate. It was a tongue-down-the-throat kiss. I’m surrounded by classmates and a teacher has just stuck his tongue down my throat.” Ms X said she was embarrassed and humiliated after the incident. She added: “Students had been drinking. I don’t think it registered as much for them, but it did for me. I remember being freaked out by it and getting on the bike and going into town.” She said Mr DiGiacomo showed up at her house a couple of days later. Ms X added: “He said, ‘I have got something for you’. I went out and we were sitting on the front porch. He gave me this gift; it was a little gold necklace. His wife was pregnant at the time. He then proceeded to tell me they weren’t having any sex. I remember being very freaked out. Even though I had technically graduated, I was 17. I went in to my dad, and said ‘he’s telling me things’. My father came out. He said ‘Bob, this isn’t really appropriate’. Then they had a heart to heart.” Ms X’s parents knew Mr DiGiacomo because the families went to the same Catholic church, St Patrick’s in Smith’s. Ms X said she told her parents about graduation night after the incident at her home. She added that, even now, she found it “very uncomfortable” to see Mr DiGiacomo, who is now 65. Ms X said: “If I see him on the street, I cross the street. Many years later, my father came to me and said he’d been approached by MSA to see if anything had happened to me with Bob DiGiacomo. Dad said, ‘Do you mind if I tell them what happened?’ I said I certainly did not mind ‘and don’t forget the part where he shoved his tongue down my throat’. He just said they were looking into Bob DiGiacomo’s behaviour. He was just asked to report on what had happened to me and the conversation on the porch.” Ms X said she later heard a rumor that Mr DiGiacomo had done something to a pupil and had been sacked. She added that Christine DaCosta later approached her and asked her to talk about what had happened to her in 1981. Ms X said: “She sent me an e-mail. It made my heart drop. I felt bad on a lot of levels ... bad that she had had a horrible experience and ... that she was younger than me. Having children of my own, I was aware you have to talk about these things. I thought if [only] I had said something. Then I agreed to meet with her. I said I would do whatever I could to help her, and that if she ever needed me to tell my story, I would."

paragraphA woman who forged an insurance document to get her car out of a police pound was fined $2,100 in the Supreme Court yesterday. Ja-Mae Smith, 32, admitted she forged an insurance certificate in July and passed the document off as real to the Transport Control Department and police. But staff at Colonial Insurance confirmed police suspicions that the document was fake after officers noticed the lack of a signature and the use of the wrong font. Kenlyn Swan, for the Crown, said officers impounded Smith’s car on July 24 after they found it was unlicensed and uninsured. Smith’s boyfriend was behind the wheel and she was not in the vehicle at the time the car was stopped. The court heard Smith went to the Transport Control Department the next day and gave staff a fake insurance certificate to get a one-day pass so she could take the car out of the police pound. TCD staff accepted the fake document and Smith received the pass. She later went to the police pound in Pembroke and used the pass, along with the fake insurance certificate, to reclaim the car. But staff at Colonial Insurance later confirmed the document was a forgery and that the car’s insurance had expired in June. Smith was arrested and admitted to police that she had created the certificate on her computer and used it to deceive TCD staff and police. Ms Swan said forgery of an insurance certificate carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison — and the charge could only be heard in the Supreme Court. But she added that, in the circumstances, a fine of $3,000 would be appropriate. She added that Smith had no previous convictions and admitted the offence at an early stage, but a deterrent sentence was needed. Ms Swan said: “She deliberately and calculatingly came up with, and carried out, an underhanded plan, to deceive government employees.” She added that Smith had also tried to use the forged document to quash her boyfriend’s traffic ticket, but Kamel Worrell, for Smith, said it was a side-effect of her presentation of the document and not her intention. He told the court his client had made a bad decision in a desperate situation. Mr Worrell said Smith only found out her boyfriend had taken out her car when he called her after he was pulled over by police. He added that Smith had planned to sell the car because she could not afford to keep it. Mr Worrell said: “The car had to be repaired, in order to be sold. She needed to have it sold, in order to raise some much needed funds. It was not a situation where my client was trying to avoid legal procedures, in that, at all times she intended to pay, to have the car licensed and insured properly. It was just at that particular time, she didn’t have the money.” He added that Smith had contacted the insurance company before she forged the document to see if there was any way she could address the situation legally without too high a cost. Mr Worrell said: “She knew it was wrong, but she had no idea it was so serious. Had she, it would be very likely she wouldn’t have embarked on that course.” Smith herself apologised for her actions and that she had learnt her lesson. She said: “It was never the intention to manipulate or deceive any one to this extent. I was trying to get my car, to do what I had to do, and keep the ball going.” Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said the charge was on the “low end” of the spectrum and, given Smith’s early guilty plea and previous good record, a fine of $2,100 would be appropriate.

paragraphA US boatyard has launched legal action against the charity that runs the Spirit of Bermuda in a bid to get almost $45,000 it claimed it is owed for work on the vessel. Lawyers for Rockport Marine filed a complaint against the Bermuda Sloop Foundation in the District of Maine court this week. The company asked for a judgment in its favour against the charity “in the amount of its damages, together with interest, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees” after the boat was refitted at the yard. But the BSF said yesterday that it was disappointed by the lawsuit, which came after additional repair work was needed on the ship and that it intended to settle “appropriate remaining payments” in full. It was alleged in the complaint that the BSF asked the boatyard, which built the sloop and is based in Rockport, Maine, “to perform services, supply equipment and/or make repairs to the S/V Spirit of Bermuda”. Documents submitted to the US court added: “Rockport Marine did perform the work and provide the equipment and materials requested of it by BSF. Said services and work were carried out within the State of Maine. Despite demand, BSF has refused, and continues to refuse, to pay all amounts due Rockport Marine for the costs of the repairs, services and supplies. The total amount owed Rockport Marine by BSF as of October 14, 2019 is $44,543.40,” The complaint, published on the Offshore Alert website, claimed that BSF entered into a maritime contract with Rockport Marine by asking the company to “provide the goods and services and in agreeing to pay”. It alleged: “Plaintiff has performed each and every one of its obligations under the contract. Defendant, by refusing to pay plaintiff all of the monies owed it, and otherwise, has breached the terms of the contract and is liable therefore.” The complaint, which was provided to The Royal Gazette by the District of Maine division of the US District Court, added: “BSF has received services from plaintiff without having paid for its full value as set forth above. BSF has been unjustly enriched in the amount of $44,543.40 together with interest at plaintiff’s expense.” The complaint explained: “Spirit of Bermuda is a purpose-built sail training vessel based on civilian Bermudian-type schooners built between 1810 and 1840.” It added: “She has a documented length-on-deck of 86ft and operates to United Kingdom regulations under the Bermuda flag.” Spirit of Bermuda was launched in August 2006 and became a national icon. A BSF spokeswoman said yesterday: “Spirit of Bermuda has just completed a very significant marine regulatory compliance refit in Maine after her 13 years of successful operation. This work included the fitting of a new engine. We were most surprised and disappointed to learn late Tuesday this week, via a press agency, of a writ being filed by Rockport Marine against us in Maine — but not yet served on Bermuda Sloop Foundation — given the many years of BSF’s association with Rockport Marine, which built the ship, and the payment of numerous invoices to date concerning the refit work. An engine related defect was encountered soon after departure from Maine during the return voyage to Bermuda. As a result, Spirit has had to undergo additional servicing in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, with the consent and involvement of Rockport Marine, and we hope to have the necessary remedial work and sea trials completed by the end of this week. Once the responsibilities for this additional work is established and agreed, appropriate remaining payments will be paid in full.” She added: “BSF, which only learnt of this writ late Tuesday this week, is an honourable Bermuda charity that meets its commitments and will conduct itself in this matter no differently.” The foundation’s website explained that Spirit of Bermuda’s main focus is a five-day learning coastal expedition for third-year middle-school pupils. Students benefit from learning by experience, building on social and emotional skills as well as science, technology, engineering, arts and maths subjects. The website added that the training trips are “embedded in the cultural and historical significance of Bermuda”. Rockport Marine declined to comment yesterday.

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October 24

paragraphA new battery storage system that can instantly provide 10 megawatts of electricity to the grid in the event of a generation plant failure, has won an award for Belco. The Nolan Smith Battery Energy Storage System is a standby facility for Belco. If there is a system fault it kicks in and delivers electricity to the grid to fill the gap. It does this three times faster than can be achieved by a standard engine powering up to generate the additional electricity. It won the Best Energy Storage Project award at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum, which is the largest annual gathering of the Caribbean clean energy market. Dennis Pimentel, Belco president, praised the working group team involved, and said: “The BESS is an exciting project that is just a part of the foundation we are building for a better energy future for Bermuda, our $200 million-plus capital plan that has one overriding objective, to better serve our customers with safe, efficient and cost-effective electricity.” The reserve capacity storage system covers an area of 2,000 sq ft, with ISO containers and transformers. The containers hold the battery cells and other equipment involved in the system, which has a 20-year operating life. When the battery cells reach the end of their life, they will be shipped back to the US to be recycled. The storage system has been dedicated to the late Nolan Smith, a Bermudian who worked for Belco for more than 30 years and specialized in transmission and distribution system analysis.

paragraphAn exclusive Rosewood Bermuda Rum is now being poured after it was unveiled last night. The rum is handmade under the direction of Jose Gomez, Bacardi Rums’ global master blender, and is such a limited edition that the supply will total only 326 bottles. The first 70 bottles are now being served at the hotel, near Tucker’s Town. The hotel and resort decided it wanted a rum, unique and specially made, and branded for it to serve to guests. Serge Bottelli, Rosewood’s director of food and beverages, visited the Bacardi facility in Puerto Rico and met Mr Gomez to set in motion the production of the special rum. Two months later, the first of the bottles were flown to Bermuda for the launch yesterday that coincided with a gathering of Bacardi executives at Rosewood. “It is an amazing product,” said Mr Bottelli. He and John Lake, the hotel’s bar manager, went to Puerto Rico to learn about the rum-making process from Mr Gomez. “We blended some rums by adding and taking out. Everyone agreed on what we had. We chose the bottle and label,” said Mr Bottelli. So how special is this rum? Mr Gomez said: “We had some casks put aside for this project. It had always been our dream to have [such] a barrel project.” He said it was a completely artisan, or handmade, operation. There was no bottling line. “In this blend, the youngest Bacardi rum is eight years old, and the oldest is 12 years, and this is undisturbed ageing,” he said, explaining that undisturbed ageing referred to a cask of rum that has matured over time with no disturbance. Mr Gomez said the filtration system used was also unique, as was the cask system — which could not be reproduced, hence the supply of the Rosewood Bermuda Rum being limited to 326 bottles. “This specific barrel project is something new for us. We have had special blends for specific consumers, but not in this way and with this degree of uniqueness,” he added. The rum has been blended to appeal to the palette of North Americans, who make up a large percentage of Rosewood Bermuda’s guests, and local residents who frequent the hotel and its bars. Mr Bottelli said it gives guests something special: “It is unique, you give more. We researched with master blender from Bacardi to have that perfect rum for the location.” The hotel has created some other exclusive food and drink choices, such as its own barrel of Tequila Patrón. “That came to 256 bottles. We have about 100 bottles left. So, we have our own Patrón, people like it and choose it. It is a bit different,” said Mr Bottelli. “Also, we have a beekeeper here, and I just bought five gallons of his honey.” The Rosewood Bermuda Rum is on sale at Tucker’s Bar, the Conservatory Bar, and the beach club and golf club bars. But what happens once all the special rum has been consumed? Mr Gomez said he hopes Rosewood Bermuda will request that he blends another unique rum for the hotel and resort’s exclusive use.

paragraphContainer company Triton International Limited made a profit of $85 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, in the third-quarter. That beat a $1.14 per share consensus expectation by analysts on Yahoo! Finance. The net income was almost $10 million less than the $94.8 million reported in the same period last year. However, the results were described as strong by Brian Sondey, chief executive officer, who noted continued weak leasing demand and a softening of global economic conditions. Triton’s total leasing revenues slipped by just over $13 million, year-on-year, to $336.7 million for the period, which was about $1 million below analysts’ expectations. The Bermuda-based company’s return on equity was stable at 16.1 per cent, compared to 16.9 per cent a year ago. Mr Sondey said: “Triton’s financial performance has remained solid despite facing weak leasing demand since last fall, and leasing activity remained slow throughout the traditional peak third-quarter. Global economic conditions have softened this year, and the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China continues to create uncertainty and impact shipping activity. Fortunately, the supply of containers remains generally well balanced due to reduced production of new containers, and while our utilization continued to gradually trend down during the third quarter, it remains strong at 96.1 per cent as of October 18. Triton’s financial performance has also been supported by our industry-leading cost structure and operating capabilities, our well-protected long-term lease portfolio, and disciplined use of our strong cash-flow.” The company repurchased 1.6 million of its common shares during the third-quarter. Discussing the outlook for the company, Mr Sondey said: “Our customers and market forecasters have reduced their expectations for containerized trade growth this year following the weak summer peak season, and most are currently projecting growth will be just slightly positive in 2019. We are also heading into the seasonally slower time of year. As a result, we expect our key operating metrics will continue to gradually decrease over the next several quarters. However, the short ordering cycle for containers and multiple drivers for container leasing demand typically limit the duration of soft market conditions, and we continue to benefit from numerous advantages and strong, stable cash-flow.” Overall, we expect our adjusted net income per share will decrease from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, though we also expect our financial performance will remain solid.”

paragraphA former employee at a cleaning firm that closed this month said that she and other employees were still owed back wages. The woman, who asked not to be named, said she and “more than 30” other former workers at Just Cleaners Ltd were still due money — in some cases for months of work. The former employee said the loss of her job had left her in a tough situation. She explained: “I’m struggling to stay above water and to take care of my bills and to do what I have to do. It’s hard living here ... because everything is going up.” Just Cleaners announced in a letter sent to staff last month that the business would close on October 15. It advised that the company had “experienced significant difficulties over the past months”. The company added: “While all efforts have been made through cost-cutting in other areas, infrastructure changes, etc, it is not enough to sustain the business.” Just Cleaners said its goal was “to ensure the smoothest transition possible”. It added: “Further, the company has and will continue to make all efforts to ensure all dues will be provided [to] you after handover of the company to the appointed Official Receiver/liquidator. We deeply appreciate the loyalty of our employees and we thank you for the service that you have given the company.” The letter is signed Just Cleaners management. Chief executive Paul Vieira has not responded to repeated requests for comment. However, the company’s Facebook page has been updated several times since October 15. A post yesterday said: “Finding life/work balance ‘maid’ easy with Just Cleaners, we bring the clean!” The former employee said that she had gone to the office before October 15 to find it cleared out — “no desks, no computers, no nothing”. She added there had been no communication about whether the wages would be paid. The problem of non-payment and late payment of wages at the firm was first brought to the attention of The Royal Gazette in the summer. The former employee said that the Government needed to take a stronger stance on companies that failed to meet their financial obligations. She added: “It happens all the time. And we, the people, suffer.” The woman said that she had been advised by the Department of Workforce Development to take Just Cleaners to court. But no one can find Paul.” The woman and another former employee who previously spoke to The Royal Gazette both identified Mr Vieira as the operator of the business. Mr Vieira’s personal Facebook page yesterday listed him as the chief executive of Just Cleaners. Telephone calls to the business could not be connected yesterday. An e-mail sent to Mr Vieira via the Just Cleaners general account was not responded to by press time yesterday. Mr Vieira also did not respond to questions he was sent via Facebook. A company representative said in a e-mail earlier this month that Mr Vieira was “off island and is unable to access his e-mail”.

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October 23

paragraphPolice expect more convictions in connection to thefts from banks involving foreign nationals. Six foreigners have been jailed for between nine and 19 months this year for thefts from financial institutions in Bermuda. Police said the convictions, which include residents from Eastern Europe, France and Puerto Rico, came after investigations between January and October. Charges included conspiracy to steal, possession of equipment made or adapted for making false debit and credit cards, possession of false debit and credit cards, theft and attempted theft. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “With clear indications that the island is being targeted by international criminal enterprise, the Bermuda Police Service Criminal Investigations Unit continues to work closely with our overseas partners to put an end to this illegal activity and is following a number of specific lines of inquiry, which we are confident will lead to further successful prosecution before the courts.”

paragraphMaiden Reinsurance Ltd plans to re-domesticate from Bermuda to the US, and it is aiming to complete the move around the start of the new year. The company has submitted filings to re-domesticate to Vermont. According to a statement issued by Bermudian-based holding company Maiden Holdings Ltd, it has been determined that re-domesticating its principal operating subsidiary Maiden Re to Vermont “will enable the company to better align its operations, capital and resources with the company’s liabilities, which originate mostly in the United States, resulting in a more efficient structure”. It said the proposed re-domestication, in combination with an extended series of actions previously taken and done in close consultation with the Bermuda Monetary Authority to de-risk the company’s balance sheet “will continue to strengthen the company’s capital position and solvency ratios”. When asked if there would be any change to staffing levels in Bermuda as a result of the proposed re-domestication, a spokesman said it would be premature to speculate on potential operational impacts until the process is complete. In addition, the company has applied to transfer the listing of its shares from the Nasdaq Global Select Market to the Nasdaq Capital Market. The shares will continue to trade under the symbol MHLD. In August, Maiden Holdings said it entered into a series of strategic transactions that had “materially improved its capital position”. Maiden Holdings Ltd, which has offices on Pitts Bay Road, was formed as a Bermudian-based holding company in 2007. Maiden Holdings other operations include Maiden Reinsurance North America Inc, and Maiden Global Holdings. The company has underwriting operations in Bermuda and the US, with production teams in other locations, including the UK and Germany.

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October 22

paragraphA charge of failing to provide a breath test against a magistrate was dismissed yesterday after the judge ruled the police officer who arrested him was biased. Cayman Islands magistrate Valdis Foldats found Khamisi Tokunbo’s detention after a car crash was illegal because Colin Mill, the arresting officer, did not have “an honest subjective belief” that he had reasonable grounds to make the arrest. Mr Foldats said Mr Mill’s bias against Mr Tokunbo had tainted his investigation. He added: “Pc Mill knew who the defendant was as soon as he arrived at the scene — his bias was already present and he was not going to let the defendant get away with ‘s**t’.” Mr Tokunbo, 65, earlier denied the allegation that he refused a breath test when he was arrested after the crash in Paget on January 19. Mr Tokunbo declined to comment after the verdict, but Charles Richardson, his lawyer, said the magistrate was “very pleased” by the result. Mr Richardson said: “I think the most important question is why was it so important to spend so much money on a driving case against a sitting magistrate? The next big question is how do you have a case built entirely on bias and lies by a police officer? That should shake you to the core. This gentleman all but admitted that he was going to treat Mr Tokunbo differently because of who he was and the court found that was, in its own words, ‘jarring’. I wonder what Mr Mill is going to do now, because this judgment has effectively branded him as a dishonest police officer. He ruined his career on this case.” A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said after the judgment: “The prosecution against Mr Tokunbo was brought about in consultation with the Department of Public Prosecutions based on the evidence presented following a crash in Paget on January 19 this year. This was a complicated case with many different factors to take into account, leading to the decision to present the matter to be heard in court. The BPS now respects the decision of the magistrate and will review the details of the judgment accordingly.” Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “We are in the process of reviewing the written judgment. On the assessment of the evidence in the case file, this was a proper case to be put before the courts.” Magistrates’ Court earlier heard that police were called to the crash, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach, and found Mr Tokunbo’s car “completely off the road” over an embankment. Mr Tokunbo and his friend, Allen Robinson, were in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Pc Mill spoke to Mr Tokunbo, from Warwick, who denied that he had been behind the wheel. The officer testified that Mr Tokunbo appeared to be unsteady on his feet and John Jefferis, a witness at the scene, was recorded on body camera telling Pc Mill that he had pulled Mr Robinson from the passenger side of the crashed car. Pc Mill was heard to tell the witness he did not want to let “someone like this get away with this s**t”. He added: “You know me from a long time — if you can help me out, I can try to do what I gotta do with you.” Pc Mill told the court he had meant he would process the matter quickly so Mr Jefferis, a taxi driver, could return to work. Mr Tokunbo and Robinson, also from Warwick, were both charged with refusing a breath test. Mr Tokunbo maintained his innocence and Robinson pleaded guilty to the offence in May. He was fined $1,000 and disqualified from driving for 18 months by magistrate Craig Attridge. Mark Diel, for the Crown, said the arrest and subsequent request for a breath sample from Mr Tokunbo were legal. But Mr Richardson said Pc Mill held a bias against the magistrate “either because of his position, which he admitted, or his colour, which he will never admit”. Mr Foldats said Pc Mill’s comments to Mr Jefferis showed a clear bias against the defendant. He added: “As a witness, Pc Mill was unresponsive, evasive, self-contradictory and disingenuous. Pc Mill’s interaction with the main witness at the scene, Mr Jefferis, was unprofessional and disclosed the bias against the defendant in some sort of quid pro quo with Mr Jefferis.” Mr Foldats said Pc Mill struggled to paint the conversation with Mr Jefferis as harmless on the stand. He added: “I do not accept his explanations. Pc Mill’s words speak for themselves. His bias against the defendant tainted his actions at the scene and his testimony before this court.” Mr Foldats said he was also concerned about Pc Mill’s use of his body camera, which he turned on and off during the investigation. He said: “Police officers using bodycams at a crime scene should use those devices consistently throughout an incident. Selective use — either by not recording some events or not recording the audio of some events — raises the specter of a selective and biased investigation.” But he said the footage that was recorded contradicted Pc Mill’s evidence that Mr Tokunbo appeared impaired at the scene. Mr Foldats said: “The defendant appeared alert, responsive and co-operative throughout, despite having suffered injuries in the accident. As well, the footage revealed that the defendant stepped down from the edge on to the embankment without any difficulty.” He also criticized Pc Mill’s failure to examine the vehicle at the scene to verify Mr Jefferis’s story that he had helped Mr Robinson from the crashed car. Mr Foldats said: “It was a simple task that would have involved no skill, little effort and would take only seconds to accomplish.”

paragraphA Bermudian man living in the United States was charged with three counts of importation of firearms components yesterday. James Rumley, 37, appeared in Magistrates’ Court. He did not enter a plea because the case must be heard in the Supreme Court. One offence is alleged to have happened on June 3 and the other two on October 14. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson remanded Rumley in custody and adjourned the case until the December Supreme Court arraignments session.

paragraphA lawyer who denied assault and wounding a woman was faced with allegations of a further six similar offences yesterday. Magistrates’ Court heard that the prosecution wanted to proceed with the six older charges against Kamal Worrell, 39. The charges were dropped in January after alleged victim Chavelle Dillon withdrew them. Mr Worrell, from Warwick, was charged on August 28 with separate charges of assaulting and wounding Ms Dillon. It was alleged the offences took place in Warwick on June 1. Mr Worrell denies the charges. The six other alleged offences of assault were said in court to have happened in Warwick on November 14 last year. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson adjourned the case until November 7 for a hearing on whether the six charges from last November should be combined with the offences alleged to have happened in June.

paragraphThe Mayor of St George has admitted he did not follow corporation rules after he took a controversial decision to reopen Water Street to traffic. George Dowling III spoke out yesterday after Philip Seaman, a former St George’s business ratepayers’ councillor, resigned over the leadership style of the mayor and for personal reasons. Mr Dowling said the protocol problem was raised at a public meeting of the corporation on August 22. But he insisted that Mr Seaman had agreed to the reopening of the street, although Mr Seaman said he had not. Mr Dowling said: “I consulted with the committee that manages this area of Corporation of St George’s business. Most of the committee agreed including former councillor Seaman.” But Mr Dowling added: “The protocol was not followed. The decision should have been brought to a general council meeting. The general council meeting is held once a month, where a vote is taken. This matter of protocol was addressed in the public meeting of August 22. A change in vision and management styles is sometimes difficult for people. I respect the views and opinions of people regardless of if the opinions are different.” Mr Dowling added that he and Mr Seaman had “worked together successfully under mayor Quinell Francis without difficulty. I have such great respect for him and his contribution to the town.” Water Street was reopened to traffic on July 22, but the vehicle ban was put back in place a day later by acting mayor Lloyd Van Putten. Tania Stafford stepped down in protest at Mr Dowling’s decision later that month. Mr Dowling was accused of a conflict of interest because reopening Water Street to traffic would provide easier access to his family business, Rubis Dowling’s Marine and Auto Service Station on Penno’s Drive. But Mr Dowling said: “Please visit St George’s — you will see that there are several businesses on that street. Any small change impacts all the businesses, not just Dowling’s Marine, which is not on Water Street. The Corporation of St George considers this matter closed.” Mr Seaman told The Royal Gazette last week that some members of the corporation had called for Mr Dowling’s resignation. Mr Dowling did not respond to a request for comment. An election to fill Mr Seaman’s seat will be held on November 21 at Penno’s Wharf cruise ship terminal. Only business ratepayers will be eligible to vote. Registration for the election will close on October 25 at 5pm.

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October 21

paragraphThe Minister of National Security urged a British politician to help bring back the BMU code to Bermudian passports during talks in London, he said yesterday. Wayne Caines attended a series of meetings in the UK capital last week. He met Seema Kennedy, a British MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Home Office, to pursue talks about the passport issues that Bermudians have experienced since the UK Government took over printing. Mr Caines said: “The Home Office minister was keenly interested in resolving the issues and committed to further assisting in the interim to ease the travel issues Bermudians are encountering. We had the opportunity to strongly make the case for the speedy return of Bermuda’s BMU code to our passports. Home Office officials will continue to work with our London Office team as we try to expedite this important revision.” The UK Government took over responsibility for printing passports for British Overseas Territories citizens in June 2016 because of security concerns. A new code on the documents has caused problems for some Bermudians traveling through the United States from outside the island. During his visit, Mr Caines attended the annual meeting of the Britain-Bermuda All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by MP Sir David Amess. The minister was invited to speak on Bermuda’s resilience after Hurricane Humberto. He was also given the chance to identify how the APPG can support Bermuda in the UK Parliament. Mr Caines said: “This was a unique opportunity as my short time in London coincided with this AGM. It was important to re-engage with these MPs and peers who have a clear interest in Bermuda and outline for them how they can support our efforts with training and development of the Royal Bermuda Regiment as well as officers of the Bermuda Police Service. Sir David, as chairman, demonstrated the leadership necessary to further grow Bermuda’s support base in the mother of Parliaments.” Mr Caines also met Overseas Territories director Ben Merrick. He explained: “It’s always useful to meet with Ben and to maximize Bermuda’s continuing constitutional relationship with the UK as led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Our discussion was wide-ranging and included an expression of condolences to the family of the late MP Walton Brown with whom Ben had also met during his time as Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs.” Mr Caines added: “This was an incredibly productive series of meetings and we saw advancement on key issues important for Bermudians, in travel, security, as well as overt parliamentary support in various areas related to our economy and our continued efforts on border security.”

paragraphOne of the biggest names in crypto and digital technologies attended the inaugural Bermuda Tech Week, although not as a guest speaker. Google and Binance were among the globally significant companies with representatives participating in the events, alongside outstanding pioneers such as Jeff Pulver. Meanwhile, in general attendance was Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency platform Tron and chief executive officer of BitTorrent. Tron’s TRX is the eleventh largest digital currency in the world with a market capital of $1 billion. Mr Sun this year successfully bid $4.5 million to secure a lunch meeting with Warren Buffett, and last week shared with his 1.9 million Twitter followers a picture of himself and David Burt, the Premier, at Bermuda Tech Week. The calibre and prominence of those attending the event was remarked on by Stan Stalnaker, founding director of Hub Culture, and Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency. The aforementioned Mr Pulver praised Bermuda for embracing technology innovation. In the 1990s, he was at the leading edge of voice over internet protocol, many years before the emergence of services like Skype. Sharing his thoughts on Bermuda Tech Week, Mr Pulver said: “This government is proactive. I don’t know anywhere else on Earth where innovation is readily received, and because it is proactive, it encourages entrepreneurship, it encourages business to be developed.” Mr Burrows said: “The week has been phenomenally successful. Having 300, 400, 500 people come to attend is a good story. We look forward to seeing how we grow exponentially next year.” Bermuda-based Hub Culture staged its second Bermuda Innovation Sprint, which overlapped with Tech Week and included the Liquidity Summit. Mr Stalnaker said it was amazing to see so many people participating in Tech Week, and added: “It wasn’t just the quantity, it was the quality of the attendees. We brought in over 35 companies involved with the Liquidity Summit, they also represented some of the biggest companies in the world in the crypto space. And Tech Beach and the BDA [Bermuda Tech] Summit, even more so. Together you have the biggest companies in the space on the island. For the Sprint and for Tech Week it is really about framework”. Praising the Premier, the Fintech Bermuda team and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, he said: “Bermuda does now have the best framework for this in the world, and it is attracting the attention of the really big fish. There are companies here on the island this week who are running over a billion dollars a month in transactions. They were here looking at Bermuda. That is bound to have a play because it is no longer theoretical, these big companies looking at doing activity and trying to understand how they could have some form of operations here. It is really a big shift from last year.” The Bermuda Tech Summit opened with an announcement by Mr Burt that Government had committed to accept digital currency payments, providing they are one-to-one US dollar-backed digital currencies that are licensed by the BMA. The intention is to have the initiative ready by the start of the new year. Support has come from Circle, the first company to achieve a full licence under Bermuda’s Digital Asset Business Act, and which counts Goldman Sachs among its backers. Mr Stalnaker is among those offering support to the development who, along with Mr Burt spoke about what it could mean for Bermuda (see video). In a follow-up interview, when asked about the potential for the digital currency payment initiative, and the possibility that some might view it as a risk, Mr Stalnaker said: “People will be surprised at the advantages it provides to Bermuda. A stablecoin is asset-backed one-to-one. You can be sure that the BMA is going to make sure that anyone who is operating a stablecoin here is fully asset-backed, so there is not a liquidity redemption issue. The opportunity is ease of payment and lower transaction cost, and in some companies’ new business models that will pay you better interest. It is going to provide Bermuda the opportunity to make the whole island a laboratory for financial innovation which can scale outward. For start-ups and local companies, having that capability to work on these things here should mean the opportunity to scale exponentially later.” He mentioned apps developed in Bermuda during the past two years, including DropIt Delivery, Sargasso Sea, Winnow and Trippmatch. “These guys are in the centre of an innovative place for scaling their businesses in ways that other places can’t. So, it’s great for the local start-up scene, it’s going to be great for payments for consumers, it will potentially create new ways for Bermudians to generate wealth, and it puts Bermuda in front of everyone else in the world in being able to deploy fintech.” Speaking broadly about Tech Week, Hub Culture and future plans, Mr Stalnaker said: “From the point of view of Liquidity [Summit], we see massive change in the scope of the conversation.” He talked about a session that discussed Hollywood and the use of blockchain for film financing and tokenisation, and also digital asset vaulting, such as could be used of intellectual property and film rights. He said the best thing was getting “all the players in the room to work on ideas that help everybody”. Mr Stalnaker believes Sir John Swan, the former Premier, said it best. “At Liquidity, he said Bermuda has the ability for businesses to operate like friends and build friendship between people, because it is a very personable place. You can’t live and work in Bermuda without bumping up with everybody else all the time. So, there is a cordial note of civility that most exist in Bermuda, and that infects the companies and that civility is hard to find elsewhere and it makes Bermuda very attractive.” He also spoke about a hope that a “global digital middle-class” can be created. “The focus has been on building these stupid unicorns that soaked up all the money and make a few people really rich. That’s not a good recipe for society. What is more important is that we need to start focusing on building a global digital middle class.” Hub Culture released Ven, a digital currency, in 2007. While its Ultra Exchange, a digital asset exchange, went live last year in a limited capacity. Mr Stalnaker said: “We are working with the BMA on how best to use it. Our hope is to work with the BMA to get that viable for the community here in Bermuda. Our AI project is gathering steam and our governance project is up and running. We have this ecosystem of technologies that go far beyond Ven, which exists here.” The organisation has seven employees on the island that are doing work. Ms Stalnaker said: “They are not ‘jobs’, but we have a whole team of people here who are working. Some of them are young people who we are training up. It’s not full-time jobs, but it is people working for us here. It’s flexible and it’s persistent, and we are training them in things like decentralized virtual real estate development, or customer service for onboarding according to BMA compliance.” During the coming year Hub Culture intends to expand its set-up at Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Summit. “We will be building the tech lodge — a new building focused on human freedom in the age of monolithic tech. It is going to be a conversations around human freedom,” said Mr Stalnaker. Hub Culture also intends to have a presence linked to the World Expo in Dubai, with a virtual pavilion and possibly a physical one. The organisation will also have a pavilion in place when Tokyo hosts the Olympics. Turning to wider issues, asked about his thought on the difficulties being encountered by Facebook and its Libra digital currency project, which has seen major supporters, including PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, step away from the project, Mr Stalnaker said: “Libra is a Western democratic response to pervasive global payment systems by Russia and China.” He said Telegram, which started in Russia, and China’s WeChat, both have more than a billion-users each and have digital currency plans. So the US and Europe working together have a choice; they have to scale social-based payment systems or they are going to lose control of the global payment system. It’s not like in the future, it is in the next six months. What is really at stake is the US-control of peer-to-peer payments.” Mr Stalnaker believes Libra will go ahead.

paragraphThe president of Howard University will deliver the keynote address at the Progressive Labour Party gala next month. Wayne Frederick, a surgeon who has researched health disparities affecting African-Americans and other underrepresented groups, will be the main speaker at the banquet at the Fairmont Southampton on November 16. A PLP spokeswoman said: “Countless students from Bermuda have long enjoyed a thriving relationship with Howard University and there are many Bermudians of excellence who are Howard alumni. We are honoured that Dr Frederick has accepted our invitation and we are sure his message will be timely and motivating.” PLP members, supporters and friends are invited to the event, which will have the theme “Bermudian excellence”. David Burt, the Premier, will also speak, and further entertainment will come from the CedarBridge Academy Orchestra, Sheila Smith and Jessie Seymour backed by DIA band. General tickets priced $150 and patron tickets priced $250 are available through gpass.bm. The gala begins at 6pm for cocktails, and dinner at 7pm.

paragraphThe opening of a new walk-in clinic has been delayed for almost four months after a row between planning officials and the Development Applications Board. Marico Thomas, the chief executive of Bermuda Medical Specialties Group, said Health Express Urgent Care should have been open for business on July 1. But he added: “July, August and September have already passed. Even when we get the go-ahead, we will have to ramp up to get ready to go and that’s going to take time. My hands have been tied because the planning department is arguing with the planning board and I’m stuck in the middle. We are trying to bring the costs down by bringing in new ways to see the doctor, but we’re being challenged left, right and centre by the status quo. If anyone was to go to the bank and borrow $400,000, and on top of that say you need $500,000 for staff, the bank is going to want that money back. Blackhawk Consulting, part of Mr Thomas’s business group, last year applied for planning permission to change the use of a site on Hamilton’s Reid Street from a retail unit to a walk-in clinic. Mr Thomas said the plan was approved in February and work to convert the building started, but he was later told the application had to be resubmitted because of an administrative error. He added that the company was told verbally and in writing it could continue work on the Reid Street building and the application was sent in again in April. But planning permission was denied by the DAB in June because the plan contravened the 2015 City of Hamilton Plan. The board said the proposal did not contribute to the “vitality and interest of the principal shopping area”. Mr Thomas said that the DAB refusal came despite support from the planning inspector. He added that he had lodged an appeal against the DAB decision, but had been warned the process could take months. Mr Thomas said: “The unfortunate effect of all this is we have had to terminate Bermudian jobs. We own Four Star Pizza and we had hired people in some positions to be shared between the businesses, like human resources and administration. We had to terminate some of these well-paid Bermudians who we had hired.” There were 16 objections to the change of use, 12 of them “petition-style” with identical content, but different signatures. The objectors also raised concerns that the project went against the area’s designation as a “primary shopping area” in the City of Hamilton Plan. But Peter Adwick of Adwick Planning, planning agents for BMSG, said the project would boost the area. Mr Adwick said in a written response to an objection: “As far as the walk-in clinic is concerned the vitality of the area will be enhanced by an expected increase in footfall resulting from the new use and the interest of this part of downtown Hamilton would be promoted by the installation of a new healthcare-related facility to complement the existing pharmacy.” Mr Adwick also noted the project would include a retail element. He said: “In addition to providing treatment for minor illness and injuries and skin problems as well as advice on wellness initiatives, the clinic will sell or rent retail items. These will include medical weight-management food, technology and programmes, medical skincare products, sleep aids, splints, bandages and many other medical items. Health Express will also operate extended hours into the evening beyond the normal shop closing time. It will also operate seven days a week. In this way, it will promote activity and interest in this part of the principal shopping area when it would otherwise be quiet and closed.”

paragraphAn extraordinary municipal election for the Corporation of St. George to fill the seat of Business Ratepayers’ Councillor, will be held on Thursday, 21st November 2019, at Penno’s Wharf Cruise Ship Terminal in St. George. This election is only for business ratepayers of the municipality of St. George. Registration for this election will close on Friday, 25 October 2019 at 5:00 p.m. All other election related information can be found at elections.gov.bm or by phoning 293-VOTE (8683).

paragraphA second councillor in St George has resigned over the leadership style of the town’s mayor. Philip Seaman, a business ratepayers’ councillor for four years, stepped down in part over a decision by George Dowling this summer to open a pedestrianised section of Water Street to traffic without a council vote. Mr Seaman, who said he had considered running for mayor before Mr Dowling put himself forward this year, said: “Water Street didn’t go to a vote and it contributed to my decision to step down, but I also had personal reasons. Others called for his resignation. The mayor called me and said he had decided to open up Water Street to vehicular traffic. I didn’t even have a chance to discuss it, he just told me. He doesn’t have the power to do that — the mayor has the deciding vote if it is a tie, but he thought he had the power to make decisions. I believe in a democratic process.” The road was reopened to traffic on July 22, but the vehicle ban was put back in place a day later by acting mayor Lloyd Van Putten. Tania Stafford stepped down over Mr Dowling’s controversial decision later that month. Water Street had earlier been closed to traffic between 10am and 4pm in the summer months. Mr Seaman said there were also “personal reasons” for his resignation earlier this month. But he added that he could not live with Mr Dowling’s “Trump-like” leadership. He highlighted that Mr Dowling’s family owns the Rubis Dowling’s Marine & Auto Service Station in Penno’s Drive, which could benefit from increased traffic on Water Street. The Municipalities Act rules that corporation decisions should be decided by a majority vote among members at meetings. The mayor, or the acting mayor, has a casting vote in the event of a tie. Corporation of St George meeting minutes said: “The mayor reported that he erroneously did not seek a resolution and instructed CSG staff to open the road, resulting in the resignation of councillor Tania Stafford.” Candy-Lee Foggo, the town manager and secretary for the corporation, added: “There was a learning curve that the mayor had to undergo. The mayor is ambitious and energetic and eager to drive change. In haste, he did not seek a resolution for Water Street. However, he did previously consult with his Infrastructure and Development Committee prior to taking the decision. The decision was not unilateral.” Ms Stafford declined to comment on her decision to quit but confirmed her resignation in an online post at the time and added: “I believe in due process.” Kristin White, who owns a Water Street bookshop and runs tours of the Olde Towne, said that businesses had been told that Water Street would be opened from Customs Square to Blacksmith’s Hill. She added: “I knew there had not been any consultation with the businesses and that was my issue.” The statement said that the stretch of the street between King’s Square and Customs Square would remain off limits to vehicles between 10am and 4pm. Mr White said: “We had signed off on expanding the pedestrianised areas as part of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s National Tourism Plan, so not only did he not consult with us, he went against what we had agreed. There is an aesthetic issue, but the main issue is safety — there are no sidewalks on Water Street and hundreds of people get off the ferry and walk down the road. Thankfully the corporation listened to the business’s feedback and reversed the decision within one day.” Mr Seaman added that Mr Dowling also attempted to move replicas of stocks and a pillory, 18th-century punishments for petty offenders, from King’s Square to Ordnance Island despite a vote against it.  “Another point was moving the stocks — the vote was defeated in a general meeting, but the mayor still instructed the town manager to submit the planning application. It was withdrawn after general membership and businesses were going to object.” The Corporation of St George said that the planning application was for “sidewalk improvement”. Ms Foggo said: “The application was withdrawn to allow further public consultation.” Mr Dowling declined to comment on Mr Seaman’s resignation. But he said: “I am looking forward to working with all council members in moving the town forward. We are starting to see the revitalization of the town and we welcome the additional cruise ship calls in 2020.”

paragraphStaff of Third Point Reinsurance Ltd. (Third Point Re) swapped their desks and computers for cleaning and gardening tools last week as they helped clean up Trunk Island, the Bermuda Zoological Society’s (BZS) “living classroom” in Harrington Sound. A total of 19 staff members took part in the specialty property and casualty reinsurer’s Community Day, clearing vegetation debris left from Hurricane Humberto and cleaning the Education Centre. And at the end of the day Third Point Re announced that it will be making a $40,000 donation to the BZS’s Trunk Island Project. The BZS, the supporting charity for the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), is engaged in a long-term capital project to restore endemic habitat and wildlife to the seven-acre island and develop it as a “living classroom”. Nick Campbell, Chief Risk Officer of Third Point Re, said: “We’re proud to be doing something for Trunk Island which significantly benefits Bermuda and the broader community through the educational and environmental programmes it offers. We are fortunate to be able to give back directly, as individuals, by working on the post-hurricane clean up as well as to give financially as a company.” Dr. Ian Walker, Principal Curator of BAMZ, speaking on behalf of the BZS, said the Community Day was a valuable contribution to the post-Humberto clean-up, which will continue over the next few months. He said: “We can’t do this without the help of people like Third Point Re and it’s always good to have an enthusiastic group come out to work with us. With their help, we cleaned up the Education Centre and surrounding area and trails. This will enable us to continue with our education programme and safely host events like our annual Spooky Trail fundraiser on October 25, which raises money for our Junior Volunteer Programme.” He added: “We are also extremely grateful to Third Point Re for their generous donation. This will help fund programmes like Kids On The Reef, a two-day programme where we introduce schoolchildren to snorkeling and free diving at Trunk Island and then take them out to North Rock or other parts of the reef system.” Third Point Re Events Committee member Rochelle Williams, who organised the Community Day, said: “This community day afforded us an opportunity to help the environment, positively impact our community and provide a fun and worthwhile day for our staff. It was interesting to learn from Dr. Walker all about the history of the Island and its unique ecology. Their desire to cultivate a space where learning and the environment are the fundamental building blocks made it an exciting adventure for all who were involved in the volunteer efforts.”

