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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us).
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Bermuda will today launch its new cybersecurity strategy, with a series of “lunch and learn” sessions scheduled throughout October. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said information technology has become critical for the island, and the Government has worked with local and international partiers to develop a strategy to address digital threats. Mr Caines said: “Some criminals seek to use our information and our systems against us for their own economic gain. They trade in stolen personal information and they deploy ransomware in attempts to extort money from individuals and businesses. Nation states engage in cyber espionage for political and economic gain, hackers deface websites, disrupt operations and expose sensitive, confidential information to the world. For Bermuda to thrive socially and economically, we must ensure that we are adequately protected from cyber threats.” The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisations was commissioned to help develop the strategy, and visited the island twice in 2018 to meet with stakeholders to develop a custom-built strategy. A draft strategy was published online after public consultation last year to further develop the strategy, which will provide a framework for Government as it moves forward. Mr Caines said: “This will enable the diversification of the island’s economy and enhance the island’s prosperity and safety. It takes a proactive approach and is focused on maintaining a safe cyberspace for anyone in Bermuda who has an online presence. It is driven by the Cybersecurity Governance Board, which is comprised of a volunteer body of local ISP leaders.” Marisa Stones, director of Government’s ICT policy and innovation department, said Government will host a series of “lunch and learn” sessions to help educate the public about cybersecurity. The sessions include:
The sessions will be held from 12.30pm to 1.30pm at the Public Works training room on the third floor of the General Post Office. A senior-specific session will also be held on October 18 at St Paul’s AME Centennial Hall between 10am and 2pm. David Burt, the Premier, said: “The internet is an integral part of our daily lives and there are few activities that do not involve accessing information, goods or services online. As a country, despite our size, we are a significant part of the global economy and the internet has become and increasingly important tool for how we seamlessly, without conscious thought, conduct business, forge personal and professional relationships, participate in social activism and learn about and develop unique interests.” But the Premier added that the benefits of the internet also bring risks — and noted that con artists had even pretended to be him online to lure unsuspecting targets to send them money. He said: “Unfortunately there have been some victims who have fallen prey to crimes and has sent money to someone pretending to be myself, but in fact was someone overseas. Our vision for cybersecurity in Bermuda is secure, resilient and trustworthy internet which fosters and informs an inclusive society in Bermuda.”
The Premier dismissed fears that some of Bermuda’s cultural hotspots could become gentrified as MPs debated a Bill designed to boost the economy. David Burt told the House of Assembly on Friday: “We can have economic growth and economic development that looks like and reflects the culture we want to have.” It came after MPs on both sides questioned whether the Bill could have unintended consequences for the island’s economic empowerment zones in North East Hamilton, Somerset and St George’s. The Premier told legislators that the Economic Development Amendment Act 2019 aims to stimulate growth “by widening the scope of potential investment in approved residential schemes”. He explained: “Economic empowerment zones are designated geographical areas where special programmes are implemented to relieve hardship or economic disadvantage, or to assist disadvantaged persons to achieve equal opportunity.” Mr Burt added that efforts to close the gaps of inequity focused on striking a balance between economic, social, physical and community environments, including financial equality, access to services and good quality of life. 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 Minister of Finance’s consent — 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” set out in the Act 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. Leah Scott, the deputy Opposition leader, said the One Bermuda Alliance supported the Bill. She recognised the need for economic stimulus, but was worried the legislation had the potential “to be a very slippery slope”. Ms Scott relayed a story about gentrification, which she described as “the nice word for the exodus of blacks and the influx of whites”, in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, where she said the black proportion of the population had dropped from 78 per cent to 44 per cent. She explained that go-go music played by a shop owner for years was silenced after a complaint from a resident in a high-rise luxury development, but a citywide campaign meant that the decision by the store’s head office was overturned a month later. Ms Scott said: “He’s turned back on his music and he has continued to be the institution and hub of the Shaw. My point is that, while this is a good intention, we have to be careful about what we are doing in preserving the culture of our community.” She added that gentrification caused displacement, which can result from reinvestment in the neighborhood. The MP said: “While I understand the need for economic stimulus and the EE zones, and I’m fully supportive of that, I just encourage that we be aware of the challenges that we may face and, again, the law of unintended consequences.” Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, welcomed Ms Scott’s comments. He claimed the North East Hamilton area, or the back of town, “was analogous to being our Harlem” from about the turn of the 20th century up until the 1970s. Mr Commissiong said there was a “concentration of black businesses, of all types” and culture was prevalent. He added: “On Court Street and the surrounding side streets, that is where it became almost like the cultural and business centre of black life, without overstating it.” Mr Commissiong added: “Is the threat of gentrification one that we should take seriously? I contend it is. However, I am going to place my confidence in what the Government’s trying to achieve here.” Supporting the legislation, he said that it would be important to make sure that “the stakeholders of these communities, who will be overwhelmingly black, are going to be able to be first in line to benefit”.
Legislation to advance Bermuda’s efforts to become a digital hub for the interconnection of submarine cables was tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday. Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, tabled three bills for consultation that he said would provide a strong regulatory framework to attract this “potentially valuable sector” to the island. Bermuda’s location creates a logical stopover for cables connecting the Americas to Western Europe. Mr Roban spoke of the potential for an additional revenue stream for the economy through the use of the island by the submarine cable industry as a transit location. With significant infrastructure helping to meet economic substance requirements, it could also make Bermuda attractive as a potential location for head offices of cable companies, Mr Roban added. “The Bermuda Business Development Agency is currently focused on promoting Bermuda as an Atlantic digital hub for interconnection of cables,” Mr Roban told MPs. There is currently no Atlantic hub and, because of our unique, prime geographic location, Bermuda is a logical choice to become that hub. By comparison, the Pacific Ocean has three hubs; Guam, Hawaii and Fiji. This is the focus of these ‘transit cable systems’ market opportunities.” The three Bills tabled were the Submarine Cables Permit and Licensing Act 2019, the Submarine Cables (Protected Areas) Act 2019 and the Submarine Cables (Protected Areas) Order 2019. The Government is seeking feedback from industry stakeholders. The consultation will last through October, after which any necessary amendments will be made and final versions of the Bills will be tabled in the House in November. Mr Roban cited Southern Cross Cable Network and Australia Japan Cable as undersea cable companies which already had head offices in Bermuda. “These companies have people on the island, employ Bermudians, and use our head office support services,” Mr Roban said. “We aim to attract similar submarine cables to the island.” Submarine networks carry more than 95 per cent of the world’s intercontinental electronic communications traffic and are considered “critical infrastructure” by governments and corporations alike. Landing and operating significant systems in some jurisdictions has become increasingly difficult and lacks a single landowner or a single marine spatial planning regulator. Countries that have shorter and more certain timeframes for the permitting process are being sought and are becoming much more attractive.” The legislation sets out timelines for speedy processing of applications by telecommunications regulator the Regulatory Authority. Three submarine cable systems — Globenet, Gemini and Challenger — already connect with the island. “Large technology companies are currently building submarine cable systems that go past, but do not connect into, Bermuda,” Mr Roban added. “We are hoping to highlight to these companies the opportunity to do a branching unit from those planned systems into Bermuda, creating economic substance with significant infrastructure and thus supporting any intellectual property company assets that are located in Bermuda.”
MPs agreed on Friday to update legislation covering the island’s fintech industry. The House of Assembly heard that the industry was evolving rapidly, requiring the island’s laws to keep up. The Digital Business Amendment Bill 2019 tweaked legislation approved last year for the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s oversight of digital asset businesses, and introduced new licensed business activities. The Opposition supported the move, but Scott Pearman of the One Bermuda Alliance said there appeared to be “a desire to rush through legislation” requiring amendments later on — and Michael Dunkley, an OBA backbencher, told the House: “At the end of the day, promises are being made and reality is not being met.” Mr Dunkley said that blockchain technology had not produced a third pillar for the island’s economy. Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, responded: “We should operate by the principle of let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good — time has now moved on due to the ever-evolving nature of this industry.” David Burt, the Premier, said that eight fintech companies had established offices on the island with 31 people working in the industry, 15 of them Bermudian, with “more to come”.
A taxpayer-funded cruise trip to Bermuda allowed the tourism minister to investigate alleged “hanky-panky” in the industry, he told MPs. Zane DeSilva said that technical officers insisted he took a trip from New Jersey last month that cost almost $4,000 so that he could see the cause for concern himself. The minister added that he did not like cruises and revealed that his mystery shopper experience included traveling incognito in a taxi with a former football team-mate who failed to identify him. He was responding to questions from Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, in the House of Assembly on Friday after it emerged that Mr DeSilva went on the Royal Caribbean vessel Anthem of the Seas from August 24 to 29. The “cruise passenger experience observation” trip included shopping on the island, taking the public bus to Horseshoe Bay, and a taxi ride to visit Hamilton, the Crystal Caves, Tobacco Bay and St George’s. Mr DeSilva claimed there was a good reason why there had not yet been any public announcement about the results of his fact-finding mission. He said technical officers had provided information over several months but “almost demanded that I see if for myself”. The minister explained: “In the cruise space right now, there is a bit of, what I might call, a little hanky-panky going on. It’s a little something-something going on and let me say this, it’s costing Bermudians jobs, it’s causing businesses to close.” Mr DeSilva said he was being “measured” because he had yet to finish collating information. He added that technical officers had themselves taken secret voyages. Mr Dunkley earlier claimed “you can’t make this stuff up”. The MP questioned how “one of the most recognizable people in Bermuda” could travel incognito on public transport. He explained: “I waited for a ministerial statement today to provide some backdrop to it because it seems that the minister had so much fun as this mysterious shopper that there had to be some earth-shattering information that was passed on to make Bermuda better. A mystery shopper clearly is a tool that is used with some success in areas, but typically it is by somebody who is unknown and somebody who has some experience in that area.” Mr Dunkley wanted to know who provided the advice to take the cruise, what information was found and, “more importantly”, if Mr DeSilva “was ever undercover during the trip ... especially in Bermuda. Did taxi drivers know who he was?” Mr DeSilva replied: “I was undercover.” He said: “I got in a taxi with a guy that I played football with for three years and he didn’t know it was me.” The minister, who last played organised football in the mid-1980s, assured MPs he would provide greater detail later. He explained that he had donated more than $1 million to organisations in Bermuda. Mr DeSilva added: “If the Honourable Member, Michael Dunkley, thinks that Zane DeSilva took a cruise on the taxpayers’ dime because I’m short of a dollar or two ... and to insinuate that I went on a jolly because I wanted to use taxpayers’ money ... really? Let me make something clear, I don’t like cruises.” In conclusion, he said: “I want to assure the people of this country that I have not and never will abuse my power as a minister to use taxpayers’ money for anything privately in my life. Just for the record, since I’ve been an MP or minister, I’ve never kept my wages since I’ve been in this position. Ever. I donate it every year.”