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October 19

paragraphWalton Brown’s unswerving commitment to Bermudian independence brought a touch of humour to the sorrow of his loss. David Burt, the Premier, and former Progressive Labour Party minister and longstanding friend of Mr Brown’s Dale Butler told the congregation of his reluctance to swear the oath of allegiance to the Queen when he entered Parliament. Both said Mr Brown fell silent at the section of the oath that mentioned the Queen. Mr Burt added that Mr Brown was also a reluctant churchgoer. He told the congregation at the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton: “Here we have it. Walton in church — and for the entire service.” The service also featured a musical tribute from saxophonist Wendell “Shine” Hayward. Mr Hayward said Peter and Victoria Schmidt, on vacation from Fargo, North Dakota, had come to the cathedral as he practiced the day before the funeral. He added he had invited the woman, “an accomplished pianist” and church musician, to perform a duet on the cathedral’s piano after she asked what he was doing. Mr Hayward explained that, on the day of the funeral, he had “a slight problem with my accompanist”. He said that Mr Brown, “in true Walton style, would say ‘you have a problem — there has to be a solution — let’s just fix it’.” Mr Hayward added he had solved the problem by asking the tourist couple, Peter and Victoria Schmidt, to stand in. Mr Schmidt, a Lutheran pastor, read the Lord’s Prayer as Mr Hayward played his saxophone and his wife played the piano. Ms Schmidt said afterwards: “This is just an honour — it was serendipitous. We just happened to be here.” She said Mr Hayward had e-mailed the invitation and said their presence the day before had been “no accident”. The couple added they shared Mr Brown’s commitment to social justice and volunteered with refugees at the United States border. Ms Schmidt said: “I feel like got to know somebody today that I didn’t know before.”

paragraphHundreds of mourners packed the Anglican Cathedral to bid farewell yesterday to MP and former government minister Walton Brown. The standing room-only congregation at the Hamilton church heard that Mr Brown combined a fierce commitment to social justice with a level-headed approach to politics. George Brown, Mr Brown’s younger brother, thanked him for “saving my life at the age of 12” when he almost drowned at a family picnic at Admiralty House. He said: “I am for ever grateful and indebted to you.” George Brown added that he had on impulse visited the grave of their father, also Walton, the day before Mr Brown’s sudden death on October 8. Taryq Brown, one of Mr Brown’s three sons with former wife, Irmgard Ong-Aban, told the congregation: “Whenever I got in trouble, he did not get angry. He was forgiving, and kind. This kindness is what characterized him most in his career. My father was a teacher. The biggest lesson he imparted to my brothers and me was the importance of personal responsibility and self-determination. My father was a man of greatness and a man of fortitude. On that, despite his passing, he will not be forgotten — thank you.” David Burt, the Premier, fought back tears as he said the 59-year-old Pembroke Central MP was a “gentle warrior” and “an example of consistency and principle in politics”. Mr Burt added: “Walton did not let his passion or emotion cloud his judgment and prevent progress from being made — even if he did not get what he wanted.” Mr Burt said that the 2016 demonstrations against the One Bermuda Alliance’s Pathways to Status immigration legislation were sparked by Mr Brown’s call for “direct action”. He added that the campaign was “one of the most powerful expressions of democracy that I will likely witness in my life”. Mr Burt also announced that the members of a Commission of Inquiry into historic land losses in Bermuda, a cause championed by Mr Brown, will be revealed in the House of Assembly at its next sitting on November 1. Kim Wilson, the health minister, said Mr Brown was a confidante and friend with whom she shared wine and debate. She added he was “a man so easy in his skin that crossing what others would see as divides, whether political, cultural, social or economic, was of no consequence to him”. Ms Wilson said the author, businessman and politician’s life had included the negotiation of “high-level international agreements”. She added: “The special thing about Walton is he did not proclaim what he had done. He did not sit at the table of self-congratulation. Some of the qualities people saw in the political figure are what those of us lucky enough to have him as a friend enjoyed tenfold.” She added that Mr Brown was “quick, analytical and just — at all times striving to seek all points of view and find the common elements within”. Ms Wilson said her family said their group became “the three musketeers” when they were joined by Wayne Furbert, now the Minister for the Cabinet Office. Ms Wilson highlighted Mr Brown and Mr Furbert’s disagreement over same-sex marriage, which Mr Brown supported and Mr Furbert opposed. She said: “It was a very sensitive and highly emotive issue that both men felt passionately about, though their opinions were worlds apart. On this particular issue, Walton would patiently allow Wayne to share his views, based on the facts, research and whatever other points that he had in support of his position. I would finally step in and demand that they call a truce. Walton would always end by saying, ‘let’s agree to disagree’.” She said: “Many will say his was a life gone too soon, but I prefer to think his was a life richly lived. Rest in peace, my friend.” Longtime friend and former Cabinet Minister Dale Butler drew laughter from the congregation as he told them of Mr Brown’s reluctance to swear the oath of allegiance to the Queen when he entered Parliament. Mr Butler said: “Walton’s life was so marked by this one point of seeking independence for Bermuda. Today, we celebrate him. But who will pick up his challenge?” Mr Brown was buried at St John’s in Pembroke, the parish in which he grew up, canvassed and served his constituents.

paragraphOpinion. By Nick Kempe, Shadow Minister of Finance and the Opposition Senate Leader. "As we see yet another local business closure make headlines, I am deeply concerned that the Government is still not heeding the warning signs. The real problems ailing our economy are being ignored, and misguided “reforms” are repeatedly missing the mark and causing more damage than good. Bermudians and businesses alike have felt the burden of increased taxes, all while this government grows the size of the Civil Service. On the personal side, with wages being eaten up by more and more taxes — land, sugar, health insurance, vehicles, etc — there is less money to spend on goods and services. The public’s lack of faith in this government’s ability to manage our economic futures, as reflected by historically low levels of consumer confidence, means that what is left to spend is instead being deferred. Confident spending has been replaced by fearful hesitation. This national under-consumption has only been worsened by a shrinking workforce. The past 19 months of retail sales are therefore no surprise and a representation of the contraction being felt throughout the local economy. Online shopping has also declined in the latest retail sales figures, so scapegoating changing consumption habits is misleading at best. On the business side, lower overall demand has made it very difficult for many local business sectors to pass on the many new taxes and fees being thrust on to them by the Government — land tax, health insurance cost shifting with more to come, Bermudian business dividend tax, etc. Low inflation is symptomatic of the business sector’s fear to pass on various and increasing layers of government-imposed costs. Therefore, without other mechanisms to protect squeezed margins, coupled with fewer dollars in fewer consumers’ pockets, businesses are inevitably closing. Bermuda’s prosperity, and particularly that of the local economy, relies on the island’s ability to attract money from overseas that will be spent on our shores. Most people now recognize that we need to attract foreign job creators and investment to stimulate our stagnant economy and alleviate the increasing pressures caused by a growing imbalance between our active workforce and our retired population. Unfortunately, instead of having strategic national conversations about how many guest workers are needed for sustainable growth and what it will take to anchor them here, the public political discourse surrounding immigration has been reduced to whether immigration is good or bad. With a declining birthrate and a declining workforce, increasing the working-age population enough to sustain the baby-boomer generation in retirement can be achieved only by attracting new employees to Bermuda. With more guest workers also come employment opportunities for Bermudians still on island and those that have left seeking opportunities overseas to return. The stagnation of the immigration reform process aptly mirrors the stagnation of our economy. Increased taxes are more easily absorbed during periods of sustained growth. It is a shame that the Government did not use the increased taxes to pay down the debt, redistribute wealth, fund new employee benefits or subsidize healthy food choices, instead choosing to sharply increase the number of civil servants. The Government must find ways to incentivise greater private-sector employment. With taxes and the cost of the public sector growing, it is high time that the business community get some relief. Targeted incentives to reduce the cost of employment are key, especially after the recent transfers of health insurance costs from the Government to the private sector. I urge the Government to heed the signs and change course before it is too late."

paragraphA pressure group has claimed the police complaints system is “broken” and accused senior officers of being unfit for duty in a letter to the Governor. The Civil Justice Advocacy Group said Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley and other top officers had not followed proper procedures in reviewing a complaint against senior officer Nicholas Pedro in a letter to John Rankin. They also alleged Mr Corbishley and Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons had joked about the group’s complaint when Mr Pedro was promoted to Superintendent. The letter said: “We already had concerns about the efficacy of the Police Complaints Authority, and it is our belief that it will now be used to effectively rubber stamp the decision already made relating to Mr Pedro. Additionally, we must express our view that the way the complaint has been handled is an affront to public confidence. It is our opinion that the police complaints system in Bermuda is broken and, based on our experience, the senior officers involved appear to be unfit for their responsibilities in relation to the same.” CJAG had accused Mr Pedro of gross incompetence after he reported that recordings from the Court of Appeal did not exist after CJAG members asked them — but the recordings were found earlier this year after a public access to information request was made. An internal inquiry into the alleged misconduct cleared Mr Pedro of any wrongdoing. CJAG said in the letter: “It is our belief that neither the Commissioner nor either of the Acting Deputy Commissioners handled the complaint in accordance with the law and that their actions have shown contempt for the Police Complaints Authority Act 1998 and the processes identified in the said Act as it relates to the responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police. The current outcome of the complaint is that a decision was made to clear Mr Pedro of any misconduct and that decision was made without any of the required oversight of the Police Complaints Authority.” The letter added that Mr Pedro was promoted to Superintendent “post haste” after the decision. The CJAG said Mr Corbishley made a joke about the investigation during Mr Pedro’s promotion ceremony. Mr Corbishley was claimed to have said: “A bit of a down part of your career. You implemented Pati — Public Access to Information — in the BPS in 2014. Um, I mean I say that jokingly ...” The CJAG added: “We cannot help but believe that this joke about Pati was in direct reference to our complaint, and the fact that our Pati request had exposed the inadequate and misrepresented investigation overseen by Mr Pedro into our ‘missing’ court recordings.” Mr Corbishley responded that he was aware of the letter of complaint. He said: “Given their letter is to His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda it would be inappropriate for the BPS to respond to its content. However I note that enquiries continue into the matters raised by CJAG overseen by deputy commissioner Simons. These outstanding enquiries have been advised to CJAG and need to be progressed to gain a full understanding to all circumstances of the matters raised.” CJAG was set up in the wake of a series of civil proceedings in the Court of Appeal which started in 2011. Several of those involved had represented themselves as “litigants in person”, and when they applied for recordings of their hearings to assist with appeals they planned to make to the Privy Council, they were told by court officials they could not have them. The group made a criminal complaint at the end of 2013 and alleged that court officials who refused to provide the recordings may have destroyed evidence, conspired to defeat justice, attempted to pervert the course of justice or destroyed or damaged public records. Mr Pedro headed the investigation and wrote to CJAG in September 2014 that “ ... audio recordings were ‘not withheld or destroyed’ because they did not exist in the first place” and that no charges would be brought. But the recordings did exist and they were found earlier this year after CJAG made a Pati request. Gitanjali Gutierrez, the information commissioner, said in a decision on the case: “The Judicial Department conducted additional searches of the Court Smart System, which led to the identification of records. The records included daily tests from the Court Smart System for the Court of Appeal sessions in 2011, as well as actual recordings of various proceedings.” CJAG filed a complaint of gross incompetence against Mr Pedro for the “botched investigation”, which they said had set back their legal fight by five years.

paragraphA digitized national identity system designed to give residents more control of their personal information has started development, the company behind the scheme said yesterday. Joseph Weinberg, co-founder of blockchain technology firm Shyft, said that work had started this week on electronic ID project Perseid. He added that the preliminary work included ensuring a proper infrastructure was set up so the system could be tailored to Bermuda’s needs. Mr Weinberg said: “The initial pilot projects that will be going live are very focused on making an identity system relevant to these local citizens in Bermuda. It’s really heavily focused on everyday activities that would require government services.” Shyft teamed up with Bermudian-based data management technology company Trunomi to deliver the optional Perseid scheme. Perseid will be designed to give people control over their own records, which will mean only they can allow access to organisations such as utility providers and banks. Mr Weinberg, who was on the island for the Tech Beach Retreat conference, said phase one of the project included making sure that the relevant government departments were involved. He said: “The focus for Perseid is on government services that directly touch individuals.” Mr Weinberg hoped a timeline for the launch of Perseid would become clearer over the next six weeks. He added “The goal is that we are going to try to move very fast, in comparison to most typical government projects. I would say in the next six months we will have early working parts that will start to be in the hands of Bermuda residents and work in the system.” Mr Weinberg said he expected the scheme to be operational “by the next year”. He suggested that driving licences, passports and birth certificates could be among the documents available electronically. Official stamps and signatures could also be covered by the technology. Mr Weinberg added: “The goal is to actually enable more privacy and more control than we have today. That’s an important part. If you think about us going into banks, telecom providers or utility providers you kind of give up a right to personal information ... we’ve kind of lost control with who we are from an identity perspective. The goal is that we have more control.” Bruce Silcoff, the chief executive of Shyft, said earlier that hospitals and insurance companies could be linked to the system, which would help people save time and money when using their services. He added that it would give customers the power to transfer relevant information to chosen organisations, which would cut down on administration costs. Mr Silcoff said the Perseid system did not hold the information, but instead was a “highway” for businesses and organisations to share information across businesses, industries and international borders. Shyft signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bermuda Government in May 2018, which included a pledge to invest up to $10 million in the island over a three-year period, the creation of new jobs, retraining of workers and investment in Bermudian businesses, education and infrastructure.

paragraphThe president of the Azores is to visit Bermuda as part of series of events to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese on the island. Vasco Cordeiro and other members of the Azorean Government will attend several events centred around November 4, which has been declared a public holiday to honour the contribution of Portuguese people to Bermuda. Andrea Moniz-DeSousa, president of the charity Casa dos Açores da Bermuda — the House of the Azores of Bermuda — said the Portuguese community saw the commemoration as a chance to reinforce the relationship between Bermuda and Portugal and its Azores territory. People from the Azores make up the majority of the Portuguese community in Bermuda. Ms Moniz-DeSousa said: “The marking of this momentous occasion and the meaning of these celebrations are of crucial importance to the Portuguese community of Bermuda as it is both a sign of a recognition by the Government of the central role the community has played in the history of Bermuda and also an acknowledgement of the community’s contributions for the last 170 years to an island which we all call home. She added: “We are at our best when we unite and celebrate our differences.” Celebrations will run from Saturday, November 2 to Tuesday, November 5. Special events include a block party, a reception by David Burt, the Premier and a gala dinner. The gala dinner will be held at CedarBridge Academy on November 3 and the 170 Celebrations Committee and the Catholic Church of Bermuda will host a Mass at St Theresa’s Cathedral, Pembroke, at 1.30pm, followed by a Procession of Faith along Dundonald Street and Victoria Street. Representatives of the Bermuda Government will plant a tree and place a plaque at the Botanical Gardens at on November 4 at 11.30am and Mr Burt and Mr Cordeiro will inaugurate the Casa dos Açores da Bermuda’s new office at 1 Admiralty Park, North Shore Road, Pembroke. Mr Cordeiro will also pay a visit to the Premier and the Cabinet on November 5. An exhibition designed to highlight the history and culture of the Azorean people in Bermuda has been launched on the upper level of Washington Mall in Hamilton. Ms Moniz-DeSousa said: “Speaking on behalf of the Portuguese Government, I hope that everyone comes out to celebrate and support all the events being scheduled for the November 4 weekend as these celebrations are not only for the Portuguese community in Bermuda, but an opportunity to celebrate and share with all of Bermuda the Portuguese-Bermudian culture and traditions.” She added: “We are your co-workers, neighbours, family and friends, the same people with which you have shared your past, are sharing your present and will continue to share your future with. Let’s celebrate that”. Bermuda hosted the two-day General Assembly of the World Council of Houses of the Azores in October. Representatives from 13 Houses of the Azores in Canada, the United States, Bermuda, Brazil, Uruguay and mainland Portugal attended. Rui Bettencourt, the secretary of external affairs of the Azorean Government and five Azorean Parliament ministers were among the guests. Three members of the Portuguese community in Bermuda — Octávio Cordeiro, Robert Pires, and Isaura Reis — were honoured with merit awards for their contributions to the island.

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paragraphThe number of people expected to visit Bermuda by cruise ship in 2020 is 1,000 less than the 544,000 predicted for this year. A government announcement this week said that next year’s schedule included “more total calls, more passengers, and more visits distributed throughout the year”. It said an estimated 543,000 cruise ship passengers would visit the island in 2020. The Ministry of Tourism and Transport said last December that the island was expected to host about 544,000 passengers in 2019. A ministry spokesman said this week: “The emphasis is more correctly placed on the total number of calls, an increased distribution of cruise ships throughout the year, and a greater number of stops in smaller ports rather than the specific number.” Hurricane-related cancellations meant that the year-end total was expected to be lower than the earlier prediction. The spokesman explained: “In terms of absolute numbers, as a result of cruise cancellations due to weather conditions, yes, we are likely to be below the projected 544,000. However, we won’t be compiling those stats until the end of the year, when we can take into consideration all the changes that occurred during the year.” The Government said on Sunday: “The total projected number of ship calls for this year fell slightly from 185 to 176 due to eight cancellations during recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic.” No information was given on the remaining call included in the drop in numbers. The Government added that almost 60 per cent of this year’s cruise visitors came during the “non-summer” months from September to May. It said next year’s line-up will continue the “encouraging trend” of extending the season into December. A combination of contract calls and occasional callers brought the total number of cruise ship visits projected in the 2020 schedule to 197. St George’s was expected to take 19 calls — up from 16 this year — with the same number for Hamilton, an increase of six. Figures from the Bermuda Tourism Authority showed more than 484,000 cruise passengers visited in 2018 — a record-breaking year for overall visitor arrivals and which pumped about $505 million into the economy. The first draft of the 2020 cruise ship schedule can be viewed at http://www.marops.bm/shipping_button_link.aspx and is subject to change.

paragraphFormer New York mayor and part-time Bermuda resident Michael Bloomberg was unveiled last night as the keynote speaker for the Bermuda Climate Risk Forum this month. A Bermuda Tourism Authority spokeswoman said Mr Bloomberg will kick off the forum at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club with a conversation on climate risk with David Burt, the Premier . Kevin Dallas, the BTA chief executive, said the organisation was honoured to have Mr Bloomberg — an entrepreneur and philanthropist — involved in the event. Mr Dallas added: “We hope the forum provides a platform for stimulating community discussion on this critical issue, showcasing our corporate, science and government stakeholders — and also providing another great reason to bring clients, brokers, board directors and other guests to the island for our ‘Bermuda-fall’ PGA Tour event.” The forum will be held by the BTA on October 30, in association with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and the Bermuda Championship. Bill Curry, the president and CEO of Bios, said: “We’re very pleased to be a part of this important conversation about climate risk, along with industry and public-sector stakeholders. We have a long history of studying the climate from an ocean perspective and conducting research into risk with our partners in the insurance industry through our Risk Prediction Initiative. This forum gives us an opportunity to explore the intersection of climate science and an increased understanding of risk from multiple perspectives.” Mr Bloomberg and Mr Burt will be followed by two panel discussions, one on the problems created by climate change and the other on science and business of risk and resilience. Mr Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP, launched his information technology start-up in 1981 and built it into a global organisation that employs nearly 20,000 people in 120 countries. He served three terms as mayor of New York City and has tackled the issue of climate change through Bloomberg Philanthropies. Mr Bloomberg recently launched Beyond Carbon, the largest campaign to fight the climate crisis in the US, designed to speed up the closure of coal plants and stop the construction of gas plants. Registration for the Bermuda Climate Risk Forum is $175 per person and includes attendance at the morning event, followed by lunch and ferry transport to and from the invitation-only Pro-Am of the PGA Tour: Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton.

paragraphElijah Cummings, Baltimore Congressman and “friend of Bermuda”, has died at the age of 68. The congressman died at Johns Hopkins Hospital from “complications concerning longstanding health challenges” yesterday. Ewart Brown, former Premier, said: “Elijah Cummings was a friend, a fellow alumnus of Howard and a friend of Bermuda. He worked quietly to ward off the efforts of those who would make life more difficult for Bermuda insurance companies. He once told me that one of the reasons he attended Howard and eventually spent more than two decades in public service was that as a high-school student leader he had admired what the Howard students were doing in the late sixties.” Dr Brown added: “America and his friends will miss him.” Mr Cummings, a Howard University and University of Maryland graduate, practiced law for 19 years before he was elected to Congress in 1996. As a congressman he served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Select Committee on Benghazi and as chairman of the Congressional Black Congress. Mr Cummings came to Bermuda in 1998 as the guest speaker at the 17th annual Labour Day Banquet. In his presentation, Mr Cummings told the audience that the gap between the “haves and the have-nots” had grown across the world. He said: “There is a reason why united we stand, divided we fall. And the last thing folk want to see is you all united.” Mr Cummings also heaped praise on Jennifer Smith, the then leader of the Progressive Labour Party, in advance of the party’s historic election victory later that year. He said: “When I was told that the leader of the party was a woman, and tough, and bad, I appreciated her and I know how special and unique that would be in America.” Mr Cummings met multiple Bermuda premiers, including Dr Brown and Craig Cannonier. Cummings was a formidable orator who advocated for the poor in his black-majority district, which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore. Former President Barack Obama, whose 2008 presidential bid counted Cummings as an early supporter, said he and his wife, Michelle, were “heartbroken” by the loss of their friend. “He showed us all not only the importance of checks and balances within our democracy, but also the necessity of good people stewarding it,” Obama said. He described Cummings as “steely yet compassionate, principled, yet open to new perspectives”.

paragraphA Bermudian film producer has backed the use of blockchain technology to fund film projects. Alyson Thompson spoke on the panel “Fintech & Blockchain in Entertainment” at the Liquidity Summit on New Finance, presented by Hub Culture, on the second day of Bermuda Tech Week 2019. The 31-year-old Warwick Academy graduate explained to an audience of business people, film-makers and conference delegates, including Dr Dre’s producer, stu-b-doo (Stuart Bell), that she and her colleagues funded the nine-minute short film, Detained, with the assistance of the firm Singular DTV, now renamed Breaker. The company helped the film-makers to raise an amount in cryptocurrency that, when converted to US currency, totaled $50,000, enough to fund the film. “Breaker created an app, Tokit, that allowed us to create a fundraising campaign similar to Kickstarter or GoFundMe,” said Ms Thompson, a 31-year-old graduate of Warwick Academy. It’s another step in the democratization process, and the ability to tell your own story. The thing that was attractive to me was that we could take our story and make our movie without any of the middlemen, the people who say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’, or who say ‘make it this way instead. We really got a lot of authority on how the film was told. It has changed my idea about what is possible.” The technology used, blockchain, is a digital record of transactions, so named because of its structure in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together as in a chain. As the “guinea pig” for Breaker’s foray into financing films using blockchain, Ms Thompson said the film’s director, Khushnuda Shukurova of Tajikistan, was able to retain all rights to the film. As to who financed the film, Ms Thompson said: “I don’t know.” Film-maker Antoine Hunt, whose feature-length documentary A Story of Mezcal screened at the Bermuda International Film Festival in March, watched the panel with interest. Mezcal was funded by a private investor. “I was aware Alyson had done that, and it definitely intrigues me, but it’s something I’m trying to wrap my head around,” Mr Hunt said. For future projects I am definitely going to look into it. I have four producers out looking for funding now, and I’ll talk to them about this, and see if any of them operates in this world.” Now traveling the film festival circuit, Detained tells the story of two Syrian siblings who receive official legal documents to permanently join their father in the United States. However, when their aircraft lands at JFK, they are taken into custody for interrogation by Custom and Border Police. The film next screens at the Reel Sisters Diaspora Film Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Brooklyn on Sunday at 1pm. The event is a qualifying festival for the short film Academy Award.

paragraphWhere you work used to have a lot to do with where you live. But Chris Evans, co-founder of software start-up Flyt Limited, believes that may soon change. “There is this huge trend happening where remote work is becoming the new norm,” Mr Evans told a Bermuda Tech Summit audience at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. “It doesn’t matter where you live any more.” He moved his family to Bermuda from Los Angeles in May, mostly for the Atlantic time zone. Working remotely in Los Angeles, he’d struggled with the eight-hour time zone difference between himself and the company’s offices in London. “If I had a 9am in London, that was 1am in Los Angeles,” he said. “And I was working all through the night for eight hours. Then my kids woke up in the morning. I said this doesn’t make any sense, what am I doing?” But it wasn’t just the time zone that made Bermuda appealing to the Evans family. They had two young children and wanted somewhere free of viruses like Zika. They had also learnt to love the sun in California. “My wife has become solar powered,” Mr Evans joked. His birthplace Australia was Bermuda’s prime contender, but Mrs Evans didn’t want to move there. When they arrived in Bermuda they found a welcoming and hospitable community. Mrs Evans joined local parenting group Mama Bermuda. “On any given day 18 mothers and babies can show up,” Mr Evans said. “My wife will say it’s my turn to host the playgroup.” When they first decided to move to the island, the hardest thing was just knowing if they could. “It might be time for Bermuda to consider implementing a remote worker or digital nomad visa,” Mr Evans said. He said remote workers bring a lot of benefit to a community without actually taking away local jobs. But now that his family have settled down they don’t really know how long they’ll be allowed to stay. Telecommunications has also presented a challenge for Mr Evans. When he arrived, he had a fantasy about directing his teams in Canada and Europe, while working remotely from the beach, or beside a pool, but that hasn’t always worked out well. “At the moment that is challenging,” he said. “Getting on wi-fi in certain places is fine, but the mobile network is good, but not good enough. When you try to do a video conference call on the beach and it is cutting in and out, that makes you sigh.” He first decided to work remotely when he moved to California in 2018, to save on the expense of an office. He liked it so much he allowed all of his staff to work remotely, as long as they were all within four time zones of each other. A few of his staff chose to work from an office, but most chose to work at home. This helped to solve a problem he’d been battling with since the Brexit vote in 2016; it was hard to find new hires who were willing to brave the uncertainty and move to London. “After Brexit was announced we had no applicants coming through and the quality level of hires dropped dramatically,” he said. “Now that we are remote, the pool of who we could hire was so much bigger. Our time to hire in London was about 120 days. Now, with remote access, we are down to 21 days. That means you can wait longer before you have to think about who you are going to hire.” One of his concerns about working remotely was maintaining the cohesion of the team. How do you trust your coworkers if you don’t work side by side with them? “We found that working remotely actually gives you more advantages,” he said. “You have this budget to pull people together to have experiences. My team came to Bermuda last week for a week. They got to be in the sunshine. Some of them were from Winnipeg and Toronto, places where it is snowing. They were like wow, this is the greatest company we’ve worked for. We went out on the boat together and went to the Dog House together. It’s those experiences that creates a team.” In December he sold Flyt, which offers software for restaurants and restaurant suppliers, to Just Eat, another British takeout and delivery company, for £22 million ($28 million). As per agreement with Just Eat, he lays down the reins at the end of this year. “I promised my wife I would take six months off,” he said. “We plan to spend that here.” After that, he’s looking at another start-up maybe to do with working remotely.

paragraphA meeting for parents to discuss a proposal to axe a middle school was scrapped last night after only one turned up. Two separate meetings — one for teachers and another for parents — were planned to discuss the future of TN Tatem Middle School. Lisa Smith, the interim director of the Board of Education, led the closed-doors meeting with teachers at Bermuda College. About two dozen teachers turned up for the event. Several teachers, who all asked not to be named, spoke to The Royal Gazette after the meeting. One woman said that teachers at the Warwick public school wanted it to remain open. She added: “We need to get together and put together a proposal that makes sense.” But the woman, who highlighted the Government’s plan to phase out middle schools altogether, said that she was not optimistic it would be reopened. She added that the education of pupils from TN Tatem who are now at other schools had suffered. The woman explained: “It’s overwhelming for one school or even two schools to accommodate all the students.” Another teacher questioned if the views of teachers would be considered by the Government or if the consultation was only about “going through the motions”. The Ministry of Education announced last week that a consultation process would be carried out to determine the future of TN Tatem, which was shut in April due to mould problems. A ministry spokeswoman that meetings would be held with “critical stakeholders” before public consultation. She said: “The purpose of this pre-consultation period is to share information and obtain valuable feedback from parents, staff, principals, union representatives, boards of governors, and students, where possible.” She added that information gathered this month would be used to help steer the formal consultation process, which is expected to start next month. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, announced in May that the school would be closed for this academic year. He said at the time that work to tackle mould and other problems would take at least ten months to complete and would cost $3 million.

paragraphRoyal Gazette Editorial. "From the first session of what would become the House of Assembly 399 years ago, Bermudians have always been fiercely independent, much to the chagrin of past governors and others sent to assist the island in its governance. Indeed, the closest Bermuda has come to independence was not in the 20th or 21st centuries, but in the late 1700s, when the American Revolution was under way and many Bermudians were inclined to join their colonial brethren in rebellion. That did not happen. Bermuda’s isolation and the British putting in place a stronger military presence after the gunpowder theft prevented it. However, it is worth noting that independence in 1776 would not have seen little Bermuda go its own way, but it would have joined a much larger whole as the 14th colony. Today, as it does every decade or so, independence is starting to be discussed again and the passing of advocate Walton Brown may have given it added impetus. Bermuda has opted against independence in the past because most Bermudians have decided that it is not in their best interests and that the benefits of going it alone are outweighed by the disadvantages. This is not to say that Bermuda could not survive as an independent country; it could, just as similar-sized countries such as Antigua & Barbuda do. But in the critical areas of governance, the economy, defence and internal security, would Bermudians be in a better position as an independent nation than they are now as a British Overseas Territory? That is the question that Bermudians must ask themselves. There are arguments that Bermuda would be more unified as an independent nation and it is also true that many Bermudians feel no particular ardor for Britain, the Union Jack or the Royal Family. This is perhaps more true for black Bermudians than whites, many of whom feel some natural ambivalence towards a country that permitted their ancestors to be shipped in chains across the Atlantic to be forced to work in bondage, and then permitted a formalized system of segregation to exist for 130 years after the Westminster Parliament abolished slavery in the British Empire. As valid as those feelings may be, in the end Bermudians must be hard-headed about their choices — this is a decision that affects generations of Bermudians yet unborn. Over the years, the pros and cons of independence have changed with internal and external circumstances. In the 1990s, at the time of Sir John Swan’s ill-fated referendum, there were perhaps stronger arguments in favour of independence than there are today. The economy was strong and growing rapidly as international business took off, while Bermudians carried the limited British Dependent Territories passport for overseas work and travel. The grant of British passports to all Bermudians in the early 2000s meant that the advantages of remaining a British Overseas Territory increased dramatically. Bermudians could now live, study and work not only in Britain but throughout Europe. Many have taken advantage of this, and although some will bemoan the departure of young Bermudians abroad, it is worth noting that this has been an important release of pressure on the moribund Bermuda economy in the past decade. The period of the 1990s and the 2000s was also a period of globalization, including the freeing-up of financial markets around the world, of which Bermuda was a beneficiary. The use of international financial centres such as Bermuda, while not universally acclaimed, was accepted. Since the global economic crisis of 2008, this has changed. The pressure that Britain has put on its Overseas Territories to make public the beneficial owners of businesses on their company registers is one example of this — and this is being used as an argument in favour of independence. But this pressure is hardly singular to Britain: the same pressures have been coming from the European Union, the United States, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, and the various organisations that have been spawned by these international bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force. The pressure has grown since 2008 as large Western nations have seen their finances deteriorate and populist political protests towards corporations and the “1 per cent” have taken hold. So the question before Bermuda as these supposedly grassroots discussions evolve is, what is in Bermudians’ best interests? Does Bermuda go it alone or does it continue with the status quo? Many of the arguments against independence are well established. Bermuda is a self-governing territory with long and well-established rights and privileges. It does not pay for its external defence or external relations, which are provided for by Britain. Its legislative system and court system are based on British law and, crucially, especially for international business, its highest court is the Privy Council in London, which gives business a high degree of comfort. While that may not change, independence would add an element of uncertainty. So would the insurance policy that if things in Bermuda went really wrong — as they did in the Turks & Caicos in recent years — Britain would step in. This is, to be sure, the nuclear option, but it gives Bermuda’s business partners a sense of security they do not have in small, independent countries. Bermuda’s lucrative aircraft and shipping registries also benefit from falling within the British umbrella. Bermuda can and does seek and get assistance and advice from Britain on a wide range of issues. And as noted earlier, regardless of what happens with Brexit, Bermudians benefit from holding a British passport, which, even if Britain leaves the EU, would still allow them the right to live, work and study in Britain. If Bermuda became independent, there is no reason whatsoever to think that this would continue. One of the reasons for independence would appear to be the divergence of views between Britain and Bermuda on the question of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage. There was a move in the British Parliament to impose recognition of same-sex marriage on Bermuda. This was rejected. The British Government recognised — rightly, even if it disappointed same-sex marriage supporters in Bermuda — that this was an internal decision on which the Bermuda Parliament had already voted, in this case firmly against it. This decision by the British Government should be an argument against independence, as it clearly recognizes where its rights end and where Bermuda’s rights start. In other cases, Bermuda’s complaints about British interference are more the result of Bermuda’s own inaction and refusal to engage with our British partner. Bermuda’s recent refusal to appear before the House of Commons Foreign Relations Committee is an example of this. Instead of engaging with British MPs, Bermuda’s leaders took offence and refused to attend. If this is an example of how an independent Bermuda would conduct its foreign affairs, Bermudians should be very worried. One of the most longstanding arguments against independence has been over cost, and this is more relevant today than ever before. Independence would result in the establishment of some kind of foreign affairs apparatus and the need for Bermuda to beef up its external defence, now provided for by Britain. There would be other costs as well. For a government that frequently has to declare that it has no money, the prospects of taking on millions of dollars in additional costs should fill both finance minister Curtis Dickinson and taxpayers with fear; taking on additional obligations — with no assurance of a concurrent increase in revenues — makes no sense. It is possible that there would be some financial benefits: presumably, Bermuda would have more freedom to set its own airline policy and it could also negotiate its own treaties on tax with other countries and the EU. But would Bermuda, isolated and alone, be able to negotiate from a position of strength in these circumstances? Or from weakness? On balance, independence — or sovereignty as some spin doctors have taken to calling it — still contains more costs and risks than benefits."

paragraphSpaces are available for the final two open-air theatrical performances chronicling the story of enslaved Bermuda heroine Sally Bassett this month. The free evening events, held on Front Street’s Cabinet Office lawn, are generating positive reviews from audiences since being launched as part of a new fall cultural calendar celebrating black heritage. “It was an incredibly moving, thoughtful and inspiring account,” said Community Affairs Minister Lovitta Foggo. “We value community partners like the Bermuda Tourism Authority who join with us in raising cultural awareness about our island. There’s still time for visitors and residents to attend these cultural events honouring Sally Bassett and other slavery-era figures. They are empowering activities, and I encourage as many people as possible to participate in the remaining event offerings.” The last two scheduled performances take place today, Friday, October 18, and next Thursday, October 24. The Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Department of Community & Cultural Affairs and the Cabinet Office have worked collaboratively to sponsor four performances, which are free to the public. “It’s an ambition of our National Tourism Plan to elevate Bermuda’s black heritage in the visitor experience and this performance, an excerpt from the Bermudian play Trial by Fire, is a compelling way to deliver on our cultural tourism objectives,” said the BTA’s Chief Experience Development Officer Glenn Jones. “The performances are stunning, the script is compelling, and, with the use of dance and fire, the direction is imaginative. Anyone passionate about Bermuda culture will be mesmerized by this evening of artistic expression.” Enslaved housekeeper Sarah “Sally” Bassett was burnt at the stake in 1730 and has become a symbol of resistance. She was implicated in a poison plot and accused of encouraging other enslaved people to poison their masters. Although Bassett maintained her innocence through a trial, she was convicted and publicly executed. Over the centuries, she became a symbol of black resilience, and a statue in her honour was erected a decade ago in the grounds of the Bermuda Government’s Cabinet Office. This month’s performances commemorate the 10th anniversary of the statue’s unveiling.

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October 17

paragraphThe man who leads global fintech company Circle says Bermuda is way ahead of other places in the world when it comes to understanding digital assets. Jeremy Allaire, chief executive officer of Circle, spoke at the start of the Bermuda Tech Summit, part of Tech Week, where he shared an on stage conversation with David Burt. The Premier opened the summit with an announcement that the Bermuda Government has committed to accepting one-to-one US dollar-backed digital currencies that are regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, for payment of government taxes, services and fees. The initiative has support from a number of technology companies, including Circle, and it is expected it will be operating in the new year. More than 300 people attended the summit at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. At the opening session, Mr Burt said: “Technology is the future. If you look at five of the six largest companies in the world today, they are technology companies. We know that embracing new technology is necessary for the future growth of our economy, and so, in Bermuda, we are making sure that we are leading the world in facilitating innovation. If existing and new businesses cannot innovate in Bermuda, they will find other jurisdictions to innovate, meaning Bermuda will lose out on opportunities. It is essential that Bermuda remains a centre of innovation and continues to improve our competitive advantage in financial services.” While Mr Allaire, explaining why he chose Bermuda to operate his business, said: “To build our international business, we needed to find a jurisdiction that understood the breadth of digital assets and the scope of what we want to achieve. Bermuda is way ahead than any other country in this regard. As the adoption of digital currencies becomes mainstream, countries like Bermuda who are participating in the innovation stand to benefit and are helping to create a world where the exchange of value is as efficient, free and open as the exchange of information, knowledge and content is today.” The Bermuda Business Development Agency hosted the free-to-attend summit, titled “Focused on the Future,” in partnership with FinTech Bermuda. Attendees heard from expert speakers who discussed the transformational impact of technology on investment and business models in a wide range of industry sectors. Keynote speaker Terence Mills, CEO of Al.io and a member of the Forbes Technology Council contributing on the topic of artificial intelligence, spoke to a packed room about the future of work and the challenges and potential of integrating AI into workflows. He gave a presentation on using technology to drive efficiencies with the US healthcare system as an example case. Other panels highlighted relevant themes such as the increasing demand from customers for connectivity in hospitality, remote working as a future business model in place of an office and thinking inclusively when it comes to building technological infrastructure. Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the BDA, said: “The tech-savvy and modern business approach that Bermuda is inculcating serves to enhance our appeal in the eyes of the next generation of business leaders, investors and high-net-worths. Bermuda has long been a domicile of choice for insurance, asset management and trusts among many other industries, thanks to the stability, quality and ease of doing business it offers. A combination of these same features, along with our future-focused approach, are now attracting technologists and innovators, the likes of whom are with us today.” The inaugural Bermuda Tech Week, which also featured Hub Culture’s Liquidity Summit, continues tomorrow with the second day of Tech Beach Retreat, which is being held in Bermuda for the first time.

paragraphA magistrate accused of refusal to take a breath test after a car crash is expected to hear the verdict in his case tomorrow. Khamisi Tokunbo was charged after a collision on South Road, Paget, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach on January 19. The 64-year-old denied refusal of a request for a breath sample without reasonable excuse and faced a Magistrates’ Court trial. Charles Richardson, his lawyer, concluded his submissions yesterday. The court earlier heard that police constable Colin Mill, who attended the scene of the crash, saw Mr Tokunbo emerge from the “back end” of his vehicle, which had gone off the road and over an embankment. The police officer also said that another man, Allen Robinson, was outside the vehicle and had suffered facial injuries. Mr Richardson said yesterday that Pc Mill told the court that he smelled alcohol on both men. He pointed out that custody sergeant Olasunkanmi Smart Akinmola did not provide evidence that he smelled alcohol from Mr Tokunbo. The defence lawyer added that Pc Mill gave evidence, which was contested, that “Mr Tokunbo was unsteady, or swaying on his feet”. Mr Richardson suggested that the policeman’s request for Mr Tokunbo to “come away from the edge” of the road, which the court heard on body camera footage, was “pure theatrics for the camera”. He added: “If you look at the video, he’s not swaying.” The court heard earlier that John Jefferis, a taxi driver, had told Pc Mill that he had pulled Mr Robinson out of the passenger seat of the car, but did not say Mr Tokunbo had been at the wheel. The court earlier heard that Mr Tokunbo, of Warwick, said at the scene that he was not the driver of the crashed car. Mr Richardson submitted this week that unless an officer had “reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Mr Tokunbo was driving while impaired” a demand for a breath sample would be unlawful, which would mean Mr Tokunbo did not have to comply. But Mark Diel, for the Crown, said yesterday that the “reasonable and probable grounds” test applied to the officer’s power of arrest, which in turn covered a demand for a breath sample. He referred to a submission made by Mr Richardson that Pc Mill took the word of Mr Jefferis as opposed to that of a sitting magistrate. Mr Diel said: “Mr Jefferis’s comments supported Pc Mill’s view that the defendant had to have been driving, given what he said and given the fact — his view or opinion — that Mr Robinson was incapable of driving. So it wasn’t ‘take him at his word’ but supported the other evidence that he had obtained.” Mr Diel admitted that he had not seen Mr Tokunbo “swaying” in the body camera video. But he pointed out that was based on about a minute of footage, and the court had heard that Pc Mill was at the scene for about 12 minutes before he made the arrest. Valdis Foldats, the Cayman Islands magistrate in charge of the proceedings, thanked the lawyers for a “well fought case”. He told the court that the “many issues” which arose meant it would take time for him to consider his verdict. The trial continues.

paragraphA man behind bars despite a ruling last month that his rights were violated has launched legal action to regain his freedom. Mark Pettingill, who appeared for Westgate inmate Dennis Robinson, said yesterday that his client must be released from prison. He added: “He just can’t, and shouldn’t, be there right now. He’s not properly there. Why is he sitting down at Westgate for another night? He’s not charged with anything. He hasn’t had a duly constituted hearing, whether it was three years ago or today. How is he there? That’s my fundamental question.” He was speaking at a hearing yesterday on civil action taken by Mr Robinson against the Parole Board and the Commissioner of Corrections. Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said that she would release a written judgment at a later date. Assistant Justice Delroy Duncan last month ordered that a retrial of Mr Robinson, referred to as the first plaintiff, on an alleged drugs offence should be stayed after he found the defendant’s right to a fair hearing within a reasonable period of time had been breached. Mr Justice Duncan said in a written judgment: “Further, when I take into account all the circumstances surrounding his incarceration and the conduct of the prosecution of the charge the first plaintiff faces, it would be unfair to retry him.” Mr Robinson was arrested on November 15, 2016 and charged with intent to supply 418.7 grams of cannabis. Mr Robinson, who had been released on licence by the Parole Board, was recalled into custody. He denied the drugs offence at a court appearance in February 2017. His trial was postponed several times before it started in Magistrates’ Court in May last year. Closing statements were delivered two months later. But Magistrate Archibald Warner recused himself from the case in October last year because of a conflict. A retrial was set for January, but constitutional concerns were raised before it could start. Mr Robinson has been in custody since his arrest. Mr Pettingill said that the decision made to recall Mr Robinson in November 2016 was unlawful. But Shakira Dill-Francois, who appeared for the Parole Board and Commissioner of Corrections, argued that just because there had been a withdrawal of charges against a person “doesn’t mean they will automatically be released from prison”. Ms Dill-Francois added: “In fact, you’ll see from the original ruling of Mr Justice Duncan he specifically says that he cannot quash that recall.”

paragraphMoney saved from the potential axing of TN Tatem Middle School should be reinvested in education, a One Bermuda Alliance senator said yesterday. Dwayne Robinson, the OBA Senate spokesman on education, said that the closure of the Warwick school would create “considerable savings”. He added: “These must be reinvested in better support for our teachers and giving schools the equipment they are still lacking.” The future of the closed school will be discussed at two meetings today. The Ministry of Education announced last week that a consultation process would be carried out to determine what would be done with the school. School staff were invited to a meeting today at 4pm at Bermuda College. A further meeting with parents will be held at 5.30pm. Mr Robinson said that the possible closure of the school “has seemed inevitable for some time and does not come as a surprise”. He added: “Being built on marshland has given rise to numerous and ongoing issues that both the Progressive Labour Party and OBA have grappled with.” Mr Robinson said the possible closure “offers some opportunities”. He added: “In our Budget Reply this year we said, ‘With a declining youth population, rationalization of infrastructure will allow more funds to be dedicated towards teacher hiring and development. The Hopkins Report focused its findings on quality of teaching, reforming the ministry and strategic management’.” Mr Robinson said that more information was needed on the “master plan” for all public schools. He asked: “Given the declining school population, what are the minister’s intentions? It is all very well having a meeting for the TN Tatem parents, but when will the minister roll out his plan to the public?”

paragraphHouseholders were warned yesterday to alert the fire service before they burnt garden waste. The Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service spoke out after they received several reports of an unattended fire at a property on North Shore Road, Pembroke, near Overview Hill, at about 5.15pm on Tuesday. A spokesman said: “This incident had been reported to the dispatch by the homeowner as a controlled burn of horticultural waste. We responded to investigate as we received multiple calls from the public that the fire was unattended.” The spokesman said anyone who wanted to burn garden waste should contact the fire service control room on 296 7599 to give details, including location, time of start, time of completion and contact details for the person monitoring the fire.

paragraphAirlines have found that seat sales do little to sell seats to Bermuda, a company hired to help boost air arrivals revealed. Brad DiFlore and Oliver Lamb, managing directors of Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, told attendees at a Tourism Summit at the Fairmont Southampton that airlines had said lowering the cost of seats on Bermuda flights only decreased revenues. Mr DiFlore said, as part of their research into Bermuda’s market, the firm spoke to a range of airlines about the advantages and disadvantages of the island as a destination. He added: “It’s a solid market. It’s a very solid business market and they like that as it supports high fares. It’s generally a stable market — it doesn’t vary a lot over time and summers are excellent. But lower fares do not stimulate demand. They just reduce revenue. We have heard that from a number of carriers. When they lower fares, they don’t see a spike in demand. They see a little bit of demand increase, but not necessarily enough to offset the amount they dropped the fare by.” Mr DiFlore said Bermuda was an expensive destination for visitors beyond the cost of flights, which would limit the impact reduced airfares could have. But he added first and business class seats to Bermuda — particularly from the UK — filled up faster than cheaper economy class seats. Mr Lamb said that the BA flights from Gatwick showed that “more than half the travellers are not in economy class. They are traveling in business, first or premium economy”. He added: “For them usually, more than two thirds of their market is sitting in the back half of the plane. They look at Bermuda and think this is very, very, very weird, and the problem with it being very weird like this is their planes are configured as if the market was two-thirds economy class.” He said that most British Airways passengers to and from Bermuda would notice that business and first class seats were full, but there was still space in economy class. Mr Lamb added: “Every time that plane comes in, a lot of those seats remain empty, and that’s fewer people we are bringing to the island, fewer people staying in our hotels and less money being spent on island. We look at that as a huge opportunity. When we have half of economy seats unfilled, what can we do about changing that?” Aaron Adderley, the president of airport operators Skyport, said that less expensive hotel options for visitors could encourage value-conscious travellers from Europe to visit the island. He said: “Any time that we have sat down with an airline and talked about the viability of introducing a Bermuda service, the conversation has always shifted towards what kind of room inventory is available. The fact that we have, with the Bermudiana property coming online and properties like Grotto Bay, the idea of having those affordable price points is really attractive to UK carriers and I think ultimately we will eventually secure an alternative service to the UK.” Mr Adderley added that there was a strong link between capacity and demand, and that additional service from Europe would increase the number of visitors, not divide them among competing airlines. He said when Zoom airlines introduced its short-lived service between Bermuda and the UK, it had little effect on British Airways. Mr Adderley said: “For that one summer that they were operating and they were filling those planes, when we looked at the year-over-year difference in traffic for British Airways there was a difference of one passenger. Every single person that Zoom brought to this island was stimulated traffic. There was no cannibalization taking place.” Kevin Dallas, the Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO, said he hoped that the creation of a new strategy to improve airlift would bring a “right-sized” expansion of service from the US. He said: “My ambition would be that we get a decent season out of Newark. I think there’s a case for year-round service out of DC. I think we should be looking at incrementally improving what we have today rather than expecting that we are going to have 20 direct connections by 2021 — although that would be nice.”

paragraphA shift away from underwriting and investing involving dirty energy has been announced by Axis Capital Holdings Limited. It follows a report that the company had dropped out of bidding to provide insurance coverage for the Carmichael coalmine, a major project in Australia. The new policy was announced yesterday and addresses thermal coal and oil sands-related underwriting and investments. The Bermuda-based company said it is a component of a broader corporate citizenship programme led by its general counsel Conrad Brooks, and overseen by president and chief executive officer Albert Benchimol and the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee of the Axis board. The programme focuses on four key areas: environment, diversity and inclusion, philanthropy and advocacy. The new thermal coal and oil sands underwriting and investment policy, which becomes effective on January 1. On the underwriting side, Axis said it will not provide new insurance or facultative reinsurance for the construction of new thermal coal plants or mines and their dedicated infrastructure or oil sands extraction and pipeline projects and their dedicated infrastructure; or to companies that generate 30 per cent or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining, generate 30 per cent or more of their power from thermal coal, or hold more than 20 per cent of their reserves in oil sands. In addition, renewals will be considered on a case-by-case basis until the beginning of 2023. Exceptions to the policy may be considered on a limited basis until January 1, 2025 in countries where sufficient access to alternative energy sources is not available. Axis also said it will not make new investments in companies that generate 30 per cent or more of their revenues from thermal coal mining, that generate 30 per cent or more of their power from thermal coal, or that hold more than 20 per cent of their reserves in oil sands. “We believe insurers have an important role to play in mitigating climate risk and transitioning to a low-carbon economy,” said Mr Benchimol. This policy is in line with our broader strategies such as reducing investments in lines that do not align with our long-term approach; investing in growth areas, such as renewable energy insurance where we are a top-five global player; and growing our corporate citizenship programme, a core focus of which is creating a positive environmental impact.” While Mr Brooks said: “We strive to ensure that every business decision we make is guided by our corporate values, and we believe this new thermal coal and oil sands policy is the right thing to do for our planet and our business.” A United Nations report has found that phasing out coal power worldwide by 2050 could limit global warming to 1.5C through reduced carbon emissions. A number of insurance companies in Europe and Australia have stepped up efforts to pull away from the coal industry, including Axa, the parent of Axa XL, Chubb, Allianz and Zurich Insurance Group. While Swiss Re was named as the best insurer in terms of policies on coal insurance, divestment and climate leadership in a survey of 24 major insurers by Unfriend Coal campaign last year. Peter Bosshard, co-ordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign, said: “With Axis Capital, reinsurers controlling 45 per cent of the non-life market have now adopted coal exit policies. No longer covering coal is quickly becoming the global norm for responsible insurers and reinsurers, and the laggards in the United States, in East Asia and on the Lloyd’s market must quickly follow suit.” In a statement, the campaign noted that Axis’s policy includes exemptions for “countries where sufficient access to alternative energy sources is not available” over the next five years, which it believes could allow it to cover the majority of the 800-plus coal-fired power plants currently proposed globally, effectively postponing action until 2025. Since the launch of the Unfriend Coal campaign two years ago, 17 insurers and reinsurers have adopted policies restricting coal insurance and four have adopted policies on tar sands insurance. More than half of these policies were adopted this year.

paragraphHundreds of Bermudians took to the streets of Hamilton last night to raise awareness about breast cancer. Nancy DeSilva, a five-year cancer survivor, said it was “amazing” to see such a large crowd come out in support of breast cancer awareness. She said: “It’s great, just seeing the sea of blue with a little bit of pink is amazing.” Ms DeSilva added that she was happy that patients can receive radiation treatment without going overseas. She said: “I’m really appreciative of the fact that they have radiation treatment available on the island now, because I had to go away for that. I think it’s amazing and great for anybody who has to undergo the same sort of thing.” The BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk was scheduled to set out at 6pm, traveling north as far as St John’s Road before marching back through the city and down Front Street. Sandra Benevides said she has taken part in the walk for several years as a way of remembering her aunt who died of cancer. She added: “It’s amazing to see this number of people come out to support the cause. It’s packed.” Larry Mussenden, Director of Public Prosecutions, said he and several of his colleagues felt it was important to come out to support those who have fought breast cancer. Mr Mussenden: “It’s a really important event, and I think it’s important for everyone in Bermuda to come out and support it if they can. I think these sorts of events really show the community spirit of Bermuda. It shows how we can all come together just like we did when we got the supplies for hurricane relief in the Bahamas.” Sharon Smith and Verlina Caines said for them, the event was a great combination of exercise and support for a good cause. Ms Smith said: “We came out to exercise and support the cause of breast cancer awareness. This is my first time. Ms Caines added: “We enjoy walking, and it’s for a good cause. It’s always a good turnout.”

paragraphA former resident of under-threat historic Dockyard houses pleaded for their preservation yesterday. Roger Bendall, who now lives more than 10,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, said the crumbling Victorian-era terraced homes in Albert Row should be restored as a memorial to the “heroic” craftsmen who lived there and worked in the former Royal Navy base in the darkest days of the Second World War. Mr Bendall wrote to The Royal Gazette after owners the West End Development Corporation announced earlier that the 16 homes, vacant for six years, would have to be taken off the list of historic buildings and knocked down unless millions of dollars were spent to make them livable again. The quango estimated that refurbishment of the four blocks of houses would cost more than $10 million. Mr Bendall said news of Albert Row’s fate had caused him “great sadness”. He added: “For my brother and for me, the destruction of our childhood home in Albert Row would be a great tragedy — but we believe, too, that for Bermuda it would be missed opportunity.” Mr Bendall said the homes were a symbol of the “epic” experience of life in Bermuda during the war. He explained: “Surrounded by U-boats, and at the mercy of enemy battleships, Bermuda was a soft target, with Dockyard workers and their families living in fear of a battery of attacks on the Dockyard munitions store and the consequent destruction of every building on Ireland Island, including Albert Row.” The buildings, built between 1845 and 1860, were home to families of skilled workers, including shipwrights, seamen and carpenters. Mr Bendall, a member of the Naval Dockyards Society, added: “Albert Row is one of the world’s last remaining examples of a unique form of Dockyard architecture, built specifically in the mid-19th century to accommodate the skilled artisans so essential to the maintenance and performance of an international maritime power.” He said that his father, Alfred “Bill” Bendall, had helped maintain the Atlantic convoys of supplies from the United States to Britain during the war. He was posted to the island in 1936, and the family left in 1950. Mr Bendall added: “Working day and night in life-threatening conditions, these men would take their small craft and tugboats out through the channel and tow sinking ships into safety and onto the floating dock for repair. U-boats sitting on either side of the channel entrance were able to torpedo and disable merchant and naval ships as they passed into and out of the channel. Our father and his workmates went out into the open waters beyond the reef in all weather to rescue the sinking ships and bring them and together with their grateful crews to safety. We know this because our home was replete with gifts from the masters of the US, Royal Navy and merchant marine vessels they saved.” Mr Bendall added the story of the civilian heroes who risked their lives deserved recognition — and could boost tourism. He said: “This is not just the chance to tell a truly heroic narrative, but also the chance to build a commercially successful tourist business. The Dockyard Township including Albert Row offers a unique story that is more relevant and accessible to the tourists of today than the laneways and colonial buildings of St George’s.” Mr Bendall was backed by the Naval Dockyards Society in Britain, which accused Wedco of a failure to invest in the houses and allowed them to “decay by neglect”. Ann Coats, chairwoman of the NDS, added: “That is not responsible management.” Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development manager, said the quango had looked for a developer to take on the terrace for 15 years without success. Ms Coats said Wedco was mandated to care for historic buildings such as Albert Row, which have not been maintained since 2009. A similar block of 19th-century homes, Victoria Row, was demolished in 2016. But Wedco said that Albert Row could still be saved if a deep-pocketed investor came forward. Mr Bendall, a member of the NDS, suggested the homes could be used as an extension of the Dockyard-based National Museum of Bermuda, with the interiors depicting scenes from their history. He added: “Bermuda was our home. Albert Row was the home of generations of men who braved the North Atlantic and made its shipping and its sailors safe. Our father and the generations before him lived in Albert Row and came home to their families with stories of bravery, success, defeat and fear. The preservation of Albert Row should be our tribute to those men and their families.”

paragraphA World Heritage Centre volunteer was declared a new municipal residents’ councillor for the Corporation of St George’s today. David Chew, a construction worker who helped on projects such as the Deliverance tourist attraction, was unopposed for the position after MacLaren Smith dropped out of the running yesterday. The extraordinary municipal election was called to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Tania Stafford. It was originally scheduled for September 19, but was set back after no candidates were put forward on the original nomination day.

paragraphBermuda’s own lawnmower man rubbed shoulders with superstar Tyler Perry on a chat show — and reduced host Kelly Clarkson to tears with the story of his charity lawn-mowing drive. Rodney Smith appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show on Monday with Mr Perry and actor Ben Platt — but stole the show with how he has recruited youngsters from around the world to mow lawns for free as part of his 50 Yard Challenge. Ms Clarkson told Mr Smith: “You’re bringing me to tears.” The Grammy Award-winning singer surprised Mr Smith with more than 20 children from the Los Angeles area who have pledged to take part in the mowing challenge. Mr Smith said: “It’s bringing me to tears just to hear their stories. When I first started, I was just helping someone in Huntsville, Alabama, and now it’s grown to all of this. I never would have thought.” Mr Smith, who mowed his way across the United States, was speaking on Monday’s edition of the top-rated NBC show. Mr Perry, known for writing, directing and starring in the smash hit Madea franchise, told Mr Smith to accept the success that he earns. He said: “The good that you put out comes back to you. As much positivity are you’re putting out, go look for it in your life. I didn’t know how to feel worthy enough to accept it when it came back, so when it comes back to you and into your life, be open to it.” The episode also highlighted his work and the new challenge for children. Mr Smith explained that children who wanted to take part posted a message on social media that “I accept the 50 Yard Challenge”. He added that every youngster who took part would get sunglasses, ear protection and a T-shirt, as well as a different-coloured shirt for every ten lawns that they mow. Mr Smith said that he would also visit any child who completed the challenge and reward them with a free lawnmower, a weed whacker and a leaf blower. “In this day and age, a lot of kids are inside playing video games, so I’m trying to encourage them with a lawnmower to get out there and make a difference one lawn at a time.” Mr Smith added that about 500 children in the United States had signed up for the initiative. He added that he also received pledges from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany and Bermuda. Ms Clarkson told him: “I love that you’re, in essence, teaching kids selflessness. You don’t get anything out of it except for just knowing that you helped somebody and I think that’s a beautiful thing that we all need to learn, when we’re young especially.” One youngster who took on the 50 Yard Challenge said that his stepmother had pestered him to take on the challenge. He added: “At first, I wasn’t going to do it because I needed to make money from this summer mowing because I want to start a lawn service next summer. But she brought up the point that I’m sowing seeds into the community that mean more than the money that I’d be earning.”

paragraphA troupe of circus performers will take to Front Street for a Halloween celebration that promises lots of mystery and illusion for children and adults. The Pier of Fear is Cirqle Bermuda’s first major event. The circus arts collective, which was formed by Tara Cassidy, has linked with performers from Kinetix Natural Movement, Elevate Aerial, Cherish Entertainment and Vivid Elements for the spectacle. It follows the Bermudian designer’s performance at a party during Barbados’ Crop Over that was hosted by Rihanna’s brother, Rorrey Fenty. The superstar was there for the event. “We welcomed Rihanna when she arrived,” said Ms Cassidy. “I was flame dancing. It was a great honour to be there.” The event encouraged her to try to do more with performing artists here. The Pier of Fear has circus-inspired fire shows, mystical illusions and acrobatic performances. Youth performers will entertain children from 3pm to 7.30pm. The real party starts at 9pm when adults are invited to enter a “haunted hall of hell”, “survive” interactive encounters and sip on smoky cocktails. Silk, aerial hoop and fire shows are all part of the pageantry along with illusionists and contact jugglers. There will also be “lots of photo opportunities with performers”. “It will be like a Cirque de Halloween,” said Ms Cassidy. “There will be circus workshops and performances as well as arts and crafts and a fire spectacle. I am also trying to connect with other dance groups including dancehall dancers and African dancers. This is something we want to push further and further each year and eventually we want to have regular seasonal circus offerings.” A lover of carnivals, Ms Cassidy decided the opportunity to attend Crop Over in August was too good to pass up. I went to Barbados for the carnival and posted on the website Couch Surfing, which is a wonderful tool for when you are traveling and looking for other performers,” she said. One of the main fire spinners on the island wrote me and offered me to spin fire at Zirque Carnival put on by Rihanna’s brother at Nikki Beach. It was incredible to be part of this team of people. There were ballet dancers, stilt walkers, clowns and other circus performers.” Cirqle Bermuda is a regular performer at the carnival here each June; Ms Cassidy sees the potential for it to grow. “After going to Barbados and experiencing another carnival, I realise how much Bermuda has to offer that is completely different,” Ms Cassidy said. “We already have these circus experiences, so I think we can do more fantastical things and continue to set our carnival apart. Since returning from Barbados, I have had invitations from hotels and venues overseas. There are ample opportunities for paid gigs for anyone wishing to become performers at Cirqle. It is fun and fulfilling.” Although she also has a keen interest in making music and jewellery, Ms Cassidy didn’t set out to work in the arts. She gained a degree in sustainable residential development from the Ontario College of Art and Design University before launching La Garza, a jewellery business here. Once she discovered that wasn’t enough to fulfil her creative needs, she was thrilled to find aerial arts. “It completely changed the landscape of my life,” she said. “There is so much opportunity for growth in Bermuda. I think it is absurd that we still don’t have a performing arts centre. We need to bring these communities together. We have the people, we have the ideas and a viable business model. It is just a matter of the bigger financials coming forward in order for us to have that space.”

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October 16

paragraphIt was announced today that on 25th July 2019, the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) hosted the tenth meeting of the Financial Policy Council (Council) at its offices in Hamilton, Bermuda. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance, the Hon. Curtis Dickinson JP, MP. The role of the Council is to assess possible threats to Bermuda’s financial stability, and to identify policies and actions to mitigate or eliminate such threats. It also advises the Government on the development of the financial stability framework in Bermuda, and makes policy recommendations designed to support the general economic and financial well-being of the country. Members of the Council are the Minister of Finance the Hon. Curtis Dickinson (chair), Sir Andrew Large (deputy chair), BMA Executive Chairman Jeremy Cox, Michael Butt, Dame Amelia Fawcett, Gil Tucker and Dr. DeLisle Worrell. At their meeting of 25th July, Council members discussed recent international and domestic economic developments and assessed the impact these might have on Bermuda’s financial stability. Council members raised concern that, globally, not enough attention has been given to risk from distorted asset pricing, especially for entities outside the banking sector. Members stressed the importance for Bermuda to continue closely monitoring this risk and to assess its potential impact to Bermuda. Mr. Phil Butterfield, Chair of the Bermuda First Advisory Group, gave a presentation on the objectives, structure and scope of work of Bermuda First. The Council and Bermuda First will look for areas for continuing cooperation. Members were provided with an update on the actions that the Minister of Finance was taking with regard to economic substance to ensure Bermuda addresses the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s requirements and to remain competitive with other peer jurisdictions. Members noted that the progress being made on this matter was positive and applauded the government’s efforts on this. Members noted that the task will now be to get Bermuda off the grey list and to continue engaging with the international community to manage any emerging threats. Members examined the current state of the banking sector in Bermuda, including the critical functions it performs, challenges the banking sector may face in providing services to existing and new sectors of the economy, and the progress being made in the development of the recovery and resolution framework. Members discussed potential ideas that could be further developed as part of the banking strategy in Bermuda. In addition, the following topics were discussed:

The Council’s next meeting is scheduled for December 2019.

paragraphTechnology-driven change is moving so fast that people’s minds are struggling to keep up and that is leading to geopolitical conflict. That’s the view of Sir John Swan, former Premier of Bermuda, who was speaking at the Liquidity Summit, a Bermuda Tech Week event, yesterday. Asked by moderator Stan Stalnaker, founder of Hub Culture, to make some sense of global events, Sir John said the world needed more friendship. “The problem with the world now is that people define their position not as friends or as people who want to support each other, but as adversaries.  You see it on the news, you hear it in conversations. The end result is that there is always a defined position of ‘you belong here and I belong there’.” He compared these tensions to the Second World War years. "Then the clashes were around philosophical and political differences, whereas now it was the clash of technological advance with traditional ways of thinking. In the time of the war, he said, information moved at the speed of sound — now it moved at the speed of light. Humanity needed to adapt to this fast-moving world to restore order, he said, as technological developments were outpacing our minds’ abilities to keep up. People did not want change, but change was coming fast. Fintech and blockchain were redefining the language we speak, the language of technology and the future. Accountants had traditionally done things in boxes but blockchain meant all that could be joined as one process, allowing the bigger picture to be seen more easily. It allows you to integrate your whole system and because things are moving so fast, you need to integrate your whole system,” he said. Sir John added that the United States was no longer all powerful. “We’re used to the power of the bullet and the bomb and now we have to get used to the power of technology that will interdict into any system and change the order of it. Because we can’t see it or hear it, we assume it doesn’t exist. The question we have to answer is: how do we redefine our new paradigm? Bermuda has always played a role in the evolution of these new paradigms as they have emerged. Today we are at that stage, waiting to help the world redefine itself. We are at the Bill Gates stage. People take it for granted now, but we didn’t have a language for computers at that stage. Now we’re at the next stage. Think of the new paradigm. You can’t think ‘I’ll come back to the conference next year and deliver that message’. Things are moving so fast now across the world. In China there are 1.4 billion people and in India the same. Out of that, you only need 100 people to redefine the future.” Addressing the audience of technology experts, entrepreneurs and investors, he said: “Join us, be a part of this dynamic thinking, we’re so glad you’re here, because we believe you’re onto a fantastic thing.”

paragraphThe trial of a magistrate accused of refusal of a breath test after a car crash heard that the arresting officer at the scene said he was not going to “let someone like this get away with this s**t”. Khamisi Tokunbo was charged with refusing a request for a breath sample without reasonable excuse after police arrived at the crash on the evening of January 19. The 64-year-old, defended by lawyer Charles Richardson, has denied the charge. The crash happened on South Road, Paget, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach, and the car went over an embankment. Valdis Foldats, the Cayman Islands magistrate in charge of the case, started yesterday’s court session with a case summary, where he criticized the Crown’s lateness in the identification of potential conflicts involving Saul Froomkin QC, the original counsel for the prosecution. The first court appearance was on May 29, but an application to disqualify Mr Froomkin, based on his personal and professional relationship with Mr Tokunbo, was only raised earlier this month. Mr Froomkin was later replaced with lawyer Mark Diel. Mr Foldats told the court yesterday it was important to ensure that “public confidence in the administration of justice is maintained — indeed, strengthened”. The two sides on Monday argued over evidence from the night of the accident, when Police constable Colin Mill found Mr Tokunbo by his car, which had gone off the road, along with his friend Allen Robinson, who had suffered facial injuries. Mr Tokunbo, who the officer said smelled of alcohol, denied driving the vehicle. But the court heard in earlier testimony that the officer believed Mr Robinson had been incapable of driving. At issue in court this week were two demands for breath tests made of Mr Tokunbo. The magistrate consented to provide a sample at Hamilton Police Station at the scene — but refused a breath test request at the station by Sergeant Olasunkanmi Smart Akinmola. The lawyers wrangled over the Crown’s reliance on the second demand for a breath sample, and whether that could legally be defined as continuing from the first. Mr Foldats ruled yesterday that, as a matter of law, the Crown was able to rely on the second demand. Body camera evidence from the scene included Pc Mill’s remarks, which were caught in an exchange with John Jefferis, a witness at the scene who said he had pulled Mr Robinson from the passenger side of the crashed car. It included the statement that the officer would not “let someone like this get away with this”. Mr Diel told the court that the officer had implied “the defendant was trying to pull a fast one saying Robinson was the driver”. Mr Foldats told Mr Diel: “But he never actually said that. The only thing he said was it was because of his position.” The presiding magistrate added that the officer’s statement had “jarred” him, Mr Diel admitted the remark was “unprofessional” coming from the Crown’s main witness. But he added: “Could the body cam evidence have been better? Absolutely — but it’s better than nothing at all.” Mr Richardson said that a “decisive portion” of Pc Mill’s opinion that Mr Tokunbo had committed an offence came from information provided to him by Mr Jefferis at the scene. He added that Mr Jefferis was “a man who he has seen in his custody area, as a jailer, this is a man whose reputation precedes him.” Mr Richardson contrasted that with the word of Mr Tokunbo, a sitting magistrate, and insisted there was “no reason to doubt his integrity”. The defence lawyer reminded the court that during cross-examination of Pc Mill, he asked whether the remark made by the policeman during his exchange with Mr Jefferis, a taxi driver, was in reference to Mr Tokunbo’s race, his position as a magistrate, or both. Pc Mill replied at the time: “His position.” The policeman added, when he gave evidence last week: “There was no race element involved anywhere in this case.” Mr Richardson pointed out yesterday [Tues] that Mr Tokunbo was heard on the body camera footage to say to Pc Mill that he had told the officer “over and over again” that he had not been driving. He suggested that the policeman had a bias against the magistrate “either because of his position, which he admitted, or his colour, which he will never admit”. Mr Richardson added: “He definitely was not being fair to him.” The defence lawyer earlier told the court that unless an officer had “reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Mr Tokunbo was driving while impaired, the demand would be unlawful and Mr Tokunbo is not required to comply with an unlawful demand”. He added: “Far be it from anyone to suggest that a sitting magistrate just thumbed his nose at the law — that’s not what happened.” The trial continues.

paragraphAxis Capital has dropped out of bidding to provide insurance coverage connected to a major coalmine project in Australia, according to a source. The Bermuda-based company is said to have withdrawn its quote for insurance of a railway at the Carmichael mine in Queensland, which is expected to produce eight to ten million tons of thermal coal annually. A Reuters report said the information on the decision came from a source close to the company, who also said that Axis is preparing to publish a formal policy to more widely cut its exposure to coal. A United Nations report has found that phasing out coal power worldwide by 2050 could limiting global warming to 1.5C through reduced carbon emissions. In July, Axis told The Royal Gazette in a statement that it was expecting to reduce its exposure to coal. This came on the heels of Chubb becoming the first major US-market insurance company to join a trend among insurers and reinsurers to pull away from the coal industry. Others include Axa, the parent of Axa XL, Allianz and Zurich Insurance Group, which have adopted policies to cut their exposure to coal projects. The Unfriend Coal campaign last year surveyed 24 major insurers and scored them on their policies on coal insurance, divestment and other aspects of climate leadership. The 2018 scorecard gave no points to Axis, Chubb, American International Group, Liberty Mutual, Sompo, Tokio Marine, and others. Whereas Swiss Re topped the list for its policies, with Axa also among the “leaders”. When asked about the Reuters report regarding Axis and the Carmichael coalmine project, an Axis spokesman told The Royal Gazette: “As a policy we don’t comment on individual risks.” Meanwhile, reacting to the report, Peter Bosshard, coordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign, said: “The Adani Group’s giant Carmichael coalmine is incompatible with international climate targets and Axis is the 15th insurer and 58th financial institution to rule out support for this project.” Separately, Willis Towers Watson has published its Mining Risk Review that shows an increasing pace of insurers refusing to underwrite coal mining risks. However, the report also notes that Bermuda-based underwriters have remained steadfast in their support for underwriting coal mining risks. “Over the last 10 to 15 years the Bermuda Property market has proven to be consistent and disciplined in its approach to underwriting mining risks,” the report said. Whether writing US or international risks, the Bermuda market has supported the class through the various underwriting cycles, demonstrating a commitment to the industry. And while there are instances of markets pulling back from or exiting thermal coal, the core Bermuda carriers remain steadfast, and have largely maintained a consistent appetite, albeit that consistency has been dependent upon achieving ‘rate adequacy.’”

paragraphAn extraordinary municipal election to fill a vacant seat at the Corporation of St George’s has been cancelled after a candidate withdrew. MacLaren Smith and David Chew were both expected to be on the ballot tomorrow, but according to a statement from the Parliamentary Registrar Mr Smith removed his name from the running. The statement said: “This leaves only one candidate, and therefore no need to have an election. The Returning Officers responsible for this election will declare a winner on the scheduled polling day in accordance with the Parliamentary Election Act 1978, as modified by the Municipalities (Election) Order 2011.” The election was intended to fill a vacancy left by the departure of Tania Stafford. It was originally scheduled to take place on September 19, but was set back after no candidates were put forward on the original nomination day. Since then, the corporation has announced the resignation of business payers’ councillor Philip J Seaman.

paragraphWomen in Reinsurance, an organisation for professional women working in Bermuda reinsurance, has appointed Peta White as board chair. She succeeds Kathleen Reardon who will remain a director. Ms White is co-head of global reinsurance operations and senior managing director, head of North America property reinsurance at Markel Global Reinsurance. Chief executive officer of Hamilton Re, Ms Reardon has been board chair of WiRe since 2014. “I’m thrilled to announce Peta’s appointment,” Ms Reardon said. “As an active member of our board since 2017, and a recognised leader in the Bermuda reinsurance space, I know she’s the ideal next chair to continue WiRe’s journey and persist as an advocate group for women. I’m grateful to my board, committees and our dedicated members for ten remarkable years of pulling together to strengthen the industry and look forward to being an active member of the board.” Ms White was honoured to take on the role. “I look forward to working with my board colleagues and our committees as we continue to provide our members with growth opportunities through networking, mentoring and professional development activities,” she said. “Our goals include implementing a formal mentoring programme and collaborating with other inclusive organisations in Bermuda to offer networking and training events that will appeal to women at all stages of their reinsurance careers.” She thanked Ms Reardon for her contributions to WiRe. “As one of its founding members, her dynamic leadership and dedication have helped drive WiRe’s growth and presence in Bermuda,” Ms White said. “We look forward to her continued support as a member of the board.”

paragraphA Bahamian-born lawyer has relived her desperate search for family members after a massive hurricane devastated parts of the island chain. Simone Smith-Bean, the wife of former Progressive Labour Party leader Marc Bean, added yesterday that the Bahamas still needed help after being ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, the worst recorded hurricane to hit the Bahamas, in September. She told Hamilton Rotary Club: “The very first few hours of the hurricane I spent looking for my family members in the Abaco Islands, who were later found holed up in a church. They, too, had to flee their homes and find their way to a better shelter during the hurricane. As Sunday rolled into Monday, I still was not able to locate some of my family members. The first thing that came to my mind was the great help that was going to be required, just as a result of the initial pictures of the devastation that was coming out of the Bahamas.” Ms Smith-Bean talked about her trip to the Bahamas in the wake of the hurricane, for the first time, at a lunch meeting of Rotarians at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. She explained that Dorian grew from a Category 4 to a Category 5 hurricane just before it hit the island on September 1 and stayed over the country for two days. Ms Smith-Bean said: “If you can, imagine a world where being caught in a vortex of 297km/h winds for two days. That’s what they had experienced on the island. There were bodies everywhere, from what we were told. Many women and children died because they could not keep themselves safe during the hurricane. The stories of those who made it are just as heart-wrenching as you might imagine.” Ms Smith-Bean said that she tracked friends and family over social media and shared location coordinates to the United States Coast Guard, who were part of the massive rescue effort. She added that she and 100 other Bermuda residents with family ties to the Bahamas created the Bahamian Association of Bermuda. They teamed up with the We Care Project, a disaster relief charity, to send almost 200 tonnes of emergency supplies to the Bahamas. Ms Smith-Bean said that the last of the supplies arrived in the Bahamas last week, but more would be needed. She explained: “This was the sixth devastation that has happened to them in the last seven years. You can imagine for an economy not to be in a position to rebuild and then hit again — that’s what we’re talking about as far as destruction is concerned. It’s very important for everyone to understand that the country is a very resilient country, but it has met its challenges.” Ms Smith-Bean said that the death toll from Dorian was still unknown, but is expected to be in the thousands. She added that about 80 per cent of the infrastructure in the Abaco Islands had been destroyed and about 70,000 people had been displaced. Ms Smith-Bean said: “We will need money in place in order to rebuild homes, rebuild schools, rebuild towns and make it habitable for persons to come back into Abaco and Grand Bahama and try and start their lives again.”

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paragraphThe Ministry of Health has advised that the town hall meeting scheduled for Thursday has been postponed. A new date for the St. George’s town hall will be announced shortly. The public is encouraged to review the proposed Bermuda Health Plan at www.gov.bm/healthplan. The Ministry of Health welcomes feedback on the proposed plan.

paragraphA group of doctors and pharmacists have joined forces to promote the use of medical cannabis. Now the Bermuda Medicinal Cannabis Association is to meet with the Government next month to offer its expertise as Bermuda prepares legislation to allow use of the drug for patient treatment. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday a meeting with the BMCA, which will also include the Ministry of Legal Affairs, would be organised. Association member Kyjuan Brown, the medical director at Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Centre and a long-term campaigner for medical marijuana, said: “At Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Centre, we remain committed to engaging in local and international research and educational opportunities that will further enhance the care that we provide to our patients.” Dr Brown was speaking after a group of medical professionals attended the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association’s annual conference in Florida earlier this month. He said: “On behalf of NMAC and the many patients in Bermuda who can benefit from this evolving alternative medicine, I was pleased to join a conglomerate of local doctors in attending the AMMPA conference where we engaged with like-minded physicians from around the world who shared the latest evidence-based research on medicinal cannabis. Since 2014, I have been advocating for patients to have access to medical cannabis, I look forward to the day when marijuana will become a legal treatment option.” The BMCA is headed by pharmacist Jennie Lightbourne and was set up to educate fellow professionals and the public on the benefits of medical cannabis. The group attended the US conference with Annabel Fountain, an endocrinologist, a specialist in glands, hormones and metabolism, and Cindy Morris, a doctor and pain management specialist at Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Centre. A spokesman said the delegation learnt that marijuana had potential benefits in a variety of conditions, from diabetes to post traumatic stress disorder. Dr Fountain said she was cautious about unintended consequences of marijuana use, especially the risk of psychosis, but that there were potential benefits for some diabetes patients. She added: “Areas of benefit that I’m excited about are the use of cannabis products to treat diabetic neuropathy, to assist in recovery after brain injury and to reduce dependence on opioids. Bermuda has so many road injuries and stroke disease and we exceed the national quota of opioid medications for pain from the International Narcotics Control Board every year. For these indications, cannabis is established as a safe alternative.” Dr Morris said: “The incorporation of cannabis-related products paired with my knowledge of pain management of the nervous system answers many questions that traditional medicine has not answered.” Ms Benyak-Pitcher, a pharmacist and secretary of the BMCA, said she was interested in research that indicated cannabis could be used to treat a range of conditions including autism, brain injuries and strokes, chronic pain, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease, as well as post traumatic stress disorder. She said: “I see medical cannabis as an alternative way to complement our traditional approach to ailments.” The American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association is the largest medical cannabis association for doctors in the world and was set up to give healthcare professionals information on the use of the drug as an alternative treatment. Delegates to the Florida conference included top doctors, scientists, and lawyers, including Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, and Hinanit Koltai, who represented the Israeli Government. David Burt, the Premier, said in 2018 that the cannabis cultivation for medical reasons was to be legalized and the first licences for its production would be issued this year.

paragraphThe Commissioner of Police tried to put clear blue water between the service and the sale of the $1.7 million white elephant patrol ship MV Guardian, a public access to information request has revealed. A string of e-mails revealed that Stephen Corbishley was worried about bad publicity if the sell-off of the Australian-built boat was linked to the Bermuda Police Service and wanted it sold off by the Government instead. Mr Corbishley said in an e-mail to the service’s finance manager, Wanda Bluefort, in December last year: “Is there any other way we can offer the Guardian for sale without it being obvious it is from the BPS?” He added: “My concern is it will open up comments to the wastage of money this vessel has incurred and possible negative press. Could we perhaps send it over to the Government’s procurement department to get rid of? Or should we just go ahead and wear any flak that comes?” Ms Bluefort replied: “No. Everyone in Bermuda knows MV Guardian. If the public has questions, then our answer is that we are being prudent.” She suggested that Dwayne Caines, then the BPS media manager, should write a release “to reflect our altruism and concern for the country”. The patrol boat, the flagship of the police fleet, was bought in 2006 and sold for the knock-down price of $69,000 this year. The Royal Gazette asked Mr Corbishley why he had tried to shift responsibility for the sale to avoid criticism in the media. He said: “It was important to ensure the public are confident that the BPS are efficient in their purchase of expensive equipment, such as marine vessels and other transportation, therefore a question was asked of the BPS finance manager to seek the avoidance of negative comment. However, it was decided that the sale by the BPS would be publicised, which unfortunately still led to inaccurate commentary, as the Guardian’s devaluation was consistent to the sale price eventually agreed, accounting also to the high repair costs required to make it seaworthy again.” Mr Corbishley added: “The purchase of the Guardian vessel was authorized by persons no longer with the BPS. In hindsight, it was a purchase that did not fit the requirements of marine policing and is a decision I would never have supported if commissioner at that time. The Guardian did not provide value for money, economically and operationally, and continued to incur high costs to the public purse in relation to mooring. I, therefore, directed its sale and the correct procurement processes were undertaken. The best price was sought in the private market to stop continued and unnecessary costs and gain the appropriate reimbursement to public funds.” Mr Corbishley said the Guardian was no longer fit for operational purpose in a e-mail in November last year. He wrote: “It is therefore proposed that the vessel be sold, however, it is in need of significant repair (costs $38K) to achieve any likely market value (quoted as $200k, but I do not believe this will be achieved in current market conditions). However, we do not have any budget to accommodate the above repair requirement. In view of this, I ask for your authorization to forward the Guardian to be sold in its current state.” Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell was contacted the next day to organise the sale. Mr Cardwell said he was aware of a potential buyer interested in offering $50,000 for the vessel. He added: “$50k was in the range of what I expected given all the mechanical defects on the boat as it sits right now. I will perhaps counter the $50k offer with $75k as that is what I would do if this was a personal boat I was selling. If we strike somewhere between $50k and $75k we are good to go. Before I re-contact the person who made the offer, I will need to hear from procurement and customs on their requirements to seal the sale.” Ms Bluefort responded later that day that the boat would have to be advertised because the sale price was more than $1,000. Two bids were received after the Guardian was advertised, one of $42,000 and a second of $69,000 from Crisson Construction, which was accepted. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, told the House of Assembly in July that the Guardian had spent most of its time tied up in dock and was “an expensive lesson learnt by the Bermuda Police Service”. MV Guardian attracted bad press months after it was bought in 2006. It was reported in March 2007 that the 54-foot boat was out of service due to mechanical problems.

paragraphThere has been a shift from pessimism to a feeling of optimism that Bermuda can advance and secure opportunities as a result of new economic substance regulations. Additionally, because the requirements driven by the OECD and European Union affect all the so-called “2.2 jurisdictions” at the same time, it is leveling the playing field, with Bermuda poised to benefit from a number of inherent strengths. Those were sentiments shared as a panel of Bermuda-based lawyers discussed economic substance rules during the TradeWinds International Shipping Forum. They described how clients have reacted to new economic substance regulations and common themes that have come up in discussions. 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. At the heart of the matter is the requirement for registered entities that are not tax resident elsewhere, to have demonstrable economic substance in their offshore jurisdiction. This includes being managed and directed there, to have core income-generating activities performed in the jurisdiction, have adequate full-time employees, adequate physical presence and adequate operating expenditure in relation to a relevant activity. Companies will make an economic substance declaration annually, and in Bermuda that declaration will be monitored and enforced by the Registrar of Companies. The first filings are due next June. Non-compliance triggers penalty and exchange of information. Michael Frith, adviser to the Registrar of Companies, moderated the panel discussion and told the audience it is expected that most entities in Bermuda will be compliant. He asked the panel how clients have reacted to the regulations and what common themes they have seen. Brian Holdipp, senior associate with MJM Ltd, referred to the new regime as a paradigm shift. He said one theme was “a race to consolidate”. “We have seen companies either take steps to consolidate their group of companies outside Bermuda, or come in to Bermuda, we’ve seen continuations,” Mr Holdipp said. “The thinking behind that is that it would be easier to comply with economic substance in one jurisdiction than to comply in multiple 2.2 jurisdictions.” Other common themes revolved around adequacy and how that can be quantified, such as in terms of the number of full-time employees, or what is an adequate physical presence, or adequate operating expenditure on the island. Mr Holdipp said there had been some “easy wins”. Such as encouraging companies to hold more key decision-making board meetings in Bermuda as a first step. He said the adequacy question is evolving, and that more changes to the economic substance regime are coming which he believes will be make it “more business-friendly and practical to make it easier for companies to comply”. Another on the panel was Victor Richards, director at Conyers. He described how, before the legislation came out, the reaction to the economic substance moves was a mixture of pessimism, anger and a sprinkling of despair. He said since the legislation came out, at meetings with clients the pessimism has evolved to “something more optimistic”. Mr Richards said if there is equal clarity and application across the board, not just the 2.2 jurisdictions, but in other shipping-related regimes, then Bermuda is “in a really good position to capitalize on economic substance. This is going to be an opportunity for our jurisdiction,” he said, pointing out it is easier to fly to Bermuda than some of the other countries and jurisdictions. “The long-term ramifications of this regime are going to be good for the island. We have pretty good legal counsel, we have the infrastructure to be able to hold meetings here and attract people.” Jerome Wilson, partner at Appleby, was also on the panel. He said: “The question most asked is ‘What is it precisely we need to do?’ Clients want to be compliant, they want to follow the law, they want to do business. The more information that comes out regarding the changes, the more comfortable his firm is getting with advising clients.  This is an opportunity for Bermuda if we grab the bull by the horns and take control of it. There is a tremendous opportunity for this to be a new era for the jurisdiction in terms of governance, how we advise clients and in terms of business being attracted to Bermuda.” He has not had a client say they were packing up and leaving Bermuda as a consequence of the economic substance requirements. Meanwhile, Mr Frith reiterated that the EU’s requirements were universal across the 2.2 jurisdictions, and not only to Bermuda. “That has been a positive. It means the very idea of packing up and leaving the jurisdiction, that’s really not an option. The whole point is it’s being applied universally across all jurisdictions. The regulation has to be applied equally, [but] there is a fundamental fairness aspect of this that is missing, and that is that the EU hasn’t quite got around to pointing the flashlight quite as brightly on themselves and their member states. That said, there are some moves in that direction.” Because all the jurisdictions are complying with the economic substance requirements at the same time, he said it is eliminating the likelihood of jurisdictional arbitrage and instead was creating a level playing field. He added: “By the end of the year our regime will look more or less like the other 2.2 jurisdictions. We are a good place to do business, we are close [to the US and Europe], the infrastructure is there and the intellectual capital is certainly here.”

paragraphA Bermuda-based group of companies could play a pivotal role in the proposed settlement of opioid legislation in the United States involving OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its owners, the Sackler family. The outline of a proposed settlement that Purdue values at between $10 billion and $12 billion was filed in the US Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, NY last Tuesday. On Friday, US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain ordered a pause to all litigation involving Purdue until November 6, giving the bankrupt drug maker time to conclude a deal with plaintiffs. The proposed settlement aims to resolve more than 2,600 lawsuits by states, local governments and other plaintiffs against Purdue and its Sackler family owners. Under the agreement, the Sackler family would give up control of Purdue, turning the company over to an entity that would run the company and use its profits for the public good. The money for the proposed settlement is to come jointly from Purdue, and from the Sackler family. In Bermuda, the Mundipharma group of companies, owned by members of the Sackler family, have offices on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton. Top US insurance litigators Dick Geddes and Christopher Carroll, of international law firm Kennedys, appeared at the Hot Topics forum organised by the Bermuda office of Kennedys on Thursday. Mr Geddes is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, while Mr Carroll, also a partner, is based in New York. Together, they gave a presentation entitled “Opioid Crisis: Beginning of the End or End of the Beginning”? Afterwards, the two visiting lawyers agreed that the Mundipharma companies may have a part to play in the proposed settlement. Mr Geddes said: “The proposed settlement involves numbers that Purdue is casting as $10 billion to $12 billion. Ten billion will theoretically come from the continued sale of Purdue’s products under the newly-structured public benefit corporation.” He added: “The other chunk, about $3 billion, theoretically will come from the family that owns 100 per cent of the assets of the Purdue companies, and that is the Sacklers. The question is where that money will come from.” In filings with the US Court, Mr Geddes said, a company is identified as a non-US pharmaceutical company owned by the Sacklers. Mr Geddes said: “That is Mundipharma. It’s very possible that Mundipharma could play a role in the settlement.”

paragraphTwo months after his arrival in Bermuda, insurance industry veteran Richard Tomkins has already experienced the best and worst of the island. A hole-in-one on the 165-yard seventh hole at Mid Ocean Club, combined with the wrath of Hurricane Humberto which sent a 30-foot cedar tree crashing onto the yard of the Hamilton Parish house he shares with wife Julie, gave the 51-year-old Englishman a quick introduction to the flipsides of Bermuda life. Mr Tomkins has relocated from London, where he was managing director of reinsurance at Tysers, to become managing director of Tysers (Bermuda) Ltd, the mid-Atlantic affiliate of the venerable Lloyd’s of London broker, which next year will celebrate its 200th year in business. Tysers was acquired by Integro Insurance Brokers Holding, the company Mr Tomkins joined in 2006, in the fall of 2018. That acquisition was quickly followed by Integro’s sale of its US retail business to Epic Brokers, part of the seller’s broader strategy to be a fully independent worldwide broker. Integro, which has had a servicing office here for US retail business since 2007, has now rebranded on-island as Tysers. Knowing that Mr Tomkins was bullish about the opportunities that a Bermuda office presented, his boss Andrew Behrends asked Mr Tomkins to write a business plan. “Four months later, here I am,” Mr Tomkins said. He added: “This is exactly the time to have an office in Bermuda, a time when there are problems getting adequate insurance capacity from other markets around the world, including Lloyd’s. We need a proper way for our worldwide clients to access the Bermuda insurance and reinsurance market.” London-based Tysers employs more than 500 people and handles upwards of $2 billion in annual premiums working with leading re/insurance markets worldwide to deliver risk solutions to a global client base with global exposure. In addition to the aforementioned reinsurance unit, Tysers at Lloyd’s also focuses on management risk/professional liability; international (other than US/UK) property and casualty; special risks — Tysers is the largest broker for insuring stallions; US P&C, giving managing general agencies in the US access to the Lloyd’s market; marine and aviation; and sports and entertainment, for events such as Formula One auto racing, and for entertainers regarding contingency/non-appearance. “I’ve just been asked to find some capacity for Elton John’s next tour,” Mr Tomkins said. He added: “Across all those divisions, we have dislocated business in Lloyd’s that needs a new home. We have clients that have needs and Lloyd’s and other markets are not fulfilling those needs. So, we need to find a solution in the Bermuda market.” And where might that solution be found? “All in the ‘Pitts Bay village’,” Mr Tomkins quipped. In addition to serving existing clients, and providing solutions for prospects and clients where other markets are constrained by either capital or regulation, geographically well-positioned Tysers Bermuda has other intentions. It seeks to be an independent access point for the Bermuda market for other independent worldwide brokers, as well as producing reinsurance business from within this market from traditional re/insurers as well as the ILS market. Mr Tomkins said: “I am a specialist reinsurance broker at heart, and that area is underserved in this marketplace. The reinsurance broking community here is polarized towards property cat and property retro. There are opportunities in the areas of casualty, other speciality lines like surety, project finance, D&O, anything other than property cat and property retro.” Familiar with Bermuda from numerous visits, Mr Tomkins said he wants to build the brokerage business in a non-traditional manner. “We are not just flag-wavers, we want to make strategic partnerships with other entities,” he said. “I am meeting new people here that I have never met before. I see the ILS space as an interesting place in which to develop relationships. I think they are looking to diversify within their models. There is only so much property cat and property retro that you can write. If investors are giving you money, you need to deploy it in a diverse way that is different to the core of your offering. They don’t need any more Florida exposure.” He added, more broadly: “From my own research, and from talking to people that I trust, the market here is growing beyond the traditional excess casualty and excess professional liability along with property cat and property retro, to represent other areas. Our plan here is to complement how businesses here are changing as well.” More than three decades into a career that he began as a claims broker, in part because his father-in-law was a broker at Lloyd’s, Mr Tomkins said he continues to enjoy the business. “In 1987 I thought ‘I’ll give this a go’.” he said. “Thirty-two years later, I am still doing it and I love it.”