Residents have been asked to look out old photographs and records that help to tell the story of Bermuda’s Parliament ahead of its 400th anniversary. The milestone will be marked in 2020 and Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, hoped members of the public could help to showcase all aspects of the island’s political history. He said: “Next year is a significant year for Bermuda. We have the oldest continuous Parliament outside of Westminster. Celebrating the House of Assembly’s 400th year will be an opportunity for us to reflect on our rich and significant history while looking at our future. I am asking every Bermudian to comb through their records and share with us anything you can find about Bermuda’s Parliament and Senate. We are particularly interested in black Members of Parliament and Senators. We have access to traditional historical records, but as we know, historical records don’t always reflect the contributions of all members of society. We have an opportunity to highlight all aspects of our history.” The Speaker added: “If you have newspaper clippings, old photographs, essays, records, meeting notes, we welcome them. Our plan is to carefully photograph them, to first preserve them and then use them as part of an exhibition which will be on display next year.” Mr Lister said that a 400th Anniversary Steering Committee was planning a number of events to take place throughout the year. He explained: “I will make an announcement on these activities in the coming months. I know a number of organisations are also planning commemorative events. Please contact my office and share your dates and activities with us. We will be sure to add your organisation’s event to the steering committee’s calendar of events.” The Speaker said documents can be taken to the office of the Clerk to the Legislature at Fourth Floor, Veritas Place, 65 Court Street, Hamilton, HM 12.
Working mothers and their newborn babies will be able to benefit from more time together after MPs passed legislation to extend paid maternity leave. Women will have the chance to take 13 weeks’ paid leave after childbirth if they have worked at the company for 12 months continuously before the expected date of delivery. Fathers were also recognised in the Employment (Maternity Leave Extension and Paternity Leave) Amendment Act 2019, as it provided for five days’ paternity leave. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, told the House of Assembly on Friday: “The provision of maternity and paternity leave is a key element in enabling parents to forge bonds with their babies, and while maternity leave has become standard in most countries around the world, and indeed here in Bermuda, the provision of paternity leave globally has been neglected. Paternity leave helps foster better father-child relationships, and fathers need the chance to adjust to their new addition just as much as mothers. Studies have demonstrated increased benefits for children whose mothers have longer periods of maternity leave. Those benefits include better cognitive and academic development, as well as greater health benefits through longer breastfeeding periods. Additionally, maternal health is enhanced, with psychological distress significantly less likely for mothers who have more paid maternity leave.” She explained that the existing allowance for maternity leave was eight weeks’ paid and four weeks’ unpaid leave. Ms Foggo added that mothers who had not worked continuously for 12 months will be entitled to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave. Employees applying for paternity leave will be expected to provide a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy. Paternity leave can be used only once in a 12-month period, starting on the date of the child’s birth, and may be used at any time within the next 14 weeks. Ms Foggo added: “This will provide fathers with the flexibility to use their leave when it is most needed, whether that is in the first few days following the birth, or in the first week of mother’s return to work.” The five days will be paid if the father has worked at the company continuously for a year, and unpaid if not. Ben Smith, the shadow minister of sport and social development, said the One Bermuda Alliance “wholeheartedly” supported the Bill. He explained that studies showed paternity leave allowed fathers to connect with their children in their first weeks. Mr Smith added: “They are seeing that fathers are actually tending to be more involved with the child’s life once they’ve started that bond right from the early stages. It also is helping to keep family units together.” The legislation also provided for employees to take a week’s holiday after their first six months of work at a company. Ms Foggo explained that workers are entitled at present to two weeks of annual paid leave after a full year of employment. She added that holidays were important to reduce stress, and that the change “may prevent burnout and optimize a healthy work environment”.
Four Bermudian companies have been awarded subcontracts for work on the airport redevelopment site, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd announced today. Bermuda Skyport is overseeing construction of the new terminal. Contracts have been awarded for work related to flooring, painting, excavation and masonry works. Stafford Flooring will perform carpet and vinyl flooring installation. Mathias Pro Contractors has been awarded a contract for painting work. D&J Construction was awarded a stucco wall treatment contract for ancillary buildings including the gatehouse, concessions building, and water feature. Concrete tank construction for the waste water treatment plant was awarded to Correia Construction Ltd. That contract also includes installation of sidewalks and curbs. Frank Ross, executive director, infrastructure, at Aecon, said: “We are pleased again to award more Bermudian companies with subcontracts for the airport redevelopment project. “The important work these companies will perform marks an exciting phase in the construction of the new airport terminal.” The redevelopment at LF Wade International Airport is expected to be completed in 2020.
At a 4:30pm ceremony held at Police Headquarters in Prospect, Devonshire on Friday, September 27th Nicholas Pedro was promoted to the rank of Detective Superintendent by Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley. Acting Deputy Commissioner Darrin Simons, Assistant Commissioner Antoine Daniels, Assistant Commissioner Martin Weekes, family, friends and colleagues were also in attendance at the Police Recreation Club hall to congratulate Mr. Pedro on his achievement. Detective Superintendent Pedro joined the Bermuda Police Service in 1993, having completed university with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Since then he has worked in Patrol, Traffic, the Drugs Unit, Administration as Commissioner’s Staff Officer, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Fraud Unit, Head of the Serious Crime Department and Head of the Organised and Economic Crime Department. Mr Pedro has also completed the International Commanders Programme at the United Kingdom Police Staff College at Bramshill, graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, USA and received the Overseas Territories Police Medal for distinguished service. Currently, Detective Superintendent Pedro is the Officer in Charge of the Crime Division, with responsibility for areas of policing that focus on specialist investigations, serious crime and vulnerable persons.
Bermuda holds the power to flourish as a global centre of technology in the industry of its choosing, a leading British technical education advocate declared yesterday. Alumni of the Bermuda Technical Institute, which shut in 1972, have brought one of the world’s top proponents of science and technology to the island to spread the word. Tom Ilube holds a place in the upper ranks of PowerList, the UK’s roster of its most powerful men and women of African and Caribbean descent. Yesterday, Mr Ilube held a discussion with the Bermuda Technical Institute Association (BTIA) as well as the Construction Association of Bermuda. This week, he will share his expertise with John Rankin, the Governor, as well as Cabinet ministers, the Chamber of Commerce, the Bermuda College and local schools. “When you become an expert in, say, the application of artificial intelligence in the reinsurance industry, then you find people wanting to come and be a part of it,” Mr Ilube said. “You need that rallying vision to start off. There are places where Bermuda has become an absolute world centre of excellence, such as reinsurance. With a lot of the direction that things are going and technology is going, location does not matter the way it used to. Size does not matter in this game. Bermuda can decide to make it happen.” Visiting for the first time, Mr Ilube noted the island’s work in building an up-to-date regulatory framework for the emerging industry of digital business. He said: “Fintech is huge. There’s a lot of money and brain power going into it. But it works best when you’re building on top of existing capabilities. The fact that Bermuda is strong in financial services means that can work well, and it’s an exciting proposition. The challenge is bringing people into it.” Rick Richardson, chairman of the BTIA, said boosting technical education would address the shortage of tradesmen and engineers, as well as providing skills for a “growing population of at-risk young men”. Conversations on reviving technical education are much the same the world over, Mr Ilube said. “There are cultures like Germany that value the technical route. But certainly in the UK and around the world from the United States to Sweden, over and over again, it’s ‘we used to be good at technical education, now it’s all academic, and how do we get the excitement back in the technical side’. “The common theme is, let’s not try to go back and replicate what we had in the past. Let’s think hard about the skills that our nation is going to need over the next 20 to 30 years, and create the institutions that will develop it.” Mr Ilube pointed to Britain’s university technical colleges — created out of a partnership between secondary schools, universities and industry partners. The West Midlands UTC specializes in construction, with a curriculum ranging from new materials, future architecture and modelling buildings with virtual reality. “At one level, you think of someone laying bricks, but at another level they’re looking at what the world will look like in ten to 20 years,” Mr Ilube said. “It’s incredibly exciting for young people to look at robotics and ask whether their job will be as a bricklayer, or programming the robot that lays the bricks.” IT, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence have “become a part of every strand” of a technical education, he said. Mr Ilube, who has moved from the industry side to philanthropic ventures, founded the African Gifted Foundation, which in 2016 launched an all-girls science and technology school in Ghana. He was the chairman of the Ada College, which opened the same year in Britain, named after Ada Lovelace — a 19th-century mathematician often cited as the world’s first computer programmer. “We implemented what we called modern apprenticeships, getting major employers in industry directly involved,” Mr Ilube said. "We’re not trying to tell people not to take the academic route, but to give students a choice that looks just as exciting as the academic route.” He added: “Now major companies are trying to get our apprentices. It’s all about how you bring it together at the start.” Yesterday’s meeting at the Fairmont Southampton hotel enabled Mr Ilube to share the apprenticeship model with members of the construction association, as well as BTIA members. Mr Richardson said: “I’ve been following Tom’s work for a couple of years; he is an amazing speaker. We had a great round-table discussion on the schools he’s involved in and what we share in common with other jurisdictions that are trying to move education with technology to the fore. That’s what we are trying to advocate.” He added: “It’s important to us that the model he talks about has the academics and the trades at the same time. That’s what we had at the Technical Institute.”
An unlicensed pitbull was euthanised after it attacked another dog, and its owner was fined $1,500. Damon Rabain, 46, said that his dog, Diesel, was an otherwise friendly dog and that it attacked a Jack Russell terrier, named Bentley, in self-defence. He told Magistrates’ Court on Thursday: “He was a very friendly dog and played with every dog in the neighborhood. He tried to play with this dog, Bentley, but it was aggressive and attacked him first. If Diesel wanted to kill him he could have, but instead he just bit him and ran off.” Rabain added: “The same day my son’s mom died, the vet called me to say that my dog’s been put to sleep. I couldn’t tell my family for months. My dog was put down all because he did what dogs do.” The court heard that, on January 15, Erica Smith, the owner of Bentley, heard her dog make a strange noise while he was outside her home in Smith’s. She investigated and discovered Diesel biting the terrier while he was on top of him. Ms Smith and another bystander separated the two and the pitbull ran down the street and escaped through a set of hedges. She asked a boy, who watched the incident if he knew who the dog belonged to. He confirmed that he belonged to his father, the defendant. Crown prosecutor Kenlyn Swan said that on January 28 an animal warden arrived at Rabain’s home and informed him of the attack before they seized the dog. Ms Smith confirmed the same day that Diesel was the dog who had attacked her terrier. A background check revealed that Diesel had been unlicensed and lacked an identification collar without a validated reason, which could not confirm if the dog had been obtained from a legitimate source. Diesel was euthanised shortly afterwards. Yesterday, Rabain pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog that caused injury to another dog, being the owner of an unlicensed dog and having obtained a dog from an illegitimate source. He told the court that he had paid for Bentley’s $240 veterinary bill after he was treated for minor wounds. Rabain added that he had taken Diesel, who was the son of his first dog, to be licensed, but was told that it was unnecessary. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe fined Rabain $500 for each offence and ordered him to pay by November 30.
Not everybody shared the love 50 years ago when Linda Smith, a black Bermudian, tied the knot with Rudolf Stroble, a white German. Some people even sent back their wedding invitations. Others said the marriage did not stand a chance. “I feel like being in an interracial marriage is very beautiful,” Mrs Stroble said as the couple prepared to renew their vows on Saturday. “My husband is a wonderful man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The ceremony at St Anne’s Church in Southampton brought the avid repeat visitors back again to Bermuda with their families. But the Strobles carry the island with them in their home in Canada, where they moved in 1971. Rachellin O’Connor, one of their seven children, explained: “People talk about racial tensions, but their whole life is nothing but love. I never see them together without holding hands. Although some people said it wouldn’t work, anyone who ever saw them would say how they are just in love.” Mr Stroble is now 77; Mrs Stroble is 71. Back in the mid-1960s, when they met, he was a chef at the Inverurie Hotel on Harbour Road in Paget, while she was a waitress. Mr Stroble, originally from Heilbronn in Germany, had just arrived on a December 31 flight from England. He said: “I still remember stepping off that airline. It was so beautiful. It was paradise, going out in that tropical air.” The two immediately hit it off — although Mrs Stroble did not like the idea of getting asked out on his birthday. But she recalled: “In my heart, I think we met because we were meant to meet.” She added: “The best thing my husband likes to do is cuddle, which is why I have had so many babies.” The R’s have it: Reuben is a police superintendent in Toronto; Rudolf, a bartender at the Pickled Onion in Bermuda; Rachellin, an administrator at KPMG; Rebecca, a social worker; Robin, a corrections officer; Renee, a hospital administrator, and Renate is a dental hygienist. Mixed relationships are a common sight where they live in Mississauga, a city in Ontario near Toronto. The Strobles had no issues over race with either of their families, but Mrs Stroble remembers posting the wedding invitation on the notice board at the Belmont Hotel, where she worked by then. “Someone wrote ‘black and white’ on it and tore pieces off it,” she recalled with a shrug. Bermudian food and music abounded in their home in Canada, and Rachellin remembered winning first prize at her school’s “hat day” with a Gombey headdress. This Saturday, they renewed their vows at the same church where they were married in 1969. Asked for their secret, Mrs Stroble said: “When you’re married, it’s not an easy task. We have ups and downs like everybody else.” She added: “But we always talked things about. And we never went to bed without a cuddle.”
The Government has secured an agreement to borrow up to $200 million to cover the costs of the Morgan’s Point guarantee, MPs were told yesterday. Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said that a one-year term loan facility deal with the Bank of Butterfield and HSBC Bank Bermuda was executed last Tuesday. He told the House of Assembly: “This facility was competitively priced at 4.25 per cent and it is satisfying that local financial institutions were supportive in providing Government with its financing needs for this unfortunate matter.” The move enabled the Government to pay $165 million to lenders over the Caroline Bay development, where construction ground to a halt last year due to financial problems. Mr Dickinson said: “This facility offers the Government valuable flexibility with regard to its duty to exercise the full range of options provided under the project agreements, which includes, in the first instance, the purchase of the interests of the B and C lenders. “The remaining proceeds will be used substantially to fund other costs associated with this matter.” Mr Dickinson said the B loan was provided by an institutional investor, while the C loan was initially provided by local reinsurance companies Arch, Axis and Validus. The Validus portion was subsequently purchased by Arch and Axis. The minister added that the Government had not borrowed the $200 million, but the agreement means that a facility is in place to borrow that amount. Mr Dickinson said: “Funds will only be withdrawn when absolutely necessary and only funds that are drawn will be charged with interest.” He added: “Neither the new borrowing nor the revised debt ceiling amounts have been determined for any purpose other than to fulfil the Government’s obligations and exercise of its rights under the respective guarantees for the Caroline Bay project. However, we will seek advice from professional advisers to determine the extent there are other potential liabilities the Government may need to address. Without advice, borrowing or establishing a debt ceiling without room for contingency would be irresponsible.” Mr Dickinson, who was forced to raise the island’s debt ceiling by $250 million to cover the borrowing, previously condemned the former One Bermuda Alliance government for putting the island “on the hook” for the guarantee three years ago. He has also warned that, in addition to the $165 million guarantee, the Government will have to pay several million dollars to construction firms left unpaid after the project dried up.
Bermuda’s health minister was questioned yesterday on whether the Government had misled the public on the scope of public consultation on healthcare reforms. Scott Pearman, the Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, pointed to a town hall meeting in Sandys this month to discuss the Bermuda Health Plan 2020. Kim Wilson announced in August that the plan was to replace the Standard Health Benefit coverage for all island residents. Mr Pearman said that Ms Wilson had told people at the meeting that the Government had already decided to proceed with the reform and that public consultation was limited to the benefits that would be included in the new plan. He told the House: “Given the expressed statement that you made in Somerset, would you agree it is misleading to suggest to this House that you have begun a consultation on any other ways to ensure affordable healthcare for all?” Ms Wilson responded: “Absolutely not.” She told MPs that the consultation period was twofold. Ms Wilson said that the first part of the period was to “ascertain from the public the nature of the benefits to be included”. She said part two would outline the road map to transition from the current “disjointed, ineffective” plan to the new scheme. Ms Wilson reiterated that a “soft launch” of the new plan was expected next autumn. But Mr Pearman pressed: “If the only scope of the consultation are various permutations of your single option, that is not a full and proper consultation, is it? What would you say to members of the public who don’t want your basic plan at all?” Ms Wilson said that the Government had been elected to provide “for the basic human right of affordable healthcare. And that is exactly what we are going to do.” The exchange came during Question Period after Ms Wilson made a ministerial statement to provide an update on the public consultation process. She said: “We have begun a period of public consultation, during which we are speaking to stakeholders and the public on how we can ensure all of Bermuda’s residents can have affordable access to healthcare.” She told MPs that a “decent package that is affordable and available to all is fundamental”. Ms Wilson added: “To do this, we have to change the way we pay for healthcare.” She said that the Government’s decision to adopt a unified finance model had been made “following extensive considerations”. Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, questioned what other similar jurisdictions had adopted the unified model, and what if any analysis had been done by the Government to gauge its success elsewhere. He also asked when the cost of the BHP would be firmed up. Ms Wilson pointed to the Bahamas, where she believed the model had been launched “within the last several months”. She added: “I’m not even sure it’s a year old.” Ms Wilson said that the cost would be based on public feedback on what benefits they wanted included. She explained: “The more benefits that are offered, the more expensive the plan. So until we have an opportunity to gauge the public’s sentiment as to what benefits will be included, we can’t cost anything.”
The tourism minister’s company won the contract to deliver sand to fill golf course bunkers after it submitted a bid 300 per cent lower than its rival, the House of Assembly heard yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said Island Construction Services, led by Zane DeSilva, submitted a tender price of $546,000 for the project at Port Royal Golf Course. Colonel Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the only other company to submit a tender was Bermuda Stone Company, which bid $1.815 million. The Ministry of Public Works estimate was $558,397. Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, had called for the contract to be put back out to tender because it was awarded to a company owned by a Cabinet member. But Colonel Burch told MPs: “Island Construction’s bid was 300 per cent lower than the next lowest bidder, and 7 per cent lower than the Ministry of Public Works’ estimate. Ministry of Public Works technical officers determined that the tender submitted by Island Construction Services for the proposed work was the best value, they displayed their understanding of the ministry’s requirements and budgeted accordingly, while maintaining a competitive price.” Colonel Burch said the recommendation was made without any involvement from himself. The minister also claimed Mr Cannonier had shown “an incredible lack of understanding of procurement processes” by insisting that Mr DeSilva should have recused himself from bidding on the contract. He said: “A blind man could see the hypocrisy in such a statement. That was never uttered under either a UBP or OBA government that he led with sitting ministers whose companies successfully bid on government contracts or were simply arbitrarily awarded them.” Colonel Burch also gave an update on preparations for the PGA Bermuda Championship, which Port Royal will host from October 31 to November 3. He said: “I can report that excitement is growing for the tournament and staff at Port Royal are working flat out to make it a success. Needless to say, the recent hurricane has caused some damage to foliage on the course, but I can report that much of the bunker work has not been impacted and progress on the remaining bunkers is proceeding apace with the nine back holes being completed so far.” He said staff from the Department of Parks, the Skills Development Programme and the Hustle Truck were helping remove fallen trees and other clean up work necessary after Humberto. Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said that he was satisfied that the procurement process had been conducted appropriately. He added: “I’m glad there’s been some transparency because obviously, in a small place like Bermuda, it’s needed. We should not push out just because of the positions they hold.” Mr Dunkley asked Colonel Burch whether there was an approved budget for work at the course to prepare for the tournament. Colonel Burch said: “There is not an approved budget for the works. We are still carving out what is regular work at Port Royal versus specific PGA work.” Mr Dunkley also asked whether any outside contractors were being used to perform the work. He added: “Have all been approved through the regular bidding process?” Colonel Burch said that no outside contractors were doing work. He added that D&J Construction Company and Dynamic Excavating & Landscaping had been used to move the sand.