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October 14

paragraphThe former chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council will consider her next steps as she battles a government that seems to have bottomless pockets, her lawyer has claimed. Eugene Johnston, who represents Tawanna Wedderburn, said her legal proceedings against the Premier, the health minister, the health council and its former chairwoman were just beginning, despite a ruling last week that found her case could not be tested by judicial review. Assistant Justice David Kessaram found that there was no public-law element to the termination of Ms Wedderburn’s employment last December. Respondents in the case welcomed the judgment and the Ministry of Health added that the allegations made by the former BHeC chief executive, who claimed her sacking was politically motivated, were “baseless”. Mr Johnston said: “Ms Wedderburn has faith in Bermuda’s courts. Although she is taking on a government whose pockets seem to have no bottoms, and even though her own finances are strained, she believes that in time, what she said took place at the Bermuda Health Council between 2017 and 2018 will be judged against what the Government says occurred — and the appropriate result will be reached.” The lawyer said Ms Wedderburn hoped a future outcome would “correct” her termination and also make sure that “a governmental body which is so important to every resident’s healthcare on the island operates as the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 and the general laws of Bermuda demand”. Ms Wedderburn made an application to the Supreme Court for judicial review in March. She alleged that David Burt, the Premier, interfered in the running of the BHeC to push taxpayer-funded payments to Ewart Brown, a former Progressive Labour Party premier. Ms Wedderburn claimed in the proceedings that Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, and Alicia Stovell-Washington, then the BHeC chairwoman, interfered with the day-to-day operation of the council. She sought to win an order that would quash her termination The allegations were vigorously denied during a one-day hearing in front of Mr Justice Kessaram last month, when lawyers for the parties presented arguments on whether the case involved matters of public law, suitable for a judicial review, or private law, where an alternative legal remedy could be sought. His written judgment was delivered on Wednesday. Mr Johnston explained later: “After Ms Wedderburn was fired as CEO of the Bermuda Health Council on December 7, 2018, she didn’t, at the height of emotion, run to the Supreme Court and make an application for judicial review. She sat, read through documents, and with deliberateness, considered the implications of bringing a case like this against the public officers who are at the centre of the allegations she makes. She knows the allegations are very serious, and she understood, from the start, that the Government would likely use every resource at its disposal to keep those allegations from being tested in any public forum. Six months have passed since Ms Wedderburn started these proceedings, but this case is still in its infancy.” He said that the judgment would be “looked at thoroughly”. Mr Johnston added: “The implications of the ruling will be considered, and whatever steps are deemed most appropriate will be made.” Juliana Snelling, the lawyer for the health council and Dr Stovell-Washington, its former chairwoman, told the court in September that the health council voted eight to one, with no abstentions, to end Ms Wedderburn’s employment on December 6 last year because of dissatisfaction with her leadership. She said Dr Stovell-Washington contacted Ms Wilson after the vote was taken. The next day, the pair spoke again before Ms Wilson e-mailed approval of the decision. Ms Snelling said last week: “The respondents are very pleased with today’s Supreme Court’s judgment, which is consistent with their position all along that the issue of the former CEO’s separation of employment from the council was never amenable to judicial review.” Charles Richardson, who acted for Mr Burt and Ms Wilson in the hearing last month, said then that Ms Wedderburn should have gone to an employment tribunal, rather than seek a judicial review. A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Health is satisfied with this outcome, as the case was baseless. Likewise, the ministry continues to robustly deny the allegations made by the applicant, which, like the claims disproved by the judgment, are baseless.” A spokeswoman for Mr Burt, who has “strongly denied” the allegations, said yesterday: “The Supreme Court of Bermuda has found that the remedy of judicial review was not available in this case. That is a matter of law. Any party aggrieved of a finding of a court in Bermuda is at liberty to consider an appeal. The media is hardly the appropriate forum to try cases.”

paragraphOpinion. By Vic Ball, One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017. "The Progressive Labour Party government recently passed three Acts in the House and Senate that allow for increased investment in our Economic Empowerment Zones in Somerset, St George’s and North East Hamilton. The three Acts are the Economic Development Act, the Companies Act and the Immigration and Protection Act. The intent of changing these Acts is to allow for increased investment in our EEZs. It was done during a special sitting of the House and without warning or notification. Everyone was of the belief that this special sitting was to put forward the immigration Bill specifically dealing with mixed-status families, which was mysteriously delayed. Instead, these three Bills were brought forward, apparently to the shock of their own backbenchers and the Speaker of the House. It should be kept in mind that the EEZs consist mainly of locally owned commercial and residential properties. They are in depressed areas such as Court Street in North East Hamilton, which has suffered from no significant economic growth for years. Few would argue against the need for an upgrade and economic stimulus in this area. Special sittings of the House are usually reserved for issues of national importance, as the Premier successfully argued when the Bills were tabled. Essentially, he argued that allowing foreigners and foreign companies to purchase real estate in typically low-income areas is of the highest importance to our national welfare. This legislation tabled and passed in the House allows “without restriction” foreigners and foreign companies to purchase residential valuation units in approved residential schemes in the EEZ for up to 131 years. This may be shocking to most. This is the same PLP that while in opposition was responsible for vehemently blocking Parliament to stop the airport project and for the confrontations that occurred because they opposed foreign ownership. We should also keep in mind that the airport project, by comparison, is for only 30 years. Bermuda needs significant direct inward investment. There are few among us who believe otherwise. If this move by the Government can attract significant investment, this has the potential to be good for the country because it will create jobs and the spin-off effects that these investments are bound to have. However, according to the Premier and PLP government, there is no need to be concerned that this investment in the EEZs will begin the process of gentrification, which would displace poor people living in these zones. Let’s think soberly about this for a moment. First, to improve or renovate a building, existing businesses and residential tenants would be required to move. Second, once these buildings have been renovated, the investors would be looking to profit by demanding higher rents to match the appreciated value and amenities in the new or renovated properties. Third, there is the real possibility that the former tenants would not be able to afford the new increased rents. Lastly, if the housing schemes and investments are successful, the businesses and tenants would be changed — ie, gentrification. This is a repeated story globally wherever improvements are made to residential and commercial areas. Gentrification of Tucker’s Town is an historical bone of contention that is being revived by this same PLP government. The usual pattern of gentrified areas is an increase in more affluent people who can afford the increased rents and prices once the investments have been made. How are the residents of the EEZs and the rest of us supposed to reconcile the massive contradictions between this scheme and the PLP government, which ran on the platform of putting Bermudians first? Does this legislation reveal a desperate government willing to literally “sell out” the back of town to increase direct inward investment after the failure of its ill-conceived cryptocurrency and fintech plan? Is this desperation mounting because the One Bermuda Alliance’s airport project will be finished next year, ending the direct economic stimulus that accompanied it without anything to replace it? Can you imagine the outcry from the PLP, the People’s Campaign and talk radio if an OBA minister had proposed this scheme and brought it to the House in the same covert manner? There would be allegations of a conspiracy, the scheme would be called anti-Bermudian and it would be said that the back of town is being sold out to foreign interest for at least four generations. The PLP would not have missed the opportunity to seize our emotions and stoke racial fires to express tremendous concern for the future of the residents and businesses that are in these areas at present. However, being a government facing stark economic realities while devoid of any other ideas, here we are. At least the MP Rolfe Commissiong admitted in Parliament that the threat of gentrification should be taken seriously. However, in a shocking case of having blinders on, he stated that he has confidence that his party will protect existing stakeholders in these communities and that they will be the first in line to benefit. What is most puzzling is why his party did not implement a plan to ensure the present stakeholders are protected, as opposed to sailing us down the road of foreign ownership in the EEZs. There is no reason why the PLP could not have provided an urban improvement plan whereby the Government takes the lead in bringing together local investors, local contractors, financial institutions and property holders to partner to improve the area. If there is the need for improvement and the development can be positive, surely with proper leadership the parties mentioned could have been incentivised to collaborate and make this successful. However, the PLP government continues to speak out of both sides of its mouth. This is not only a case of blatant political hypocrisy, it is also one of a bankruptcy of leadership to organise local resources and strategies to successfully address the economic challenges confronting us. It should concern every citizen, especially the PLP voter, that our government would create a Bill that would disenfranchise the already disenfranchised. However, when you consider the sugar tax, land tax, foreign currency exchange tax, healthcare increases, the mess with the proposed Bermuda Health Plan, education in crisis, immigration in crisis, 17 months of decline in retail sales, stalled fintech, a minister’s secret customer cruise, $1.2 million to a former premier and the Game Theory debacle, a pattern emerges. To be continued."

paragraphChief executive officers of Caribbean region insurance companies are more confident in their own organisation’s revenue prospects than in economic growth in the region, and are focusing on digital transformation to drive growth, according to a survey conducted by professional services firm PwC. In order to battle the headwinds and be successful, CEOs are looking towards digital and a sharper focus on changing customer needs as two key areas to differentiate and win, according to PwC’s Caribbean Insurance CEO Survey 2019. The company’s first biennial survey of CEOs of leading personal lines insurers across the Caribbean has provided unique insights into this market, PwC said. While generational change is still buffeting the insurance industry, many insurers are becoming more comfortable with new technologies and changing from product-focused to customer-centric organisations. More than two-thirds of CEOs surveyed have a neutral or negative view of growth in the Caribbean and yet 87 per cent are confident about their own growth, the survey found. Some 60 per cent of respondents said that they felt either confident or very confident about their own growth prospects in the next 12 to 24 months. Meanwhile, 60 per cent of CEOs see digital and technological capabilities as their growth catalyst and 26 per cent see the customer experience as being critical as well. Based on PwC’s Global Annual CEO Survey 2019 — insurance trends, these are two critical areas that insurance companies around the world have been investing in for some time and are beginning to reap the benefits, the company said. Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda and PwC in the Caribbean insurance leader, said: “The current front-runners are redirecting their road maps and investments to high-priority business areas to differentiate themselves in the market. Consumers want choice, flexibility, simplicity and personalization in what they purchase, the channels they use, and how they interact with carriers. Technology modernisation comes in many forms with sensory techniques, mobile technology, risk analytics and ‘internet of things’ connectivity allowing insurers to leap forward.” Mr Wightman added: “Smaller-scale change can help too with millennials far more likely to purchase insurance online and be comfortable with chat functions, automated claims settlement and the use of telematics. This places digital within reach of companies that do not have multimillion-dollar investment funds.” Successful technological transformation demands buy-in and upscaling throughout an organisation, PwC said. Marisa Savage, insurance partner at PwC Bermuda, said: “The majority of the CEOs we surveyed plan to harness technology to bolster profitability and drive growth in their business. The key to success will be approaching technology with the changing customer base at front of mind and finding business partners to enable technology development at an appropriate level of investment for insurers operating in the Caribbean.” PwC said organisations in the domestic insurance market in The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago took part in the survey.

paragraphGombeys “stand for everybody in Bermuda”, a veteran performer proclaimed at a weekend event dedicated to the art form. Shawn Caisey added: “We stand for every ancestor. Gombeys are about honour at its highest. It goes back to slavery, our ancestors. If you are deep into your black culture, you’ll get the gist of what I’m saying. Respect and honour at its highest. That’s the best way I can put it.” The 46-year-old was honoured at the Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase on Saturday at Botanical Gardens. Mr Caisey said that his love for Gombeys grew out of his upbringing in the Government Gate area of Pembroke, where he lived just three doors down from the home base for Place’s Gombeys. He added: “It was right there in front of me — it was always there.” Mr Caisey, a member of H&H Gombeys for nearly 30 years, said it was the history behind the art form that had sustained his interest. “What started me was just being curious as a kid.  When I became an early teenager, my peers were asking me questions I couldn’t answer. It sort of messed me up because I wanted to answer, but I couldn’t ... I didn’t know.” Ed Christopher, the event emcee, described Mr Caisey as a “keen researcher on the history and origins of Gombey culture”. He added: “He would often be seen at the Bermuda National Library studying up about the Gombeys and other masquerade cultures in the Caribbean and Africa.” Mr Christopher said that Mr Caisey was recognised as an elder in Bermuda’s Gombey community and called him an “expert costume designer, drum-maker, and of course, dancer”. He added: “Throughout his career, he has performed in front of royalty, and represented Bermuda in the Caribbean, North America and Europe.” Wayne Raynor, one of the captains of H&H Gombeys, said that Mr Caines was one of the key figures in Bermuda’s Gombey community. He added: “If you want to know anything about Gombeys, old or new, he can direct you to the right people or he can tell you if he knows. He’s like a Gombey encyclopedia.” Zane Hendrickson, another captain of H&H, said that it meant a lot to have Mr Caisey recognised. He added: “He taught us everything that we know now. Not even just about Gombeys — about life, period.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, told the audience that the Gombey had become an “iconic symbol of Bermudian culture”. She added: “Tonight we are honouring our folk art, our history and our connections to the African diaspora.” Five troupes took part in the festival showcase: Gombey Evolution, Gombey Warriors, H&H Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys and Warwick Gombeys. Ms Foggo thanked the groups for taking part in the event “and more, importantly, for being the strong tradition bearers”. She added: “We all love the Gombeys and we are all here to celebrate with you for our traditional art.” Mr Caisey said that while he didn’t devote his time for accolades, the recognition at the event was appreciated. He added: “It’s nice to know, to feel, to see, that people appreciate what you have been doing over the years.” Mr Caisey, whose 18-year-old son, Chekai, dances with H&H, said that his family’s connection to the Gombeys was generational. “I have a newborn ten months old,” he said. “He loves it.”

paragraphIf you’re talking music in Portugal, Richie Campbell is a big name. He plans to show Bermuda why next month when he gets on the stage at No 1 Car Park with his 12-member back-up group, The 911 Band. “Wherever I go, I would rather go with a full team than with a sound system,” said Campbell, whose R&B, dancehall and reggae hits have made him a star. “We need everybody to make people see the full experience; the whole experience as a band is what captivates people and that’s what we’re trying to do. All I can say is I promise to deliver the best show that I can possibly deliver.” JSC Promotions and Veterans in Action are behind Live in Concert. The show is being held to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of Bermuda’s first Portuguese immigrants. It will also include David Rodigan, “the official reggae selector and sound clash champion”, and Romain Virgo, the Jamaican reggae singer whose album Lovesick, hit No 1 on Billboard’s reggae albums chart last year. “It’s gonna be my first time ever in Bermuda,” said Campbell, who recently performed in Cape Verde and Mozambique and heads to Angola after he leaves here. “I know a few artists from Bermuda — Collie Buddz, and C’Daynger from back in the day — but I only recently became aware it has a huge Portuguese community. To be invited to perform on such an important date is incredible. I don’t know what to expect from the audience there, but knowing that I am to perform with [Romain], a great friend of mine, it’s an opportunity for my team and his team to get together in Bermuda and celebrate a day that’s important for Portugal and its people and Bermuda.” Born in Lisbon, the 32-year-old fell in love with reggae as a child. “My mother is British. She lived in the UK through the Bob Marley time and so I grew up around reggae; my mother introduced me to all the greats. To me, it was just a part of growing up but, coincidentally, when I was 15 or 16, there was a huge reggae boom in the whole of Europe. I started going out at night to reggae clubs, to dancehall clubs. I was fortunate enough to grow up in that environment.” Convinced he could do the same, he started performing. Reggae was his focus at that time and he released his debut album, My Path, in 2010. The next year he became the first artist without a record deal to fill the 10,000-seat Campo Pequeno in Lisbon. I started dropping music in Portugal more consistently and it coincided with the boom of reggae music in Europe,” said Campbell who has since signed with Sony Music. “It blew up huge in Portugal and that’s pretty much it.” Despite the success in his own country, he decided he needed to spend time in Jamaica if he wanted to be taken seriously. “I started singing reggae and was doing so in English and so I had to go there to prove my worth rather than stay [in Portugal]. I had to know that what I was doing was good enough for Jamaica. A lot of artists in Portugal feel like they’re doing a service to reggae, when they’re not. The first time when I went to Jamaica, I didn’t have a career. I was just starting out and wanted to learn more. At the time there was this guy, a reggae promoter who organised a lot of shows in Portugal. He had some contacts so we were able to meet important people there.” Lisboa, his most recent offering, showed how his music had evolved from pure reggae to dancehall and R&B. “My last album seems more of a unique genre. I wanted to pay as much tribute to the country I’m from as well as the country I fell in love with. I tried to find something that [also] represented my connection with my Portuguese and British heritage, singing music from all the cultures of reggae,” Campbell said.

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October 13, Sunday

paragraphBermuda’s cruise-ship schedule for 2020 includes more total calls, more passengers, and more visits distributed throughout the year — including a greater number of stops in the smaller ports of Hamilton and St George’s. A total of 197 cruise-ship calls are projected in the 2020 schedule, comprising 100 contract calls and 97 occasional callers, bringing an estimated 543,000 passengers to the island. Of the occasional calls by non-contract liners, 38 will visit Hamilton and St George’s, while contractual visits by larger liners will make port at the West End’s Royal Naval Dockyard. St George’s is projected to receive 19 calls in 2020, up from 16 this year, and Hamilton will also receive 19 — up from 13 in 2019. The increase is primarily attributed to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s commitment to bring six additional calls to the island with the Empress of the Seas, which will promote two-port itineraries between St George’s and Hamilton in May, July and August next year with 1,800 passengers per call. “We are delighted with the news of additional calls to St George’s and Hamilton next year, and the ministry in partnership with the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is working diligently to attract even more calls to these smaller ports in future,” Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said. “In addition, Carnival Cruise Line has committed 28 occasional calls in 2020 from New Jersey, Baltimore and Charleston ports and will attract a range of passengers interested in the diverse pursuits Bermuda offers.” Notably, next year’s cruise ship schedule continues the encouraging trend of extending the season through to December. In 2019, a third of cruise ships visiting Bermuda arrived during springtime months of April, May and June, while nearly a quarter made port here in the months of October, November and December. Overall, the majority (59.7 per cent) of annual cruise visitors arrived in non-summer months of September through May. “We’ve successfully worked with non-contract cruise lines to extend the traditional season with occasional calls through the spring and fall — a strategy which aligns with the goals of the National Tourism Plan,” said Kevin Dallas, chief executive officer of the BTA. “The fact most passengers are now arriving in non-summer months says it all. Greater use of ports in Hamilton and St Georges's, along with less seasonality throughout the year, creates a more sustainable industry.” Bermuda can expect 33 further cruise calls during the remaining months of 2019. The total projected number of ship calls for this year fell slightly from 185 to 176 due to eight cancellations during recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

paragraphPolice have reported a second serious collision in the space of four hours in the wake of an incident on Middle Road, Southampton. It came quickly on the heels of a Warwick crash that sent three people to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, a police spokesman said: “At about 12.10am Sunday, police, fire and ambulance personnel were dispatched to a reported serious collision on Middle Road in Southampton near Hawthorn Lane.” The spokesman added: “It appears that a male motorcyclist and a male 50cc scooter rider traveling in opposite directions along Middle Road collided in the vicinity of the Wok Express.” One of the riders was transported to hospital via ambulance for treatment of an apparently serious but not life-threatening leg injury. The scene was processed and inquiries continue. Any witnesses are encouraged to call the main police telephone number 295-0011.

paragraphFive motorists were injured in a pair of serious traffic collisions that happened on Saturday night. A police spokesman said: “At about 9.30pm, police, fire and ambulance personnel were dispatched to a reported serious collision on Cobbs Hill Road in Warwick near the junction with the Railway Trail.” Further details are limited at this time, but it appears that two men on a motorcycle and a female on a 50cc scooter were involved. All three were injured and transported to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance for treatment. An update on their conditions is expected in due course. Traffic diversions were in effect for approximately three hours while the scene was processed. Less than four hours later, police responded to the scene of a separate collision on Middle Road in Southampton. The spokesman said: “At about 12.10am Sunday, police, fire and ambulance personnel were dispatched to a reported serious collision near Hawthorn Lane. It appears that a male motorcyclist and a male 50cc scooter rider traveling in opposite directions along Middle Road collided in the vicinity of the Wok Express.” One of the riders was transported to hospital via ambulance for treatment of an apparently serious but not life-threatening leg injury. The scene was processed and inquiries continue. Any witnesses to either of the collisions are encouraged to call the main police telephone number 295-0011.

paragraphThe Bermuda softball season came to a close on Thursday with Docksiders and FIU Scared Hitless crowned champions. Docksiders added the postseason championship to go with their play-off trophy as they beat Paraquet Flyers 18-8. Paraquet held an early lead after scoring three in the first inning with Steve O’Flynn (4-4), delivering the first of four extra-base hits with a double. Shortstop Steve Simons (4-4) drove home the first of his three RBIs. Paraquet added two more in the third to extend their lead to five with Simons scoring O’Flynn, who had tripled. Docksiders finally got on the board after captain Richard Medeiors (3-5) hit a three-run homer plating Shawn Furlong (4-6) and pitcher Danny Cook (3-5, 3 runs). They took the lead in the fourth as they batted around, scoring five runs with both Furlong and Jaylynn Hines (2-4) smashing home runs. The team would pile on eight more runs in their last two at bats with Mike Sakata (3-5, 7 RBI) hammering two homers that would score six team-mates. Second baseman Adam Birch went 5-5 while Paulo Arruda (3-5) picked up four RBI in the victory. O’Flynn figured heavily in Paraquet’s final three runs scoring twice and hitting a two-run shot in the top of the seventh. The opener saw FIU Scared Hitless in control early but was gutted when Marcus Johnson (2-4) blasted a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. PHC won 16-14. FIU led early 6-3 after two innings thanks in part to leadoff man Marcellus Thomas (3-5) setting the table. He would score two of his four runs in those frames. Kyle Ball (2-4) drove home the first of three team-mates. PHC’s bats finally woke up in the third inning as they plated 11 runs and sent 14 people to the plate. Johnson was in the thick of things here too as he started things off with a double. Ari Tucker (3-3) followed up with a single, and the parade of Zebras galloping around the bases was on. Chris Pitcher (2-3) powered a grand slam to clear the bases, but timing hitting by Zakiah Lee (2-3) and Tawana Fox (3-4, 3 runs) keep the score ticking along. PHC was leading 13-10 heading to the top of the fourth, but FIU had fight still in them as they came right back to take the lead by plating four runners. Dwight Jackson (2-4, 3 runs) hit a two-run shot while Troy Pitcher (2-4) also plated Kyle Ball. After a 1-2-3 fifth — the game was shortened because of time - the contest was set up for a dramatic finish. Down 14-13, Fox and Tarirah Hill both singled before Johnson took the ball over the fence for the come-from-behind triumph.

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October 12

paragraphTributes to the late Walton Brown included heartfelt reflections from friends and schoolmates. Michelle Simmons, an independent senator, recalled teaching Mr Brown chemistry at the Berkeley Institute. “Walton struck me as a highly intelligent young man who loved to debate just about anything, with a twinkle in his eye and a bit of mischief as well,” she told the House of Assembly. She said Mr Brown initially planned to study economics at university and get a law degree, but “the lure of political science and everything associated with it was too great for him to ignore”. Ms Simmons said her sister, Sonia Grant, also taught Mr Brown, while fellow teacher Robert Horton described him as one of the school’s favourite sons on his final report card, and predicted he was “simply destined for a magnificent future”. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, recalled Mr Brown as a schoolmate first. Ms Foggo said: “In fact, the class of 1977 can brag a piece of history, because I think it’s the only time in history that three graduating members of that class, Walton Brown, Michael Weeks and myself, not only sat in Parliament together, but sat in Cabinet together.” Mr Weeks, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, called the session devoted to tributes “a somber and surreal” occasion. He recalled Mr Brown’s support for gay rights, telling the House that after he had spoken over his misgivings on the Bermuda Pride march, Mr Brown had told him: “Good speech. But I support the parade.” Mr Brown’s close friendship with Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, was noted by several MPs, including deputy OBA leader Leah Scott, who said her first reaction on hearing the news was: “Where’s Kim?” Minister for the Cabinet Office Wayne Furbert said he would often spend time with Mr Brown and Ms Wilson. He joked: “They would drink wine and they drink wine and they drink wine. I drink Perrier with Rose’s lime. And then they split the bill three ways. That’s why they are good economists.” Mr Furbert said the three were supposed to travel to New York last weekend, but the trip was cancelled after Mr Furbert’s wife was unable to attend. National security minister Wayne Caines said that when the Cabinet learnt of Mr Brown’s death there was “shock — there were cries, there were screams. We sat there consoling each other. It hit me that we are family. We sat in the room grieving the loss of our brother. Our beloved Walton is the sixth PLP Member of Parliament to die while in the service of the people of Bermuda since 1998.” An emotional Ben Smith, the shadow minister of sports and social development, spoke of his 15-year friendship with Mr Brown. Mr Smith told the House: “Our differences are what makes Bermuda strong. We have to accept that, and communicate with each other with respect. That’s what Walton did. I am going to miss my friend, but I will always remember him. I will live to live up to what he taught me.” PLP backbencher Michael Scott spoke of Mr Brown’s passion to find justice for black families who suffered as a result of land grabs. Mr Scott praised the “politician, professor, pollster and progressive” who was “a prophet for Bermuda independence”, as well as father to three sons: Taryq, Jarrod and Dominique. Scott Simmons, of the PLP, said Mr Brown had “taught me much”. Mr Simmons added: “He traversed all sides in the House, all sides in Bermuda. He took the time to not understand his own experience, but to take the time out to understand the experiences of others throughout our community.” Renée Ming, of the PLP, said she first met Mr Brown at a family picnic at Clearwater. She said that she had considered wearing a black dress for yesterday’s session, but instead chose a bright red, white and orange dress. “We are not mourning at this time. We are celebrating the life of a person who was amazing. Walton was really not a black-dress person. He was as colourful as you can get.”

paragraphHe was an activist with a firebrand streak, but even Walton Brown’s political opponents regarded him as more friend than foe. Members on both sides of the aisle shed a light on the personality behind the politician as they took part in a 3½-hour special sitting of the legislature at the House of Assembly yesterday. Mr Brown famously called for a “campaign of civil disobedience” as an Opposition MP in 2015, when protesters interrupted the Senate debate on immigration legislation. Jamahl Simmons, the Minister without Portfolio, called his colleague “a freedom fighter in Opposition” and said that occasion might have been the first time in history that demonstrators shut down the Upper House. Kim Swan, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, drew laughter when he spoke of Mr Brown’s calm during debates. He added: “I’m trying to take a page out of his book and be a little more quiet spoken.” Opposition MPs Sylvan Richards and Patricia Gordon-Pamplin commended Mr Brown’s ability to “disagree without being disagreeable”. Ms Gordon-Pamplin told the House: “Walton showed that civility is possible even if we are divided.” She said she would make “a concerted effort to change even my approach”. Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said: “Walton and I sat on different sides of the aisle. But I always had respect for the former minister.” Mr Dunkley said he had seen the House become “more acrimonious, more divisive and less respectful at times”. He continued: “But the former member was not like that. One of the things that always struck me about Walton — he was never personal.” As the shadow immigration minister during the OBA’s time in government, Mr Brown was frequently at odds with the administration. Crystal Caesar, a PLP senator, said Mr Brown’s passionate discussions about the Pathways to Status legislation inspired her to get involved. She said: “Through that meeting, I developed a connection with Walton that has actually brought me here to stand as a senator today. He, myself and two others came up with the ideas for some of the protests at more of the public meetings that had been held. I’m not a morning person, but he convinced me to get up early one weekday morning and stand down on East Broadway and interrupt traffic to make the island understand and note what this legislation could possible mean to the country.” Tinée Furbert, the Junior Minister of Disability Affairs, remembered “how he felt about us giving allegiance to the Queen. Every time, I would look up to see what he would do. Deep down I knew where our allegiances should lie.” Renée Ming, a PLP MP for St George’s, said Mr Brown was “cool, calm and collected” and had encouraged her in her pathway to politics. But his refusal to stand for God Save the Queen at the Peppercorn Ceremony had caused her “heart attacks”. “I almost died,” she said. “I said, ‘What are you doing? You are in St George’s. You have to act proper. I was fit to be tied. I was having about five heart attacks, telling people to hit him.” She said two days later they spoke about his decision and explained his reasoning. Ms Ming said: “I came to respect that position and understand the ‘why’ behind it, and that led to further conversations about independence and immigration.” Despite his strong opinions, Ms Ming said Mr Brown would always listen to others, which helped him build relationships with those on all sides of the political spectrum. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, said the description of Mr Brown as a “gentle giant” was far from the whole story. She said: “The ‘gentle giant’ that you have all portrayed is unknown to me because in debating that legislation in a private conversation with Walton he shouted at me and insulted me and called me a ‘back seat protester’. I didn’t sleep that night, and I was actually a consultant down at the Cabinet Office. I went to work the next morning and corralled the staff and we marched up at the House, and from that moment I was branded a troublemaker. But I’m happy to stand in this chamber and be a troublemaker because that’s what we are chosen to do, what we are called to do.”

paragraphDanté Leverock, the Bermuda captain, admits his side’s heavy defeat against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League was “tough” to swallow. “This is League A, we’re playing a powerhouse in the region and it’s a good experience,” Leverock said. “I think we are going to take all the positives from it and learn from our mistakes. I don’t think we gave up. We continued to fight, even though it’s tough when you concede five goals. That’s never nice, especially for a defender, but we continued to fight. We had some good periods. We had chances and that’s encouraging to have chances against a powerhouse in the region. But again you can’t make individual mistakes at this level. I think it comes down to individual mistakes and their quality. At this level when you do make those individual mistakes you will get punished. It’s tough.” Bermuda goalscorer Nahki Wells said he and his team-mates demise owed much to their “lack of experience” at this level. “Just another difficult evening against a really tough opposition, lack of experience at times proved the difference,” he said. “We commend them. They were the better side but we also know it shouldn’t be that scoreline.” Wells admitted the goal Bermuda conceded just before the break was a major turning point in the match. “We worked so hard to stay in the game and then to concede again on the 45th minute just deflates you.  We came out with our heads held high but we can’t climb too big of a mountain against sides like this. We just ain’t good enough so we have to take this one on the chin and learn from it. We are still a young group at this level and these occasions will only help us in the long run.” As for his strike, the Queens Park Rangers striker said: “I knew if I could get the ball in and around the box on either foot I had chance. It got to me and I executed.”

paragraphBermuda 1 Mexico 5.  Mexico showed their superior class to comfortably beat Bermuda in their Concacaf Nations League group B match last night at the National Stadium. A near-capacity crowd of 4,003 watched as the Gold Cup champions showed why they are the top team in the region as Bermuda struggled to match their opponents. The visiting side, twelfth in Fifa’s world rankings, were held at bay by Bermuda for the first 25 minutes of the match when a brilliant pass by Hirving Lozano from 35 yards out opened up the Bermuda defence for Uriel Antuna to race into the box and round goalkeeper Dale Eve before scoring. Mexico, quicker to settle into their rhythm, almost took the lead ten minutes earlier when captain Héctor Herrera, who plays for Spanish side Atlético Madrid, had his shot from 25 yards saved by Eve low to his left. Bermuda earned their first corner a minute later as they began to settle down. However, Mexico continued to look the more dominant as the half wore on with their midfield providing some good service for their front men José Macías and Uriel Antuna. A lob into the Bermuda box by Christian Calderon was half cleared before midfielder Sebastian Cordova followed up and tested Eve with a shot from the edge of the box that the goalkeeper saved to his left. Bermuda were briefly down to ten men when Mexico doubled their lead in first half stoppage time. Left back Jalen Harvey was off receiving treatment, with sub Calon Minors warming up to replace him. However, before that substitution could be made, Mexico scored their second when a long ball into the left side of the box was headed into the middle by Cristian Calderón for Macías to drive a first time effort past Eve. Minors did replace Harvey at the start of the second half as Bermuda came out determined to get an early goal to get back into the game. Three goals did come in a frantic first 15 minutes of the second half, but only one for Bermuda who, by the hour mark, were now facing a three-goal deficit at 4-1 down. A pass out of the Bermuda box was intercepted with Macias adding his second when he scored from the rebound after Antuna’s shot was parried by Eve. A good finish at the other end three minutes produced a huge roar from the Bermuda fans when the home team got on the scoresheet through the in-form Nahki Wells. Zeiko Lewis took the corner on the left, this time a short one into the box, and Wells snapped a left-footed shot into the roof of the net beyond the stretched arms of goalkeeper Rudolfo Cota. Unfortunately hopes of a fightback were brief as Mexico struck again on the hour mark to reclaim their three-goal advantage, this time Lozano getting on the end of a ball into the box from the left side and driving his effort under the body of Eve who knew he should have done better with that effort. Bermuda had just replaced Willie Clemons with Osagi Bascome a minute earlier for their second substitution. Minutes later Mexico were awarded a penalty when Jaylon Bather was blown down for a handball, but there was a huge sigh of relief in the Bermuda camp when Lozano sent Eve the wrong way with his spot-kick only to see his effort hit the outside of the post. They did get that fifth goal five minutes later — arguably the best of the game — when Donte Brangman was blown down for a free kick on the left. The free kick was touched short for captain Herrera who drove his shot into the far top corner. Bermuda made their final change when both teams brought on their final substitutes in the 76th minute, with Justin Donawa coming on for Lewis and Ivan Rodríguez for Carlos Rodríguez in the Mexico midfield. Erick Aguirre, another substitute, almost got in on the scoring act ten minutes from time, his shot from outside the box bringing off a save from Eve who tipped the ball over. Then Wells was denied a second goal when his free-kick from the right of the box was tipped over the bar. The last Bermuda chance on the night fell to substitute Bascome, who curled another free kick just wide.

SCORERS

TEAMS

  1. Bermuda (4-5-1): D Eve — D Brangman, D Leverock, J Bather, J Harvey (sub: C Minors, 46min) — L Simmons, D Brangman, Z Lewis (sub: J Donawa, 76), W Clemons (sub: O Bascome, 59), M Butterfield — N Wells. Substitutes not used: J Hill, Q Hunt, C Basden, R Lee, P Douglas, C Robinson, T Ming, L Evans, D Richardson.
  2. Mexico (4-4-2): R Cota — J Sanchez, N Araujo, H Herrera, C Saicedo — S Cordova (sub: E Aguirre, 63), C Rodriguez (sub: I Rodriguez, 76), H Lozano (sub: D Lainez, 72), C Calderon — J Macias, L Artuna. Substitutes not used: R Gudino, J Hernandez, G Arteaga, A Mozo, J Gonsalez, R Alvarado, J Vasquez, L Romo, R Pizarro.

Referee: H Bejarano (Costa Rica).

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October 11

paragraphMPs and senators are paying tribute to Walton Brown today at a joint session of the legislature. Mr Brown, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher and former Cabinet minister, died suddenly on Tuesday, aged 59. Walton Brown would have been the “guiding hand” and “stabilising force” to help lead Bermuda to independence if he had not died, according to former premier Alex Scott. Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette that Mr Brown, who was chairman of the Committee for the Independence of Bermuda in the 1990s, never lost hope that the island would reach a point when it was ready for self-determination. “My great regret is that I left the job undone for the next generation,” said Mr Scott, who was Progressive Labour Party premier from 2003 to 2006. “Walton is part of that next generation. Our greatest regret is that Walton is gone too soon. He is someone we would have needed to be a guiding hand and articulate advocate for the way forward. With the fortunes of Great Britain now in turmoil, Bermuda can no longer look to the UK and say, ‘there’s a stabilizing force’. Walton would have been the person we would have wanted to be the spear point.” Government backbencher and former Cabinet minister Mr Brown died suddenly at the age of 59 on Tuesday. Mr Scott said the thread that ran though all of Mr Brown’s thinking, before and during his “outstanding political career”, was a focus on readying Bermuda for independence. He recalled how, as a young student, Mr Brown would come home to Bermuda during the summers and visit Dame Lois Browne-Evans, then the leader of the opposition PLP, at her Front Street office. “There was this young, handsome, but very bright and articulate student, Walton Brown, who would always make a courtesy visit to Mrs Browne-Evans and they would engage in a respectful back and forward on issues of the day. It would invariably come round to independence and sovereignty.” Mr Scott said when Mr Brown returned to the island permanently, his interest in independence continued. “It wasn’t a rhetorical approach to independence; it was a reasoned and intellectual approach. It carried echoes of the student who sat across the desk from Mrs Browne-Evans. Now he was putting into verbal practice and political practice, policies and issues that he didn’t just arrive at; that he had long since thought out.” The former premier said independence, a central tenet of the PLP’s party constitution, remained a logical next step for Bermuda. He said of Mr Brown: “He would have been a stabilizing force, in that he wasn’t one who took to the podium to rabble rouse with rhetoric. He reasoned with his intellect and knowledge. I think Bermuda, right across the board, would have been more responsive in the days ahead if we had Walton. It’s not something that happens on a day; it’s a process. It’s most important that you take the country with you, as opposed to lead them over. You have to inform and educate.” Mr Scott said the late politician’s speeches and essays on the topic would likely become highly sought after in the coming years. “I think history might just record that was one of his most significant contributions, in that folks will recall now what he said. They’ll be looking for his speeches and his writings and probably giving them attention that, while he was with us, we didn’t cherish and value enough. Our party, our government and certainly Walton’s family have lost a man of tremendous integrity. He’s one of those folks who are qualified for the adage ‘he walked quietly, but carried a very large intellectual stake’. To his family, we acknowledge the loss; we mourn in empathy and sympathy.” Mr Brown told Parliament in July that a debate on independence was crucial in the face of recent British meddling in Bermuda’s affairs. “I know there is a lot of fear out there just to raise the topic itself, but we should have no fear of such an important issue,” he said. “We should take the bull by the horns and address the issue forthrightly.”

paragraphMagistrate Khamisi Tokunbo told a policeman he was not driving a car that crashed over an embankment, a court heard yesterday. Yet, the officer believed the veteran former prosecutor had been at the wheel and arrested him on suspicion of impaired driving in the incident on January 19. Mr Tokunbo, 64, has denied a charge that he refused a breath test after the crash on South Road, near the public entrance to Elbow Beach. Police constable Colin Mill told Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he attended the incident at about 7.50pm, when he found a dark BMW, which he recognised to be the judge’s car, “completely off the road and resting in shrubbery”. Mr Mill explained that he could see a man, who he knows now was Allen Robinson, propped against the wall of the embankment and bleeding from his forehead and face. The policeman added that when he asked the man’s name the answer was an indecipherable mumble. Mr Mill told the court: “I then saw Mr Tokunbo emerge from the back end of his vehicle, and I asked him if he knew the male’s name, which he gave me and provided his age to me.” He said he could smell “intoxicating liquor” from the judge’s breath as well as from Mr Robinson. Mr Mill added: “I then asked Mr Tokunbo who was driving the vehicle; he pointed at Mr Robinson and told me, ‘he was’.” The policeman said he was “beckoned” by a John Jefferis who was on the road. He explained: “I went over to him, he informed me that when he attended the collision that he pulled Mr Robinson out of the passenger seat of the car. He did not say that Mr Tokunbo was in the driver seat of the vehicle.” Mr Mill said that Mr Jefferis, who the court heard drove a taxi, later added that he had lifted Mr Robinson out of the passenger side window. The court heard that Mr Tokunbo, from Warwick, said at the scene that he was not the driver of the crashed car. Mr Mill added: “Mr Tokunbo, by this time, was stood on the roadside with the drop of approximately three feet on the side behind him. He was swaying, on multiple occasions. I had to ask him to move away from the edge, as I feared he may fall over the embankment.” The policeman said: “He admitted to me that both him and Mr Robinson had been drinking whilst visiting Deborah Blakeney, at Mosquito Hill in Devonshire. With the information that I had received from John Jefferis, and my observations of Mr Tokunbo, I had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that he was the driver, and I arrested him on suspicion of driving whilst impaired and cautioned him, to which he made no reply.” Mr Mill said that he requested breath samples for analysis and pointed out to Mr Tokunbo that if he was unable to do so because of a cut lip he had sustained, then a demand would be made for blood. He added: “Mr Tokunbo stated that he could blow, and he was then placed in the marked police vehicle.” Mr Mill said that at Hamilton Police Station, later, he was made aware that Mr Tokunbo had refused to take a breath test. Then, at about 11pm, the court heard, the constable was told that “new information had come to light”. Mr Mill explained: “As a result, I attended the hospital to arrest Allen Robinson on suspicion of driving whilst impaired.” On questioning by Charles Richardson, for the defence, Mr Mill confirmed that he had dealt with Mr Jefferis in his position as a police officer and had once been a jailer when he had been arrested, but could not say what the matter was. Mr Richardson asked Mr Mill if he had taken Mr Jefferis’s “credibility” into consideration. The policeman confirmed he did not. He told the court that although it was “unlikely” he would operate a body camera in the case of road crashes, he did so on this occasion because of the “ambiguity” over who was driving. Mr Mill added: “I believe that Allen Robinson was incapable of driving a motor vehicle.” He acknowledged that the body camera footage, which was played in court, did not include any statement from Mr Tokunbo that he had been drinking with Mr Robinson. Mr Mill added: “That was prior to that.” Mr Richardson suggested: “He never said it to you; you made that up.” Mr Mill replied: “That’s not correct.” The court heard yesterday that a woman made a 911 call to police after the crash, which Mr Mill said he followed up the next day. Mr Richardson said: “When you called her, and asked who was driving, she told you it wasn’t the judge, didn’t she?” Mr Mill replied: “That’s correct.” The police officer maintained that he still believed Mr Tokunbo had been at the wheel, and he agreed with Mr Richardson when the lawyer asked: “So you believe it, even though you don’t have the information to prove it?” Mr Richardson questioned Mr Mill about his written accident report, where the policeman confirmed he had listed Mr Robinson as the driver. During re-examination by Mark Diel, for the Crown, Mr Mill said that he wrote that information “on instruction”. The court later heard evidence from Sergeant Olasunkanmi Smart Akinmola, who was the custody sergeant on the night of the incident. He explained that, following procedure, he requested a breath sample from Mr Tokunbo, who, according to the officer, replied that he had “no reason for it”. Mr Akinmola said: “Consequently, I asked Mr Tokunbo that, are you refusing to take the test, sir? To which he said, ‘yes’.” Mr Akinmola added: “Then, I explained to him, that refusal to take the test is an offence, to which he replied, ‘I understand’.” The trial, before Cayman Islands magistrate Valdis Foldats, continues.

paragraphThree East End ambassadors were recognised as part of Unesco’s World Tourism Day celebrations. Kristin White, the owner of Long Story Short bookstore and a tour guide, Dennie O’Connor, the co-owner and operations director for Tobacco Bay and Clearwater Beach, and Alfred Konrad, the chef and co-owner for Wahoo’s Bistro and Patio, were honoured as ambassadors by the Corporation of St George. The Bermuda Tourism Authority also donated a bench in memory of Phillip Anderson, a former councillor for the Town of St George, who died last year. Ms White won the award in the cultural tourism category, Mr O’Connor in experience tourism and Mr Konrad in hospitality tourism. All four were honoured at a presentation in St George’s last Friday, attended by George Dowling III, the Mayor of St George, town administrator Courtney Trott, Bermuda Tourism Authority chief operations officer Karla Lacey and area MP Renée Ming. Mr Trott said: “The activities committee came up with some names through consultation and then we created an online poll to select the winners.” The bench for Mr Anderson is outside the former Visitors Information Centre on King’s Square, where he served as a tourism ambassador. Ms Ming, who is Mr Anderson’s great-niece, said: “Is it possible to sum up Phillip ‘Phoopa’ Anderson? We are here today because he was a lively character who displayed his love for tourism in its present state and was always exploring ways to move it forward for our island home, especially within St George’s. He always said he was looking out for the future generations of St George’s.” The award was the fifth tourism recognition for Mr O’Connor this year. He said: “The East End has been a hidden gem for the beach economy for years. The experiences we are creating for our guests at Tobacco Bay and Clearwater have been well received and we thank the community for their continuous support as it takes a collaborative effort to win. It is our goal to create a standard of excellency throughout the island so, no matter which beach you wish to visit, you will receive first-class Bermudian service.”

paragraphCompanies that could help to build two East End crossings have been given more time to provide details of their services, according to documents published on the Government’s website. A request for information to replace Longbird Bridge and Swing Bridge was issued on June 7, but an addendum showed that the deadline for submissions was extended from August 30 to November 1. It was earlier predicted that the existing structures in operation in St George’s would reach the end of their useful lives in 2021. Information provided in the additional document, which was published in August, indicated that designs for the bridges were, at that time, 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 sought organisations to supplement the design team “in regard to financing, fabricating and building” the structures. A request was made for further information and drawings to help companies put together “initial budget information”. The Government responded that Approval In Principle documents were included in the additional material. It added: “Note that the bridge detailed design is 90 per cent complete at this moment, as a result of a three-phase design process. At this stage, the AIP documents should give sufficient information to help understand the scale of the project.” The Government was asked to provide “the current programme for the detailed design and for the construction” of the bridges. It answered: “No further information can be released at this stage.” In reply to another question, the Government explained that pricing information was not needed for a response to the RFI. It added: “This RFI is released for the purpose of collecting information and advertising the project on the construction market.” The reply said more specific requests would be available on the government website and advised respondents to visit the portal regularly. In its RFI, the ministry explained: “Feasibility studies and past experience indicate that a high level of prefabrication can lead to a low-risk economical solution. Pre-fabrication and heavy infrastructure expertise is therefore desirable.” It sought “international experts” and invited expressions of interest from disciplines, including general and professional contractors, bridge or steelwork fabricators, financiers, project management, independent checkers, trades and other suppliers.

paragraphBermuda Broadcasting Company’s channels will now be available on Digicel’s Fibre TV service after an agreement announced by the two companies today. In addition to the local content featured on BBC’s ZBM TV9 and ZFB TV7 channels, the new arrangement also includes the overseas programmes provided by BBC’s exclusive network affiliates, CBS and ABC. This gives Digicel customers access to popular shows including The Young & The Restless, Jeopardy, America’s Got Talent, Modern Family and Criminal Minds. Ian Rawlins, programme director and special projects at Bermuda Broadcasting, said the deal would broaden the audience for the BBC’s content. “We work hard to provide local news and informative, engaging programmes every day,” Mr Rawlins said. “Digicel recognizes the value of our local content and we are pleased to work with them. Our affiliates CBS and ABC have fully endorsed Digicel’s new platform and have allowed our exclusive, network content to be carried over Digicel’s Fibre TV platform directly into the homes of Bermudians. Bermuda Broadcasting recently won back-to-back government tech awards and the kind of collaboration we have achieved with Digicel, along with changes to the regulatory landscape, will help us to continue to innovate.” Donn Foggo, marketing and product manager at Digicel Bermuda, said: “Digicel places our customers at the forefront of everything that we do. Getting local channels on our Fibre TV platform has been a direct request from the Bermuda community, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome Bermuda Broadcasting to the Digicel Family.”

paragraphA “legend” and dedicated employee who worked at The Royal Gazette for more than 50 years died at the weekend. Lawrence Sealey was 86. The Warwick resident retired from the organisation in 1999. Beverley Sealey, Mr Sealey’s wife of 51 years, said he was kind and soft-spoken and “always willing to help someone”. She added: “He was hard-working and thought a lot about his family.” Mrs Sealey said that her husband was a quiet man with a sense of humour who “liked to crack a joke”. He was also a passionate gardener. Mrs Sealey said: “If you visit our house you will see all the stuff that he planted.” She added that her husband also loved to bake. Mrs Sealey said: “Banana bread was his favourite.” Bill Zuill, the former Editor of The Royal Gazette, said that Mr Sealey’s death was a “great loss”. He added: “He’s one of the legends of the paper and one of the unsung heroes.” Mr Zuill said that Mr Sealey’s contribution to the newspaper over the years was critical. He explained: “Although a lot of attention does get put on the reporters and editors and so forth, the fact is that if you don’t print the newspaper, well you certainly hear about that. A lot of that pressure fits with the production team.” Mr Zuill said that Mr Sealey’s tenure at the newspaper spanned several technological changes to the production process, as well as moments that shaped Bermuda. He added: “He would have literally been a witness to history watching the front pages come off the press over the years.” Mr Zuill said that Mr Sealey had played a key role to train several generations of Bermudians in the paper’s pressroom. He added: “Lawrence was really good at passing his knowledge on. I think that may be his biggest legacy; he left a group of people behind him who were very professional and very good at printing a really high-quality newspaper.” Jamie Cann, the production manager at the Gazette, said that he began working with Mr Sealey in the early 1990s. Mr Cann described his mentor as a dedicated and “no nonsense” man. He added: “He had total command of our pressroom. He just had the eye for it. Printing was in his blood; he had a natural ability.” Mr Cann said that co-workers affectionately knew Mr Sealey as “Uncle Lawrence” and he credited his tutelage for helping to shape the man and manager Mr Cann is today. He added: “He was the man.” Mr Cann said that Mr Sealey would be remembered as a family man and a hard-working, dedicated worker. He asked: “How many people can say that they worked for a company for 51 years?” Mr Sealey was father to six children: Vaughan Simons, Michael Sealey, the late Arthur Sealey, Karen Sealey, Katherinann Sealey and Janice Sealey-Khan. He had seven grandchildren.