The national security minister reiterated his call to either charge Ewart Brown or end investigations focused him. Wayne Caines told MPs yesterday that the inquiry into Dr Brown “has gone on for a long time”. He added: “It is time for the Department of Public Prosecutions to make a decision whether or not this matter should proceed.” The comment came during Question Period in the House of Assembly in response to questions from Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker. Mr Burgess asked Mr Caines what was the longest ongoing Bermuda Police Service investigation of a public official in the island’s history. The Deputy Speaker also asked what had been the most expensive investigation of a public official and a private resident. Mr Caines told MPs that he could not provide answers. He explained: “The BPS are unable to identify the longest investigation that has been undertaken, given the records do not reflect this information.” Mr Caines added: “BPS do not record the cost of investigation as this is something that is difficult to quantify.” Parliament heard in July that more than $6 million had been spent on investigations into Dr Brown and an overseas hospital. Mr Caines told MPs at the time that the total cost to taxpayers of investigations into Dr Brown and the Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre in Boston had reached $6,096,437. He added: “It’s now an opportunity for us to put this case to Bar or allow this matter to take a natural course, and go another direction.” Dr Brown said at the time that the investigations had “more to do with a political vendetta than it has to do with diagnostic scans or political corruption”. The former premier added: “When our legal fees are added to the totals provided by the BPS, and the creative accounting, the total figure is closer to $10 million. Therefore, we expect them to ‘discover’ something in order to justify their fishing expedition. We are prepared.” Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, vowed that the inquiry into the former premier would continue. He said: “The BPS will continue to investigate these matters, thoroughly and expeditiously, in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions team.” Police launched an investigation after allegations of corruption against Dr Brown were made by disgraced financier David Bolden in 2011. A civil lawsuit was filed by the OBA government against Lahey in February 2017, accusing Dr Brown of profiting from unneeded diagnostic tests at his medical practices. It was dismissed by a US court in March 2018. The allegations have been denied by Dr Brown, and he has not been charged with any offence. He has called the investigation a political witch-hunt and repeatedly called for it to be ended.
An American actress and activist has promised Bermuda “I’ll be back” after she shared highlights of her trip to the island. Yara Shahidi, of Black-ish and Grown-ish, visited with her family in June. She posted online a three-minute Instagram TV video of her special moments this week. Ms Shahidi, 19, said in a voiceover: “From the pink sand to the history and the flavors, I miss it all.” She told viewers that “Bermuda is indeed another world”. During her stay — when a villa at The Loren at Pink Beach felt like a “home away from home” — the actress visited the Lili Bermuda perfumery in St George, where she learnt perfume-making techniques and enjoyed afternoon tea. Ms Shahidi described St George’s tour guide Kristin White as “absolutely incredible”. She said: “Kristin offers walking tours of St George’s, but we began her journey at her bookstore, Long Story Short, where she’s curated an incredible collection of books and trinkets from people of colour around the world.” The actress, who starred in the film The Sun Is Also a Star, said she learnt about “enslaved and indentured people who arrived during the 17th century”. She added: “There was also a beauty in the reverence that was paid to the descendants and in the markers and push that was being made to really have a proper remembrance of all who contributed to the development of Bermuda and who lost their lives.” Ms Shahidi was excited to shop at Orange Bay Company, which she said was “full of high-quality, vintage and contemporary finds”. She explained that a trip to Crystal Caves “did not disappoint” and one of her favourite activities was a foraging walk. Ms Shahidi said: “When we weren’t walking on the cobblestone streets, reminiscent of a time past, we were on the beach, some of us reading, some of us in the water, some of us climbing rock formations, but every moment was perfect.” She finished: “Bermuda, I’ll be back soon. Love Yara.” Her visit was supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, whose chief executive, Kevin Dallas, said in July that the organisation was “thrilled to show off Bermuda’s best to Yara and her family”. A BTA spokeswoman said that the family also took to the waves on jet skis and enjoyed food from Marcus’ and Bolero Bistro, in Hamilton, and Wahoo’s and Sweet Saak Bakery in St George. Ms Shahidi and her family also met David Burt, the Premier, and his wife, Kristin. The visit was part of the BTA’s efforts to double the number of African-American leisure air visitors by 2025 and to highlight the island’s appeal to young families.
Immigration legislation tackling the plight of mixed-status families has been delayed another time, according to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. The Bill was set for today’s order paper, but pulled after a heated discussion over the legislation’s readiness, Mr Caines said last night. MPs are to debate legislation introducing paternity leave and extending maternity leave, as well as digital assets business amendments relating to the fintech sector. MPs were expected to hear about progress on the island’s fledgling casino industry after amendments to the Casino Gaming Act 2014 were tabled two weeks ago. The Bill included sections that deal with employee disciplinary action as well as fees related to licensing and approval for operators. Separately, a string of amendments to the Casino Gaming Regulations 2018 covered 88 pages and were posted on the Government’s Official Gazette this month. Additions included regulations around casino advertising and promotions, rules relating to a cashless wagering system and the issue of exclusion orders. A Ministry of Finance spokeswoman explained on Wednesday: “The tabling of the Casino Gaming (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2019, and gazetting of the Casino Gaming Amendment Regulations 2019 mark further steps forward towards establishing a gaming industry in Bermuda. The Minister will elaborate further during the debate of the Bill on Friday.” The Tourism Investment Amendment Act 2019 was also introduced this month to apply to specific hotels using concession orders so that developers can apply for a tourism investment order. It makes changes to the 2017 Act, which was designed to encourage developers of hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions to invest in Bermuda by providing relief from customs duty and exemption from certain other taxes. The Bill included a move to change the organisation that helps the minister approve hotel appraisers, who determine the market value of hotels for the purposes of the Act. Instead of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Bermuda Business Development Agency will carry out that role, provided the legislation is passed. In an explanatory note, the Bill explained: “The reference is being changed due to the tourism investment division of the Bermuda Tourism Authority transferring to the Bermuda Business Development Agency.” Kevin Dallas, the BTA’s chief executive, said this week that the organisation was aware of the amendment and was supportive. He explained: “When our former chief investment officer, Andy Burrows, accepted a role as CEO of the BDA last year, he was not replaced, and the one additional team member who worked with Andy to provide tourism investor concierge services was transferred over to BDA with him. Although BDA and BTA continue to work closely together to promote Bermuda, it is logical to update the legislation to reflect the administrative role BDA now has in supporting Tourism Investment Act applications.”
Legislation to ease the plight of mixed-status families will not be tabled today as expected after MPs were “at odds” over the changes, a public meeting heard last night. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, told the audience that his team was trying to strike the “delicate balance” between driving business and making sure Bermudians have opportunities. Acknowledging the news would be “disappointing”, he explained: “We just left another meeting and I just had to call the Premier. I told the Premier that we will not table this Bill tomorrow.” The announcement was met with applause and a cry of “Amen”. Mr Caines added that the Bill, first expected to be tabled in July, was on the order paper for today’s sitting of the House of Assembly and members of the bipartisan immigration committee “met and met”. He explained: “When we left the room tonight, there was no way that we could do it.” About 150 people turned out for the public forum at the Berkeley Institute, where Collin Anderson, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of National Security, said the first two stages of comprehensive immigration reform included issues around the processing of work-permit applications. The third phase was to consider changes to policy and the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. Mr Anderson said 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 explained that meant people who were born and raised in Bermuda, and had worked here, paid taxes and contributed to the island, could “find that at some point they’ve actually had to leave this country”. The permanent secretary provided 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. He explained: ”This is what we are attempting to address throughout this presentation, those individuals that have no place.” A plan to provide Bermudian status at birth to children born or adopted overseas to Bermudian parents was met with applause. The legislation already allows for those individuals to secure status, but only after an administrative process that includes paperwork. In another example, parents were PRC holders, but because of their children’s respective dates of birth, and various legislative changes, one sibling had status and another had neither status nor PRC. Mr Anderson explained that the Government’s amendment Act would propose that the second sibling achieves status through their brother or sister. In total, it was thought that about 1,000 people could be expected to take advantage of the various changes. Mr Caines said that the troubled history around immigration had led to fear and an element of xenophobia. He added: “But we have also to factor in that, based on where we are in the middle of the Atlantic, that we need guest workers in this country.” The minister explained: “One of the challenges that we have, as a ministry, we have the responsibility of making sure that we keep commerce going in Bermuda, but at the same time, making sure that Bermudians have a place of primacy in their country and making sure that Bermudians are given opportunities. “That is a delicate balance.” Leah Scott, the deputy leader of the One Bermuda Alliance and a member of the committee, told the meeting her party was committed to working collaboratively with the Progressive Labour Party. She added: “I think the biggest hesitation for all of us is for people who come to Bermuda and live and they live better than the people in Bermuda, and that’s not fair. No one should be able to enjoy our country better than we enjoy it.” The panel also included PLP MPs Renée Ming and Christopher Famous, Ben Smith, an OBA MP, and William Madeiros, who chaired the Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group that was put together in 2016.
The Progressive Labour Party’s more than two-to-one majority in the House of Assembly represents a great political opportunity to make the radical changes Bermuda needs. That is the view of Philip Butterfield, chairman of BermudaFirst, the advisory group which has proposed sweeping changes to address the island’s challenges in areas including healthcare, education, living costs and immigration in its Future State report. Among the recommendations are an independent education authority, regulation of medical professionals amid a healthcare system overhaul and immigration policies to spur economic growth. The report was commissioned by David Burt, the Premier. The apolitical group drew on the work of eight working groups and 90 participants to make its proposals for the island’s future socioeconomic success. Asked whether he thought the will existed to enact the politically challenging raft of proposals, Mr Butterfield said: “I’m an eternal optimist. Given that the Premier asked for transformative solutions, he’s already at the place where he recognizes that this isn’t going to be an easy objective to accomplish. With a 25-11 margin [the PLP’s majority in the House of Assembly], that’s a political capacity that should be taken advantage of. I recognize that this is not a light-switch experience, that what we’re trying to accomplish can only be achieved over a period of time. We’re trying to get people to recognize that there’s an opportunity for a greater level of success, if we embrace some of the recommendations we’re talking about, as opposed to the tinkering that’s been done in the past. I believe that if you can convince people that these recommendations make sense, then there would be a level of broad support for getting those things done.” In an interview, Mr Butterfield, the former chief executive officer of HSBC Bermuda, said he and his BermudaFirst colleagues were “ready to talk with anyone” to help further the case for the recommendations. The status quo was not the way to success, he added, and he spoke of the urgency for action, especially in education and healthcare. The public education system had under-performed for the past two or three decades, he said, and now was the time for radical change. “The most substantive proof of that is that there are fewer students in public education today than in private; about 52 per cent of students are in private education,” Mr Butterfield said. "That was very different from my experience growing up and it’s very different from any other place on the planet. All the tinkering around the edges that well-meaning people have engineered over the years hasn’t produced the desired results. So it’s time to do something radical. Accountability is the key to improving public education, he said, and an independent authority would be the best way to achieve it. Today, there’s no penalty for the shortcomings in the system. We need a performance management system that allows us to hold people to account. That’s how it works in the private sector and we see no reason why it shouldn’t work that way in education. As well as ensuring that teachers meet international standards of competence, managerial skills to deal with matters such as allocation of resources are needed. There are decisions we have to make about consolidations or school closures, which tend to get wrapped up in politics, as opposed to the underlying issues. We have declining birthrates and a flow into the private sector, so in the 21st century why do we need 18 primary schools? I think we could be more effective with a smaller, more focused number of institutions.” On healthcare, the BermudaFirst team came to the conclusion that an holistic approach was needed to a complex challenge, including a national wellness programme to address the chronic, lifestyle-based diseases driving Bermuda’s healthcare price inflation. “We know through medical practitioners that there are 800 pre-diabetic Bermudians,” Mr Butterfield said. “There are about 200 people using dialysis today, between the hospital and the centre on Front Street and that is costing in the range of $20 million a year. Left unchecked, in ten years that number could be $40 million to $50 million. To me, that’s a crisis and requires the kind of proactive debate and dialogue that demands a real solution.” BermudaFirst was critical of the Government’s approach to healthcare financing reform and Mr Butterfield recommended an approach tackling “the full spectrum of activity” rather than focusing on one part of it. “When you pick one element and it has the potential to be more disruptive than any of the others, then that raises a level of angst that is not in our best interests. I think we need to have a transparent debate about single-payer systems and I know that is an objective of the Government.” BermudaFirst recommends an outcome-based healthcare system to reduce the overutilisation of services, as well as regulation of medical service providers. Mr Butterfield said much technology now existed to monitor our health, producing data that could help doctors to intervene to prevent more serious problems. “I’m of the view that we should be more proactive in healthcare and I’m sure that the several physicians in my family would say that it’s in the interests of patients to take a more holistic view of their health requirements,” Mr Butterfield said. The right expertise would be needed for regulation, he stressed. “I don’t know how you can have a non-medical person regulating doctors; it’s like plumbers running the Pentagon; it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I think we’ll get a better result if we get a medical professional overseeing medical practitioners.” Bermuda should leverage relationships with overseas institutions to tap expertise to help make informed healthcare reform decisions, Mr Butterfield said. Immigration arose as a topic of concern among all of BermudaFirst’s eight working groups, Mr Butterfield said. “It is the most emotive issue. So we looked at how we could find a methodology to lessen the emotive content. If we look at it through a talent lens, then we can do that. We suggested to the Government that they should lead the way, and with the Premier agreeing to conduct a talent assessment in the Civil Service to see if the right people are in the right jobs, and to identify people who can be sent abroad for appropriate career development and return to Bermuda and make their contribution. If that same approach were consistently applied throughout the private sector, then over time we’d have a more constructive viewpoint of immigration.” Immigration’s relationship with job creation and a healthy economy needed to be made clear, he said, as did an open discussion of why the subject is so emotive. “The history of immigration in Bermuda is one that needs to be addressed, not in whispered tones, but in an adult fashion,” Mr Butterfield said. “I think it’s fair to say that, in the past, immigration practices were nefarious and principally used to attract more white people to Bermuda to perhaps balance the politics, as opposed to being used to attract the right talent to Bermuda to allow us to be successful in the long run.” BermudaFirst has also identified the high cost of living as a priority issue, with the price of energy and food causing particular concern, as well as the plight of seniors. “Bermuda’s kilowatt per hour charge is among the highest in the world and that has an impact on households and businesses at all levels and it’s an impediment in the hospitality sector,” Mr Butterfield said. “So we have to work out a long-term solution that results in a more reasonable charge.” He saw a role for entrepreneurs in addressing cost of living issues, and possibilities for vertical, hydroponic farming to make the island less reliant on food imports. “We’d like to stimulate the thinking across the community,” Mr Butterfield added.
Entrepreneurs now have until October 10 to submit ideas for innovative on-island experiences to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The previous end-of-month deadline for applications has been extended due to interruptions caused by recent hurricanes and passing storms. Home-grown ideas to enhance the island’s tourism product are invited — and, if successful, could qualify for support under the BTA’s Tourism Experience Investment Programme. Winning ideas in this round of applications would be targeted for launch in the first and second quarters of 2020. Applicants can create a profile and submit applications. Four priorities for BTA investment in 2020 experiential tourism projects have been identified as food tourism; reimagining cultural sites and natural assets; experience and services in superyacht tourism; and historical ties to tennis. Entrepreneurs with proposals that do not fall squarely within those categories are still invited to apply. Winners of BTA support this spring included PinkSand Entertainment, Eettafel Bermuda, Urban Culture Exchange, The Supper Club, and St Peter’s Mysteries & Majesties Tour.
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility has made payouts totaling $12.8 million to the Bahamas Government after the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. Bermuda is a backer and member of the CCRIF, the world’s first regional fund utilizing parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. The Bahamas has three tropical cyclone policies and three excess rainfall policies with CCRIF — each covering a section or zone of the archipelago — North West, South East and Central. The Government received $11,527,151 from the triggering of its tropical cyclone policy and $1,297,002 from its excess rainfall policy for the North West zone — which includes Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama. Dorian made landfall on September 1 and battered the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, in the north of the archipelago, for two days. CCRIF’s payouts are made within 14 days of an event, but in this case CCRIF made an advance payment of 50 per cent of the preliminary estimated payout for tropical cyclone within seven days to allow the Government to begin to address its most pressing needs — with the remaining 50 per cent paid within the 14-day window for all CCRIF payouts. In response to the payout, Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minster of the Bahamas said: “The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility is worth it. The hurricane insurance is going to give us roughly $10.9 million [the initial payout estimate] which is more or less in line with what we expected.” Since its inception in 2007, CCRIF has made 40 payouts totaling about $152 million to 13 of its 21 member governments. Isaac Anthony, the CCRIF chief executive officer, will visit the Bahamas within the next two weeks to work with the Government in its recovery efforts, including supporting the country to increase its long-term resilience to hydro meteorological hazards such as storms and hurricanes, the frequency and impacts of which are being exacerbated by climate change. Mr Anthony and his team also will engage in further discussions with the Government to determine how the facility may provide some additional support from its technical assistance programme, which supports specific projects after a natural disaster. For example, the Bahamas was the recipient in 2012 of a TA grant of $85,000 after Hurricane Sandy for a new seawall at Sandyport Beach. Jamaica received a $100,000 grant for the rehabilitation of the Muirton Boys Home after Sandy, Dominica $100,000 for new fencing at the Douglas-Charles Airport which was damaged by the Tropical Storm Erika in 2016; and Belize $100,000 for the purchase of 30 automated weather stations. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalized through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments.
Shelves have gone bare at the island’s top food charity after Hurricane Humberto knocked out power, forcing the Eliza DoLittle Society to scrap reserves of spoiled stock. Today, the group’s headquarters in Warwick opens again, but April Augustus, the executive director, appealed for donations of badly needed supplies. “We can’t help our community without the help of the public,” Ms Augustus said yesterday. “We have people from all walks of life walking through these doors who are hungry.” The facility on Middle Road, Warwick, lost power while Humberto battered the island on September 18. Once the lights came back on a week later, food reserves had spoilt in five freezers and two refrigerators. Ms Augustus said: “We had to turn people away because we were still trying to replenish. I couldn’t put a price on what we had to throw out; there’s food that we get donated and food we purchase. It’s a lot.” She said the charity’s generator had broken down, leaving them without a back-up. Humberto, and the uncertainty over the potential hit this week from Tropical Storm Jerry, also disrupted the charity’s crucial food drive for September. Ms Augustus said: “This is our ‘Food Matters’ month. We rely heavily on our donors. This hurricane, the fact we thought this storm was happening, put a stop to everything. People had to take care of their own shopping, businesses were closing early and I’m sure plenty of people had to throw out food of their own. It’s been a struggle.” The society stocks non-perishables, and caters to vegetarians, but relies heavily on meat products to make the roughly 3,000 to 4,000 meals it serves a month. That estimate factors in clients who are picking up food for their families and others, Ms Augustus said. Last year, the society served 43,867 meals. Numbers continue to increase, with new clients registering every week. One person arrived to sign up while Ms Augustus spoke with The Royal Gazette. She said: “The public needs to know there are children that may be going to school hungry because they didn’t have any cereal. We need breakfast items for families.” The charity welcomes basics from soup and bread to tuna, beans, rice and pasta, as well as the fresh items to supplement meals. Donations are welcome from 10am to 2pm, Tuesday through Friday, at its headquarters, which fortunately sustained no physical damage in the storm. Ms Augustus said: “We can come to collect large donations. But it’s only me and a part-time driver, which means we’re limited in coming to pick things up.”
Additional hurricane relief to assist the Bahamas still remains in Bermuda after the island’s first consignment of donations was sent two weeks ago. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that the Government would welcome help with extra costs to send further aid to the islands. Some islands in the north, particularly Abaco, were left in ruins by Hurricane Dorian at the start of this month. “We’re talking about $1.5 million to $1.7 million of goods,” Mr Caines said on Tuesday. “So, first of all, we’d like to thank the people of Bermuda for giving.” Goods are no longer being kept in the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Centre, where the initial wave of collections was assembled and packaged. The first load was sent on September 9 aboard the Royal Navy ship HMS Protector, and Mr Caines said a second load had been “sent to a staging area”. He added: “A number of our local shippers, at their personal expense, packaged and shipped it overseas.” The minister said the remaining goods faced “about $15,000 in cost”. He added: “We just need some good benefactors to help us underwrite the cost of the last bit of these goods going overseas. We need help getting the $15,000 of these costs defrayed.”