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October 10

paragraphTributes were paid yesterday to Walton Brown, a Progressive Labour Party MP who died at 59, with former premier Ewart Brown saying he had lost “a cousin and a political comrade”. Dr Brown added: “Bermuda has lost a visionary who wanted political maturity for his fellow countrymen. May his mother and his siblings find peace during this difficult time.” The flag at the Cabinet Office was lowered to half-mast out of respect for the Pembroke Central MP, who was found dead at his home on Tuesday. A joint session of the legislature is set for tomorrow, so that members of the Senate can join MPs in paying tribute. Starting today, a book of condolence will be available for people to sign at the Cabinet Office every weekday until Mr Brown’s funeral, from noon to 4pm. David Burt, the Premier, who directed that the flag be lowered, said: “We continue to keep the family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” Government business has been suspended in the wake of Mr Brown’s passing, which shocked the community. MPs will not debate legislation tomorrow in the House of Assembly, but dedicate the sitting to tributes to Mr Brown. Stephen Todd, chief executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association, commended the late former Minister of Home Affairs for his positive relationship with the industry. Mr Todd said the organisation had enjoyed “a very positive and amenable working relationship” with Mr Brown, in his home affairs capacity as well as his tenure as Minister responsible for the Cabinet Office. Mr Brown was appointed Minister of Home Affairs after the PLP’s victory in the General Election of July 2017. He held the portfolio until November 2018, when he was switched to the Cabinet role. Mr Todd said yesterday: “The former minister had always welcomed and sought input from the association on matters specific to labour relations and immigration, prior to implementing any changes which directly impacted the hospitality and hotel industry.” Mr Todd said the relationship had fostered “co-operation and understanding”. Karl Outerbridge, a former international cyclist for Bermuda and activist for persons with mental illness, said the island had lost “a big advocate in the area of mental health and learning disabilities”. He added: “In 2014, Mr Brown started working with me to help me gain a voice and open doors where he could as it related to these issues.” Even in disagreement, “one of us always found some common ground to put our minds together to find a solution”, Mr Outerbridge said. “Mr Brown kept pushing me to be the face and voice of those with mental health and learning disabilities.” Mr Outerbridge said: “Everything I do moving forward will be to make sure I do not waste the time he invested in me and the vulnerable people of Bermuda.”

paragraphAn investigation into Bermuda’s history of “land grabs” has taken a step closer with confirmation from the Government yesterday that a group of people were asked to form a Commission of Inquiry. It came after a social justice advocate said the official investigation into property thefts would form part of the late Walton Brown’s legacy. A government spokeswoman said: “The Cabinet Office today confirmed that a chairman and members of the COI into historic land losses have been invited to serve. “A further announcement will be made at the next regular session of the House of Assembly.” Judith Chambers, who runs the Dispossession in Bermuda Facebook group, wrote on the social media page that the death of Mr Brown, who was the Progressive Labour Party MP for Pembroke Central, on Tuesday was “very sad news”. She said: “I first reached out to him when I heard about the then pending motion calling for a Commission of Inquiry into the historic wrongs of dispossession and land theft, the ‘land grabs’, and will remember him for his passion on these issues.” Ms Chambers added: “My thoughts are with his family and friends, and my hope is that the planned and long-awaited Commission of Inquiry will proceed swiftly. It would help to form part of the large legacy left by the late Walton Brown.” Ms Chambers explained that she did not know the MP as a friend, but he had at one time been her lecturer at Bermuda College. She said more recently the pair had corresponded electronically as well as meeting in person. Parliament passed a motion, tabled by Mr Brown, to ask the Governor to set up a Commission of Inquiry into all known claims of property loss or dispossession in July 2014. However, George Fergusson, who was then in charge at Government House, rejected the request, claiming that the “serious concerns” raised were not “clear or urgent enough to require a commission of the type proposed”. The decision sparked a peaceful march on Government House, an Opposition demand for the Governor to be recalled and a PLP boycott of Parliament. It also led to a change in the law that gave the Premier power to appoint a Commission of Inquiry without the Governor’s approval. David Burt, the Premier, announced in June that he would establish a five-member Commission of Inquiry, expected to be made up of a judge, counsel with experience in conveyancing, an ex officio land title officer and two lay members. He said its scope would include an invitation to investigate “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”. The Premier acknowledged then the “significant efforts” of Mr Brown, who he said “championed this cause whilst in Opposition and has quietly kept attention to it since we assumed the mantle of Government”. Mr Brown welcomed the move in an opinion piece published in The Royal Gazette later that month. He wrote: “We have an opportunity to help to correct some of the wrongs of the bad old days, when justice was a fleeting illusion for many, and the rich, powerful and connected acted with impunity. While some have dismissed land-grab claims as urban legend, or even disparaged them as fairytales, Bermuda’s working-class community knows that some of our courts, some of our banks and some of our lawyers have not always operated in an honest and just manner. For the families who have long felt that their voices were not being heard, this presents an opportunity for their stories to be told. For the families who have felt that justice has been denied them for so long, this presents a potential opportunity for justice to finally be done.” Mr Brown added: “This commission should not be viewed as an opportunity for payback or revenge, but as an opportunity for all of us to learn the truth about our history and for some measure of a healing process to begin. It is unlikely that everyone will be happy with the results of this commission. But that doesn’t negate that it must be done. Our living elderly, and those who have passed on, deserve this Commission of Inquiry for all they sacrificed.”

paragraphShadow finance minister Nick Kempe has questioned whether David Burt misled Parliament when he launched a “verbal tirade” against The Royal Gazette over a sport betting company’s decision not to open an office here. The company pulled out of Bermuda, according to a speech given in the House of Assembly by the Premier, because a small story ran in The Royal Gazette’s business section about a job advert it placed to recruit six “sports trading operators”. Mr Burt began his parliamentary remarks on February 15 by claiming the newspaper had “joined hands” with the One Bermuda Alliance to “cast doubt and irreversibly tarnish this government’s work in the diversification of this economy.” The Premier said: “I speak specifically of the fintech industry.” Mr Kempe said yesterday: “The Premier took to his feet and proceeded with a verbal tirade against the media, and, in particular The Royal Gazette. He attempted to enjoin the OBA and The Royal Gazette and portray them as the catalyst that led to the departure of the company now known as Game Theory Ltd, rather than acknowledge that, to date, fintech, which was widely promoted as the great revenue driver, job creator and source of infrastructure investment, is abysmally languishing somewhere in cyber space.” The company, a self-described “investment house that places bets on investing in sports businesses”, was not named in the page 11 business story or by Mr Burt. The Royal Gazette later reported that it was a recently incorporated exempt company called GTL Atlantic Limited. Disclosures made by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in response to a public access to information request have since revealed that it incorporated in Guernsey as Game Theory and told officials here that it did not view itself as a fintech firm or a business that needed to be regulated. As reported on Tuesday, a company representative told the BDA in an e-mail: “I’m happy for Game Theory to be an unnamed employer in the fintech space if it helps from a political point of view, but don’t want to be seen as holding ourselves out as a fintech business (in the strictest sense we are not, in my opinion).” Mr Kempe said the comments were “disconcerting to say the least”. He said: “So this is how business is now done in Bermuda. If it doesn’t work one way, let’s create a façade to make it work another way.” Game Theory sought help from the BDA to gain statements from the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission confirming that it did not need regulation. The former provided such a statement, according to the correspondence, but the latter did not. Mr Kempe said: “Why would the Premier support any business that does not want to come under any form of regulation, particularly in the areas of sports betting, artificial intelligence or fintech? Bermuda prides itself on being a first-rate jurisdiction, not the wild, wild west.” The Opposition Senate Leader added: “At the very core of the matter, though, is did Premier Burt mislead the House when he made allegations about the reasons Game Theory Ltd left the island? Because it appears that the reasons spouted by the Premier may not ring so close to what the actual truth is.” He said Tuesday’s article revealed “multiple and significant concerns about business ethics and leadership”. Mr Burt told a press conference on Monday that the fintech sector had so far created “eight active offices with 31 new jobs”. Game Theory planned to hire between six and ten people locally, according to the correspondence. The Pati disclosure made by the BDA, amounting to more than 600 hard-copy pages, had almost all names and job titles removed from the documents. In a decision shared with The Royal Gazette on Monday, BDA chief executive Roland Andy Burrows said he would release the names, job titles and functions of two elected officials who were involved “to assist the public in understanding what transpired”. Mr Burrows wrote: “My reason for reaching this conclusion is based on my view that the controversy created by the Premier’s speech is of great public interest.” He wrote: “I am satisfied that a public interest issue arises, namely from what appears to be a verbal attack made by the Premier of Bermuda on The Royal Gazette. This, in turn, raises the issue of whether the elected leader of this island has engaged in an attack on the freedom of the press and its right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Section 9 of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968. While it is not my place to decide the propriety of the Premier’s action, the reporting ... does, in my judgment, require my heightened consideration of the public’s interest in obtaining the disclosure of the records held by the BDA concerning GTL.” Mr Burrows said the information would not be disclosed until the individuals had the opportunity to appeal his decision to the Information Commissioner. It is understood they have until November 22 to do so. The Premier said on Monday the public “can be confident that each and every company is properly vetted and confirmed as suitable to do business in Bermuda”. Mr Burt said last night: “There is no truth or substance to any of the suggestions made by the Opposition in this case and no amount of speculation will give credence to what they have said. The facts are very simple: jobs and opportunities were lost and this government is focused on ensuring that damage is repaired and hopefully does not happen again.” A BMA spokesman declined to answer questions about why the authority viewed Game Theory as not needing regulation. The spokesman said: “The Bermuda Monetary Authority is restricted under section 67 of the Digital Asset Business Act 2018 from disclosing any information submitted to it in accordance with such Act.”

paragraphThe Cayman Islands - Bermuda's main competitor in the international companies business - intends to introduce a public beneficial ownership register. The Government of the British Overseas Territory announced that it would introduce open access to information on true owners of companies at the same time as countries in the European Union. The news marks a policy shift for Bermuda’s offshore financial-services rival, which had previously shared the stance of the Bermuda Government — that it would make beneficial ownership information public only when it became an international standard. Alden McLaughlin, Cayman’s Premier, said the introduction of the UK’s public beneficial ownership register, the EU 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive and similar actions by other jurisdictions represented a shift in the global standard and the practices used to combat illicit activity. Corresponding legislation is expected to be introduced in 2022, the Cayman Compass reported. Cayman’s commitment is similar to that made by the British Crown Dependencies earlier this year. Britain has been pressuring its territories to adopt public beneficial ownership registers since David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister, proposed the idea in 2012 in an effort to clamp down on tax evasion. Bermuda has opposed the idea ever since, on the grounds that if other countries are not required to do the same, it would cause the island economic damage. Bermuda has maintained a beneficial ownership register, though not accessible to the public, for more than 70 years and has tax information exchange agreements with many countries. Britain will issue an Order in Council in December 2020, requiring OTs to establish public registers. The Bermuda Government has argued that the order would breach the Bermuda Constitution. On a visit to Bermuda in April this year, Lord Tariq Ahmad, Britain’s Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, said the UK was pushing for public registers to become an international standard by the 2023, the same deadline being imposed on Bermuda. Mr McLaughlin added: “I am proud that the Cayman Islands has worked so well with law enforcement and tax authorities the world over, and that the level of transparency of our regime has been recognised by key international bodies and other governments. The timeline we have announced today recognizes the work necessary to create a register that is sufficiently robust, capable of suitable levels of interoperability and that will avoid the redesigns that the UK now has to undertake.” Cayman Finance, a body representing international business, backed the Government’s move. “Now that the UK and EU are establishing an emerging global standard for ownership registers to be public, the Cayman Islands financial services industry will work closely with the Cayman Islands Government to ensure we meet that standard also,” Cayman Finance stated. A Bermuda government spokeswoman said last night: “Bermuda has strong and sophisticated laws that protect against money laundering and terrorist financing. Bermuda’s position on the adoption of a public register of beneficial ownership has been consistent over several years. We are committed to implementing any properly adopted international standard for public registers and will continue to work with bodies like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development and the Financial Action Task Force to combat money laundering.”

paragraphThe Bermuda Health Council (“Council”), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has started to gather views on the proposed Bermuda Health Plan. The Council remains committed to collaborating with stakeholders and ensuring health system sustainability for everyone. Since the beginning of the health system reform community discussions, the Council has seen an increase in the attendance in-person and online using ZOOM, which is a teleconferencing option provided to the public. Every meeting is open to the public to allow for open discussion on the scope of the proposed health system reforms and to have in-depth conversations on supporting changes that will need to occur to achieve better public health. The topics discussed to date include Early Childhood Health and Pediatrics, Ensuring Maternity Care and Midwifery, the Conversation on the Unified System Transition Roadmap; and the Single Payer/Unified Model Implications. Dr. Ricky Brathwaite, Acting CEO/Director Health Economics, states, “These conversations have been very insightful and extremely helpful as we lay the transitionary pathway for system improvements. It’s truly important to hear from those on the ground that we have gaps in our development programmes for kids, or that our maternity care is underutilized, or the diverse views that are held about profitability in healthcare and the concepts of shared sacrifice. We have to have these tough conversations if we are going to ensure that the chosen system will be successful. One thing that has been made clear from all the discussions recently, is that the public is definitely engaged and determined to contribute to the maintenance of our good health system parts and the improvement of our weak points.” A full slate of topics are scheduled to occur at least three times each week during the upcoming months. After each meeting, there will be information published on the Council’s website giving details from the meetings of the community discussions presented. Those interested in attending in-person are encouraged to RSVP as space is limited. In addition, those who cannot attend a meeting in-person are welcome to find us online using ZOOM. The online teleconference service will allow you to hear the discussion and participate by sending your questions and feedback, live. Ad-hoc meetings for interested stakeholder groups can also be arranged. These requests must be made at least five (5) working days in advance and will be scheduled based on availability. Topics that have been discussed during one of the sessions, but need further depth of discussion, will be automatically added to the schedule. To see the Health System Reform Community Discussions schedule or to RSVP, visit the link here: http://www.bhec.bm/bermuda-health-plan-2020-consultation/

paragraphThe former chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council was told that the organisation’s decision to sack her could not be judged as a matter of public law. Tawanna Wedderburn applied for a judicial review in the Supreme Court, alleging that the termination of her employment last December, was politically motivated. She took action against the health council, its former chairwoman Alicia Stovell-Washington, Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, and David Burt, the Premier. The allegations were vigorously denied during a one-day hearing last month, when Assistant Justice David Kessaram heard arguments on whether Ms Wedderburn’s case involved matters of public law, suitable for a judicial review, or private law, where an alternative legal remedy could be sought. A written ruling on the preliminary issue was handed down by the judge yesterday. Mr Justice Kessaram said in the judgment: “I am inclined to find that, if what the applicant alleges is true, she would have a compelling case that the council and the minister acted for improper purposes and in bad faith towards her as CEO of the council. But is that enough to give rise to a right of judicial review of the decisions that resulted in her dismissal?” He found that Ms Wedderburn’s “analysis of the facts leading to her firing” did not fit with the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004. Mr Justice Kessaram said the former chief executive’s statement that the council had a duty to “recommend” the health minister that her employment was terminated suggested it was the minister who made the decision. He added: “This does not seem to me to be a correct analysis.” Mr Justice Kessaram wrote: “What is remarkable about the relief claimed is what is not sought. There is no relief sought in the way of damages for wrongful dismissal, or for an order for reinstatement in her position as CEO, or a declaration that her employment continues until properly terminated in accordance with the Act and her contract. Damages are sought, not for compensation for loss arising out of any breach of her contract of employment, but against the Premier, the Minister of Health, the chairman of the council and the council for misfeasance in public office, a tort.” The ruling showed it was agreed that Ms Wedderburn was not a public servant or holder of a public office and that her employment terms were not regulated by statute or regulations. Mr Justice Kessaram wrote, it was argued on her behalf that there was a public law element to her role, in that there was a statutory requirement for the health minister to approve any decision to terminate her contract. He added: “It is said that this fact makes the decision to terminate amenable to judicial review. I do not agree.” The judge noted that he made “no finding as to the lawfulness of the termination” of Ms Wedderburn’s employment. He said: “It may very well be the case that the decision of the council and the decision of the minister were made in bad faith and for improper purposes. Those are issues which, if they are to be decided in these proceedings, can only be decided after hearing the evidence.” Mr Justice Kessaram found there was no public law element to the termination and that it was “not amenable to judicial review”. He said in court yesterday that he expected the parties to “collaborate with each other” about how to proceed in terms of the remaining issues in Ms Wedderburn’s claim and adjourned the matter until a later date.

paragraphNext week’s Bermuda Tourism Summit will look back on achievements during the National Tourism Plan’s first year—and challenges and opportunities on the horizon. Hosted by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and titled, “The Long View,” the 2019 event takes place at the Fairmont Southampton Tuesday, October 15, 8:30 am–6:30 pm. Attendees are invited to join local and international influencers in a full day of informative sessions, active breakouts, and networking opportunities exploring all facets of Bermuda’s tourism industry. Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva and BTA CEO Kevin Dallas will officially open the summit, which is expected to attract up to 300 registrants. “We’re one year into the six-year National Tourism Plan, so it’s time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished so far, anticipate changes already shaping up, and adjust our strategies and outlook accordingly,” said BTA CEO Kevin Dallas. “This iteration of our annual summit will therefore take a longer-term view—thinking through strategic goals, checking in on success indicators, and setting priorities for 2020 and beyond.” Among agenda highlights is a kickoff presentation by Adam Sacks, founder and president of Tourism Economics, who will examine Bermuda in the context of global economic and travel trends. Other spotlight sessions include “deep dives” into superyachts, frictionless travel, teams & groups and vacation rentals, plus insider look-a-heads to hotel projects and the island’s new airport debuting in summer 2020. A closing session features Bermudians abroad—branding executive Daren Bascome, journalist Clare O’Connor and hotelier Richard Tucker—who return to share diverse experiences, successes and advice. The Bermuda Tourism Summit is open to everyone. Advance registration of $40 by credit card (Mastercard or Visa only, no cheques), or $50 at the door, includes seminars and breakout sessions, breakfast, lunch and refreshments, and a Tourism Tech Connect networking reception in partnership with the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). 

paragraphA trip by the tourism minister to entice billionaire boat owners to visit Bermuda is “blatant hypocrisy”, an Opposition MP said. Leah Scott, the shadow tourism minister, said that Zane DeSilva’s trip to the Monaco Yacht Show showed “the irony or blatant hypocrisy displayed by David Burt and his Government”. She said the Premier had no qualms allowing Mr DeSilva to “spend our taxpayer dollars on a trip, to cosy up to and solicit business from billionaires”. Ms Scott said: “The Progressive Labour Party didn’t consider the superyachts that attended and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bermuda during the AC35 event to be part of the silver bullet that boosted our economy, in 2017 and beyond, but the PLP Government is sure chasing that silver bullet now, with the hopes of being able to find, at least one to load into the chamber of this stalling, stagnant economy.” Mr DeSilva was part of a Bermuda delegation of six people who attended the yacht event held from September 23 to 26. The island was represented at the Bermuda Breakfast, an event hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport and the BDA, in collaboration with luxury yachting lifestyle magazine Boat International. Mr DeSilva also delivered a speech at the Superyacht Finance Forum. He told the audience: “Most people in this room will know that Bermuda hosted the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 and it was a great success, for both the event and for the island.” Ms Scott said that the America’s Cup had been “a whipping post for the PLP”. She added: “However, AC35 is what enabled the PLP to inherit a much stronger and stable economy in 2017 — an economy that was much greater than what the OBA was left with in 2012.” Ms Scott questioned why six people were needed on the trip. She said: “I, and I am sure many others, are keenly interested in learning the rationale behind that, as well as what the total cost of the Monaco trip was, including the category of seating for air travel, hotels, transportation, daily per diem, entertainment and any other miscellaneous items that come with these trips. While I understand the need for the Government to do what is necessary to keep Bermuda at the forefront, six people on a trip to Monaco, on the government dime, is excessive.” Ms Scott said that it was “curious” that no representative from the Bermuda Tourism Authority was at the event. A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Transport said on Tuesday, that “branding materials” had been provided by the BTA for the Monaco trip. Kevin Dallas, the chief executive of the BTA, said that the quango opted not to attend the event “given Bermuda was well represented”. He added: “We’re focusing our limited resources on other marketing opportunities to engage brokers and captains, and developing a working group this fall to jointly plan future activity around superyacht opportunities that align with the National Tourism Plan.” A request for comment sent to a representative for Mr Burt was not responded to by press time yesterday.

paragraphAn Opposition MP who is part of the bipartisan immigration reform committee has assured residents that the group is doing all it can to “get it right”. Leah Scott, the deputy leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, said members were taking a “measure twice, cut once” approach to make sure that there were no unintended consequences as a result of any legislation. She was on the panel at a public forum last month when it was revealed that a Bill designed to ease the plight of mixed-status families would not be tabled in Parliament the following day as expected. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, had earlier planned to introduce the legislation to Parliament in July. He told an audience at the Berkeley Institute in September that, after a meeting that day, “there was no way” that the Bill could be tabled hours later. Ms Scott said that no single issue stood out, but that there were concerns that “we hadn’t covered all the bases in terms of what all the mixed-status permutations were comprised of”. She added: “We don’t want to pass law that creates unintended consequences and results in having to go back and make amendments. Let’s take time and get it right.” Ms Scott hoped that as far as possible the legislation would be something that all residents can “live with”. She said: “Unfortunately it’s just one of those things that we’re not going to get 100 per cent right, and we’re not going to make all the people happy. I would rather take licks at the beginning for trying to get it right than take licks at the end for having screwed it up.” The deputy Opposition leader added: “We want people to recognize that it may seem like it’s taking really long, but we’re just trying to do the best job that we possibly can.” Although Ms Scott was unable to offer any concrete timeline for Parliament, she said: “I know that our goal is to have it done as soon as possible. To be honest, we’re so close.” She is joined on the committee by Progressive Labour Party MPs Renée Ming and Christopher Famous, as well as Ben Smith, an OBA MP. Ms Scott explained: “The most important thing that has come out of this is that it has truly been a bipartisan effort. The OBA and PLP members have worked together in ensuring that we have something that’s representative of what we think Bermuda needs, it’s not party specific.” Collin Anderson, the national security permanent secretary, said at the meeting last month that mixed-status families, where a parent has Bermudian status or a permanent resident’s certificate but a child or spouse of the individual has neither, stood out as an area with “tremendous consensus” in the community. He presented four example “problems” in which status differed between generations and even siblings. For each, he indicated how legislation and subsequent amendments created various scenarios, and how the Government intended to make sure that status or a PRC could be provided to those affected. Ms Scott said she had received feedback about a comment she made on the night, regarding non-Bermudians who come to the island and “live better than the people in Bermuda”. She said last week: “If it caused offence, it was not intended, but it’s also the reality of many people in Bermuda.” Ms Scott added that opportunities should be equal and said that the Government was considering ways to boost apprenticeship programmes and succession planning for Bermudians.

paragraphSweeping changes to Bermuda’s pensions regime, including the right to cash in a chunk of a job pension on retirement, are being watched closely by the insurance industry. The amendments, if voted into law, could have “significant repercussions for individuals as well as for companies administering pensions”, according to John Wight, the chief executive of insurer BF&M. The legislation, tabled last month in the House of Assembly, will allow employees to take out a quarter of their private pensions as a lump sum on retirement. It will also require non-Bermudian workers to pay into their occupational pensions, along with self-employed workers. Mr Wight said yesterday that the insurance firm was “generally supportive of steps being taken that align Bermuda further with best practices adopted by other countries, such as enacting access to 25 per cent of pension balances at retirement”. The company also gave its backing for stronger governance for pension plans, including “vetting and approving pension trustees to ensure that employees receive full pension benefits to which they are entitled”, Mr Wight said. He added: “When there is more certainty around what is passed into law and the associated timelines, we will, of course, be reaching out to inform our clients.” Nick Kempe, the shadow finance minister, saw no pitfalls in workers cashing in a portion of their pension on retirement. “I have no problem with that,” Mr Kempe said. “People can already take it out for hardship. I see no issues.” But he said the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Amendment Act 2019 “adds another layer to the cost of doing business”. Mr Kempe was skeptical that requiring expatriate workers to pay into occupational pensions would level the playing field. I don’t think it’s a consequential amount of money when you factor in costs such as work permits and repatriation,” he said. “I would be curious to see any data to support the belief that pension contributions make businesses hire guest workers.” He added: “Also, it means that money, when taken back, will go to a retirement overseas. I don’t think that’s a good idea at all.” The One Bermuda Alliance senator said the 35 pages of legislation came with “a raft of additional fees which will, of course, get passed on. It seems like it’s justifying beefing up the Pensions Commission. It just feels like more cost and more red tape. Businesses are being asked to bow to an awful lot of additional expenses. It’s not having a beneficial effect on the local business community.” Robert Stewart, an economist, called the legislation “a band-aid on a broken leg. There’s a major problem with the Government’s contributory pension plan, which everyone buys into. It’s bankrupt; the last time I looked it was 45 per cent funded, which means it has less than half of what it should. Another big problem is that there is no mechanism for enforcement of the occupational pension. The funds are run by insurance companies like Argus and BF&M, that’s the one that you can take out your lump sum. But many people and many employers do not pay into it, and there is no mechanism whereby the Government can check.” Mr Stewart also supported enabling the withdrawal of a quarter of a pension upon retirement. That means if you have a pension of $500,000, you can take $125,000 out as a lump sum to pay off your mortgage or any debts you may have. It’s your money; you should be able to do that. You’re left with $375,000 and that money is invested on your behalf by insurance companies. It rises and falls depending on how it is invested. The problem few people pick up on is that the insurance company takes a fee of about 1 per cent of your assets for running your retirement account. That fee is really very high by international standards.” Mr Stewart called the legislation “a step in the right direction”, but said the island needed a more realistic plan to contend with its high costs. He added: “The money is there, but it is not adequate. Most people have not made adequate provisions for their retirement. At age 65 or retirement, ideally the situation should be that the employee should have sufficient funds to provide them with at least 50 per cent of their working income. The reality is that insufficient funds are put in there in the first place, so that will never be realised for the majority of people. The money is not there, which is why there is more realistic legislation needed.”

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paragraphEwart Brown, the former premier, has paid tribute to the Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown, who has died at age 59. Dr Brown said in a statement this evening: “I have lost a cousin and a political comrade. Bermuda has lost a visionary who wanted political maturity for his fellow countrymen. May his mother and his siblings find peace during this difficult time.” Mr Brown, a political commentator who rose to MP in 2012 and served as Minister of Home Affairs from 2017 to 2018, was recalled last night as a man committed to social justice. Rolfe Commissiong, a fellow Progressive Labour Party MP, said his colleague “gave so much to this country”. The Pembroke South East MP said: “He was a giant among my generation and the pride of black Bermuda — of that there can be no doubt. His intellectual rigor and commitment to social justice placed him head and shoulders above many of us. Often we say of some men and women upon their passing that they are irreplaceable. As regards Walton Brown, that would not be an empty phrase. In fact, it would be highly applicable and well earned.” Mr Commissiong said they had both been born in Spanish Point in Pembroke, affectionately known as “Key West”. He added: “I just find it to have been an honour to have served with him as a Member of Parliament over the last near eight years or so. My condolences go out to his dear mother and family.” Bill Zuill, a former editor of The Royal Gazette, recalled Mr Brown as an astute surveyor of politics in Bermuda. He said: “My professional involvement with him came shortly after the General Election of 1998, which the Progressive Labour Party won. Walton had been polling for The Bermuda Sun, and he predicted the election result pretty much to the seat. It was very accurate — for what it’s worth, the Gazette was not. The election result was not a surprise, but the margin was. When I became editor, Walton began doing polls for us until 2007, when he became a senator and had a conflict of interest that was inescapable. Over those years, his polling was always extremely good. He was probably the most accurate pollster for politics Bermuda has ever had. He understood the electorate and could form questions well to make a very accurate prediction. He did a great service to Bermuda.” Mr Zuill added: “I always found Walton to be extremely open minded. He had strong political views and was willing to engage in good discussions and see and recognize different arguments. He has been taken too young, and it is obviously a great loss to the Government, to the PLP, and to Bermuda.”

paragraphWalton Brown's own words. 

paragraphUrology specialist, Dr. Jonathan Makanjuola, will be available at Northshore Medical & Aesthetics Centre from October 21 to October 25, 2019 in order to address general Urological issues with patients.

Conditions exclusive to men:

In its early stages, prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men, often has no symptoms. It is recommended that men start having their prostate checked at the age of 50 with a PSA test repeated every two to four years. Urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections are two conditions that afflict women but any urinary problem in women can be treated by a urologist. Dr Makanjuola is a member of the American Urology Association, the British Association of Urological Surgeons, and the European Association of Urology. He will be at the North Shore Medical & Aesthetics Centre from October 21 to October 25, 2019. For more information, call 293-5476.

paragraphBermuda has its first forensic physician, Amne Osseyran. St George’s born and bred, it is there that she has always wanted to set up her practice. In March, she joined Andrew West as a GP at Adler Lodge, his offices on Water Street, St. George's.  Time in Kingston, Jamaica, helped prepare her for the role; it is where she gained hands-on experience in hospitals, rural health centres and pediatric clinics. “I knew I wanted to come home and serve,” said Dr Osseyran, the first Bermuda-born physician to practise in St George’s. I grew up in St George’s; my whole family went to the doctor in St George’s and I still live there now. I knew there were only two people who practiced there and that opportunity could exist for me. I wanted to be able to give back to my country. It sounds like a cliché, but that’s it. I got a lot of scholarships, I had a lot of people looking out for me and who were proud of me ... I wanted to be able to give back.” Getting there was not an easy road. That she studied forensic science and forensic medicine before pursuing her medical degree did not sit well with everybody. “It’s not the traditional route,” said Dr Osseyran, who earned her degree from the University of West Indies in 2015. “The traditional route is medical school and then a speciality. Mine was backwards, which seems to make it difficult for people to understand that I have specialized, seems to make it difficult for my qualifications to be respected. It has impacted my confidence at times. When the public and colleagues don’t respect the knowledge or expertise you have earned because you haven’t done it the way or in the order that they know things to be done, it is somewhat discouraging and frustrating.” Some might say it is particularly hard for Dr Osseyran, an overachiever with a passion for science. She began volunteering in the pathology lab at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital shortly after she left the Berkeley Institute in 1999. “That was my real introduction to being involved in healthcare and I got hands-on experience,” she said. “I was always into science; a lot of things came naturally to me, but that’s when I decided I wanted to be involved in medicine.” Initially supervised, before she knew it she was handling samples and doing lab work on her own. “I was there for the introduction of ThinPrep, when Bermuda switched from conventional pap smears to a liquid pap test,” she said. “They trained me on the machine and I trained the full-time staff.” In the UK, at the University of East London, she studied forensic science before pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical science. Following that, she did a master’s degree in forensic medicine before joining the UWI Jamaica campus to study medicine and surgery. “I knew I wanted to do forensic medicine. I was initially interested in forensic pathology,” she said. “Forensic pathology is a great field, there is a ton of work — just not in Bermuda. I knew I wanted to come home and serve and so just doing forensic pathology wouldn’t work for me.” In the meantime, she joined KEMH where she became involved in human papillomavirus research. “With women, we say HPV causes cervical cancer. With men, HPV is linked with anal cancer, linked with penile cancer, linked with some throat cancer, but no definitive causal statement existed. I wanted to figure out what can we do for men and it popped in my head — let’s try urine. And it worked. “I tested male urine samples to see if that could provide a viable screening method. Women get pap smears; they’re screened, but men are not. The strains related to cancers aren’t symptomatic STD where you’re itching [so you know you have a problem]. There’s not enough being done with men. They are vulnerable too.” She submitted her findings to a journal. As a result, she was invited to a conference where Harald zur Hausen, the German scientist who discovered the link between HPV and cancer, was the guest speaker. “I went up and introduced myself and invited him to Bermuda to speak — I didn’t know how he was getting there. I didn’t know how I was paying for it.” Panic only set in once the 2008 Nobel laureate agreed to come. With the help of Clyde Wilson, now KEMH’s chief of pathology, Dr Osseyran brought him here in 2009. “I don’t think anyone ever thought that a student from a 21-square-mile island would have personal interaction, a personal reference from and endorsement, from someone who discovered the popular virus that causes cancer,” she said. As thrilled as she was to facilitate the opportunity, she was disappointed not to have the funding to further her own HPV research. “And then I went on to medical school and these things were put on the back burner,” Dr Osseyran said. “It costs a lot for research and you have to have people who believe that what you’re doing is useful. I was probably the youngest to have done research on that scale in Bermuda. When you’re bringing ideas, just because you’re from a tiny island and there’s familiarity — you know my aunt or granny, just because you haven’t heard of the topic yet or because it’s a newer field doesn’t mean what I’m saying isn’t valid. Here, we’re not trusting children or young people and the ideas they bring. I hope to change that. Over ten years ago, we could have been catapulted into global research opportunities, but I had to fight and beg for this particular opportunity. I couldn’t get the money. You don’t get a Nobel Prize person here every day; you don’t get to work with a Nobel laureate every day and I facilitated that.”

paragraphWater issues at the island’s schools after Hurricane Humberto have been fixed, according to the Department of Education. A Government spokeswoman said this morning that school tanks were chlorinated and checked between September 24 and 26. She said: “In the wake of Hurricane Humberto, the Department of Education advised students to bring drinking water to school while all school water systems were checked. The department has confirmed that all water system checks are complete, and students and staff have resumed use of school provided drinking water as normal.”

paragraphThe volume of retail sales fell in June by 6 per cent in volume when compared to a year ago. The fall is all the more striking as June 2018 saw the biggest drop in retail sales volume — at 9.1 per cent — of the past four years. The figures are inflation adjusted. In June the retail sales rate of inflation was 0.7 per cent. It is the fifteenth month out of the last 16 that has seen retail sales fall. Six of the seven retail sectors recorded lower sales volumes with apparel stores the biggest faller, down 16.8 per cent. Building material stores recorded a 12.3 per cent contraction in the volume of sales, motor vehicle stores and “all other store types” were both 7.8 per cent lower, while liquor store sales dropped 13.5 per cent, and food sales were down 2.8 per cent. However, sales at service stations were up 0.5 per cent. Lorraine Shailer, co-chair of the retail division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures continue to confirm what has been clear for some time now, that the retail industry is certainly struggling. Online shopping, changes in our customers shopping habits, needs and demands, declining population, the high cost of doing business and living in Bermuda are all contributing factors. Many retailers realise that there needs to be changes to their retail models in order to survive, but how these changes are made, in an already struggling business are challenging. The conversations that are held at our Retail Division meetings, certainly indicate a want and a determination to survive and keep the 4000 Bermudians that we employ in employment.” The Retail Sales Index figures released yesterday were produced by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics. Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, in a statement said: “Imports via courier decreased $300,000 to $11.1 million. Imports by households via sea decreased $700,000 to $800,000 In contrast, declarations by returning residents via the airport rose $300,000 to $4.5 million while imports via the post office remained unchanged at $500,000.” In value terms, retail sales were down 5.3 per cent at $98.9 million.

paragraphA lawyer appeared in court today to face charges of assault and wounding. Kamal Worrell, 38, had failed to appear for a Magistrates’ Court hearing yesterday, meaning that a warrant for his arrest was issued. After a brief hearing today, Magistrate Maxanne Anderson adjourned the matter until October 21 and extended Mr Worrell’s $5,000 bail. Mr Worrell, from Warwick, previously pleaded not guilty to the assault and wounding of Chavelle Dillon on June 1 in Warwick.

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October 8

paragraphBermuda’s leadership in the development of its fintech industry can attract start-ups seeking to make the island a “domicile of choice”, according to David Burt. The Premier urged local participation in the inaugural Bermuda Tech Week 2019 that kicks off next Monday: five days of “industry-driven events” focused on emerging technologies. The summit, hosted by the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, will deliver “insightful deliberations about the future opportunities presented by emerging and disruptive technologies”, Mr Burt said yesterday. It has been organised by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in partnership with FinTech Bermuda, but Mr Burt emphasised that “technology is not limited to fintech”. He added: “Technology, and not just fintech, will be important for Bermuda’s growth and development. Our vision is to have the island recognised globally as a stable and well-regulated location for all technologists and technology companies.” So far the fintech sector has created “eight active offices with 31 new jobs”, he said. But Mr Burt said the island could benefit from disruptive technological change in fields ranging from hospitality to financial services, telecommunications and insurance. He cited legislation tabled last month for submarine telecommunications cables that could push the island as a digital hub in the Atlantic. “We are looking to attract companies that are focusing on data to Bermuda,” Mr Burt said. “There’s going to be persons from Google that will be here as part of the events next week. They’ve been here previously. There’s a wide range of companies that we’re looking to attract to Bermuda, to take advantage of a unique ecosystem of innovation. A lot of companies are attracted to Bermuda because of insurance. They are innovative technology companies which may have things like self driving cars that they’re figuring out how to insure. They come to Bermuda for insurance and they realise that our ecosystem is that much bigger than just insurance.” Technology has emerged as one of the drivers of consolidation in the insurance industry, but Mr Burt said the island would still have to keep to the fore. People were nervous about the invention of electricity,” he said. “The fact is that we cannot stop the pace of technological change. The only way Bermuda is going to be successful in navigating that is if we embrace it and have companies here focused on providing these solutions to the world. Clearly, technology is going to result in automation, and that is something we are going to have to contend with. But the only way Bermuda is going to continue to be successful and have jobs that remain in the country is if we have those new jobs focused on support of AI, how you do compliance better, how can you handle the exceptions. Those are the jobs of the future.” About 200 people have registered so far for Tech Week, with roughly one third coming from overseas.

paragraphWalton Brown, an MP, former minister and longstanding member of the Progressive Labour Party, has died at the age of 59. Police confirmed this afternoon that Mr Brown was found unresponsive at noon at his Ferrars Lane, Pembroke residence. His death, which was certified at the scene by an on call doctor, was not viewed as suspicious, and a police spokesman said that a cause was under investigation. David Burt, the Premier, said he was “totally devastated” by the news, adding: “My personal association with Walton goes back many years and I learnt so much from him through his wisdom, experience and guidance.” John Rankin, the Governor, said he was “shocked and saddened” to learn of Mr Brown’s death. Mr Rankin added: “As Governor I was pleased to engage with him both as a Member of the House of Assembly and as a Minister. I always found him to be a most thoughtful individual and I give thanks for his service to Bermuda. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends on his passing.” Mr Burt said of his colleague: “He struggled alongside us in Opposition, locked arms with us in front of the House of Assembly and spoke passionately in the House on the issues that mattered so much to him and so many Bermudians.” Mr Burt added: “In him, Bermuda had a writer, a teacher, a human-rights activist, a champion for Bermuda’s sovereignty, and a fighter for Bermudian workers. But our loss cannot match that of his family who now mourn a father, a brother and a son. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and my hope is that in the difficult days ahead they draw strength and comfort from the sacrifice and commitment Walton brought to serving the people of his beloved Bermuda.” Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, offered condolences to Mr Brown’s family, as well as the Premier and the PLP. Mr Cannonier added: “They have lost a Party stalwart and an excellent MP who always put Bermuda first. As I started to get involved in politics, Walton took the time to give me some political perspective on Bermuda. His insights were, and continue to be, a tremendous help and I will always be grateful. Later, Walton and I used to meet often for breakfast where I had the privilege of discussing with him the direction of Bermuda, regardless of political outlook. It is a sad day for Bermuda and Walton will be tremendously missed.” Damon Wade, the chairman of the PLP, issued the following statement: “The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party today joins with Bermuda in mourning the passing of Walton Brown JP, MP. A longstanding passionate advocate for social justice in Bermuda, his association with the PLP goes back to the mid-80s. During his time as a PLP Member and Supporter, he served as the Chair for Pembroke Branch and was appointed to the Senate by Premier Ewart Brown. In the 2007 General Election, he carried the PLP banner in the historical UBP stronghold, Pembroke West. In 2012, MP Brown was successfully elected to Parliament as the representative for Pembroke Central. He was re-elected in 2017 and appointed to Premier Burt’s first Cabinet as Minister of Home Affairs and later as Minister for the Cabinet Office. The PLP will miss Walton and his strong advocacy for Bermuda’s sovereignty, his determination to strengthen immigration on behalf of Bermudians, his political insight and perhaps most importantly, his friendship. We are thankful for having known Walton Brown and grateful for his work and sacrifice. Bermuda is richer for his commitment to our island and our people. Yet as the PLP family mourns the passing of a beloved comrade at arms, his family, his loved ones and his friends are also mourning his loss. We are committed to standing with his family and encourage all of Bermuda to stand with his family during this time of bereavement.” Mr Brown, a prominently left-leaning member of the party, was elected MP for Pembroke Central in 2012. He stepped down as Minister for the Cabinet Office in April. Previously he held the portfolio of Home Affairs, which he lost in a Cabinet shuffle last November. He was a former senator for the PLP, statistician, political observer and staunch advocate for Bermudian independence. He also pursued a broadcast career, with the radio show Bermuda Speaks. Mr Brown taught history and politics at Bermuda College from 1988 to 2000. He was a keen researcher into social issues the author of several books. A graduate of the Berkeley Institute, Mr Brown studied political science at Queens University in Canada, followed by York University. He operated an online news site, Bermuda Network News, as well as a polling firm, Research Innovations, which he set up in 1991. The shock news follows a report from police that the body of a 59-year-old man was discovered at noon at a Pembroke residence.

paragraphMagistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said he was not comfortable being prosecuted by his friend and former boss, a court heard yesterday. Mr Tokunbo has denied a charge that he refused a breath test on January 19. Yesterday his lawyer, Charles Richardson, argued in Magistrates’ Court that lawyer Saul Froomkin should not represent the Crown because he has a history with Mr Tokunbo. Mr Richardson said: “The bottom line is this: my client is simply not comfortable with being prosecuted and cross-examined by his former boss, his former lawyer and his friend.” He told the court that until recently the defence believed the Crown would be represented by Crown counsel Alan Richards. However, Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, had sought to bring in overseas counsel to handle the case, a proposal rejected by the Bermuda Bar Council, after local counsel had recused themselves. Mr Froomkin, who does not usually sit for the Crown, was then brought in to handle the case. Mr Richardson said Mr Tokunbo did not object to the use of a local prosecutor, but the court must be careful to avoid perceived conflicts of interests. He added: “There is too much at stake for my client.” Mr Froomkin objected to the application by Mr Richardson. Cayman Islands magistrate Valdis Foldats, brought to the island to oversee the case, adjourned the matter until tomorrow for the council to make more detailed submissions. Mr Foldats was Called to the Bar in Canada in 1984 and prior to moving to the Cayman in 1999.

paragraphMore than 100 soldiers returned home at the weekend after a tough two-week exercise in the UK designed to test their public order and internal security skills.  The Royal Bermuda Regiment troops were based at Lydd training camp in Kent, where they used realistic villages to hone their public order techniques against opposition proved by professional soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment. The RBR contingent also worked with Royal Army Veterinary Corps dog handlers and their specially-trained protection dogs and spent time on hi-tech British Army firing ranges. Corporal Dijon Arruda, 31, from Warwick, said: “Active Shield was different – I learned a lot of new things. I’m a basic public order instructor and I learned a few tips and tricks. It was interesting having the dog unit involved and seeing how things changed because of that.” Cpl Arruda, who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess, added: “I’ve enjoyed it very much. Being able to be in the village in an urban setting really opens up your eyes and we learned a lot of things we can bring back home. Based on the feedback, my group did very well on Active Shield and achieved what we set out to achieve.” Private Owen Chisnall, 25, from Southampton and a project manager with air conditioning firm BAC, said: “The exercise was great. There were a lot of good experiences out there. We definitely learned some new skills The public order training was really fun and you can’t go wrong spending a couple of days on the ranges.” Pte Andrea Burrows, 21, from Pembroke and at 5ft 1in the smallest and lightest soldier on the exercise, held her own against repeated onslaughts by the Royal Anglians during the public order phase Pte Burrows, who works at hardware store Gorhams, said: “I’m taller than my shield when it’s resting on the ground – but not by much. I was nervous at first because it was something new to me, but once I got used to it, it became second nature and I enjoyed it. I got first hand experience of what it’s like on the front line and got to see what soldiers and the police do to protect their country. I was part of something bigger than myself, but I’m looking forward to the nice warm weather at home.” Lieutenant Travis Stevens, an information risk manager at professional services firm KPMG, who commanded an Operational Support Unit platoon, said: “Some of our soldiers came in to the RBR as late as February and they were able to pick up skills, drills and tactics you would expect to see in more senior soldiers. I was very pleased with their performance and, more importantly, with their ability to self-motivate in sections and platoons. I have never seen morale so high on an exercise like this. When they were getting hit with Molotov cocktails or rubber bullets from as close as ten metres away, they showed a level of maturity that really impressed me. This was a very worthwhile exercise.” Lt Stevens highlighted the support shown by his own firm and others to soldiers who commit their time to the RBR. He said: “They are good corporate citizens and Regiment service helps to develop individuals and their companies as well. Good employers recognize the benefits of having individuals who are immersed in an environment that forces leadership – that translates into the workplace as well.” Sergeant Major Chauncey Durham, a 32-year veteran of the RBR, was Company Sergeant Major for the exercise, in charge of discipline, standards and administration. Sgt Maj. Durham, a Customs officer in civilian life from Southampton, said: “The soldiers worked very well out of their comfort zone, got stuck in grasped the training. They learned professionalism, and learned the job of a soldier is not fun and games. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding hard work.” Major Preston Gill, who had overall command of Active Shield, added: “The Royal Anglian Regiment said that, in comparison to the British Army Reserves, we can hold our own. Our troops were rated competent in public order and we are now the only Reserve unit that has been assessed for public order duties and assessed positively.” Maj. Gill added: “They gave us an indication of areas where we can develop and equipment we could acquire. It was extremely valuable and not the kind of thing we could do at home. The British soldiers were very tough on us and that’s hard to replicate in Bermuda.”

paragraphThere was standing room only last Thursday evening at the official residence of the US Consul General, Mrs Constance Dierman, on Wilkinson Avenue, Hamilton Parish. The Women’s Resource Centre (WRC), held a kickoff public discussion, in a series of public conversations for women titled ‘Women’s Empowerment Discussions’. The cross-section of representation, the venue, the intimacy, sumptuous refreshments, the generous hospitality of US Consul Dierman, and the obvious thirst to engage in effective and meaningful conversation, allowed for an evening of candid discussion on diverse issues facing women and families in Bermuda today. “The evening reflected the kind of spirit that is desired, but not often achieved, in a community convening. It was exciting to have women from all walks of life not only gracing us with their presence, but participating in the robust discussion” stated Elaine Butterfield, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Centre. “I was pleased to provide a platform for this special panel. The Women’s Resource Centre is an impactful organisation that supports women in reaching their full potential. The panellists engaged the audience with key issues that concern all women and young girls in Bermuda, and I thank each one of them for taking time to challenge everyone in the room to engage.” The dynamic discussion was moderated by Ms Jasmine Patterson and panellists included Ms Toni Daniels, Renee Ming, JP MP, Rev Paulette Burrows and Mrs Jennifer Outerbridge-Smith. The panel led the discussion around defining success, how to encourage one another as women, self judgment and judgment of others as well as how to inspire the next generation. A large part of the evening included audience participation. Upcoming discussions will include the Criminal Justice System in Bermuda and Women and a candid discussion with Parliamentarians on the state of Women in Bermuda. For further information visit the WRC on Facebook or contact it at wrc@wrcbermuda.com or tel 295-3882. 

paragraphA publicity-shy company, which scrapped plans to open an office in Bermuda after media interest in its activities, offered to be categorised as a fintech firm “if it helps from a political point of view”. Records released under public access to information show that Guernsey-based Game Theory Ltd did not view itself as a financial technology firm, but made the suggestion as it sought help from Bermuda Business Development Agency, to set up shop here, obtain work permits and liaise with regulators. The company, a self-described “investment house that places bets on investing in sports businesses”, ultimately opted not to open an office on the island, after a small story ran in The Royal Gazette’s business section about a job advert it placed to recruit six local employees as “sports trading operators”. The decision led David Burt, the Premier, to claim in a parliamentary speech in February that The Royal Gazette and the One Bermuda Alliance were to blame. He alleged the newspaper had joined forces with the Opposition to derail any success in Bermuda’s fledgling fintech industry. Mr Burt said politicians were subject to “justifiable media scrutiny”, but private businesses had a right to “keep their affairs private”. The BDA released more than 600 hard-copy documents it held about Game Theory, or GTL Atlantic Ltd, the name it incorporated under here, in response to a Pati request. The records include correspondence between the company and the BDA, beginning from when Game Theory approached the agency for help in quickly establishing a presence on the island in 2018, to when it ditched its Bermuda plan in February this year. Almost all of the names and job titles have been removed from the documents, a decision which The Royal Gazette has challenged with BDA’s chief executive, Roland Andy Burrows. In an e-mail from November last year, which appears to have been sent to a BDA official, a company representative wrote: “Regarding the fintech point … it was my understanding from my visit to Bermuda … that we will not be considered a fintech business (and we don’t want to be, as there is regulation attaching to this). I’m happy for Game Theory to be an unnamed employer in the fintech space if it helps from a political point of view, but don’t want to be seen as holding ourselves out as a fintech business (in the strictest sense we are not, in my opinion). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.” A reply sent on December 6, seemingly from the BDA official, said: “I wanted to make sure that you do not apply for work permits directly but do so through the [Government’s] FinTech Business Unit … as they will submit the request on your behalf so that they can legally track it and accelerate the processing of the documents.” The Game Theory representative responded the next day at 11.02am, to confirm the work permit applications would be made through the FinTech Business Unit, “if this is correct, given that we have been told we are not to apply for fintech permits, but instead for new incorporation permits”. In an e-mail the same day at 3.20pm, it was stated the work permit applications would be made through the “BDU”: the Government’s Business Development Unit. The BDA connects companies to that unit. The unit offers a “concierge service” to international businesses setting up here, helping speed up their regulatory and work permit applications. Since coming to power in July 2017, the Government has sought to position Bermuda as a leader in the global fintech space, aiming to entice executives to relocate to the island and create local jobs. The FinTech Bermuda website encourages new technology companies to set up here and benefit from the “unique environment that prioritizes regulatory certainty, investor confidence and compliance with international know your customer and anti-money laundering regulations”. Game Theory is described in the correspondence released under Pati as an “artificial intelligence company” and a “private investment firm for a family”. Its job advert was for “sports trading operators”; sports trading is a term generally understood to mean betting on the movement of sporting odds. Finance minister Curtis Dickinson told Parliament in March this year the law needed to be changed to ensure the island’s betting sector was “regulated thoroughly”. He said regulatory responsibility for betting shops would transfer from the Betting Licensing Authority to the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. In its e-mails to the BDA, Game Theory said it did not believe it needed to be regulated by either the Bermuda Monetary Authority or the BCGC, providing legal opinions to that effect (the opinions are redacted from the Pati disclosure). In an e-mail in September last year, a company representative sought help from the BDA in obtaining agreement from the BMA and the BCGC that Game Theory did “not need regulating”. An e-mail later that month mentioned “applying some gentle pressure on the BMA and BCGC”. According to the correspondence, Game Theory obtained a written statement from the BMA stating it did not consider that the company needed to be regulated, but it was unable to get the same from the gaming commission. Mr Burt, though he did not name Game Theory, told the House of Assembly the company negotiated a lease for 2,000 square feet of office space on Pitts Bay Road that had been available for some time. The Pati disclosure shows that Game Theory met with a realtor and that the company was looking for “commercial office space to house six to 12 staff”, with “top-of-the-range internet/telecommunications connections”. A company representative wrote: “Preferably, I like properties on the top floor, away from other tenants.” The Royal Gazette business story ran on February 11 and Mr Burt gave his speech on February 15. The Pati disclosure includes an e-mail dated February 19, which appears to be from a BDA official responding to a suggestion from a FinTech Business Unit official that some “damage control” be done. The BDA official wrote: “They’ve left and Bermuda is no longer an option. There are differences of opinion on whether or not the RG did anything wrong and it’s descended into a very political issue now, which we would prefer not to step into.” In response to questions, Mr Burrows said on Sunday: “Respectfully, I am unable to specifically answer your questions given that the current Pati request [is] under way. Please note, however, one [of] the BDA’s primary roles is to provide a concierge service for Bermuda inbound clients, which is an introduction to the Government Business Development Unit’s concierge programme and private sector companies, as appropriate.” He added: “The inbound clients are new business opportunities in line with our mandate and one would suggest that Game Theory was an opportunity.” Mr Burt said last night that the BDA “manages a critical part of business development for Bermuda and engages with hundreds of companies and interested investors annually”. He added: “Each company has unique needs and insofar as is possible the BDA is determined to meet them. That work is made more difficult when those needs are disrespected and subjected to unwarranted intrusion into corporate affairs.” Mr Burt said that the public “can be confident that each and every company is properly vetted and confirmed as suitable to do business in Bermuda”. He added: “Where other interests, for their own political or other agendas, seek to disrupt that process, Bermuda loses. Jobs are lost; opportunities are lost; economic growth is stymied.” There was no response to an e-mail sent to Mike Richards, of Game Theory.

paragraphAn arrest warrant was issued for a lawyer yesterday after he failed to appear in court over assault charges. Kamal Worrell, 38, did not attend Magistrates’ Court despite an order to appear before Magistrate Maxanne Anderson. Mr Worrell, from Warwick, had appeared in court on August 28 when he denied assaulting and wounding Chavelle Dillon on June 1 in Warwick. Ms Anderson released him on $5,000 bail and ordered him to stay away from the alleged victim. She adjourned the case until October 7.

paragraphThe BDA released more than 600 hard-copy documents it held about Game Theory, or GTL Atlantic Ltd, the name it incorporated under here, in response to a Pati request.

Game Theory’s description of its business, as provided to the Government’s Business Development Unit: “We are an investment house that places bets on investing in sports businesses. We recently set up in Guernsey — 20 to 23 people were hired in a period of 6 months. Now we’re looking for a second jurisdiction to target sporting events in the US — we want to transition the company more firmly into the investment world and away from the sport and gaming side. Our company started with horse racing but we are now using fintech and AI to guide investment decisions. We are looking to have staff on the ground in Bermuda. Non-Bermudians will train the Bermuda-based team. Looking to hire 10 to 12 people to be trained as data analysts focused on trigger events.”

paragraphAn industry expert took issue yesterday with a government announcement that emergency permits had been processed to allow contractors to cut slate. Shawn Perott, a quarry operator with 21 years’ experience, said: “If that’s the case, and you did that, I should have been working. I’m still waiting.” Mr Perott said that he had been hamstrung in his efforts to assist in recovery efforts in the wake of the Category 3 Hurricane Humberto which damaged roofs across the island. Mr Perott added: “I’ve helped this island out in all the hurricanes since 2003. So I don’t see why I should have my hands tied in my own country and can’t produce slate for the citizens of Bermuda.” Mr Perott was speaking after a government representative said that emergency permits had been processed for slate cutting. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said 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”. It came after The Royal Gazette reported yesterday how hundreds of hurricane-damaged homes could face long waits for repairs because of a slate shortage. Mr Perott previously estimated that as many as 500 homes damaged by last month’s hurricane could wait up to three months for repairs because of the shortage. The spokeswoman said that “a number of steps have been taken to determine sites that could be used to obtain slate”. She added: “This includes liaising with the Construction Association to determine sites as well as liaising with the quarry operators who have existing licences to cut slate to ensure that there are adequate amounts that are being produced.” The spokeswoman identified five sites that were actively being quarried or where the landowner had requested permission to cut slate. They are:

She said that a single site could provide anywhere from 300 to 500 piece of slate per day. The spokeswoman added that the current wait time for customers was about 1½ to 2 weeks. She added that small roof repairs could require as many as 500 pieces of slate while a full roof replacement could require between 1,500 and 2,500 pieces. But Mr Perott said that some of the numbers provided by the Government were “inaccurate”. He took issue with the wait time for customers for slate provided by the spokeswoman. Mr Perott also disagreed about the amount of slate that a site could provide in a day. He said: “A quarry operator that has got his equipment together can produce anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pieces a day.” Mr Perott said that of the list of five sites provided by the Government only one — the Butterfield & Vallis site — was operational. He said of the other locations: “There’s nobody at these sites.”

paragraphPolice are reminding members of the public to be on the lookout for scams after suspicious calls over the weekend. The new appeal comes after police received several complaints about possible fraudulent phone calls made on Saturday. A police spokesman said that the calls came from 441-405-9999. He added: “Callers stated that the person calling from that number claimed they were conducting a census and asked for personal information such as name and date of birth. Calling the number back results in an automated message stating that your call cannot be completed as dialed.” The spokesman said that anyone who received a similar call from that number or another should ignore the calls and report them to the Financial Crime Unit on 247-1757 or via e-mail at fraud2@bps.bm.

paragraphArch Capital Group Ltd expects a hit of up to $75 million from catastrophes in its third-quarter results. The Bermuda-based re/insurer said today that the bulk of the losses relate to Hurricane Dorian, which devastated parts of the Bahamas last month, and Typhoon Faxai, the strongest storm to hit Japan in 60 years. Arch said the pre-tax loss estimate, which is in the range of $65 million to $75 million, was net of reinsurance recoveries and reinstatement premiums. “At this time, there are significant uncertainties surrounding the scope of damage for these events, as well as the other global events,” Arch said. The loss estimates exclude the operations of Watford Holdings Ltd, in which Arch owns an 11 per cent equity stake.

paragraphGarden and pet supply store Animal and Garden House is back in business as a web-only operation. Owner Jennifer McCarron closed her bricks and mortar shop on Cemetery Road, Pembroke at the end of June citing rising costs, and a drop in sales that she attributes to a road closure made to facilitate construction at Belco. But, at the urging of her loyal customer base and with the support of her family, Ms McCarron says she had a rethink. “We closed June 30, but stayed another month to pack up, and paint and clean,” she said. “The doors were closed, we were packing up, but customers kept coming. They told us ‘don’t go out of business’, and they came up with ideas about how we could stay in business. That’s how it evolved, that we would stay in business, but do it differently. That’s how going web-based came up, which is a fantastic idea because that’s how people are shopping these days.” Although the seed of the idea was planted in July, it wasn’t until another few weeks had passed that the plan germinated, Ms McCarron said. At the time, a job search was proving difficult. “It was probably in August that we decided,” she said. “I was still waiting for a job to come through when me, my daughter, Elysse, and my son, Matthew, did this rethink and came up with this.” Ms McCarron said the move to an online operation will eliminate the crippling overhead that she faced on Cemetery Road, where monthly rent for the 8,000-square-foot space was $6,500. Adding service charges took the monthly obligation to nearly $10,000, she said. “I can be a lot more competitive with pricing now,” Ms McCarron says. The business will also offer a weekly rodent maintenance programme for residential and business customers, as well as a fruit tree maintenance operation. Ms McCarron will run the resurrected business with her mother, Jeanette Vieira. The twosome ran the Cemetery Road store with the help of one additional employee, who will not be joining the online operation. Ms McCarron and Ms Vieira have four cats, two dogs and four chickens. “This was our dream,” Ms McCarron says of the store. “My father was in business, too. Having pets and a garden is our passion.” She says the business will import the best-selling pet and garden supply product lines, while accepting special orders for other products. Ms McCarron expects the website to be fully operational by week’s end, and in the meantime she is taking orders by e-mail, phone or via Facebook. Customers can collect their orders from a storage location in Warwick or, if the order is large enough, the business will deliver, she says.

paragraphA popular city worker, union stalwart and Gombey captain has died at 60. Willis “Mr Front Street” Steede, who worked as a skilled laborer for the City of Hamilton for 23 years, was known for his friendly demeanor. He was the captain of Allan Warner Gombeys and also danced with Gombey Evolution Troupe. The City of Hamilton posted on its Facebook page: “It is with deep regret and sadness that the City of Hamilton announces the sudden passing of Willis Steede. Fondly referred to as ‘Mr Front Street’, Willis was known to many in the community as his smiles and waves were a common sight along Front Street.” The city described Mr Steede as a “true ambassador for the city” and noted he took great pride in his work, particularly his attentive care to the waterfront. The statement said Mr Steede was a dedicated family man and friend, and passionate Gombey. It added: “Willis loved to dance. The city mourns a dear friend, colleague and treasured staff member and sends its most sincere condolences to Willis’s loved ones during this solemn time of loss and reflection. May he rest in peace, yet never stop dancing, waving and smiling. Willis, you will be missed and never forgotten.” Mr Steede was also known for his a strong support of the unions. Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said: “It is really shocking news. He was a very active member of the union as far as making sure he participated in his divisional meetings for the City of Hamilton. He made sure he was out there supporting workers’ rights whether it was during the Labour Day march or protests about different issues. He will be a big miss in the union and I would like to send my condolences to his family.” A message was also posted on the Gombey Evolution Troupe Facebook page to say: “Rest well Willis ‘Old Man’ Steede. Thank you for all your contributions to the culture ... you will be missed.”

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October 7

paragraphA rise in waste dumping fees which angered landscape gardeners has been postponed until the end of this month. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said that finance minister Curtis Dickinson had agreed to delay the increase, which he conceded was “implemented late and without proper notice”. The rise means truckers who previously had to pay $25 at Marsh Folly Dump will now have to pay between $25 and $125, depending on the size of their vehicle. Colonel Burch, the public works minister, said amendments to Government Fees Regulations were passed by the House of Assembly in March, without objection from the Opposition. They were intended to become effective on April 1, but were not implemented for six months because of a computer programming problem. The glitch was finally fixed and the new fees implemented without warning last Tuesday, which shocked truckers who were disposing of waste from Hurricane Humberto. Colonel Burch said: “I understand from the Ministry’s technical officers that, as a result of a computer programming problem, those fees were unable to be programmed into the system at that time and so they were not implemented as expected by me and by the Legislature who had considered and passed the fees. Several public officers have been working to correct the problem but none made senior management of the Ministry aware of the issue. It took six months to solve the problem and, without notice, the fees were activated on October 1.” Colonel Burch said Mr Dickinson is responsible for the Government Fees Regulations. He continued: “I have consulted with him and can confirm that he has agreed to continue with the original fees to October 31. Thereafter, the revised fee structure will come into effect.” The fee was changed from a standard $25 per load to:

Colonel Burch said the fees “cover a variety of government services not just tipping fees” and noted that they had not been increased in several years. He added: “The operations at both locations are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, even with the marginal increases. The fees for services at Marsh Folly have been staggered to better reflect the amount of foliage being delivered there in order to bring equity between an intermediate trucker and a trailer truck, all of whom pass the haulage fees on to the customer. In this case, I wish to apologise for the inconvenience and confusion caused especially in the wake of the recent hurricane and all the work ongoing to restore Bermuda’s beauty.”

paragraphCustomers selling excess electricity generated from their renewable energy systems to the Bermuda Electric Light Company, will be paid at a higher rate from today. The 30.4 per cent increase means customers will now receive 22.65 cents per kilowatt hour they sell to Belco. Previously they received 17.36 cents per kWh. The announcement was made by the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda. The feed-in-tariff for Bermuda’s solar PV distributed generators is the predetermined rate that Belco pays to residential or commercial solar distributed generators for the excess electricity they generate and feed into the grid. In Bermuda, distributed generators are primarily small-scale solar customers with renewable energy systems below 500kw, but may also include wind or other renewables generation sources. The RA said the feed-in-tariff will be reviewed again before 2022. For more information, see the FIT decision and order at www.ra.bm

paragraphThe One Bermuda Alliance has a “government in waiting” with a diverse team that is ready to run the country, its leader claimed a year after he resumed the role. Craig Cannonier believed the country is ready for him to return as Premier. But Justin Mathias, a former OBA chairman, feared the Shadow Cabinet failed to generate much interest among supporters (see separate story), while commentator Phil Perinchief said the Opposition leader suffers from an image problem as a “pawn of the white oligarchy”. Mr Cannonier said: “I can assure you that the team we have right now is a government in waiting. We certainly have the members, we have a Cabinet, we have a very capable team who are smart, who are at the table, who understood what it meant to get the economy up and flourishing. We also have the right people in place to recognize that when it comes to the social matters of this country, then we need to be listening very keenly to how we bring about equality and equity for those who are in need.” When asked if the island was prepared for him to be Premier, he replied: “I believe Bermuda is ready, yes.” Mr Cannonier first led the OBA from 2011 to 2014 but resigned after he stepped down as Premier following the Jetgate scandal, which erupted over a trip to the United States in a private jet owned by an American business tycoon. He was sworn in as Opposition leader again in September 2018 after a motion of no-confidence in Jeanne Atherden from eight of the OBA’s 11 MPs. Mr Cannonier took the reins of the party later and said last week that “significant changes” have been made. He believed it was important to work out why the OBA was ousted so convincingly by the Progressive Labour Party in the 2017 General Election. Mr Cannonier explained: “The OBA was, a year ago — and for some still — coming to grips with exactly how is it that we lost, what exactly happened to us. I believe that up until a year ago there were still emotions that were running high among party members and among MPs, still trying to grapple with what is it that we should be doing. One of the first things that was imperative and important to us was to be responding far more quickly and with more intent on how we felt about issues.” The Opposition leader said: “In understanding what is it that we missed, we also recognised that we could have handled some of the more topical issues a hell of a lot better, immigration, right off the bat. I believe we could have handled some of our communicative skills better, when it came to issues like the airport.” He admitted there was “more work to be done” to connect with voters, but it was of greater importance for people in Bermuda to know its government. Mr Cannonier said his parliamentarians were a mixture of “well-seasoned individuals” and others who joined the political scene in 2011 or 2012, “now willing and ready to move forward with running this country”. Mr Cannonier said: “We’re a varied bunch from every different background you can think of on this island. That’s proof we can come together so we need to get our messaging out there to the people that this really is about you, and not political power.” He said the party was “keenly aware that an election could be called at any time” and talks with potential new candidates were taking place. Mr Perinchief, a political scientist, argued that the former Premier was challenged by a perception that his leadership lacked autonomy. He said: “Craig suffers a great deal from an image problem that he is simply untrustworthy and a pawn in the white oligarchy’s pawnshop to be fronted and used as and when required. Political prostitution is never a good look. Jetgate only cements and signposts that conclusion. As such, and in a community and body politic as small as is Bermuda, there really is no coming back from, or redemption for, such a branding.” Mr Perinchief, who is a former attorney-general for the Progressive Labour Party and an independent General Election candidate, also pointed to the Devonshire South Central constituency, to which Mr Cannonier was first elected in 2011. The OBA leader won a former United Bermuda Party stronghold after John Barritt resigned to create a possible House of Assembly seat. Mr Perinchief said: “Whether or not the perception that Craig’s business interests were or were not assisted by the Jetgate debacle, it is enough that many people think he was so favored. That coupled with the fact that he would win a seat in Parliament only if he ran in the safe, legacy and time-honoured UBP seat he is in currently, works in favour of the conclusion that ‘Craig is for ever their boy’ no matter the vehemence of his protestations to the contrary. Politically, he’s done. In many people’s minds, he is a means to any end his political handlers wish to pursue.” Mr Cannonier responded: “What have I done that’s untrustworthy? There’s nothing out there.” He explained that he sought advice from the Attorney-General, who was Mark Pettingill at the time, before the pair, along with then tourism minister Shawn Crockwell and Mr Cannonier’s business associate Stephen DaCosta, took a flight aboard tycoon Nathan Landow’s private jet. The trip raised questions in Parliament about whether Mr Landow had been offered a quid pro quo, such as a gaming licence or development deal. The Opposition leader said last week: “I have already stated the facts, the reason we went is because the A-G saw no problem. I sought the advice that was necessary to ensure we were doing the right thing.” Mr Cannonier added: “I don’t hide behind anything, that was a major blow for me and a major lesson to be learnt. As a huge target, as someone who has already won an election, I expect to have pundits. I don’t expect that everyone is going to be in favour with the OBA, or me necessarily. What I can promise Bermuda is that I will always do what is in the best interests of Bermuda, and not Craig Cannonier.” The Opposition leader added: “Where is the oligarchy right now, in the OBA? They’re on the back bench. It just doesn’t make any sense, if anyone’s been fighting them it’s me.”

paragraphA former chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance claimed that the party’s Shadow Cabinet stimulated little excitement among supporters. Justin Mathias acknowledged that members of Parliament were speaking up more often but claimed residents felt this could be replicated to a greater extent within the wider community. He said last week: “From being an outsider in the last year, I have seen glimmers of hope seeing some MPs being a little more vocal than what was the case under previous administrations. The Senate team has really outshone their lower house colleagues, but that’s due in large part to the leadership of senator [Nick] Kempe. But it also still stands that there’s a back bench that is being under-utilized for superficial reasons and a Shadow Cabinet that doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm from our supporters or reflects a realistic government in waiting.” Jeanne Atherden, Michael Dunkley and Trevor Moniz were sidelined last year after their eight colleagues backed a motion to oust Ms Atherden from her role as Leader of the Opposition and replace her with Craig Cannonier. Ms Atherden, a former United Bermuda Party chairwoman, lost her shadow finance brief to Nick Kempe, who also became Opposition Senate Leader. The national security and legal affairs portfolios were taken away from Mr Dunkley and Mr Moniz respectively. Both are former UBP MPs. Mr Mathias admitted he had not been involved in the party for almost a year, so could not comment on its inner workings. He said: “What I have heard from my constituents and members of the community is that they want to see an Opposition that is more vocal and present within the community. This is also nothing new and I sympathize with the current leader in his efforts to bring about those voices and teach his members how to be Opposition members because it was the same struggle for the two leaders before him. It’s not easy being in Opposition and the leader cannot do everything on his or her own and I hope that his members are finally realizing that and are waking up to their sworn duty.” Mr Mathias believed there were opportunities to unite the party and make it stronger. He said: “There are so many people that want to get involved, but are repelled by the tactics of the past and they are now weighing whether it is constructive to get involved with the party or start anew I hope for the party’s sake that he executes on those opportunities sooner rather than later.” However, an OBA insider said Mr Cannonier had taken a “fragmented” party and pulled members together under a strong leadership. The source added: “We’ve got a huge fight ahead of us and it’s going to take somebody like Craig to lead us and to also lead the country ... the country needs us.” When asked if the party was united, the well-placed insider said: “We’re still a family. Are we united 100 per cent? We still have our issues as most families do, but it’s a whole lot better than what it was.” The Royal Gazette asked the Progressive Labour Party to offer any comment on the state of the Opposition since Mr Cannonier took over as its leader. A spokeswoman said: “The leadership or lack thereof of the One Bermuda Alliance is something for their MPs and membership to discuss. The Progressive Labour Party is focused on delivering on the mandate given to us in 2017. We are steadily working our way through delivering on our campaign promises while tackling other topical issues which have arisen. There is much to be done to make our country fairer and we are solely focused on delivering on that promise. The One Bermuda Alliance, during its term in power, did all that it could to increase the divide in Bermuda, and we are acutely focused on doing what we can to reduce the divisions and create more opportunities for Bermudians.”

paragraphHundreds of hurricane-damaged homes could wait months for repairs because of a slate shortage, one industry expert claimed yesterday. Shawn Perott said that he estimated that “close to 500” roofs had been damaged by Hurricane Humberto. Mr Perott said a lack of workers cutting slate meant that many island homeowners could be left waiting for their materials. He said: “In reality, they’re looking at between two and three months, I would estimate. The longer that roof stays open to the elements, the more damage it is going to incur. And I think this is the general concern of the public.” Mr Perott, a quarry operator with 21 years’ experience, said that he had been “inundated” with calls after the Category 3 storm on September 18. He said that he was told by “multiple contractors” and members of the public that they were not able to get slate for needed roof repairs. Mr Perott said he visited the Government Quarry at Bailey’s Bay and discovered “the slate was exhausted”. He said that the current slate shortage had been a situation in the making for about 18 months, and he had not worked in the field himself for about that time. He explained: “It’s because guys haven’t been able to cut. The long, drawn-out process for rezoning land is the reason why we haven’t been cutting. It shouldn’t have taken this long.” Mr Perott said that he had warned the Government of the potential problem if the island was hit by a storm. He explained: “Government at any given time is supposed to have a supply of slate for the island for emergencies. They got caught with their pants down, basically.” He took issue with updates that had been provided on the situation by the Government. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said after Humberto that he was unaware of shortages in the island’s supply of roofing slate. Mr Perott said other politicians had made similar statements, while the Government had also pledged to relax red tape for planning permission for hurricane repairs. He said: “In reality, what’s going on up at the planning department, they’re dragging their feet. That’s why we’re not working. It’s three weeks past the storm. We should have been in the quarry the Saturday after that storm.” Etta Pearman, of Beacon Hill Road, Sandys, said that her entire roof needed to be replaced due to damage caused by Humberto. She said that she had been told after the storm that the island was low on local slate. Ms Pearman added: “Because of the slate shortage I actually made the decision to go with a totally different product.” Another West End resident who said his home sustained “extensive” damage said he had also been advised of the shortage. The man, who lives on Rockywold Road and asked not to be named, said that his contractor had asked if he had a preference whether repairs were made with Bermuda slate or another product. He said: “I said give me quote for both.” Mr Perott said that he was aware of attempts to import a manufactured slate product to the island, but cautioned against its use. He explained: “Those same contractors that are going to put that foreign slate on your roof, they will not put it on their own roof.” Mr Perott noted the Government had issued a call for action, after part of the Bahamas chain was devastated by Hurricane Dorian early last month. He asked: “How could we do that as an island for a sister nation, but we have our own Bermudian people suffering now and the Government turns its back on them?” Questions sent to the Government about the slate supply were not responded to by press time yesterday.

paragraphThe sights and sounds of the Gombey will return to the spotlight next weekend at the 2019 Bermuda International Gombey Festival. This year’s event, hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, will feature panel discussions, a documentary, an open mic night and the festival showcase, which will include five troupes demonstrating their skills. Lovitta Foggo, Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, urged the public to come together in celebration of the event. She said: “The Gombey is undoubtedly our most iconic cultural symbol. Its history is reflective of Bermuda’s blend of African, indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures. In recent years, the popularity of the Gombey Festival has grown considerably, and we have enjoyed expanding the festival events to provide continued exposure to our folk art traditions and cultural heritage.” All of the events are free to the public and are aimed to be engaging. So, next week we hope to see as many people as possible supporting these events.” The Bermuda International Gombey Festival will run from October 10 to October 13 and will include a range of events including:

paragraphA historic trove of Bermuda Police Service artefacts is getting its own museum at the Police Headquarters in Prospect, Devonshire. The BPS museum got a “soft opening” last Wednesday night with a tribute to Edward “Bosun” Swainson, the first black police officer to be promoted to Inspector. See Lifestyle] Roger Sherratt, a former chief inspector who runs the Bermuda Ex-Police Association, said that Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, and Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes, had been discussing creating a place of pride for the various items from the history of the service. Mr Sherratt said that the exhibits would be gradually compiled into a gallery of police memorabilia that the public would also get to admire. On Saturday, the penultimate day of Police Week, a gymkhana was held at Police Field.

paragraphCharles “D.O.” Simons, Jean Vickers, Edward “Bosun” Swainson; such names might have one day been forgotten by everyone except their families were it not for Roger Sherratt. Eight years ago he started a website, expobermuda.com, to help the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers’ Association keep in touch with its members. It became something of an obsession for Mr Sherratt, a retired officer and “Bermie Ex-Po’s” president. He meticulously maintains the contact details of the hundreds of former officers listed on the site, has written dozens of stories about policemen who have died but whose contributions merited inclusion in its Hall of Fame, and he encourages others to share pictures and details of their lives before and after retirement. According to Mr Sherratt, it’s a way of documenting lost history. “The records of Bermuda Police prior to the Sixties was appalling,” the 77-year-old said. “They were kept in a basement where they went rotten and were thrown away. So one of my aims was to try and record the history of the Bermuda Police through the words of our police officers. “[The Hall of Fame stories] can only be done with the assistance of family. I have managed to capture some fascinating members. For the past eight years, I’ve tried to pick out people I thought were exceptional. I would approach the family and ask them to help me write, but I can’t keep up. I haven’t done everybody. It’s impossible. I’m getting older and I’ve got a list of people I want to speak with, people I admired as a policeman. I would like to think with the increased interest in our past history there would be families who would be willing to do the research and provide old photos and any information they can. I’m happy to help them access police records, edit stories and publish.” It’s how Bermie Ex-Po was able to document the contributions of Charles Edward “Detective Officer” Simons. The former head of the Criminal Investigation Unit got involved with the Bermuda Police Force in 1902 when he filled in for his traveling father. Three years later, he became a full-time constable and in 1919 was officially named the island’s first Detective Officer. Mr Sherratt learnt of the story in 1979, at the Bermuda Police Service’s 100th anniversary reunion celebrations. “He came along at a time when black policemen were not promoted. He was, for a while, the only detective and was a natural leader. He retired in ‘34 or ‘35. But that really set me off thinking that there’s got to be a lot of stories of police officers who excelled; we know little about them.” The stories of Oliver “Chief” Trott, Maurice “Syke” Smith and Peter Stubbs are among the 36 who have made it into the Hall of Fame so far. Edward “Bosun” Swainson is one of the more recent entries. “He scored the first century in Cup Match, in 1937, and he was the first black police officer to be promoted to Inspector, in 1959, and was the grandfather of Gina Swainson,” Mr Sherratt said. “Other than that, there was not much about him.” He enlisted the efforts of George Rose, a retired detective superintendent, in hopes of learning more. It turned into a lengthy investigation. “He used his detective skills and spent two years researching his life and has written a very comprehensive article for the Hall of Fame,” said Mr Sherratt, who served three years with Staffordshire County Police in his native England before joining the BPS in 1964. “We needed eyewitnesses, stories written about him. With Bosun, the vast majority of information was from archives — The Royal Gazette and the Bermuda Recorder. It was difficult to find people who knew him. George found out about his extensive cricket career, his cases as a detective. We were somewhat hampered by the fact that there are literally no police records dating back to the years when Bosun was a serving police officer. George took up the challenge and he has spent countless hours during the past two years in the Bermuda library and elsewhere, conducting meticulous research [and] in doing so he has unearthed a treasure-trove of valuable information about this remarkable man.” Mr Rose’s efforts were sidetracked by the information he found on Bermuda’s “coloured” cricket teams whose members — one of whom was Mr Swainson — had huge success playing in the US against people from the Caribbean who had emigrated there. As a result, the article is “the most extensive” published by Bermie Ex-Po. As explained on the site by Mr Sherratt: “We felt that it would be of interest to cricket lovers and to future historians to provide some insights into the cricket scene throughout an era when Bermuda produced many legendary players such as Warren Simmons, Charles ‘War Baby’ Fox, the incomparable Alma ‘Champ’ Hunt, Arthur Simons, Edward ‘Bosun’ Swainson and many others.” Finding photographs proved “one of the greatest problems”. The retiree remains hopeful that more will be unearthed. “We believe there are photos out there somewhere,” Mr Sherratt said. “If anyone has any of Bosun Swainson up till he stopped playing, we’d be keen to obtain them.” He said that Mr Swainson’s grandson, Brandon “Pickles” Robinson, had been a huge help, donating the bat and pads his grandfather used when he scored his century in 1937 as well as a cricket ball and trophy from one of his tours. The items are now on display at the Bermuda Police Service Museum, which opened last week in the Senior Officers’ Mess Hall in Prospect. The Bermie Ex-Po site also includes articles on a range of BPS activities: the boxing team, tug o’ war team, the drama group, the former 40 Thieves Club and officers’ involvement in the Belco riots. “The February 2 ‘65 Belco riots have always been viewed through the lens of the people striking — and quite rightly,” Mr Sherratt said. “But police were there and there are some misconceptions about what they did that morning. A former police officer, who went on to become a university history professor, Dave Mulhall, wrote quite an insightful article on his experience. There’s also a section called Keeping in Touch. [Through it former BPS members] all over the world let us know what they’re doing and where they are.” Co-ordinating it all has kept him busy. “I’m at it every week, sometimes every day, doing research or speaking to people. It is an obsession almost, but a great hobby. I get a lot out of it,” Mr Sherratt said. The Bermuda Ex-Police Officers’ Association website, www.expobermuda.com, is open to the public. Members wanting to share information and families interested in having the stories of their loved ones published, should e-mail info@expobermuda.com

paragraphA strong balance sheet, consistent net gains, and a diversified product portfolio and geographic operations have won BF&M Ltd an approving nod from rating agency AM Best. The Bermudian-based insurer’s catastrophe reinsurance protection and approach to risk management, mitigating the financial impact of losses in the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian, was also highlighted by AM Best as it affirmed the financial strength rating of a number of BF&M’s operating units. The BF&M Life Insurance Company Ltd, the BF&M General Insurance Company Ltd, and the Island Heritage Insurance Company Ltd, all had their financial strength rating of A (Excellent) affirmed. In addition, the A- (Excellent) financial strength rating of Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd, of which BF&M is a majority shareholder, has also been affirmed by the agency. The outlook for all ratings is stable. John Wight, group chairman and chief executive officer of BF&M, said: “BF&M holds the highest ratings consistently given to a domestic insurer in the Caribbean year after year. This endorsement of our financial strength and consistent track record over the long term will serve to further strengthen our position as an insurer of choice for our customers and partners.”

paragraphA long-serving teacher and a lifelong reading advocate died at the weekend. Darnell Wynn, née Todd, was 62 years old. Ms Wynn spent more than two decades teaching English and literature at the high school and middle school levels. She also served at the Education Officer for Reading at the Ministry of Education, the president of the Bermuda Reading Association and as a columnist for The Royal Gazette. Llewellyn Simmons, the director of academics at the Ministry of Education, said Ms Wynn had an “indomitable spirit”. He added: “She was a fighter. She was never fearful of speaking her mind — not just giving her opinion, but citing evidence to support her claim.” Mr Simmons said that Ms Wynn had always known she would be a teacher. He added that Ms Wynn had a “commitment and dedication to always leaning”. Mr Simmons said: “Her commitment to excellence was transferred to the many students she taught.” Ms Wynn told The Royal Gazette in an interview in 2008 that it was critical that parents foster a passion for reading in children. She said: “Books, magazines and newspapers must be as normal as the television sets in the home. Children need to see the significant adults in the homes reading and writing as a natural part of life — just as eating and sleeping. Literacy is not a school-only related event.” Ms Wynn was also a passionate runner who refused to let ovarian cancer prevent her for participating in the sport she loved. In 2012, she took part in the Bacardi 8K road race just two weeks after she completed a round of chemotherapy to tackle the disease. Ms Wynn said at the time: “I had major surgery and chemo for four months. I kept my sanity by walking and doing some running. When I was told I had cancer it was a huge shock. Running gave me the right mindset to deal with it.” She credited running and walking for helping her during some of the “really dark moments” that came with chemo and her fight against cancer. Ms Wynn completed the Partner Re 5K two years later with a group of supporters to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. She said in 2014: “If I can raise awareness and get one woman with symptoms to go to the doctor, it will be worth it.” Ms Wynn said that she had run whenever she could before and after treatment. She added: “We all try to hold onto something that makes you feel in control and you are normal. The doctors were saying that I needed to cut back, but I wanted to hold onto something.” Ms Wynn and fellow runner Donna Mae Arorash organised the Break The Silence 5K run in support ovarian cancer awareness in 2015. Ms Wynn, who at the time was undergoing her second treatment for ovarian cancer, was one of more than 100 walkers who took part in the event. Scott Neil, a runner and The Royal Gazette’s race reporter, said that Ms Wynn “was always smiling and spreading happiness”. He added: “She was widely known and highly respected among the island’s running community and was a regular at road race events. She will be greatly missed.”

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Athene Holding Ltd. (“Athene”) (NYSE: ATH) and its subsidiary Athene Life Re, announced a new scholarship program in partnership with Bermuda College – the largest of its kind at the college. The Athene Scholarship will be awarded to 10 students at Bermuda College each academic year starting in 2019 and will pay for the cost of each student’s two-year degree program and required books. Candidates must be pursuing degrees in any of the following fields of study: Accounting, Actuarial Science, Business, Economics, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance & Risk Management, Legal Studies or Mathematics. The scholarships will be awarded based on academic merit and financial need, and recipients must demonstrate achievement of the minimum GPA requirement at the end of each semester to continue receiving support. “Today’s announcement of 10 full scholarships for Associate Degrees in business-related studies supports Athene’s commitment to develop Bermudian talent,” said Chip Gillis, Executive Chairman of Athene Life Re. Ltd. “We are pleased with our internship and work study programs currently in place with Bermuda College and look forward to expanding programming in the coming years.” Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, added, “On behalf of Bermuda College, I would like to thank Athene, and in particular Mr. Chip Gillis, for this profound investment in Bermuda’s future. The scholarship program will make a significant difference in the lives of the recipients as they pursue higher education. The work study programs and internships provide experiential learning that best equips students for success in the workplace. This partnership is of great benefit to our community.” The Fall 2019 Athene Scholarship Candidates and their areas of study are as follows:

Along with the scholarship, Athene is working closely with Bermuda College to develop a paid internship program to help students gain necessary professional skills to fill the talent gap in the actuarial and financial services industry. Scholarship recipients for the 2019-2020 academic year and their families will be honored at an upcoming reception.