Workers feared they could lose wages after being unable to get to their jobs in the wake of Hurricane Humberto, the Government said yesterday. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, urged employers to consider alternative ways to cover costs after her department received calls from worried residents. The announcement came while a tropical storm warning was in effect for Bermuda, but that was cancelled at 6pm yesterday after Jerry was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. Ms Foggo explained: “We’ve been inundated with inquiries from the public regarding salary deductions as a result of missed work days due to Hurricane Humberto last week. A number of employees have explained that because of road closures, school and nursery closures, property damage and fallen utility poles and wires, they were prevented from attending their place of employment following Hurricane Humberto. And many of these workers have been advised that their salaries will suffer as a result. These are uncontrollable and unfortunate events, and the ministry encourages employers to seek alternative measures as it relates to staff absences. Measures such as applying unused paid leave as opposed to not paying workers who were absent as a result of the hurricane should be considered by employers.” Humberto brought havoc to the island with 81mph winds and gusts of more than 114mph recorded at LF Wade International Airport. Many homes were badly damaged across the island and public schools were closed for two days after the storm, which was at its height between 7pm and 10pm on September 18. More than 28,500 customers lost power. Buses remained out of service on Thursday and Friday, with routes starting to return to normal over the weekend. Ms Foggo said: “The ministry, in conjunction with the unions and employer groups, certainly appreciate the delicate financial position of our employers as it relates to their continued business operations. However, we’re asking for these employers to please ensure that these employment issues are addressed equitably. In the interim, workers who are still experiencing issues following the hurricane are strongly urged to communicate with their employers so that solutions can be enacted in a timely manner. Lastly, any private sector employer who is challenged in meting out fair and equitable pay following last week’s hurricane should contact the Labour Relations Section so that our officers can assist you.” The Labour Relations Section is at 23 Parliament Street, Hamilton, in the old Magistrates’ Court building. It is open weekdays from 8.45am to 5pm and can be reached on 297-7714/16. In its final advisory on the system at 6pm yesterday, the Bermuda Weather Service forecast that post-tropical cyclone Jerry would be within 29 miles, or directly over, the island at 10pm last night. Jerry’s strength had dipped to winds of 35mph and gusts to 46mph. It was at that time 47 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, moving east-northeast at 12mph. Tropical Storm Karen remained a potential threat and continued to head north at 14mph. At 6pm, Karen was 650 miles south of Bermuda, with winds of 40mph and gusts to 52mph. Its closest point to the island within the next 72 hours was expected to be 370 miles to the south-southeast at 3am on Friday. However, this system may move closer to Bermuda after this time period depending upon its track.
A fact-finding cruise to Bermuda taken by the tourism minister last month has cost taxpayers nearly $3,900. Zane DeSilva travelled on board Royal Caribbean vessel Anthem of the Seas from August 24 to 29 at a cost of $3,888.41. He explained last night that the “mystery shopper” venture included a public bus ride to Horseshoe Bay, touring Hamilton and St George’s, as well as visiting local stores. Details of the trip — described as “cruise passenger experience observation” — were posted to the Travel Calendar page of the Government’s website. Mr DeSilva said last night: “As Minister of Tourism and Transport, part of my responsibility is to ensure that the Bermuda brand delivers a first-rate experience for our visitors and that local goods and services have equal opportunity to be promoted to our visitors. In an effort to obtain knowledge of what information is communicated about Bermuda to our visitors, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport recently organised a mystery-shopper cruise from New Jersey to Bermuda. As a participant, I experienced first-hand what cruise lines and passengers say or advise about Bermuda, prior to arrival. It was also an opportunity to understand what it is like for visitors, when two ships, with over 6,000 passengers combined, are in the Royal Naval Dockyard and everyone is trying to obtain transportation around the island. My experience included shopping at local shops and riding with visitors on the public bus to Horseshoe Bay and experiencing the beach’s amenities. I also took a taxi to visit Crystal Caves, Tobacco Bay and toured Hamilton and St George’s. Ultimately, the assessment provided invaluable information that will allow my ministry to understand from a visitor’s and cruise line’s perspective what we are doing well and where improvements are needed. I intend on giving a ministerial statement on my experience and findings in the near future.” The trip summary online said that Mr DeSilva “monitored the way Bermuda is presented to cruise passengers, including ... recommendations for attractions, shopping and tours. Upon disembarking in Bermuda, the minister also experienced, as a tourist, what passengers encounter with regard to transport options available around Bermuda. His mission was to get to Horseshoe Bay Beach, Crystal Caves, the City of Hamilton, the Town of St George and Tobacco Bay by using public bus and ferry services along with private taxis.” The summary said that the insights gained from the trip “will be used to shape future cruise ship and transport policy”. A breakdown of the total trip bill was also provided. Air travel was listed at $595.30, while ground transportation costs totaled $292.84. Accommodation was $3,000.27.
Insurers, including those in Bermuda, have a unique role to play in helping the world to adapt to climate change, according to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. Britain’s top financial regulator said the industry’s expertise and capital would be essential in “smoothing the transition” to a world in which temperatures are 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than in re-industrialize times. Addressing the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on Monday, Mr Carney said: “The world needs much more investment in infrastructure, and greater risk sharing of climate risks. Insurers have a unique ability to meet both needs.” Mr Carney spoke of the need to close the “protection gap”, or underinsurance, which affects many poverty-stricken countries vulnerable to the effects of global warming. Collaboration between the insurance industry and public-sector organisations was key to addressing it, he said. Insurers were well aware that the physical risks of climate change were being felt across the globe “with a plague of extreme weather events” leading to higher-than-normal insured losses in recent years, Mr Carney said. “But protection gaps in low and middle-income countries mean that even greater costs are being borne by the uninsured. In 2017, the record $140 billion of insured losses were eclipsed by an additional $200 billion of uninsured ones. In some of the countries most exposed to climate change — Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria — insurance penetration is under 1 per cent. The potential economic benefits of closing the insurance gap are striking. Lloyd’s of London estimates that a 1 per cent rise in insurance penetration can translate to a 13 per cent reduction in uninsured losses and over 20 per cent reduction in disaster-recovery burden on taxpayers.” Despite the potential benefits, progress had been slow, with the protection gap closing from 78 per cent to 70 per cent over the past 30 years, he said. Mr Carney went on to spell out what could be done, saying that both sides of insurers’ balance sheets needed to respond. “On the liability side, the focus must be reducing the protection gap and supporting the resilience of households and companies to growing climate risks,” he said. Citing the work of the Insurance Development Forum, a public-private partnership led by the insurance industry and international organisations, Mr Carney said a better understanding of past losses would help. "Projects like the open-source Oasis Loss Modelling Framework of the IDF are leveraging the expertise of the private sector, the public sector and academia to improve the data available for risk analysis in low and middle-income countries. New products, such as insurance-linked securities based on parametric triggers, are vital to help reduce macro protection gaps and increase resilience. These are generally cheaper to structure and administer and more efficient to blend with commercial finance if required. Of course, increasingly climate-related tail risks could prove uneconomic for private sector insurers to cover. That is where development agencies and Multilateral Development Banks can step in. Disaster reinsurance could be one of the most effective uses of development financing.” Mr Carney said massive investment would be needed in sustainable energy and resilient infrastructure — and insurers could help to make this happen by allocating some of their huge investment portfolios to this area. “It’s imperative to act now to create practical tools and frameworks to support climate-resilient infrastructure investments — ranging from broader use of catastrophe bonds to greater risk pooling for the most vulnerable countries. Climate-resilient infrastructure assets are well suited to life insurers that need reliable returns over long-term investment horizons. This is even more compelling in a low-for-long interest rate world. However, as the IDF has flagged at present only 2.5 per cent of insurance assets managed are allocated to infrastructure.”
An iconic shipwreck was badly damaged as a result of Hurricane Humberto. The Montana, a paddle steamer and civil war blockade runner, which was wrecked off Bermuda’s North Shore in 1863, forms an important part of Bermuda’s maritime cultural heritage. Chris Gauntlett, the chairman of the Historic Wrecks Authority, who has visited the site to witness the impact of last Wednesday’s storm, told The Royal Gazette: “It looks like a bomb hit it — it is very, very different.” The extent of the damage is being assessed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which will publish an extensive report on it. Mr Gauntlett said that the Montana’s history included being hit by the Constellation, the wreckage to the northwest of Bermuda, which inspired the book and movie The Deep. The chairman said: “It is a big old story.” Mr Gauntlett, the owner and operator for Blue Water Divers and Watersports, added: “You can see a lot just by swimming over it. It is iconic. It is one of Bermuda’s most famous spots.” Falko Kuester, an engineering and virtual reality professor at University of California San Diego, has been working with the Government to create the Bermuda 100 Project, a digital atlas of underwater sites surrounding Bermuda. Dr Kuester said: “The damage to marine heritage, which is now emerging, is gut-wrenching. We are very sad to hear that among the impacted marine heritage sites is the beautiful Montana.” He said the Montana had been an “incredibly important site” in the development and application of new tools, techniques and technologies in documenting and preserving underwater heritage. Dr Kuester added: “Now we will work with our partners in the Bermuda Government to help them fully assess the damage, creating a new data set so that the recovery of coral and this unique heritage can move forward.” Philippe Rouja, the government custodian of historic wrecks, who will be working on the project, said: “The Montana has had extensive and incredibly detailed high-resolution imagery data sets produced of the site prior to Hurricane Humberto.”