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paragraphTourism minister Zane DeSilva and a Bermuda delegation visited Monaco to encourage billionaires to bring their superyachts to the island. One local industry expert, who attended the Monaco Yacht Show from September 23 to 26, believed that the efforts to tap into the lucrative market could result in “revenue that Bermuda has never had before”. Mr DeSilva delivered a speech at the Superyacht Finance Forum. He told the audience: “Most people in this room will know that Bermuda hosted the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 and it was a great success, for both the event and for the island.” The politician was joined at the forum by Nicholas Sansom, the chief business development officer at the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority. The website for the forum lists the BSMA and Bermuda Yacht Registry as the lunch sponsor. Andy Burrows, the chief executive of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, and Mark Soares, the owner of Bermuda Yacht Services, were also in Monaco. Questions sent to the Government and the BDA about the trip, including costs, were not responded to by press time yesterday. Mr DeSilva told attendees at the forum that the 2017 sailing race had “attracted close to 100 superyachts to Bermuda”. He added: “Fifty-one of those superyachts participated in the superyacht programme that was created especially to support this internationally recognised event.” Mr DeSilva used his speech to tout the Superyachts and Other Vessels (Miscellaneous) Act, which passed in July to encourage superyachts to visit Bermuda. The Bill creates new transit and cruising permits for pleasure craft and superyachts, along with charter permits for superyachts, and removes passenger departure tax for pleasure craft. Similar regulations designed to allow superyachts to charter out while docked in Bermuda were relaxed for the America’s Cup, but the changes were temporary and ended with the conclusion of the competition. Mr DeSilva said the legislation was anticipated to take effect in January. He added: “Bermuda is committed to growing our island’s tourism economy, and the new superyacht programme represents an exciting opportunity for us to do that. So please join us in Bermuda.” Mr Soares said that the island was also represented at the Bermuda Breakfast, an event hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport and the BDA in collaboration with luxury yachting lifestyle magazine Boat International. He said that key industry representatives, including charter brokers and superyacht owners, attended the event at the Monaco Yacht Club, where details of the new superyacht laws were shared. Both Mr DeSilva and Mr Burrows spoke at the event. Mr Soares said the event was “well received”. He added: “I had quite a few questions afterwards. There was a lot of interest from the charter brokers.” Mr Soares said that the new law to make superyachts more welcome in Bermuda’s waters “only makes sense”. He added: “I don’t expect we are going to turn into a massive charter destination overnight, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and another pillar of tourism for Bermuda.” Under the new legislation 6 per cent of the gross charter fee will go to the Government. Mr Soares said the any cost to the Bermuda taxpayer borne by to the trip by island representatives was likely to provide a good return. He explained: “One of my clients who’s very keen to come next summer and do a couple weeks of charter, he charters for $365,000 a week. So do the 6 per cent math on that and you’ll see how quickly the money comes back and how this is actually a revenue earner for the Government. You get a couple of boats, literally a couple of boats doing a couple of weeks, and you’re talking revenue that Bermuda has never had before.” Mr Soares added: “We also know that boats of that size can be spending anywhere up to $100,000 a week into the economy. So it’s a bit of a no-brainer.” Mr Soares said that whatever amount the Government had spent on the Monaco trip “will easily be recouped by a few charters taking place in Bermuda — which is an absolute reality”.

paragraphSt David’s residents were left stunned yesterday after a well-known figure who slept in an area of farmland off Cashew City Road was wounded in a shooting on Thursday night. One area resident told The Royal Gazette: “He is very well liked in St David’s — he has a bit of a history, but you never heard of him being in any trouble.” She added: “He is someone who mows peoples’ yards. You’d see him walking around or catching the bus. Everybody here is in shock.” The 64-year-old was stable in the Intensive Care Unit after being shot in the shoulder shortly before 10.30pm. Police descended on the neighborhood, which is next to the woodland near Little Head Park at the north end of St David’s Island. According to a police spokesman, the victim was treated at the scene by EMTs and transported, conscious, by ambulance to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Early yesterday morning, police could be seen combing a wooded area just north of the final turn in the road, where a path led to a small patch of farmland. Residents said the victim had been given permission by the land’s owner to shelter there after the house where he had been living was sold. Another said: “The general consensus around here is that they got the wrong guy — it was mistaken identity.”

paragraphA senior denied allegations that he sexually touched a young boy more than 40 years ago. The 84-year-old defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was accused of indecently assaulting a child, unlawfully causing the child to commit an indecent act and committing an indecent act in the child’s presence in June 1977. He maintained in Magistrates’ Court that he had never been alone with the child and suggested his accuser had made up the story to get money from him. The complainant told the court that in the summer of 1977, when he was still under 14, he stayed at the defendant’s home for several weeks. He alleged that on one night the defendant told him to undress. He then touched the boy, and had the boy touch him. The court heard on another occasion that same month the defendant took the boy to the home of one of the defendant’s friends, where he was shown pornography. On another occasion he said another of the defendant’s friends attempted to sexually assault the boy at the defendant’s home. The complainant said he screamed for help, but the defendant did not come to his aid. The defendant told the court all of the accusations were lies. He said: “It’s all made up. It’s all lies because he never stayed with me.” The senior told the court that he knew the complainant’s family well and would regularly see him at the boy’s family home, but they were never alone together. He said at the time of the allegations he was working multiple jobs and had very little free time. The defendant said he was friends with the two people the complainant described, but said he had never taken the boy to the friend’s home or showed him pornography. He said: “I never took him to his house or anybody’s house. I never showed him any pornography. I will go to my grave saying that.” The defendant also said he had no explanation for how the boy could have known where his friend lived. Asked by Maria Sofianos, Crown counsel, why the complainant would make up these accusations about him, the defendant said he believed he wanted money. Ms Sofianos, in her closing remarks, said the suggestion was “absurd”, and the defendant’s evidence supported elements of the complainant’s story. She said: “How else would a young boy be able to speak of the friends that the defendant had in the summer of 1977? How else would he know where the defendant’s good friend stayed? All of these things support the evidence given by the complainant, who we say has come here with clean hands.” Ms Sofianos said the complainant reported the crimes in 2017, 40 years after the incidents, but what happened had been “drilled into his memory”. Bruce Swan, the lawyer for the defendant, said the identity of the defendant’s friends and where they stayed were common knowledge. And he said there was no evidence to collaborate the allegations against the defendant. “There are allegations being put before the court out of the blue. It’s these random occurrences being put before the court to just accept. The defendant has come before the court. He has not changed his words. He has come to court and has been very straightforward about what he said transpired.” Mr Swan added: “This particular case is one the court should feel unsure about, with doubt in its mind about if these incidents did occur.” Magistrate Craig Attridge adjourned the matter until November 18, when he will deliver a verdict.

paragraphAlbert Row, an historic terrace of homes outside Dockyard must either be refurbished or face the wrecking ball, according to the West End Development Corporation. The quango announced that the only other option was to leave the ageing buildings standing, which would be “not only unsightly but also dangerous and unhealthy”, according to Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development manager. In a statement this weekend, Ms Cranfield said that bringing Albert Row up to modern standards would cost more than $10 million, which was “not a financially viable project”. She added that a developer for the buildings had been sought for “at least 15 years”. Organisations including the National Museum of Bermuda, the Bermuda National Trust and the Naval Dockyards Society in the UK have declined to assist. Albert Row has 16, two-bed homes arranged in four blocks. Wedco has stipulated that any plan must include the repair and re-roofing of the buildings, including maintaining their historic appearance. Attempts with various organisations to restore Albert Row date back to 2004. Signs were erected at Albert Row in July to attract developers, with a renewed appeal in September. Ms Cranfield said that Wedco held out hope for “people or organisations out there who will read this and come forward with workable solutions, inclusive of financial commitment”. But she said that without an offer within “a reasonable time frame”, Wedco would have to either leave the buildings derelict, or apply to have the buildings delisted and then apply for a demolition order. She added: “Whilst this is not our preferred choice it now does appear to be the only suitable and sustainable solution.” Wedco provided a timeline showing its restoration efforts:

paragraphPupils witnessed a human in flight yesterday as a British jet-suit inventor took to the skies. Richard Browning flew above Warwick Academy, powered by five gas-turbine jet engines strapped to his body. About 450 high school students gathered in the school’s sports field to watch the stunt. Mr Browning is the founder and chief test pilot of the British company Gravity Industries, which creates the cutting-edge technology. He flew for just under a minute, and landed on a moving truck during his flight. The technology allows people to fly at up to 50mph for ten minutes. The inventor said he performed the flight to inspire students to embrace science, technology, engineering and maths education and to test the boundaries of innovation. Students watched in awe as he hovered above the school grounds before making a perfect landing on a picnic table. Kristy Sanchez, 15, a Bermuda High School pupil, said: “I think it was pretty surreal. You watch the Marvel movies and it makes sense in the cinematic universe, but when you think about the physics around it, it is pretty wild. I love learning about chemistry, physics and biology and how they all work together. Physics is hard to understand ,but it is really cool once you do know it.” Chevron Hunt, 15, of the Berkeley Institute, said: “I thought it was really cool to see that high level of engineering. I am very interested in Stem. It has inspired me to do more research and try to enhance my level of engineering as well.” Ozahri Broadley, 16, who also attends the Berkeley Institute, added: “It shows that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I enjoy physics and I was inspired. Imagine if I could make my own jetpack and instead of taking a bike or car I could fly somewhere.” Mr Browning will speak at the TEDx Bermuda Conference at the Fairmont Southampton today. He officially launched the jet suit in April 2017 and this is his 89th public flying event in more than 30 countries. After the flight, he told the students: “We are a self-funding organisation that managed to turn a quite ludicrous idea into something that is working quite well. If you get an opportunity, go down that pathway and try to do something that shouldn’t work — every major invention and breakthrough in the world has taken the same journey. It has been where somebody has not been afraid to go and explore the supposedly impossible.” Mr Browning explained that some practical uses of the technology have included military and search and rescue exercises. He is also working on an international race series. One Communications funds the student outreach aspect of the conference each year. Dave Horan, the Warwick Academy principal, said: “Bermuda punches well above its weight when it comes to the experiences that students can get and this is quite an exceptional one.” Mr Browning came to Bermuda after Mathew Joseph, the son of TEDx Bermuda organiser Sophie Mathew, reached out to him via Instagram. Mr Joseph, 25, a former Warwick Academy student, is the team lead for an interactive mapping tech company. He explained: “I found him on Instagram and sent him a message. I have always been interested in flight and this was the newest technology. I trained with Richard for a day at his facility in London and it was exhilarating.” TEDx Bermuda takes place today, from 1pm to 5pm at the Fairmont Southampton.

paragraphA children’s re-enactment of the historic Gunpowder Plot of 1775 has been hit this week with its own case of missing gunpowder. Now charities involved in the education field trip for primary school students have pleaded for the return of the historical props. Becky Ausenda, executive director of the Bermuda Education Network (BEN), balked at saying the three antique-style replica barrels, which belong to the Carter House museum in St David’s, had been stolen. “All we know is that we were away from them for 15 minutes and when we got back, they were gone from outside the Gunpowder Tavern,” Ms Ausenda said. “They are expensive replicas and we are pleading for their return.” BEN collaborated with the St George’s Foundation, the Bermuda National Trust and the St David’s Island Historical Society for the Gunpowder Plot field trip in St George’s. Students from P5 at nearly a dozen primary schools take part in BEN’s Horizons Programme series, which takes them on a variety of out-of-class expeditions. For three days this week, the nine-year-old students learnt about the night of August 14, 1775, when Bermudians sympathetic to the North American Revolution robbed the British Army gunpowder magazine at Fort William in St George’s and delivered its casks to rebel ships waiting off Tobacco Bay. Students were taken to historic locations in the Olde Towne where the plot was hatched, then to the old magazine where the replica casks were brought out. Finally they carried the more than 100 barrels of gunpowder over the hill to Tobacco Bay — in the form of balloons, which would explode if dropped, much like the explosive kegs. But when Wednesday’s group, from Somerset and West End Primary schools, returned to the Fort William which once housed the no-longer-existing Gunpowder Tavern, the replica barrels had disappeared. Ms Ausenda said: “The children were sad that they had been taken. We managed to use a couple of Gosling’s wine barrels for the final expedition the next day. It could cost us $500 to replace them. “We would really appreciate it if whoever has them could return them, or just drop them off at the St George’s Foundation.”

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paragraphStruggling businesses will feel the pain from a sharp rise in waste dumping fees, the shadow public works minister said yesterday. Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, warned that the charges could stunt the growth of small landscaping companies. He added that the lack of small businesses could slow down necessary spending on the island. Mr Cannonier said: “Bermuda’s economy is very fine and because it is such a small economy, the impact on any slight adjustment is impactful on all of us. With the increase of fees it seems like, as stated by Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, you can’t even come home and drown out your misery by patting your dog because your dog licensing fee has gone up.” Mr Cannonier spoke after new charges were implemented at Marsh Folly Dump on Wednesday. Under amendments to Government Fees Regulations, passed in March but introduced this week, the fee was changed from a standard $25 per load to:

Disposal of construction waste, white goods and metals at the Airport Waste Management Facility was also increased from $20 per load to $30 per load. Numerous truck drivers and landscapers complained that they had not been properly warned before the charges were increased. Mr Cannonier noted that the fee increases came at a time many landscapers were continuing to clean up after Hurricane Humberto. He said that this could push landscapers who could not afford the fee increases to dump their waste illegally. Mr Cannonier explained: “The way to incentivise people is to offer relief so that they don’t feel burdened and that they do the right thing. But if you put businesses under pressure, unfortunately there are some out there who should not be breaking the law but will.” The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

paragraphA social worker who is suing the Government for $2.6 million over its alleged failure to pay her wages is unable to leave her role as an independent advocate in a case because no replacement has been appointed, her lawyer claimed this week. Mark Diel, who represents Tiffanne Thomas, explained that an application was made to the Family Court on Monday for her to step down but the matter was adjourned until next month. He said it was understood that the Government was putting together a panel of litigation guardians to represent vulnerable children.  Ms Thomas, an independent social worker, revealed she intended to resign her position as a litigation guardian from 11 active cases involving 17 “at risk” minors last November. She later filed a civil action against the Attorney-General and Accountant-General in the Supreme Court for payment for her work since 2014. Ms Thomas claimed she should be paid $2,621,720, or an amount the court rules is reasonable in the absence of a figure being set out in a legally enforceable contract. It was understood she was still not being paid for her services as a litigation guardian. Mr Diel explained: “Since November, no one has come along to replace her and the court has taken the view, certainly in these proceedings, that she can’t just walk away, as she was appointed she has to be discharged or there has to be a replacement. With that in mind, we attended on Monday and said, yes, she does wish to be discharged provided of course that the outstanding issues of her fees are resolved and that these children are protected with a replacement litigation guardian.” A Court of Appeal ruling in June found that the Government showed a “flagrant disregard” for children by failing to pay for them to have independent legal representation. It made declarations that ministers had been in breach of obligations under the Children Act 1998 for some time because they failed to introduce a scheme to fund litigation guardians. As a result, the court found that children in specified proceedings had been denied effective access to, and participation and representation in, court proceedings, breaching their human rights. The Royal Gazette asked to attend the closed-doors hearing in front of Puisne Judge Nicole Stoneham this week but no permission was granted. Mr Diel said after the hearing: “We have learnt that hopefully, in the next few weeks, the minister will appoint a panel from which the court can select litigation guardians. Who they are and how much they’re getting paid remains a mystery. We should hopefully find out within the next month.” He added: “We have heard this before, that they’re going to get around to making replacements, and nothing has happened. We will wait and see. At the moment, Ms Thomas is the one with the most experience and certainly should be on that panel. In fact, we’re surprised that we haven’t been approached in regard to this at all. One could be forgiven for thinking that the Government seems to be wanting to keep her off the panel for the temerity of asking to be paid for her services for the last five years.” The lawyer said the court heard that four potential panel members were going through a vetting process. He explained that proceedings were adjourned so that Brian Moodie, counsel for Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, could take advice about a proposal to pay Ms Thomas’s fees in the case from which she applied to withdraw. The Government was approached for comment but none was provided.

paragraphBermuda’s working population can expect to paying out twice as much on healthcare in 20 years as they do today — and that’s if the island’s healthcare costs remain the same. That is the view of Ricky Brathwaite, acting chief executive officer of the Bermuda Health Council, who was speaking about the impact of demographics on the healthcare system. Total annual healthcare spending on the island is about $700 million, or $11,300 per person, Mr Brathwaite said during a panel discussion at the Bermuda Insurance Market Conference, organised by the Bermuda Insurance Institute. “The number of working individuals to every senior is 3.9 — in 20 years that number’s going to shrink to 1.7,” Dr Brathwaite, a health economist, said. “That means that even if we stayed at $700 million, and unless we want seniors to pay more, that 3.9 to 1.7 means a doubling of the cost for those contributing.” The panel, which also featured Michelle Jackson, senior vice-president, group lines health and life at BF&M, and Michael Richmond, chief of staff at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, agreed that the Bermuda healthcare system needs transformational change as it faces pressures from the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and an ageing population. “The burden of the population not growing, but ageing, will fall on you,” Dr Brathwaite added, referring to a relatively youthful audience. “Solutions have to be arrived at now, or you will face the results of non-action. Unless something is done in the next ten to 15 years in transformational ways, you’re going to bear the cost of a system that didn’t adjust to deal with higher levels of chronic conditions. That has a huge effect on productivity and on the economy.” Dr Richmond joined the BHB two years ago, having previously worked in Qatar, where he said the health system’s challenge was dealing with 20,000 more people every month. He expected Bermuda, with its stable population, to be less challenging, but soon discovered the island’s complexities. “The demographics facing Bermuda are simply quite staggering, the growth of chronic disease is staggering, the lack of integration in the health system is staggering, the lack of information is quite staggering, and we have a primary care and community care system which is under enormous pressure,” Dr Richmond said. He added that the pressures on the healthcare system had shifted from infectious to chronic diseases over recent decades. In the US, he said the obesity rate had gone from 11 per cent in 1973 to 70 per cent today. In Bermuda, 75 per cent of people are obese or overweight, according to research cited by the BermudaFirst group. The management of chronic disease should be much more in the domain of primary care than the hospital, Dr Richmond said. “The role of the hospital is when those chronic diseases get out of control,” Dr Richmond said. “Have we reached that point?” asked Kim Wilkerson, the panel moderator, who is head of claims at Axa XL in Bermuda. “We reach it every day,” Dr Richmond replied. Asked about the impact on the hospital of the ageing population, Dr Richmond said an increase in chronic diseases, such as diabetes and dementia, could be expected in an older population. “If nothing were to change, we would need another 70 to 80 inpatient beds at the hospital,” he said. “That’s an enormous cost and it’s also not a very good plan.” Most other jurisdictions facing similar issues had looked to increase community care provision, he added. Ms Jackson said the solutions to the healthcare challenge had to be comprehensive. Blaming particular parties, such as insurers, the Government or physicians, was not the way forward, she said. “The system is multifaceted and we need a multifaceted solution,” Ms Jackson said. “We all have a part to play.” The solution had to encompass technological, educational, social and regulatory components. “You can’t achieve transformational change with one magic bullet,” she said. Ms Jackson defended the health insurance industry against the notion that they took too much out of the system in profits. “All of the health insurers have diversified businesses, so to think that the financial statements of these companies are all about health insurance is missing the point,” she said. “It’s not a high-margin business — quite the opposite. The margins are really slim and if you’re profitable, you’re lucky. To suggest that health insurers are making out like bandits in this environment is way off the mark.” The medical loss ratio of the government health insurance plans was about 140 per cent, she said, meaning that for every dollar in premium, $1.40 was spent on claims. “If the private insurers did that, there would be no private insurance available,” Ms Jackson said. “If you think of the risks and the extreme probability of high catastrophic claims that are absorbed, it’s a very challenging business.” Mr Brathwaite said naturally private insurers were in business to make a profit, but posed the question of whether healthcare should be regarded as a social service, rather than a profit-making business. He added: “There’s only a certain amount of money in healthcare and if some of that money that could be going towards prevention is going on profit, then you have to take a step back and ask: are we benefiting the population in how we allocate the money? So it’s not a question of whether health insurers should make a profit, it’s a question of are we using all the money we have to spend on healthcare in the best way for the people?” Ms Jackson said health insurers contributed through the valuable data they provided to the regulator and through the incentives they provide to clients to live healthier lives, she added. “The health insurance business does better when people are healthier,” Ms Jackson said. “So the insurers on the island spend a lot of time trying to put together packages to try to get people to live healthy lifestyles. It’s simply good business for health insurers in a business where frankly, the demographics are not in our favour.” The BermudaFirst group has proposed a change from the “fee-for-service” approach to an outcome-based system. Dr Brathwaite said: “Are there incentives within physician practices to make money based on the number of services provided? Yes. Are there individuals who may take advantage of the opportunity to do so? Yes. That doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. It means that the system is set up for them to be able to do it.” He said the outcome-based approach needed everyone in the industry to work together and agree to the same set of standards. Ms Jackson said: “The vast majority of physicians on the island are high quality, but there are perverse incentives within the Bermuda healthcare system. There are tremendous conflicts of interest where physicians own additional services — labs, or pharmacies, for example. I think there are some fundamental things there that we have to address to eliminate those conflicts of interest.”

paragraphMember companies of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) saw their headcount rise in Bermuda last year in a workforce that was nearly three-quarters local. ABIR said in a statement tonight that 24 members made a direct economic substance contribution to Bermuda of nearly $815 million last year, down from $843 million in 2017. The spending included travel, business, charity giving, construction expenses and compensation paid to Bermudian-based employees. “Abir members continue to be the leading contributor of economic activity in Bermuda,” said Albert Benchimol, chief executive officer of Axis Capital and chairman of Abir. “Abir members have proudly invested in training and development and the results are clear — they are reporting the highest share of Bermudian team members at their companies in the history of our 14-year survey, with record median salaries for Bermudians.” Highlights of the 2018 survey results showed Abir members contributed:

Abir members employed 1,530 full-time staff in Bermuda (up 35 people from 2017), of which 1,135 were Bermudians, spouses of Bermudians, or permanent residence certificate holders — an increase of 4.4 per cent since 2017. Now at over 74 per cent, the percentage of Bermudians employed in Abir members’ Bermuda operations is at the highest since 2009. Notably, the median annual salary and benefits paid to Bermudians by Abir member companies now tops $184,400 — the highest since this metric was established in 2007. Abir members continue to invest in a vibrant local workforce and provided 57 internships to Bermudians in 2018. Educational scholarships in Bermuda by Abir members increased in value by 40 per cent from 2017, to $1,595,400, the highest amount since 2012. Five Abir members offered graduate training programmes for Bermudian employees and half have established internships; members also reported other training and development opportunities available, such as tuition reimbursement and leadership training. All Abir members have licensed operating companies in Bermuda, and more than 58 per cent have an ultimate holding company in Bermuda. Outside Bermuda, Abir members reported the top-five locations for their global operations were: United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, Ireland and Luxembourg. John Huff, Abir’s chief executive, said: “Abir members are proud of their investment — economic substance — in Bermuda’s economy. Bermuda is a world-respected platform for global business that welcomes top-quality corporate brands. As a global underwriting centre, Abir member companies are committed to delivering economic substance in Bermuda.”

paragraphThinkFest 2019 is to end on Monday, October 7 with a presentation of researcher Cordell Riley’s evaluation of the performance of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The talk entitled “Getting beyond the spin. Is tourism better under an Authority?” was originally supposed to take place in September but was postponed as a result of hurricane Humberto. Interest in Mr Riley’s research is growing and a contingent from the BTA itself is planning to attend. In what is the first independent assessment of the performance of the BTA since it was established in 2014, Riley will present data and performance metrics on Bermuda’s tourism before and after the establishment of the BTA. Now the institutional researcher for the Bermuda College, Mr Riley has served as a government statistician, market research officer for the Department of Tourism and for many years ran his own firm, Profiles of Bermuda conducting human resource assessments, training and development, as well as market, business and tourism research. He said: “I want to look at things like contributions to GDP, I want to look at proportion of the budget to salaries, things of that nature to get a real feel of the outcome. For instance, the budget itself — I’ll have to bring that up to real terms so I’ll probably use 2016 and 2017 dollars so we do a fair comparison.” ThinkFest is Bermuda’s first seminar series featuring an all Bermudian cast of outstanding academics and independent thinkers. Ayo Johnson, founder of ThinkMedia which is producing ThinkFest, said: “We were happy to accept this presentation proposal because policy and programme evaluation is rarely done in a public setting if at all. All residents should be interested in an objective assessment of how well this relatively new institution is performing.” The newest event on the Bermuda calendar, ThinkFest is an opportunity for the island to celebrate and acknowledge Bermudian academics and independent thinkers, a platform for networking with potential employers, funders, other academics and researchers and a forum for discussing the latest research in a wide variety of fields. Each of the ThinkFest presenters dive deeply into a single topic for an extended period, followed by a chat with a host and audience Q and A. This year’s festival of Bermudian thought leaders has hosted artists, writers and academics such as Joanne Ball-Burgess, Theodore Francis, PhD, Ajala Omodele, and Catherine Draycott, DPhil. Tickets for ThinkFest 2019 events can be purchased online at think.bm/events or at the door. Visit the website for more information. All ThinkFest events take place at the Bermuda College.

paragraphArtex Risk Solutions yesterday announced that it has reached agreement to acquire Horseshoe Insurance Services Holdings Ltd. The transaction, which significantly strengthens Artex’s insurance-linked securities operations, is subject to regulatory approval and expected to complete before the end of the year, the company said. 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. Upon completion, 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. Mr Mullen said: “The combination of the Artex and Horseshoe teams and technology will provide our clients with the opportunity to find all insurance management, fund administration and advisory services under one roof.” He added: “Andre and his team mirror our culture at Artex. They will be a terrific fit and will help further our goal of becoming the best service provider to the world’s risk capital.” Upon completion, Artex 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”. Mr Perez, chief executive officer of Horseshoe, said: “We are excited to join forces with Artex. For more than 14 years, Horseshoe has been the leader in the ILS services industry and together we will have quite a formidable team dedicated to servicing the ILS market.” He added: “Being part of a larger organisation will give us the opportunity to better serve our clients by accessing worldwide resources, and accelerating the development of bespoke solutions and products for ILS.” Mr Mullen said: “At Artex, we are proud to be ranked as the world’s third largest insurance manager. The addition of Horseshoe will position us to continue evolving and pushing the boundaries of what a global, top-tier insurance provider looks like.”

paragraphTelecoms industry veteran Vicki Coelho has been appointed chief executive officer of the recently merged advertising agency AAC and online ticketing and events solution company Ptix. In a statement, the company said that Ms Coelho “is an experienced executive board member with a strong business development background and is skilled in business planning, IT strategy, organizational leadership, and execution”. Michael Branco, chairman of AAC and Ptix, said: “Vicki is a successful strategic leader with a strong track record of management, sales and marketing and a deep understanding of Bermuda’s market — all of which are critical for the leadership of the newly merged company.” He added: “Vicki has been a supporter of the companies we’ve built over the past ten years and I am confident that she will be the strong visionary AAC and Ptix need to thrive locally and internationally. Each time Vicki is involved in our companies we see growth and increased services for our clients.” Ms Coelho has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry, including 15-plus years at Logic (North Rock Communications) where she served as general manager and CEO. Ms Coelho, the company said, is a strong advocate for coaching and developing information technology leaders in Bermuda, adding that she accomplishes this via her directorship roles at the Technology Leadership Forum, E-Commerce Advisory Board and the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. Ms Coelho said: “I am so excited to join the talented team at AAC and Ptix. The environment Michael and the group has built is one of collaboration, and my role will be to support and empower the Bermuda-based team to continue to deliver quality products and services for our clients.” Ms Coelho will be located at 29 Front Street, Hamilton, the offices of the combined AAC and Ptix operations. AAC and Ptix, which merged in August, is a full-service advertising agency and digital marketing company specializing in communications strategy, creative and graphic design, web development and hosting, e-commerce, event and conference management, digital marketing and management, as well as offering the Ptix ticketing portal services. AAC is owned by Premier Tickets. AAC and Ptix will continue operating under their brand names. They are part of the Celeste Group of Companies, which also includes IT provider Fireminds and Innovation House. Ms Coelho served as non-executive chairwoman of Fireminds from January 2015 until September 2017. The news of Ms Coelho’s appointment is the second announcement concerning a chief executive officer in Bermuda this week. On Monday, in a filing with the Bermuda Stock Exchange, Bermuda Aviation Services announced that CEO Leslie Rans is to step down at the end of the month and will “take a leadership role with another Bermudian business”. Ms Rans, who declined to comment about her future plans, is a former chief financial officer of both One Communications and KeyTech Ltd.

paragraphFado is Portugal’s traditional folk music, Alfredo Gago da Câmara is one of its finest players. A musician, poet, teacher, author and composer, he’s travelled the world entertaining. Tomorrow night, courtesy of the Portuguese Cultural Association, he’ll perform in Bermuda with Mário Fernandes and Ricardo Melo, fellow musicians from the Azores.  He was asked "What is fado music?" And answered by offering the following to various questions:  "The best translation that I can come up with for the word fado is destiny. Fado describes our very lives through poetry which, instead of being recited, is sung and interpreted with soul and feeling. It is accompanied by the sounds of a Portuguese guitar, and the rest by a classical guitar. Is it popular throughout Portugal? Fado originates from Lisbon in the mid-19th century. Fado at first was a simple style or song originating with the people and the poor, and was initially performed on the piano. At that time, it was a form of music accompanied by dancing and sensual melodies, including movement of the hips. In the early 20th century, fado came to be accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitars. In the city of Coimbra, there emerged a new style of fado which was very different — a fado of love, in the style of a serenade. A few years ago, it was declared by Unesco to be a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Fado for Portugal is like how tango is for Argentina, how country music is for the USA, how morna is for Cape Verde and how samba is for Brazil. At what age did you know you wanted to become a career musician?  I was still a kid. It was not easy to be a professional musician in the Azores because the market did not allow it — I actually think that there were none. I was a banker, a teacher and I did a lot of things in life; I even drove a taxi at night in order to earn some change. But I was always learning from those who knew more, and I became qualified as a professional Portuguese guitar performer in Lisbon. I was fortunate to become acquainted with and perform with most of the great Portuguese fadistas of my generation. How were you introduced to fado music? At the age of 16 I went to Lisbon and I became part of a professional group with Carlos Paião as singer, but my passion was fado. In the meantime, fado had lost some of its lustre after the April 1974 revolution. I was feeling nostalgic and a bit homesick and so I returned to my homeland where I joined a fado group which, among a number of amateurs, included the late Herminio Arruda. I performed with him until his death. This was when I opened a casa da fados (house of fado) in São Miguel called A Taverna when I was 32. I met, became familiar with, and performed guitar for many professionals including some of international renown. At what age did you learn to play the guitar? I grew up watching my uncles playing various instruments. I already started to play in primary school and I would secretly take my older brother’s guitar to train myself. Then I took a broken-up guitar which my cousins had in their attic and put in fishing line which I tuned for practice.  I understand you also play the viola de terra. Hard to learn? Any instrument is difficult when you want to play well. I learnt the viola da terra after learning how to play the fado viola and I even taught this instrument at the Ponta Delgada Regional Conservatory. I still play a little viola da terra, but I didn’t really dedicate myself much more to it. One of the musicians that will accompany me on bass and guitar in Bermuda, Ricardo Melo, was a student of mine of the viola da terra and today he plays the instrument much better than me! Do you play any other instruments? I also play the accordion, cavaquinho (a small four-string guitar from Portugal, similar to the ukulele), organ and piano. I’ve never had much to do with wind instruments, except for the flute and harmonica which I have played since I was two or three. Will this be your first time in Bermuda? Yes. I have performed in other countries with significant Portuguese communities such as the United States, Canada, Brazil and even Venezuela and I am very grateful to Richard Ambrosio [the PCA chairman] and the rest of the Portuguese Cultural Association for having invited me. Did you know about the historical link between the Azores and Bermuda? Yes, I did. I know there is a large flow of Azorean emigration that began around 1850 to the present day. I know that most of this emigration comes from the Azores and mainly from São Miguel Island, with a large percentage of people from Água de Pau and Vila Franca do Campo. Are you known for any songs in particular?  I have composed, I think, about 200 songs of different styles. In terms of “marchas” [upbeat, festive music that tends to accompany a parade or a procession] alone, it has been more than 80. I also created a lot of fados and songs. Choosing a composition is complicated because it is almost like choosing a favourite child. However, I have some “marchas” that became better known and were sung in parades and processions elsewhere in the country. Of the fado songs I have written, perhaps the best known is Onde Moras Senhor Fado or the História da Saudade. These two will be part of my set, and I intend to perform them in Bermuda." See Alfredo Gago da Câmara in concert at Vasco da Gama Club tomorrow night, following dinner at 7.30pm. Tickets, $90 for adults and $50 for children, are available at the club. Funds will go towards the Portuguese School of Bermuda and the Vasco Youth Programme. For more information: info@portuguesebda.com or 292-7196.

paragraphDropIt Delivery, the island’s grocery delivery business, has announced a $1 annual membership offer for the nearly 5,000 members of Age Concern during the month of October. The cut-price membership is effective for a year. Beginning on November 1, the membership will cost $49. DropIt offers customers access to more than 10,000 items from the inventory of Lindo’s grocery store in Warwick. Customers choose a two-hour window during which to have their groceries delivered, or they can pick them up. Age Concern members who become DropIt members pay an $18.99 delivery fee on top of the price of their food order, or can pick up their groceries for a fee of $12.99. Under the partnership between the two organisations, Age Concern will give away a $200 grocery voucher to someone in need, aged 50 or over, who has been nominated by a member of the community. DropIt will waive the delivery charge for the recipient. The deadline for nominations is October 31. To nominate someone, you must ‘like’ DropIt on Facebook, ‘follow’ the business on Instagram, and e-mail the business at info@dropit.bm with a short description of why your nominee should be chosen, DropIt co-owner Leanne Evans said. DropIt will select the nominee, who will then be vetted by Age Concern, the organisations said. Membership fees for Age Concern are $25 annually for people 50 and over, and are free for people 80 and up. Fees for members 50-79 are due to increase slightly in 2020. Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern, said the group’s 4,848 members receive discounts or concessions from more than 70 companies. “We try to encourage local businesses in the community to be creative in how they interact with the 50-plus age group as most of their needs are met in the marketplace. We love being introduced to entrepreneurs — we take time to know who they are, get to hear what they are offering, and then introduce them to our membership. That link is important because new entrepreneurs have perhaps not had the time to establish that relationship, and the 50-plus age group would not have had the time to get to know the new entrepreneur, and their product or service. Some people just can’t get out to shop — as we have an older population, that is becoming more and more of a reality.” Orders for food delivery or pick-up are normally made online at website dropit.bm. However, Ms Evans said the business is taking telephone orders from customers who may not be tech-savvy, or who do not have access to the internet. A live-chat capability on the DropIt website, which provides immediate responses to questions, is popular, she said.

Caroline Bay developmentparagraphRoyal Gazette Editorial. "Leaders in every walk of life must make decisions based on the facts available to them at the time. Those decisions invariably require judgment and some effort to predict the future. It requires identifying and balancing risks and rewards, determining if decisions align with core principles and how much weight to give to intangibles, such as confidence in the individuals with whom a leader is dealing. No one pretends this is easy. And it’s also a fact of life that leaders will not be judged on the facts as they are known at the time of the decision, but on subsequent events. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was greeted as a hero in 1938 when he returned from Munich and a meeting with Adolf Hitler, having seemingly prevented Britain from going to war. Two years later he was hounded from office when the war he had failed to prevent broke out and had begun to go badly for Britain. His reputation never recovered. Former finance minister Bob Richards is no Neville Chamberlain, and the Caroline Bay debacle is hardly comparable to the outbreak of the Second World War, but Mr Richards’s recent defence of the former One Bermuda Alliance government’s decision to issue a guarantee for the project is difficult to understand. That does not mean that the issue of the guarantee was illogical, but it did involve risk. When the OBA government took power in 2012, the Bermuda economy was in free fall and in desperate need of stimulus. The Morgan’s Point project had been stuck for some time because investors were fearful of taking on a project on a severely polluted site. The Government had the responsibility for cleaning up the site, and that clean-up was deemed to be unaffordable at $100 million. So the Government was able then able to negotiate a reduction in the cost of the clean-up in return for providing a guarantee of $165 million to the lenders, the hope and expectation being that the guarantee would never have to be used. In many ways, this seems reasonable and at first all seemed well. The Government was able to inject activity into the economy and to create jobs. The developers, who included the widely respected Brian Duperreault, were finally able to start work. The tourism industry could look forward to a new hotel, while purchasers of residential units would also generate economic activity. This newspaper does not know precisely all that went wrong at Caroline Bay, but the basic facts are clear:

Unsurprisingly, the original lenders, who are from the United States or local reinsurance companies, wanted to be repaid, so the guarantee was called. As a result, the Bermuda taxpayer has now been forced to turn over $165 million and possibly more to the resort’s creditors. Because the Bermuda Government does not have $165 million to hand, it has borrowed it, meaning it is borrowing money to take ownership of lent money it may well never recover. The present government has laid the blame for this at the feet of the OBA, and it is to the Premier David Burt’s credit that he cautioned against this guarantee in 2015. Finance minister Curtis Dickinson may be on less solid ground when he criticizes — the OBA government later gave a smaller guarantee on the St Regis development to help secure lending from Butterfield Bank, where Mr Dickinson was then a senior executive, so he risks being accused of hypocrisy. Was the OBA government wrong to give the guarantee? Subsequent events say it was. Mr Richards, although he may have felt the facts before him at the time justified the guarantee, was still betting that it would enable the project to get off the ground, that the project would then move to completion, a new hotel would open and that Bermuda would be better off as a result. If all had gone according to plan, the guarantee would never have been called. However Mr Richards’s bet was wrong. For whatever reason — and the public do indeed, have the right to know what went wrong since they are now the owner of the debt — the developers have been unable to complete the project, which is now stalled with little to show for it beyond a church, a marina, some unfinished buildings and a rather grand entrance that sliced a sizeable piece of arable land in two. If the bet turned out badly, was it still worth it? Certainly, it generated some jobs and economic activity. But what’s left is an unfinished project and the Government is now having to pay contractors who were left unpaid. It’s not impossible that Caroline Bay will find financing and get going again. But, at the moment, the prospects are bleak. Mr Richards and the OBA put the need to get the economy moving ahead of first principles, namely that governments should be extremely wary of guaranteeing or financing private developments and, as Mr Burt said in 2015, the Government should not be in the business of building hotels. Indeed, the history is not good — with the OBA government’s support, the Corporation of Hamilton backed the development of the Par-la-Ville hotel and barely avoided financial disaster there. Mr Richards also argued that the arrangement had benefited Bermuda at the time. The clean-up was supposed to cost $100 million, which the Government could not afford. Instead, the clean-up cost the taxpayer $35 million, with the guarantee being given instead. Had the Government proceeded with the full clean-up and the hotel development had then proceeded without a guarantee — although there was some question about that — the cost to the taxpayer would have been $100 million or perhaps more. Instead, the cost has been much higher: the $35 million spent on the clean-up and now at least $170 million in guarantee money. So this decision ended up costing Bermuda $100 million more than it would have if the original plan had been followed and a developer had proceeded without a guarantee. Mr Richards and the former OBA government cannot be faulted for their good intentions or for their desire to get Bermuda’s economy going. But unless a wholly unforeseen event interferes, and this was not the case with Caroline Bay where the risks were fairly obvious, then leaders must be judged on their results. With Caroline Bay, the guarantee was a gamble that went wrong and, at the very least, Mr Richards should accept some responsibility and future leaders should heed this as a cautionary tale of how good intentions can turn bad."

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paragraphA sharp rise in waste dumping fees has angered landscape gardeners who fear it could ruin their businesses. One company owner, who asked not to be named, said that an increase in charges introduced yesterday would hit firms and could drive many owners to sell or close their landscaping businesses. She said: “It’s quite expensive. I have people who are seniors and have been doing this business for over 50 years; a lot of them are thinking of taking the early retirement.” The business owner spoke after she said the Marsh Folly Dump had increased fees from $25 for every truck to as much as $125 for the largest trucks. She told The Royal Gazette that she learnt of the increase after a truck driver she employed complained about the price increase. She explained that the fee increase was the result of a mandatory order by the Ministry of Public Works. The business owner added that a spokesman from the Department of Public Works had confirmed the increase and said that it was mentioned in an edition of The Royal Gazette. But she said: “I didn’t see anything — I look at the paper every day. I’ve spoken to a few other people; they also look at the paper every day and they don’t recall seeing it.” The woman said that she would be forced to increase her service charges and risk deterring potential clients. She added that the increases could effect company workers and force owners to scale back their benefits or let employees go. She said: “You can’t double and triple the prices and not expect it to have an affect on consumers and employees.” A search through The Royal Gazette archives showed no articles that warned of an increase in dumping fees. The business owner was one of several landscapers and homeowners that complained to the paper. Tony Cabral, a trucker for Cabral’s General Contracting, said that his original dumping fee of $25 had doubled. The increase came at the start of a clean-up job he was hired for that will take the rest of the week to complete. Mr Cabral said: “I don’t know why they’ve done it now right after a hurricane — I’m still cleaning up hurricane damage. Now I have to go back to the client and tell him that the fees have gone up. He might not be too happy about that.” Mr Cabral said that independent truckers were explaining to clients how the fee increase will affect their rates. He estimated that the increase could raise service fees to at least a few thousand dollars. A driver for Q&H Trucking, who asked not to be named, complained that his dumping fees went from $20 to $100 overnight without warning. He explained that he was unaware of any announcement to changes in fees and would probably see a drastic affect on his business. He added: “If I only charge $80 for a load and then I have a $100 fee, then I’m done. Especially if I took the money up front — I can’t go back to the client and say ‘look, I’m going to need more money’. They’ll tell me to eat that cost.” A 55-year-old independent trucker, who also asked not to be named, said that the rigidity of the prices would have a large affect on business. He explained: “We’re not going to get full loads all the time — you’re going to get a quarter of this, but it’s still going to be $75. What’s going to happen to them when I tell them ‘Look, I’ve got a quarter of a load but I’ve got to charge you $75 plus 10 per cent administration fee on top of that.’ What do you think they’re going to say?” John Kaufmann, 85, said that before the increase he had hired a landscaping crew to clean his Southampton home in the wake of Hurricane Humberto. Now, he explained, the company was concerned it would have to increase its charges. Mr Kaufmann said that many people would turn to burning their trash and other illegal methods to avoid the costs. He added that other elderly clients would be the most affected by the increases because they relied on landscaping companies to clear their property. Mr Kaufmann said: “Luckily, I could handle it, but I should think that for a number of homeowners an extra $50 per load is a lot.” The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

paragraphThe story of an enslaved woman accused of a plot to poison slave masters is one of the highlights of a “robust” calendar of events launched to showcase the culture and history of Bermuda. Residents and visitors can look forward to theatrical performances and behind-the-scenes museum tours as well as the Gombey Festival and Taste of Bermuda weekend. The Bermuda Tourism Authority has packaged activities around five categories — black heritage, art and architecture, the way we live, history and festivals. Glenn Jones, its chief experience development officer, explained: “Bermuda’s culture is what sets her apart from other destinations and we’re doubling down on culture this fall with a robust calendar of brand-new and reimagined cultural experiences.” He said the “headliner” black heritage experience was a weekly theatrical performance at the Cabinet Office. Mr Jones explained: “Visitors and locals can gather at 7pm for a free 30-minute dramatization of the final moments of Sally Bassett’s life. The actors will perform an excerpt from the Bermudian play Trial By Fire. Sally Bassett was an enslaved woman accused of a plot to poison slave masters. She maintained her innocence defiantly but it didn’t help; she was executed, burnt at the stake.” Mr Jones said the Cabinet Office and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs had joined the BTA to offer the event four times throughout October, starting last night. Each performance will be preceded by a black-heritage bus tour from Titan Express, which will leave the Visitor Services Centre in Hamilton at 6pm. Mr Jones said walking tours in Dockyard and St George’s would offer more insight into the island’s art and architecture. He added: “We’re promoting an exhibition opening at Gallery 117 tomorrow and secret collections from the Masterworks vaults, which will open to art lovers as part of a special guided experience to see artwork not on display to the general public.” Mr Jones explained that a series of tours under the “way we live” heading will invite visitors into Bermudian homes and neighborhoods. He said: “Government House, Sandymount, Carter House, Prince Alfred Terrace, Springfield House and the Cox home are all opening their doors. If there is a place on that listed that you haven’t visited before, I encourage you to take this opportunity, we certainly expect visitors will do so.” Mr Jones said that in the history category, special attention would be given to the Town of St George and St David’s. He added that the Gombey Festival and Taste of Bermuda were scheduled for the weekend of October 11, which coincides with a long weekend for many people who visit from the northeast US. Tourism entrepreneur Kristin White explained that her work helped to “celebrate and elevate” black women’s voices, artistry and businesses. This included the launch of her brand Untold Stories, “highlighting the journeys of dope black women from around the globe”. Ms White explained that she has started curating trips to the island to welcome other black women and share what she loves about Bermuda. These include an event co-hosted by Monroe Steele, a New York-based lifestyle and fashion influencer and blogger, in the coming days. Ms White explained: “A small group of women will be joining us on island next week for an itinerary focused on highlighting Bermuda’s amazing history, culture and style, and will specially feature black female entrepreneurs and thought leaders.” She said that the trip included an art tour, shopping in Hamilton, dinner at a private home and visits to spots on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail, with residents and other visitors invited to take part. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, recalled that a number of events were hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs in August to commemorate the 185th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Bermuda. Ms Foggo said: “As you can certainly appreciate we value the importance of highlighting Bermuda’s historical legacy and we value those community partners like the BTA who join with us in raising awareness." Sally Bassett’s story is one that is poignant and painful but it is a story that needs to be shared with our residents and visitors because it is a story that significantly shaped our history. Ours is a long and rich heritage that we pull from and the stories of Sally Bassett and Mary Prince are the kinds of stories that Bermudians need to know and claim as a way of bolstering our national pride, and bolstering our identity and purpose.”

paragraphA Bermudian woman has been jailed for four years in Britain after attempting to smuggle cocaine through Gatwick. Shaketa Raynor, 44, was caught with more than 4kg of the drug in her luggage after a flight from Costa Rica on June 23, according to the Hull Daily Mail. Sentencing her on Monday in Croydon Crown Court, Judge Deborah Charles called Raynor a courier who made a “stupid decision to try and make money by importing drugs” after moving to Britain with her son and his family but struggling to find work. The West Hull resident pleaded guilty to importing drugs worth about £316,000 — nearly $390,000.

paragraphThe Regulatory Authority is seeking to increase fees on electricity providers and telecommunications companies to fund a $1 million-plus increase in its budget for the next financial year. In its work plan consultation document for 2020-21, the RA estimates total expenditure at $7.43 million, up from $6.29 million in 2019-20. Special projects in both electronic communications and electricity — the two industries the RA oversees — are the main drivers of the 18 per cent jump in expenditure. These include the first phase of a pre-feasibility study of an offshore wind farm, as detailed in the Integrated Resource Plan, the RA’s blueprint for the future of Bermuda’s electricity supply. The study will be commissioned by the RA “to determine the level of offshore wind resource available together with the business case and the environmental impacts”. A radio frequency study will feature on the electronic communications side, to determine whether cutting-edge technology, such as a 5G network, would be appropriate for Bermuda. The independent regulator is funded by the fees its levies on the two industries and receives no funding from the Government. To fund the increased budget, the RA proposes an increase in the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority fee, to 1.9 per cent from 1.75 per cent. On the electricity side, the RA suggests that the regulatory fee of $0.00475 per kilowatt hour that appears on Belco customers’ bills remain unchanged. However, the regulator wants to increase levies on bulk electricity generators at varying levels depending on their scale and how the power is generated. Utility-scale electricity generation providers like Belco, with more than 25 megawatts of installed capacity, would face an increase of $5,500 per megawatt — up to $6,500 from $1,000. Renewable and waste-to-energy suppliers, with 0.5MW to 25MW of installed capacity would deal with a $500 increase to $2,000 per MW. The plan adds: “The RA also recommends to the Minister of Home Affairs that there be no increase in the current level of Government authorization fees imposed on the electronic communications and electricity industries under the Government Fees Act 1965, until the RA has completed a taxation review.” The RA’s proposed budget for the electronic communications segment of its work is $3.76 million for 2020-21, up 8 per cent on 2019-20, while $3.75 million will be needed for the electricity budget, up 31 per cent. In its work plan, the RA says it has 18 employees, led by Denton Williams, its chief executive officer, with three additional positions open. The RA has submitted its work plan to the Ministry of Finance, seeking approval of its budget for the year. The regulator is seeking public feedback on the work plan. The consultation period is open until October 31.

paragraphAn historic entertainment hall on the North Shore, which crumbled to an eyesore after a fire almost 18 years ago, faces demolition. The Clayhouse Inn in Devonshire became a top venue after the late Choy Aming Sr leased it 1967, but it was shuttered after the blaze in January 2002. Plans were announced in 2009 and 2015 to replace the dilapidated establishment, but now a roadside banner declares simply “Demolition Site”. For its neighbours on Foothills Road, the news could not come soon enough. A female resident of 54 years said fragments of the building had toppled into North Shore Road during Hurricane Humberto last month. She added: “It will a blessing to be rid of it. And it will be a relief when we have storms. I always think the roof will come off and blow this way. But it has so many holes, a lot of the wind just howls around and escapes. It’s like the adage about leaving a window open in the lee.” In its heyday, the Clayhouse was just “part of the view”, she said. “It was well maintained. It had a bit of a nuisance factor with noise and traffic, but Choy Aming was accommodating and empathetic towards neighbours if we made a complaint. It’s awful now. Believe it or not, it looks worse from the water. It will be a pleasure to have it down, even if it’s an open lot.” Ten years ago, Clayhouse Renaissance Ltd pitched ambitious proposals to build a four-storey apartment block on the site with a two-storey commercial building and a restaurant and offices. The woman said: “They had plans for a massive building. I don’t know if that was a pipe dream. That would change my view as well.” To the west, a senior resident, who said she had lived there ever since Mr Aming’s establishment started up, remembered the days of regular shows there. She said: “It’s going to fall down, so they have got to do something. It would be nice if they put something back there. It’s an eyesore.” Farther up the hill, a 65-year-old woman said she had lived in the house there since she was two. She recalled her mother boarding the 1950s American duo The Miller Sisters when they visited the island.  “We used to hear all the music up here. They had magic shows and ventriloquism acts.” But she said neighbours had vigorously opposed the 2009 development plans, including petitioning the property owners. “We thought it was going to come down when they first put the fencing up. But it’s been like that ever since. I thought the last hurricane might knock it down. There are trees growing through the roof. I just hope when they do knock it down, the rats don’t come up here.” Dale Butler, a former Progressive Labour Party minister and music historian, said Mr Aming had made the Clayhouse “first class”. Mr Butler said: “He packed it with international stars and brought in the passengers off the cruise ships in Hamilton. He was ahead of his time. It’s a pity. It’s like the Canadian Hotel and many other buildings around, that the families who own them simply cannot afford to sustain.” Carnival dancers, the “Not the Um Um Show”, novelty acts and international artists from Ziggy Marley to Roberta Flack performed at the Clayhouse. Mr Aming recalled for The Royal Gazette in 2001: “I looked at the Clayhouse and I looked around Hamilton and I saw there were 14 nightclubs which were all full, with lines outside waiting to get in. Every hotel had a nightclub too. I said, this is the place for me.” Clayhouse Renaissance Ltd could not be reached yesterday for comment.

paragraphSix months after Digicel Bermuda moved its customer care team to the island from Trinidad, some customers are still taken aback when an agent with a local accent answers their call. “There were a lot of customers who wanted to speak to a local voice, someone they could relate to and who was based here,” said Laura Husband, head of the customer care team that answers calls on behalf of Digicel and its partner company, BTC, explaining the move. “Now, we are here, we are local — and some people are surprised, saying things to our agents like ‘I know your mother’.” Adds agent Timika Smith: “Using landmarks for directions is better now. If someone asks me where the Digicel store is, I can say it’s upstairs from Boyle’s, whereas someone from Trinidad wouldn’t know that.” The move created five jobs, three for agents and two for managers, taking the team to 18 agents and three managers. Ms Husband said: “Our customer care manager, Kijana Millett-Pratt, was an incredible addition to our team, and we are continuously receiving customer compliments about Kennai Burchall and Timika Smith, as well as the other members of the team. People write in, or call in, to tell us of their efforts, which we highly encourage. I couldn’t be prouder.” Ms Smith said: “It’s about letting the customer know that we care, we understand, and we appreciate them.” Donn Foggo, marketing and product manager at Digicel, said: “Our customers have been asking for this for a while. This was a good opportunity to not only contribute to economic growth, but support young Bermudians and put our customers first.” Periodically, Mr Foggo said, a Trinidad-based agent will answer a customer’s call — for example, during extremely busy periods, or when a storm hits. “That was the case during Humberto,” Mr Foggo said, “as we wanted our employees to be safe at home, but we also wanted to make sure customers could contact someone immediately.” Ms Husband is joined on the team by Ms Millett-Pratt, quality assurance manager ZacQuaya Butterfield, and customer care agents Ronesha Christopher, Shirl-Ann Taylor, Deanaé Burgess, Janae Minors, Renika Anderson, Ky’Anah Outerbridge, Taisheka Talbot, Tierra Souza-Wolffe, Aubrey Mayes, Valerie Simmons, Aisha Robinson, Julita Looby, Ian Mcpherson, Christopher Wellman, Kyrresha Tucker, Edwin Dill, Mr Burchall, and Ms Smith.

paragraphThaao Dill has been appointed the new chief executive officer for the Media Council of Bermuda. He succeeds Don Burgess, whose three-year term ended on October 1. He will remain part of the Working Group as an ex office member. Mr Dill said, “I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to participate in the ongoing growth and development of Bermuda’s media industry and the talented journalists, producers and personalities that do great work therein. The Media Council’s fundamental role is to ensure that the content delivered to our community via print, radio, television and the web is accurate, accessible, entertaining and informative. A vibrant, active, responsible press corps is a non-negotiable necessity for a country to be truly free – the Media Council understands this fact and is committed to its further propagation. I’m looking forward to being part of the process by continuing the marvelous work of the outgoing CEO, Don Burgess, in improving the relationship between the professionals that populate the industry specifically and our collective audience(s) generally.” Mr Dill was one of the five original people who helped shape the formation of the Media Council in 2011. He has had stints at both the Bermuda Broadcasting Company and Inter-Island Communications at HOTT 107.5. He currently serves as the recruitment officer at Bermuda College. Mr Burgess said, “Thaao has an outstanding vision to help progress the Media Council forward in this age. He brings a measured, reasoned voice to help lead Bermuda’s media.”

paragraphThe local qualifier for the upcoming Bermuda Championship will take place at Port Royal Golf Course as originally planned, tournament organisers announced yesterday. Mid Ocean Club stood prepared to host the qualifier after tree damage caused at the Southampton course by Hurricane Humberto. However, the Bermuda Championship tournament committee said speedy clean-up of debris by dedicated ground crews has ensured that Port Royal will be ready to host the 36-hole qualifier on October 16 and 17. The qualifier will determine the final two local participants for the inaugural tournament from October 31 to November 3, also at Port Royal. “It is a testament to the hard work of the grounds team that we can bring the local qualifier home to Port Royal Golf Course,” said Patrick Horgan III, the tournament executive director. “The work completed to date to get the course back in tournament condition following the succession of storms and inclement weather is remarkable. That said, we remain extremely grateful to the Mid Ocean Club for offering to accommodate us at such short notice.” With more than 40 downed trees and piles of debris removed, maintenance staff have now been able to refocus on the 80 bunkers that are being restored at Port Royal. Work is set to be completed by the end of this week. Entries for the local qualifier are open to professional golfers, amateur golfers and applicants for reinstatement. To be eligible to compete in the local qualifying event, participants must meet the following criteria:

Entries officially opened yesterday and the fee is $250 for all eligible competitors. Players wishing to enter the event are asked to visit the BGA website at www.bermudagolf.org to access the online application and review the Conditions of Competition.

paragraphThe Stationery Store, a fixture on the corner of Reid Street and Burnaby Hill since 1972, has moved around the corner. The shop, owned by Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, is now located on Burnaby Hill, between Reid and Front Streets, next to the Hog Penny. It will share the lower level space with Bermuda Press Digital. Jonathan Howes, chief executive officer of BPHL, said: “Unfortunately, the Stationery Store, like many retailers on the island, has struggled to remain viable in the current economic climate. Changes in customer behaviour as technology changes the way we work and the way we buy things, combined with the decline in demand due to contraction in the local economy are affecting most retail businesses in Bermuda. In an effort to reduce costs and ensure the viability of the store we have relocated into the lower level of the Roger Davidson Building. The relocation has allowed us to combine the operations of Bermuda Press Digital and the Stationery Store into one space. The combined operation allows us to better engage with our customers. We are now able to provide creative solutions through a full range of printing services, stationery and art supplies all in one location. We look forward to introducing new products and services in the coming months as we settle into our new home alongside our sister company.” Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd is the parent company of The Royal Gazette.