A cleaning firm accused of failing to pay its employees is to close next month. Just Cleaners announced in a letter sent to staff this month that the business would close effective October 15. It said that the company had “experienced significant difficulties over the past months”. The company added: “Whilst all efforts have been made through cost-cutting in other areas, infrastructure changes, etc, it is not enough to sustain the business. As a result of these issues and necessary change in operational requirements, regrettably the company is constrained to close operations effective October 15.” The letter comes after two staff members said last month that they had not been paid their wages in months. One woman said that she had not been paid by the company for two months. Another source said that several staff members had not received their wages for months. Both workers spoke on the condition of anonymity. It is not known how many workers are employed by Just Cleaners. The company said in the letter that its goal was “to ensure the smoothest transition possible. 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. It is expected that a separate status letter outlining the status of your benefits upon termination will be provided, per the company’s counsel.” The letter advised employees that an employee-management meeting would be held “at the soonest to provide formal notification of status of action on operational requirements and to provide an opportunity to address any questions as best we are able”. It added: “We want you to know that this is not a statement about your work for the company. You have been a dedicated, contributing employee. If you wish us to provide references, please let us know. We will do what we can to assist you during the transition.” The letter is signed Just Cleaners Management. The business did not respond to requests for comment sent by e-mail by press time yesterday. Calls to the business could not be connected. A post on the company’s Facebook page said that “our phone lines are still down due to Humberto”. Just Cleaners’ clients include the Bermuda Police Service, Butterfield Bank and power firm Belco. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport said that the ministry “continues to monitor the developments concerning an ongoing labour dispute at a local cleaning company. The ministry is limited in what it can offer in terms of comment due to the fact that complaints and inquiries made to the labour relations section are confidential.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, reiterated that any employee with concerns over wage payment should take their complaints to the labour relations section. Ms Foggo added: “The labour relations section has the ability to investigate and mediate such complaints brought to its attention, as well as refer unresolved disputes to an arbitration or tribunal panel for adjudication.”
A community mentor and devoted curator of the Carter House Museum, one of Bermuda’s oldest homes and an historical treasure of St David’s, has died at 86. Dolores Harrison loved showcasing the historic 17th-century house and museum of the St David’s Island Historical Society. Ms Harrison’s family also enjoyed close ties with Chicago and the classic American music show Soul Train, which aired from 1971 to 2006, and was created and hosted for its first 22 years by the producer Don Cornelius. Rick Spurling, head of the historical society, said Ms Harrison succeeded Eloise Millett, first curator when the renovated Carter House opened in 2001. He said: “She loved taking people around and talking about her experiences living in St David’s. She was one of our greatest supporters.” Ms Harrison turned her 80th birthday at Carter House into a museum fundraiser — as well as a fashion show, with models showcasing her own collection. Mr Spurling recalled: “She had an extraordinary wardrobe and was always impeccably dressed. She was also one of the nicest people I ever knew.” Kim Durham, one of Ms Harrison’s two daughters, explained: “Don Cornelius is my uncle on my father’s side, and it started in my grandmother’s house in the basement, when everyone would go downstairs and dance after Sunday dinner. We loved Soul Train and mom loved it too.” Donna Boddington, her other daughter, said their mother’s love of that musical era included keeping an eight-track player with tapes. Ms Harrison had met her husband, Richard, in Chicago when she moved there to study nursing. Part of her training required sitting in on an autopsy. According to her daughters, Ms Harrison fainted watching the procedure — and decided to become a nurse’s aide instead. She worked at Chicago’s Evanston Hospital until the family returned to Bermuda 50 years ago. Sociable and work-driven, Ms Harrison’s jobs included the officer’s club on the United States Naval Air Station at the East End, and the Black Horse Tavern in St David’s, where lobster became her speciality dish. Ms Durham said: “She enjoyed working there, liked people and loved tourists. She was a busy person and worked two jobs for 30 years, at the Silent Waters nursing home and the Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Shelly Bay, which became the MarketPlace.” Ms Boddington added: “She mentored hundreds of young men and women who worked at the supermarket. Later, they would come up to us to talk no matter where we used to go.” Ms Harrison’s service to others included accompanying patients for treatment overseas when they had no loved ones to travel with them. The sister to the Right Reverend Vernon Lambe, Bishop of the First Church of God in Pembroke, she worshipped at the Chapel of Ease in St David’s. She attended St Luke’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in her later years, and St John’s AME. She belonged to an informal seniors’ group, the Joy Luck Club, and loved dining at the Speciality Inn in Smith’s to socialize. Keen to stay active, Ms Harrison started at Carter House upon her retirement. Ms Durham said her mother “loved St David’s and knew all the history”. Carter House takes its name from Christopher Carter, one of the island’s first permanent settlers who arrived in 1609 aboard the Sea Venture. It was likely built around 1640 and, during and after the Second World War, ended up on the US Base. Lynn Mello, the present curator, said Ms Harrison had showed her how to look after the museum, adding: “She was wonderful; she did a great job of it.” Ronnie Chameau, a member of the historical society who put extensive work into Carter House and its displays, called her “unique. She kept the place immaculate. Coming up as a young girl, I admired this lady who was always so well dressed. Once she started at Carter House, it was everything for her. She was a gem.”
Jerry has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it continues its slow approach from Bermuda’s west. At 6pm, the Bermuda Weather Service believed the storm would be within 29 miles, or directly over, the island at 10pm today. Jerry’s strength had declined to winds of 35mph and gusts to 46mph. It was 47 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, moving east-northeast at 12mph. The United States National Hurricane Centre said Jerry weakened because of atmospheric shear, and predicted the storm would degenerate into a remnant low-pressure system in four days. Tropical Storm Karen was labelled a potential threat to Bermuda today as it continues to head north, but the BWS forecasts it will change track and veer west later in the week. At 6pm, Karen was 650 miles south of Bermuda, heading north at 14mph. It had winds of 40mph and gusts to 52mph. Its closest point to the island within the next 72 hours is expected to be 370 miles to the south-southeast at 3am on Friday.
“Business as usual” was declared for today as a weakened Tropical Storm Jerry was forecast to pass near Bermuda this afternoon. School, government offices and the Causeway will remain open, and buses are out on the roads, although the ferry service remains suspended. Trash collection is to operate as normal, and the Royal Bermuda Regiment remains embodied. However, the clean-up from Hurricane Humberto last week continues in earnest, and Tropical Storm Karen, drifting north from Puerto Rico, last night presented a potential threat to the island for later in the week. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, warned yesterday: “Out of an abundance of caution, we will pay very close attention to the road conditions. If you do not have to ride a bike tomorrow, we urge you not to.” LF Wade International Airport remains open, but travellers were advised to check flight schedules directly with their airlines. The emergency shelter at CedarBridge Academy in Devonshire, opened last night, will continue accepting anyone in need today. James Dodgson, the Bermuda Weather Service director, said that Jerry appeared to be weakening, and that the island was not expecting to receive hurricane-force gusts. At 9pm last night, the BWS said the storm’s closest point of approach within the next 72 hours was likely to be 54 miles to the north-northwest at 5pm today. However, the system could move closer to Bermuda after this time period depending on its track. Maximum sustained winds at 9pm last night were 52mph with gusts to 63mph. Earlier, the weather service said Karen was a potential threat to Bermuda as its closest point of approach was predicted to be 392 miles to the south-southeast at 3pm on Friday, although it could move closer depending on its track. Karen was packing winds of 46mph with gusts to 58mph at 6pm, when it was 990 miles south of Bermuda, moving north at 8mph. Roads are likely to be slippery today with one to two inches of rain mixing with dead leaves. Mr Caines said he was unaware of shortages in the island’s supply of roofing slates in the aftermath of last week’s hurricane. Several help numbers were shared with the public, as Mr Caines said the double storm threat had raised anxieties. Anyone experiencing mental health challenges or stress can speak with a psychologist between 9am and 4pm at 236-8253. The Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute is available from 9pm to 9am at 236-3770. Persons requiring help getting tarpaulins over roofs were encouraged to call 525-3473.
Delays to legislation designed to ease the plight of mixed status families could signal challenges for the Government’s delivery of comprehensive immigration reform, an Opposition MP claimed. Sylvan Richards, the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs and the Environment, said he believes that postponements to tabling the Bill indicated resistance in Cabinet, which could suggest there are further struggles with more sensitive aspects of the wider issue, in the months ahead. He said: “It’s the least controversial portion of the immigration policy and my concern is that because the Government is having difficulty dealing with this low-hanging fruit of mixed-status families, I’m concerned about their efforts towards comprehensive immigration reform, which is what they were seeking when they were in opposition. I’m hopeful that an immigration Bill will be tabled in Parliament this Friday when we meet. If it’s not, then, in my view, that’s not a good sign in terms of the Progressive Labour Party being able to bring forward immigration reform.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister, postponed amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1965 in July when he said there were “important elements that remain unresolved”. It was understood that mixed-status families legislation would be introduced to MPs earlier this month, but that was delayed once again as a Bill to raise the island’s debt ceiling and a slew of measures aimed at boosting the economy were tabled instead. Mr Richards, who speaks on immigration matters for the One Bermuda Alliance, explained: “This, is my opinion, based on the time and the delays that the Government is taking in bringing this Bill to Parliament, it appears that he is having difficulty getting his cabinet to agree on the Bill. It’s my view that the minister knows what needs to be done in terms of our immigration policy. He knows our economy is floundering, he knows that people are still emigrating from Bermuda in substantial numbers. This Bill that he’s looking to table is, in my opinion, low-hanging fruit, meaning it’s dealing with mixed-status families. It’s dealing with people who are already here in Bermuda, people who were maybe born in Bermuda but, for whatever reason, they don’t have status, people who we want to stay in Bermuda but, because they don’t have certainty because of their status, they’re leaving and seeking their fortunes elsewhere, which is causing a bit of a brain drain.”
Former employees and overseas workers have helped to return power to Bermuda after Hurricane Humberto, a Belco representative said yesterday. The spokesman said: “Thankfully, with the assistance of our retirees, as well as extra linemen from Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp, we have 75 per cent more linesmen working to restore electricity.” He thanked all workers who had been “instrumental in getting the work done efficiently and safely” and said that the power provider “continues to make good progress in restoring power to our customers”. The spokesman said that work continued on main branch lines and smaller pockets of outages across the island. He added: “However, overgrown vegetation that was broken, uprooted and hitting power lines during the storm is making the restoration process much more time consuming, as it takes a few hours to reconnect small pockets of customers. In some cases, customers who have had their power restored will have it switched off temporarily so that other lines can be safely repaired.” The spokesman said crews had also faced other setbacks. He explained: “On Monday evening, there were a number of pole fires due to salt that had been deposited by Humberto, combined with a light rain, which knocked out power to a number of areas that had been restored. Dealing with these priority emergencies has slowed progress in planned restorations.” The spokesman said that crews would continue to work from 8am to midnight to get power restored across the island. As Tropical Storm Jerry approaches, Belco crews will work until the weather makes it unsafe to continue. Crews will be back out as soon as the storm passes and it is safe to recommence restoration.” He said that preparations had been made for Jerry. The spokesman explained: “Belco are replenishing supplies and equipment in staging areas across the island to prepare for any further damage to the grid.”