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paragraphCabinet ministers spent almost $140,000 on overseas trips during their second year in power, according to the Government’s online travel calendar. The amount was about $4,800 less than the total for the previous 12 months of Progressive Labour Party leadership and about $26,000 more than the total for the final year of the One Bermuda Alliance administration. A spokeswoman said the Government was pleased to report that travel spending was forecast to be down this year by about 3 per cent. She explained: “As with previous administrations, key travel by ministers is necessary to manage and oversee key national objectives that affect Bermuda. An example of this was travel conducted by the Premier of Bermuda and the Minister of Finance to address the European Union listing earlier this year. In other areas, overseas travel was necessary to promote Bermuda as a premier leisure and business destination. Additionally, ministers travelled to support Bermuda’s athletes representing Bermuda on the global stage.” According to details published on the Government’s website, ministers spent $139,912.76 on 35 trips from August 2018 to July 19, 2019, when the present PLP administration marked its second anniversary in power. In the previous 12-month period, the total cost was $144,712.88 for 45 overseas visits. On the same site, the former OBA government published expenses totaling $113,864.29 relating to 25 overseas trips during its final year in power. The spokeswoman said: “To date, the overall travel spending is less than last year, and travel is, and will continue to be necessary to ensure that Bermuda maintains our reputation and grows our economy.” Among the highest costs for a single trip during the second year of this government was $12,476.63 when David Burt, the Premier and then Minister of Finance, took part in a series of engagements in Europe in September 2018. The online travel calendar shows the six-day tour included the OECD Blockchain Policy Forum in Paris. In Vienna, Mr Burt took part in a Eurofi conference that covered regulatory developments impacting the global financial sector, the future of the European Union after Brexit, cryptocurrencies and economic substance matters. He gave remarks at the 2018 Abir Conference in Brussels and met a number of top officials. The Premier also took a trip to New York and Boston for an “HSBC Road Show” that had zero expense for the Cabinet Office. He and Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, travelled for meetings that related to “the successful refinancing of Bermuda Government’s debt which reduced Bermuda’s interest expense”, according to the travel calendar. The information online shows that airfare, accommodation and incidentals during the visits in November were paid by HSBC. Entries for Mr Dickinson include a trip that cost $11,649.08 for meetings related to economic substance and Bermuda’s “blacklisting”. The website says: “The minister and a delegation of Ministry of Finance officials, accompanied the Premier to Britain, Brussels and Germany, for a series of meetings with overseas officials regarding the removal of Bermuda from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.” A trip taken by Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, to the Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands in April cost $5,310.06. She also attended the International Labour Conference in Switzerland, where more than 6,000 delegates gathered in June to discuss challenges ahead in the employment sphere. Expenses for that trip totaled $6,730.41. Ms Foggo reintroduced the ministers’ travel expenses page in October 2017 in a commitment to “full transparency”. Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, attended the Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami in April, with the trip costing $1,838 overall. His visit to New York in February came with a $995.37 price tag, to cover air travel and accommodation while he took part in the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s “marketing blitz”. The calendar explains: “More than 150 New York City-based meeting planners, travel agents, tastemakers, media types and influencers attended a Bermuda-inspired evening reception to encourage year-round travel to the island.”

paragraphA new Bill designed to boost the economy could displace Bermuda residents, an Opposition senator warned today. Nick Kempe, with the One Bermuda Alliance, said that all the Economic Development Amendment Act 2019 seemed to do was “shift the shells around”. He added: “What this Bill seems to do is gentrify the economic empowerment zones.” Mr Kempe was speaking as senators debated the Bill in the Senate. The Bill provides for amendments to the Economic Development Act 1968, the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 and the Companies Act 1981. Among its measures is a provision for local and exempted companies with a physical presence on the island — with the consent of the Minister of Finance — to acquire or hold residential valuation units in approved schemes for no longer than 131 years through lease or tenancy agreements. Changes to the Immigration Act would allow non-Bermudians and other “restricted persons” to buy residential units in an approved scheme “without restriction”, which is applied at present to freehold property, condominiums, tourist accommodation and rental homes. The amendments would allow the minister responsible for economic development to approve a scheme for economic development in any part of Bermuda, including the EEZs, subject to certain criteria. That approval would be published in the Government’s Official Gazette. Mr Kempe said the exemptions in the Bill were geared towards landholding by permit companies and international business, and “lowers the threshold for purchase” by guest workers. He added: “So we’ve got on the one hand — and this is a little bit where the irony is — a Government that is stalling the most basic of immigration reform, but on the other hand saying your money is good enough.” Mr Kempe said that the island’s EEZs in North East Hamilton, Somerset and St George’s “should be about empowerment, not displacement”. He added: “Whilst I commend the idea to allow guest workers to further cement their connection to Bermuda financially, it seems at odds with the absolute stagnation on the comprehensive immigration reform front, and it also seems somewhat at odds with the spirit and philosophy of the EEZs when they were set up.” James Jardine, an Independent senator, said that he viewed the Bill differently. He explained: “I see this an opportunity, perhaps, to see some development.” But he said the Bill was “somewhat at odds” with the island’s current immigration policy. Mr Jardine added: “I am ever hopeful that the current Government will look at the current immigration policy which they have said they will do, and we’ll see some changes there, so we can encourage more development in Bermuda, more people coming to Bermuda bringing business with them and jobs with them, in particular. So I see this as a step forward as opposed to a step back.” Marcus Jones, an OBA senator, said that he worried small businesses in the EEZs would be forced to compete with “deep pockets — companies with sophisticated expertise”. He added: “My concern is that we don’t want to displace or push out those that have been there all this time.” Vance Campbell, a Progressive Labour Party senator, said the intent of Bill was “to facilitate property owners access to investment and capital to improve and expand what they have”. He added: “The intent is to create new opportunities and not take away from what exists — new businesses, new residents, new activities, more visitors, greater opportunities. And that cycle can continue indefinitely with all benefiting.” Jason Hayward, of the PLP, accused Opposition senators of “scaremongering” instead of focusing on the positive benefits to the EEZs. He said that investment was needed in the North East Hamilton area. Mr Hayward: “I fully support this piece of legislation, and I’m sure that the businesses that will have increased residential traffic in the area will also support this legislation.” The Bill was passed without objection. Senators also debated four other Bills. The Digital Asset Business Amendment Act 2019, the Employment (Maternity Leave Extension and Paternity Leave) Amendment Act 2019, the Merchant Shipping Amendment Act 2019, and the Tourism Investment Amendment Act 2019 were also passed without objection.

paragraphThe director-general of the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority won global recognition in the 2019 Business Worldwide CEO Awards. Thomas Dunstan was crowned Aviation Industry Executive of The Year (Global) for his outstanding leadership through times of change. Business Worldwide CEO Awards identify and honour the most respective C-suite executives around the world, from a variety of sectors. The global civil aviation industry has been subject to significant changes over recent years, with a shift from state ownership to privatization. Mr Dunstan and his team “have approached the switch with enthusiasm and creativity”, the publication said. “As a semi-autonomous administration, BCAA has executed the perfect balance between state control and private-sector innovation.” Mr Dunstan has a bachelor of science degree in aviation management and flight operations and has attained his FAA and Canadian commercial pilot licences with multi-engine instrument and instructor ratings. Having spent ten years at Bermuda International Airport, his leadership skills, knowledge and commitment to safety led him to become manager of air operations at the airport before joining the then Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation, which later became the BCAA. Business Worldwide said in the first six months of the organizational change, Mr Dunstan created a new business plan, focusing on staff hiring and processes, building brand awareness and planning for market growth. In 2018, BCAA launched a marketing campaign to highlight its personal approach and customer-centric business model, using the tagline, “Putting you at the centre of everything we do”. The campaign highlighted BCAA team members from various departments and gives insight into different roles and personalities in a down-to-earth, friendly way. Customer experience and safety is at the core of the authority’s agenda, Mr Dunstan said. In May of this year, Bermuda Aircraft Registry added its 900th aircraft, a significant milestone which seals its reputation as a responsible, stable and growth-orientated organisation. Mr Dunstan said: “Becoming an authority has given us more financial autonomy while allowing us to be more customer focused. We work hard to establish trusted relationships with our global partners, and this is how we have been able to achieve building our current registry.”

• For more information, visit www.bcaa.bm or www.bwmonline.com/2019/08/17/bcaa-governing-the-business-of-aircraft-registration/

paragraphSkyport and Aecon Airport Constructors today advised the public that 20 artists have been short-listed after the Public Art RFP process. After careful consideration, Skyport and Aecon have recommended potentially 20 artists’ pieces for placement within the new passenger terminal building at the LF Wade International Airport. Those artists on the short list will be contacted for further input and clarification of their submissions. Short listed artists will be asked to resubmit their proposals by October 25 at 3:00pm.The final selection of artwork to be displayed within the new passenger terminal building will be decided by November 7 at 5pm. For more information, please contact Carrie Thatcher at 293-2470.

paragraphThe developer behind the new resort at the defunct Grand Atlantic site has said the project could woo investors for other properties sitting idle around Bermuda. Contractors will start work this month at the Warwick housing complex, with a view to having 70 hotel rooms ready at the Bermudiana Beach Resort for the summer of 2020, according to Robert MacLellan, developer for the site. “Bermudiana is bigger than the one project,” Mr MacLellan said on Friday. “If this can work, there are other shuttered properties in Bermuda which could follow a similar business model.” Mr MacLellan, who is the managing director of MacLellan & Associates, a leading Caribbean tourism firm, added: “We have had approaches from other people saying they’re watching closely and we hope this works, because we’re considering similar things.” The developer, who was relocating from the hurricane- damaged Grand Bahama when he spoke to The Royal Gazette, declined to reveal specific firms contemplating following suit. He said: “That’s up to individual developers. I think they’re all going to watch and see what happens.” More than five years after his firm signed an agreement with the Bermuda Government, Mr MacLellan said the project was moving ahead under a “co-developer approach, where the property is retained in the ownership of a Bermuda Housing Corporation subsidiary and the benefits primarily go to BHC”. Mr MacLellan described a swapping of risk and reward to ensure the conversion of a white-elephant development. Grand Atlantic was acclaimed as affordable housing when it opened in 2011 under the Progressive Labour Party government. Only two out of its 78 condos were sold. The project became fodder for recriminations between the PLP and One Bermuda Alliance administrations, especially over claims when the OBA was in opposition that the adjacent cliffs were unstable. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said at a Bermudiana ribbon-cutting ceremony in July that the project had been a victim of “sabotage”. Mr MacLellan said the top headache had been securing viable financing for a resort along what he called “the golden mile” for hotel development on the South Shore. Under the present arrangement, BHC, which committed $7.4 million to get the project under way, is to reap 82 per cent of the profits in condo sales. Mr MacLellan said the arrangement would assign “the marketing, the design and the operations expertise” to co-developers, comprising MacLellan & Associates and architects OBMI Bermuda with Coldwell Banker, until “all of the condos are sold and operating as hotel inventory”. He added: “Once the hotel is completely up and running, and all of the condos are sold and operating as hotel inventory, then the co-developers take over the ownership of the ongoing company so that BHC, through its subsidiary, has no ongoing liabilities. They are not in the hotel business. That’s how we have balanced the risk and rewards. That’s the long term. In the short term, while you’re selling condos, then the profit from any hotel operation goes to BHC as well. That covers it both ways: money coming in from the hotel, money coming in from condo sales. That we see as a 3½ year period, so we will be in this scenario where the company is both a developer and a hotel operator, until they are all sold. Those that are not sold will be used as hotel inventory, until they are sold.” Condos sold as vacation homes would have a maximum of 90 nights per year owner occupancy, but owners derive a portion of income from their hotel use. Mr MacLellan was optimistic that the agreement would bring swift results. He said: “I’ve been in the islands 22 years doing resort development. A lot of it has been this condo-hotel model, which is easier to finance.” Asked if the arrangement would cover the build cost of the original property, Mr MacLellan conceded: “We’d be lucky. But it certainly goes a long way to recovering all of that. Plus, Bermuda is the beneficiary of the mid-market hotel that would be very difficult to achieve in any way.” Mr MacLellan said the project had been “value engineered to death”. He added: “The big thing that anybody’s made a mistake with in Bermuda is not knowing the cost of what they were doing and then running over on their budget.” The developer said he also took comfort in having “the big Hilton machine behind us” of the global hotel chain. “The Hilton franchise gives us access to the global sales reservations, and the loyalty programme,” he said. “Hotel loyalty programmes are very important, because people tend to spend their air miles and their hotel points in the quieter parts of the year, when they can fly farther and stay longer, using their points. That’s of great benefit to us.”

paragraphA Bermudian will get the opportunity of a lifetime as an ‘ambassador crew’ on board Bermuda’s debut team entry in this year’s Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Bermuda is a host port and team partner for the 40,000-nautical-mile sailing race, now under way as eleven Clipper 70 ocean-racing yachts cross the Atlantic in the first leg from Portugal to Uruguay. Under the Clipper Race partnership, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is offering a local resident the chance to compete in the final leg next summer as crew on board GoToBermuda. Applications are now open and should be submitted to clipper@bermudatourism.com by October 10. The selected candidate will join GoToBermuda in New York on June 22 next year, racing with the GoToBermuda team first to the island by early July, then to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland on July 9 and on to the grand finale in London on August 8. “Crew need to be team players, willing to roll up their sleeves and tackle any task required, on deck or below deck,” said Della Parsons, the Clipper race crew recruitment director who added that Clipper Race teams are made up of a professional skipper and mate, and crew from all over the globe. “Everyone is trained to do all duties in a watch system around the clock, and living conditions are fairly basic,” Parsons added. “Crew also need to be reasonably fit because the race will be demanding, as will the four weeks of training.” The BTA is working with the Clipper race and numerous local organisations, including sailing clubs, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, Endeavour programme, Bermuda Sea Cadets, Raleigh Bermuda, Outward Bound, the Bermuda Police Service and Royal Bermuda Regiment, to identify individuals who have what it takes to participate on the trans-Atlantic voyage. Candidates must be 18 or older, and while sailing experience is a plus, it is not necessary. The successful crew member must undergo four levels of rigorous training in the UK next month. “It will be a very challenging, but incredible, adventure and a fantastic opportunity for a Bermudian to wave the flag for our island,” said Kevin Dallas, the BTA CEO. The BTA will cover the cost of the crew member’s entry fee, travel, and accommodation costs, along with medical insurance, visas, and any additional needed kit supplies. Clipper Race representatives made a site visit to Bermuda last week, meeting BTA team members and touring the City of Hamilton, including the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC), where the race fleet will be berthed during its stopover. Hamilton is one of 15 host ports, along with Portimão, Portugal; Cape Town, South Africa; Fremantle, Australia; and Qingdao, China. “Bermuda has a vivid sailing heritage and a wealth of knowledge in hosting such high-profile events, so we know we are in good hands,” said Laura Ayres, Clipper race head of partnerships. And our partnership with Bermuda goes beyond the stopover in July 2020. “Over the course of eleven months, the crew on the GoToBermuda team will be flying their adopted country’s flag as they sail around the world.”

paragraphOpinion. By Scott Pearman, Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs and the MP for Paget East (Constituency 22). "First, let’s start with the positive. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health in the present Progressive Labour Party government, has the ability to tackle the island’s very real healthcare problems. She is demonstrably intelligent, personable and, as an accomplished barrister, she is clearly skilled at “managing her brief”. But, as lawyers know, some “briefs” are more persuasive than others. For those present at St James’ Church Hall in Somerset on the Monday before the hurricane, the minister’s healthcare “brief” was really quite shocking. Driven by her government’s commendable desire to “do something” about the increasing cost and inadequate scope of healthcare, Ms Wilson was rolled out to explain the “something” the PLP has decided to “do”. The answer: the PLP intends to dismantle the existing healthcare system. Yes, that’s right. Had you not heard yet? Under the PLP plan, your healthcare system will be dismantled and replaced. Ms Wilson revealed that by “Fall 2020”, the PLP will eradicate the healthcare system as we know it and introduce the PLP’s new “Basic Plan”. Given the impact of this proposal upon Bermudians, a number attended from the Opposition, including Shadow Minister of Health Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, One Bermuda Alliance senator Marcus Jones, former OBA senator Lynne Woolridge and me. Here’s what we have learnt:

The learned attorney clearly did not choose the name “Basic Plan”. She wisely spent the evening trying to rebrand, finally landing upon “Standard Plan”. I don’t fault her advocacy — “basic” is not the word Bermudians would choose for preferred healthcare. Describing it as basic was an early own goal by the Government, no doubt its new plan will be swiftly renamed. Yet, Bermudians are right to explore ways to fix the problems with our healthcare system. It is clearly too expensive. Most agree there is considerable overuse. There are Bermudians who are not only underinsured, but uninsured. Whether you consider universal coverage to be a right or an aspiration, our healthcare system has very real shortcomings. These must be addressed. And there are solutions, including solutions identified by healthcare experts, by local health insurers, and I declare my interest, and, more recently, by the BermudaFirst Report commissioned by the Premier, David Burt. Interestingly, these various and variable solutions do not involve dismantling Bermuda’s existing healthcare system. Instead, they seek to enhance what Bermuda has at present: a healthcare system envied by most other countries. But from Ms Wilson we learnt the PLP has decided to dismantle our existing system. The PLP’s Basic Plan is coming — like it or not. Much will be written, and said, in the next 12 months about the Basic Plan. Yet the information available already raises considerable concerns. Will the cure prove worse than the disease? Is Bermuda headed for a course of bad medicine? But it is not my views that should sway you, nor Ms Wilson’s advocacy. Far better if you ask your doctor ..."

paragraphOperations of a Bermuda-based liquefied natural gas tanker company have been disrupted by US sanctions. Teekay LNG Partners said its joint venture shipping natural gas from Northern Russia to China was “blocked” because of ties to Chinese shipping company Cosco — accused by the US of carrying Iranian crude oil. The Yamal LNG joint venture was termed a “blocked person” under the sanctions, Teekay said, because its partner China LNG Shipping (Holding) is half-owned by Cosco Dalian. “As a result of CLNG’s 50 per cent interest, the Yamal LNG Joint Venture also currently qualifies as a ‘Blocked Person’ under OFAC rules,” Teekay said, referring to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “Teekay Group has not traded and will not trade with Iran and will not act in contravention of any trading sanctions,” Teekay said. The news triggered a more than 10 per cent fall in shares of Teekay LNG on New York’s Nasdaq Stock Exchange this week. Parent company Teekay Group also postponed the investor day in New York that it had planned to host today, “in order to fully focus on avoiding undue disruption to Teekay LNG’s business” as a result of the sanctions’ impact, the company said. Teekay said it was “working with its joint venture partner to expeditiously resolve this issue”. The Yamal LNG Joint Venture owns six Arc7 LNG carriers, icebreaker tankers designed to operate year-round transporting gas from the plant on the Yamal peninsula in northern Russia and to break up sea ice up to eight feet thick. Teekay LNG is the world’s third largest independent owner and operator of LNG carriers, with a fleet of 56 double-hull tankers. Teekay’s head office is in the Belvedere Building on Pitts Bay Road.

paragraphLaw firm Cox Hallett Wilkinson Ltd has achieved Tier 1 status in the latest International Financial Law Review 1000 rankings. The rankings year-on-year are compiled by a team of specialist legal journalists. First published in 1982, the IFLR is the only publication of its kind to focus on the leading law firms for corporate finance worldwide. The firm’s managing director, Ernest Morrison, was recognised as “highly regarded”, while senior associates Kathleen Moniz and Janice Gutteridge were described as “rising stars”. Mr Morrison said: “We are very happy that CHW continues to be internationally recognised in the financial and corporate sectors. Such international recognition is a strong indicator of our first-class capabilities and a reflection on the long hours, hard work and great service delivered by all of our fee earners and support staff at CHW.”

paragraphA homeless man stole a Dunkley’s Dairy truck while staff were making a delivery and went joyriding in the vehicle. Ernest Smith, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated taking of a vehicle in connection with the May 27 theft. The 42-year-old took the truck from Reid Street, near Washington Lane, while its two staff members made deliveries. Later, police recovered the vehicle unoccupied in Riviera Road, Southampton. The Supreme Court heard the vehicle had suffered $3,000 of damage. The theft also cost the dairy $391 of merchandise. Charles Richardson, defending Smith, questioned if his client could be penalized for the cost of damages to the contents of the vehicle under the charge he admitted. He added: “You cannot cry over spilt milk. He took a joyride in a milk truck and we are in Supreme Court.” Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ordered Smith, who was already remanded into custody, to return to the court on Friday to be sentenced. The appearance was one of several during the monthly arraignments session. Winston Paynter, 38, denied charges that he conspired to import heroin to Bermuda between an unknown date and April 11, 2019. The Devonshire resident also denied possessing heroin with intent to supply and possessing ammunition on the latter date. Mr Paynter was released on bail until October 17, when the matter is expected to return to court to set a trial date. Mrs Justice Simmons warned that a date might not be available until next year because of the lack of available court rooms and the sitting of the Court of Appeal in November. She said: “The court can only work with the physical plant available to it and, as we know, [Supreme Court 1] is not available for trials.” Also appearing was 33-year-old Mikado Burchall, who has been accused of the unlawful killing of Adrian Hassell, 24, with an alternative charge of causing his death by reckless and dangerous driving. Mr Burchall, from Smith’s, is also charged with operating a boat while impaired. He was not required to enter a plea to the charges and was released on bail until the matter is next mentioned.

paragraphThe Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre announced the official start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month yesterday. The cancer health charity is highlighting the importance of early intervention through the theme of “Hey Breast Cancer, let me tell you something”. Lynne Woolridge, the chief executive of the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, said that the centre would also offer a new breast cancer education programme called Know Your Lemons. She explained that the campaign helps to highlight risk factors, signs, symptoms and screening guidelines for men and women. Ms Woolridge added: “In collaboration with the Global Education partner behind the Know Your Lemons campaign, we now have staff trained to provide interactive hands-on presentations. Presentations are free and can be requested through our website.” The announcement was made during a press conference at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre in Devonshire. Ms Woolridge said that the centre had received enough donations towards their Equal Access Fund to give mammograms to 222 women who would not have been able to afford the procedure. She added that the fund also assisted with biopsies and radiation treatments for those without health insurance. Ms Woolridge also announced the 23rd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Walk on October 16 at Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton. John Wright, the president and chief executive of BF&M, said: “Initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the walk help us all in the fight to prevent, detect and treat cancer. As the leading healthcare provider in Bermuda, we at BF&M are committed to playing our part in promoting wellness in the community and encouraging people to take control of their health.” Jason Hayward, the junior health minister, urged women over 40 years old or with a family history of breast cancer to have regular screenings. He added: “It is important to know that you don’t have to wait until you reach screening age to start learning about cancer.”

paragraphPaintings of some of Bermuda’s leading figures and natural scenes have been featured in a biography of Canadian artist Bernard Poulin. Mr Poulin has painted members of royalty and prominent politicians from around the world and spent many years visiting the island to paint. His book, Bernard Aimé Poulin — A Portrait, written by Benoit Cazabon, was launched this week at the Jean-Claude Bergeron Gallery in Ottawa. Mr Poulin is hoping to host a separate book launch in Bermuda in the near future. The artist’s Bermuda commissions include Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, Stanley Lowe, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Dame Lois Browne-Evans, a politician, lawyer and the country’s first female attorney-general. He has also painted William Boyle, Sutherland Madeiros, and Jay Bluck, former mayor of Hamilton. Outside of Bermuda his subjects have included Prince William, son of the Prince of Wales, and Jean Chrétien, a former Canadian prime minister. Mr Poulin told The Royal Gazette: “Bermuda encouraged my creativity for 46 of my 50 years as a painter. It would have been horrible to not give Bermuda and Bermudians a place in my book. My last recall is that there are at least 36 images of Bermuda related paintings included in the book. I have been painting around the world so there are paintings of Bermuda, Canada, Italy, France, Jerusalem — all of these due to the art shows I have been commissioned to produce over the years. The book is published by one of the most renowned art book publishers in Canada, Marcel Broquet. He has published art books for most of the best known artists in Canada.” The book speaks to the childhood, adolescence and professional life of the artist and includes a large portfolio of his works. It includes passages about how he first came to Bermuda and fell in love with the island. Mr Poulin was exhausted from teaching children with learning difficulties for many years and concerned friends treated him to a holiday in Bermuda in 1967. Mr Cazabon writes: “He didn’t know it then, but the vacation was a sign: Bermuda became one of the painter’s favourite places.”

paragraphA pedestrian suffered potentially serious injuries after being hit by a truck in Southampton. The incident happened on Middle Road, in the Whale Bay area, this morning. Traffic was reduced to one lane in the area while the scene was processed.

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paragraphA man held behind bars for more than 2½ years on cannabis charges has been set free after the Supreme Court ruled that his constitutional rights had been breached. Assistant Justice Delroy Duncan ordered the retrial of Dennis Robinson be stayed after he found the defendant’s right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time had been breached by repeated delays. But the retrial of his co-accused — Rebecca Wallington, who was on bail for the period Mr Robinson was in custody — will go ahead. Mr Robinson and Ms Wallington were arrested on November 15, 2016 and charged with the possession of 418.7 grams of cannabis. Ms Wallington was charged also with simple possession of 4.93 grams of the controlled drug. Mr Robinson, who had been released on licence by the parole board not long before his arrest, was recalled and put into custody until the matter could be resolved. Both denied the charges against them in February 2017, with Shawn Crockwell hired to serve as their lawyer. Their trial was due to start in June 2017, but the trial was set back and Victoria Greening replaced Mr Crockwell as counsel. The trial was set back repeatedly, with trial dates in October 2017 and January 2018 being passed before the trial began in Magistrates’ Court on May 31, 2018. The last of the evidence was heard the next day, but closing statements were not heard until July, with the decision to be handed down in August. Magistrate Archibald Warner said he would release a judgment in October after a delay, but on October 5 he recused himself from the case because of a conflict. A retrial before a new magistrate, Khamisi Tokunbo, was set for January 2019, but before it was heard, lawyers for the defendant raised constitutional concerns that the delay had breached the rights of the defendants. Mark Pettingill, who represented the defendants with Ms Greening, argued Mr Robinson had been in custody for longer while waiting for his trial than he would have been had he been convicted and sentenced. Mr Pettingill said Mr Robinson would have faced a maximum sentence of about 12 months, but Tanaya Tucker, for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said an appropriate sentence would be between 18 months and two years. When the Supreme Court hearing began in May, Mr Robinson had already been in custody for two years and six months. While Ms Wallington was not in custody, it is argued her bail conditions had affected her life, too. “Although on bail, she has been unable to visit her young daughter in the UK or have surgery overseas on her back,” Mr Pettingill said. Mr Justice Duncan, who presided over the Supreme Court hearing, said in his September 13 judgment that the case did not appear to be complex. He said the timeline of events did not suggest the plaintiffs or their counsel attempted to delay the trial. He found that Mr Robinson and Ms Wallington had suffered an “unreasonable delay” in their prosecution and their right to a fair trial within a reasonable time had been broken. In the case of Ms Wallington, he said: “Although the anxiety she has suffered pending the outcome of her charges is a relevant factor of prejudice, such prejudice as she has experienced can be mitigated in the remedy the trial court can impose at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings — for example, by way of reduction of sentence. For this reason, despite my decision that [Ms Wallington's constitutional right to a fair trial had been breached, I do not order that her retrial be stayed or discontinued.” But Mr Justice Duncan found that the more than two years that Mr Robinson had served behind bars made his case different. He said the breach could not be rectified by a reduced sentence if Mr Robinson was convicted. Mr Justice Duncan said: “In my view, the traditional remedies are not sufficient to address the situation [Mr Robinson] faces. I accept Mr Pettingill’s submission that expedition of the trial and reduction of sentence cannot compensate for the fact that he has been in custody for two years and seven months for a matter for which he would traditionally have been released on bail.”

paragraphLegal and financial advisory fees related to the sale of the Ascendant Group Ltd totaled $4.62 million in the first half of the year, contributing to a net loss of $1.9 million for the six-month period, the company reported. The loss compared to a profit of $3.1 million for the same period in 2018. The details were included in a filing with the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Ascendant announced on June 3 that it had signed an agreement with Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp for the sale of the company for $36 per share, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Shareholders gave the two-thirds approval of the total issued and outstanding shares of the company at a special general meeting on August 9. The company is now awaiting approval from the Regulatory Authority and the Ministry of Finance. In a letter to shareholders that accompanied the six-month earnings report, chairman Peter Durhager said those approvals “may take several months”. Ascendant’s year-to-date core earnings from operations before corporate expenses were $7.5 million for the first half of 2019, compared with $11.1 million for the same period a year ago. The company said that was due in part to Belco’s base rate electricity sales falling by $3.9 million. Belco’s total expenses increased, the company said, with depreciation associated with new assets higher by $600,000 and service allocations from Ascendant increasing by $700,000. Those expenses were offset by salary savings of $800,000 compared to the same period in 2018. Ascendant said the company’s non-utility businesses continued to grow, with core earnings increasing $500,000 over the prior year. The group’s core earnings year-to-date in 2019 were $2.7 million, compared to $4.1 million a year ago. Corporate expenses dropped by $2.2 million in the first six months of the year, Ascendant said, as cost saving measures led to reduced personnel, directors’ costs and consultants’ fees. Cost recoveries from affiliates increased by $800,000 during the period. Cash flow from operations, excluding the effect of working capital charges, totaled $9.8 million for the first half of 2019, compared to $14.1 million for the same period a year ago. Capital expenditures for the first half of 2019 were $73.1 million, compared with $36.5 million for the same period of 2018. The company said this increase reflected spending associated with Ascendant’s capital plan. Construction of the 10-megawatt battery storage system was completed, and construction of 56MW of replacement generation continues, the company reported. Ascendant said a rate case was submitted in April 2019 to the Regulatory Authority in respect of the retail tariff methodology released by the RA in October 2018, which provided clarity on future rate-setting methods and timing. “With these accomplishments, the company has laid the groundwork for Bermuda’s energy future,” the statement said.

paragraphBermuda’s soldiers today took part in a large-scale exercise designed to test their skills in protection of key points and casualty evacuation. The troops tackled armed insurgents, protected a building designated as the seat of government and dealt with angry residents as well as with people seriously injured in a massive gas explosion. They also got instruction in trauma treatment from a specialist from the Royal Army Medical Corps earlier in the day. The soldiers were taught to use tourniquets to stop serious bleeding, how to deal with chest wounds and how to use field dressings on arm and leg injuries as Exercise Active Shield entered its second week. They were also shown the newest stretchers used by the British Army, including a collapsible one designed to be carried in the field before they put their training into practice with casualties with realistic injuries and fake blood. Corporal Dijon Arruda, 31, who commanded a section for the scenario, helped deal with the casualties, which included a double leg amputation, victims with serious burns and others with shock and minor injuries. Cpl Arruda said: “Even though it’s training, getting in a situation and looking at it, there is a pause. But all things we’ve learnt in the lessons we’ve had kicked in. Having the lessons was very informative. We learnt a lot and of new things and we will be able to adapt some of that training to back home.” Cpl Arruda, from Warwick and who works in purchasing at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, added: “The equipment the British use is very modern and easy to use and travel with.” An RAMC woman Lance Corporal, who cannot be named for security reasons, said after the day’s training that the RBR contingent had thrown themselves into the scenarios. The 28-year-old added: “They’re actually quite good on the trauma side of things. The leadership of the Junior Non Commissioned Officers in organising caring for and giving first aid to the victim with serious leg injuries was quite good as well.” She said: “They played the game well — everyone who was involved has worked very hard.” The medic added: “They’re dead keen — you could see they took a lot of pride in it and their discipline is pretty good as well.” The RBR soldiers earlier practiced house searches for firearms and other contraband items in a purpose-built training village, setting up vehicle check points and searches of people and vehicles. Pte Alex Godet, 24, from Paget, said: “It was all new to me — everything we’ve done this week has been. It’s been very exciting. We learnt a lot on the house searches by missing things — we’ve had a lot to cover in a short period of time, which is the best part of the exercise. Here, we’re in the classroom then out in the field immediately afterwards and learning by doing things.” Cpl Ahmed Hall, 28, from St David’s, who works for building supplies firm Baptiste, added: “The house clearing was the first time for many of the troops. But they learnt fast and they will remember what they were taught.” Sergeant Craig Davitt, a 15-year British Army veteran from the Royal Anglian Regiment’s Vikings battalion and an instructor for Active Shield, said: “There are a few ‘work on’ points. But from the start of the exercise, there has been a great improvement in their overall situational awareness and how they look at things tactically. The private soldiers have improved over a short period of time, which is great.” Sgt Davitt added: “I have enjoyed working with the RBR and I would welcome the chance to work with them again, in the UK or in Bermuda.” The RBR troops on Monday worked on night patrols in urban and open areas, designed to support the police by deterring crime, gathering intelligence and reassuring the civilian population. Colour Sergeant Peter-Paul Taylor, 29, from Smith’s, a tractor trailer driver in civilian life, commanded an Operational Support Unit during the exercise. He said: “There are few areas in Bermuda we can do this kind of training without disrupting civilians. We have definitely capitalized on the training areas out here, which are much more realistic than we could provide at home. They are much more versatile. The soldiers have worked together for several days and they are understanding each other better, they’re listening to their leaders and really enjoying it. Despite getting cold and wet and wearing a lot of kit and equipment, they were determined to keep working. I’m proud of all of them.”

paragraphMore than 20 partners and sponsors have come on board for the inaugural Bermuda Championship. The PGA Tour event is scheduled for October 28 to November 3 at Port Royal Golf Course. Bermuda Tourism Authority is the tournament’s title sponsor, while Digicel is the official telecoms partner and the Fairmont Southampton is the official hotel partner. The founding partners are Butterfield Bank, Caliburn, Hamilton Princess and Beach Club and Island Construction. Sean Sovacool, the tournament director, said: “The success of any PGA Tour event relies upon investment from the local business and corporate community. We are delighted to form partnerships with so many organisations in such a short timeframe. We are grateful to every business leader and company who have lent their support to this historic new event, the community and our participating charities.” Other sponsors are:

paragraphCompliance specialists The TLC Group are to offer a Bermuda-focused data privacy and cybersecurity course in partnership with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. The four-week course, to be held every Tuesday from 9.30am until noon, begins next week in the training room at the BEDC, Church Street, Hamilton. Attendees will discuss the similarities and differences in Pipa (Bermuda), GDPR (EU), CCPA (California) and other privacy legislation; explore how data privacy and cybersecurity affects the transfer and joint-liability of customer and staff data across borders; learn practical steps to ensure that privacy, cookie and cyber policies are in line with legislation and industry best practice; and gain an understanding of the impact of data breaches and cyber attacks.  A spokesperson for The TLC Group said: “As October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Bermuda, this course provides a great opportunity for individuals and organisations to gain a greater understanding of their data privacy and cybersecurity rights and responsibilities. “The TLC Group recognizes there may be a challenge for many of Bermuda’s organisations to meet global data privacy and cybersecurity standards, so we’ve created a course designed with local culture in mind.”

paragraphArmour Group Ltd has appointed Yulia Bruskova as chief risk officer. Ms Bruskova will assume her new position in November and will report to the group CEO and appropriate governance committees. Ms Bruskova is an experienced reinsurance risk executive having previously served as group actuary for RenaissanceRe. Most recently, she served as the chief risk officer for Bermudian-domiciled F&G Re. Ms. Bruskova also previously led Deloitte’s Bermuda actuarial practice and is a qualified actuary and fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, UK. Brad Huntington, Armour’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “We are delighted that Yulia has agreed to join Armour as Group CRO. She brings a wide range of technical and practical experience and knowledge to our group. Ms Bruskova said: “I am excited to join Armour, particularly in light of the company’s significant growth and development opportunities.” Armour is a Bermuda-based group of re/insurance and service companies which specialize in the creation and implementation of solutions and acquisitions within the run-off insurance marketplace.

paragraphThe Bermuda offices of international law firms Appleby and Conyers have achieved Tier 1 status in the latest International Financial Law Review 1000 rankings. The rankings year-on-year are compiled by a team of specialist legal journalists. First published in 1982, the IFLR is the only publication of its kind to focus on the leading law firms for corporate finance worldwide. Appleby managing partner Tim Faries and partners Brad Adderley and Alan Bossin were recognised as “highly regarded”, partners Matthew Ebbs-Brewer and Jerome Wilson and associate Josephine Noddings were tabbed as “notable practitioners”, and partners Clive Langley, Sally Penrose and Steven Rees-Davies were described as “rising stars”, the firm said. Conyers said the IFLR guide recognised ten lawyers in its Bermuda office: Marcello Ausenda, Graham Collis, David Cooke, Guy Cooper, Sophia Greaves, Neil Henderson, Niel Jones, Chiara Nannini, Jason Piney. and Anthony Whaley. 

paragraphA Bermudian chaplain hopes to dispel myths that the mentally ill are possessed by demons with a lecture next month. Althea Winifred warned that mis-labeling psychological problems as a spiritual failing could lead to negative stereotypes in religious congregations. Dr Winifred, the dean at the Substance International Institute Faith School in Georgia, believes the stigma can cause mental tensions to spiral into breakdowns or suicide. She will give a “Minds Emotions” lecture and workshop on the subject during Mental Health Awareness Week at the Heritage Worship Centre, Dundonald Street, Hamilton, on October 10. Dr Winifred told The Royal Gazette: “Lots of times the way that people with mental illnesses are reacting, and their behaviour, could give the look of a demonic possession. Somebody could be squirming on the floor or vomiting or doing lots of other things. We have put those behaviours down as demonic possession, but lots of times these are people who are just plain sick.” Dr Winifred believes unaddressed mental health issues are widespread within many Christian church communities. She will address the issue at her lecture and share how congregations can understand and support those with mental illnesses. Minds Emotions also aims to break down negative stereotypes around mental illness, particularly the belief that their behaviours are caused by demonic possession. Dr Winifred explained that a study conducted by LifeWay Research, a research division of the LifeWay Christian Resources organisation, had revealed that 84 per cent of churchgoers were dealing with mental health issues, including depression and suicidal thoughts. She added that the same study found that 4 per cent of church leaders failed to address mental health issues in members of their congregation, despite having prior knowledge, before they committed suicide. She said: “From my experience and research, churchgoers typically refrain from speaking with leadership about their mental struggle. This is usually because the churchgoer doesn’t have a firm grasp on what is happening themselves and can’t communicate it in a way that doesn’t make them sound crazy. Others simply don’t trust that they will receive the level of care required or that their leadership couldn’t offer the proper guidance.” Dr Winifred also said that this lack of discussion, combined with a lack of mental health training and resources, led to negative stereotypes about mental illness persisting. One of these stereotypes, she explained, included the belief that those who were ill suffered from demonic possession. Dr Winifred said: “If you go to church and somebody did not take their medication and is erratic, all of a sudden we’d say, ‘Oh, my God, that person’s demonic.’ No, they just haven’t taken their medication. This issue happens quite a bit because we don’t understand that people are going through some issues.” Dr Winifred said the stigma made those with mental illnesses less likely to open up about their personal struggles. She added that this could lead to mental health problems worsening and result in increased breakdowns, more erratic behaviour and suicide. Dr Winifred said that education and an open dialogue about mental health would not only break down negative stereotypes, but show the church community how to help sick members. She explained: “I firmly believe in educating, empowering and equipping people within all local churches and all religions about mental health in the church. As Christians, we must be a part of the solution and not a problem for people struggling with mental health disorders.”

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Last Updated: December 1, 2019
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