The Speaker of the House of Assembly cautioned Ugandans to give pause before quitting their jobs for a career in public service. Dennis Lister, who is in the East African republic for a conference, said: “People should never give up their jobs to run for political office. You are serving at the mercy of an individual and if you and that individual fall out, your family suffers.” The comments, which appeared in an article in Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper, were made during a meeting with people who had, at one time, worked in Bermuda. Mr Lister and Progressive Labour Party colleague Kim Swan are at the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Kampala. Under Uganda law, a person elected to Parliament, when they are a member of a local government council or holds a public office, shall resign before they become an MP. Mr Lister, an MP since 1989, said Bermuda legislators were encouraged to establish their careers before they sought office. He said: “We are a small community, so the opportunity to re-establish oneself or get reconnected job-wise is also limited. If you give up your job today, it is going to be filled up immediately and if you lose your position in Parliament the following week, it will be hard to get back. I have seen a lot of people get excited because they got elected and they give up their job. Many of us run our own business. Even when you don’t have an employer, you have to strike a balance with your private business.” Mr Swan, a PLP backbencher, said: “I would never give up my job for politics.” He added: “I am going to retire from politics and you always return to your trade. When you give it up, you return to zero and your family suffers.” Mr Lister also spoke of Bermuda’s relationship with Uganda. He said an effort was made to try and bring more people of colour into Bermuda in the early 2000s to “reflect the Bermudian native”. Mr Lister said: “The African continent was looked at and Ugandans have been part of that community.” The theme of the conference is “Adaptation, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth”. It runs until Sunday.
The island’s insurance companies have begun to pay out after receiving hundreds of claims for damage caused by Hurricane Humberto. The Category 3 storm hammered Bermuda last Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning, causing widespread power outages and property damage. Collectively, three companies reported yesterday that they had received nearly 600 claims related to Humberto. Colonial Insurance said it has received more than 175 claims. Juanita Coley, the firm’s claims manager, said: “We were accepting calls from 8.30am on Thursday, September 19, from clients whose property had been damaged. Our office opened at noon, once the roads were deemed safe for public access. Shortly after, our loss adjusters began assessing damaged properties. Claim payments began as early as Monday, September 23. Assessments are ongoing and the overall cost of damages is yet to be determined. The majority of our claims are in relation to property damage, most of which are located in the western end of the island. Given the increased activity in the Atlantic, we continue to urge the public to take all necessary precautions in securing their properties.” John Wight, group chairman and chief executive officer of BF&M Ltd, said the company started to receive claims and calls early last Thursday morning. While the office was closed, he said a skeleton staff was in the building to respond throughout the day. Mr Wight said: “We began making payments to customers in respect of valid claims on Friday. Staff were in through Saturday, assessing and processing claims. We are still receiving and reporting on claims so while we estimate that the bulk of losses has probably come in, it would be inaccurate to give an exact number at this time. As an indication, we can say we have received in excess of 200 claims at this point. The number of marine and home claims received so far was higher than we were originally expecting, given initial forecasts, but in line with what we’d expect for a Category 3 storm. That said, this event was different from similar-strength storms like Gonzalo or Nicole in that the damage from Humberto seemed to occur in localized pockets. The areas receiving the most damage were Sandys, pockets of Hamilton Parish and the City of Hamilton, Pembroke, St George’s and Mullet Bay.” With tropical force winds continuing to blow, BF&M urged everyone to continue to keep their property — including damaged property — secured. Customers should try to obtain suitable repairs-related quotes at their earliest opportunity, the company said, adding that any photos or repair quotes can be submitted via e-mail with your claim number or policy number as the subject title. Freisenbruch-Meyer reported yesterday that it has received roughly 200 claims, and has begun to settle them. The company said that it is finding that damage has been island-wide, but weighted more towards the West End of the island. Company president Michael Freisenbruch and Andrew Wright, chief executive officer of Freisenbruch-Meyer Insurance Services Ltd, issued a joint statement: “We are confident that all the insurance carriers are actively assessing the recent damage from Hurricane Humberto and processing their respective claims island-wide.” They added: ”A heartfelt thank you should be extended to the EMO, and other emergency services, the Bermuda Regiment and Belco and our entire FM staff for all their assistance with Bermuda’s recovery.”
An authentic replica of an early Bermuda settlers’ cabin was damaged during Hurricane Humberto. The St David’s Island Historical Society, which runs Carter House and Museum, is aiming to raise $4,000 to fix roof thatching, which fell victim to the storm last Wednesday. Rick Spurling, the president of the society, said that the cabin, built using the traditional methods and materials used in 1612, survived four storms since it was built in 2012, but the severity and direction of Humberto took its toll. He told The Royal Gazette: “All the south side of the thatch has gone, but the structure is still sound. It took a beating. We knew the thatch was old and we were going to replace it, but now it is absolutely necessary and we would like to do it by November in time for the Carter House Family Christmas Party.” Mr Spurling said the wind came straight at the house because the hurricane came from the southwest. He added: “There are 800 palmetto leaves up there and about a third of them came down.” Funds raised will go towards labour, materials and a truck. The storm also damaged endemic trees, plants and flowers at the St David’s site. Mr Spurling said that the structure, built predominantly by master builder Larry Mills and known by its old English name “settlers’ cabben”, had originally been intended as a temporary structure. He said: “When we first built it, we didn’t expect it to last — we thought it would crash down in short order in the first storm. We will rebuild it the same way, so hopefully it will stand for another eight years.” Carter House is an original St David’s farmhouse dating from about 1700. Mr Spurling added: “I have created a new exhibition in the Carter House museum of the refugees from the settlers’ cabben who had to move into Carter House because they had nowhere else to go. I have set them up in there with a wheelbarrow doing various tasks.
Police are looking at “forensic opportunities” after a spate of offensive graffiti around Pembroke, a spokesman said. The latest incident, found yesterday morning, targeted sites on Parsons Road, Happy Valley Road and the Angle Street/North Street area as well as Laffan Street and Canal Road. Witnesses or anyone with information have been asked to call Detective Constable Jerry Waterman at the Criminal Investigation Department on 247-1744 as soon as possible.
The Minister of Finance dismissed claims of payroll tax hikes yesterday after the owner of Arnold’s said increases contributed to the closure of three shops. Curtis Dickinson said the rates shelled out by the grocery store chain were less last year than in 2017. But Nick Kempe, the shadow finance minister, claimed that the closures were a warning to the Government that its fiscal policies were not working. Frank Arnold, the company owner, earlier told The Royal Gazette that payroll tax doubled in the past year. Mr Dickinson said yesterday: “The Bermuda Government can confirm that there has been no increase in payroll taxes in the past two years. Our records indicate that the Arnold’s grocery store chain paid less in payroll taxes in 2018 than they did in 2017. The finance minister said the Progressive Labour Party administration had focused on growing the economy and creating an environment for Bermudian businesses to thrive. He said the Government had worked to make Bermuda’s tax system fairer to “promote an economy that works for all Bermudians. I will remind the public that the most recent Budget was a ‘sensible’ budget with minimal negative impact on the broader economy. We have been very mindful of our fiscal situation and we were prudent about remedies we put into place to move us in the right direction.” He explained that no new taxes were introduced and that the Government provided tax reductions to people earning less than $96,000. Further measures included payroll tax concessions for employers who hired people with disabilities as well as new small business entrepreneurs and taxi operators, and a concession to businesses that hire local entertainers by removing employer and employee payroll tax for three years. Other steps were set out to offer payroll tax relief to specific businesses. Mr Dickinson added: “It is regrettable that three of the Arnold’s grocery stores are closing due to many factors. However, we are pleased that as a result of these closures no Bermudian jobs have been lost.” Mr Arnold said yesterday he did not have his company’s payroll tax records in front of him but that — “to my knowledge” — he maintained that the costs had doubled over the past year. In a notice to customers, he said that two stores in Somerset and one on Front Street were closed as of last Friday. Mr Arnold wrote: “Regretfully, I have made the decision to close these three locations due to many factors, along with increased operating costs of running these businesses.” Mr Kempe, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, claimed yesterday that the Government’s economic policies were not working and added “significant extra pressures” to businesses. He said: “Frank Arnold’s statement saying that increased operating costs were a factor in his decision to close some stores is yet another warning to Government that they need to change course. The Government has pursued a one-track economic policy of fintech, which has yet to have any impact on the economy and while our GDP remains positive, driven by projects such as the St Regis hotel, the airport and the new Belco plant, the underlying statistics paint a very different picture for local businesses that employ Bermudians year in year out. Retail sales volumes have plummeted and the reinsurance sector has continued to shed jobs. At the same time, the Government has increased the cost of doing business — increased land tax, the new local company dividend tax, increased foreign currency purchase tax and the transfer of more cost to private health insurance have all negatively hit businesses.” Mr Kempe also claimed that a lack of immigration reform added to “a very different and disturbing picture that is not being addressed by this government”. He called on David Burt, the Premier, to seek a new economic direction. The senator said: “The OBA understood — and still understands — the need to pursue a multitrack economic policy and we provided an economic stimulus while controlling government costs, but Burtonomics appears to be exactly the opposite. In the long-term fintech may produce some jobs, but how long can people wait? They are suffering now. Mr Burt has to take his blinkers off and show not only that he understands that his policies are not working but that he cares about the suffering imposed on Bermudians and changes course.” Christopher Famous, a PLP backbencher, responded: “It is unfortunate that the OBA is celebrating the shrinking of a Bermudian business in a vain effort to score cheap political points and push their anti-Bermudian, ‘open up the immigration floodgates’ agenda.” He said that Mr Arnold’s comment about payroll tax was “wholly incorrect” and added that the most recent increase in payroll tax was under the OBA. Mr Famous added: “During their term in office, the OBA fought desperately to open the immigration floodgates as a solution to our economic woes, and despite that approach leading to protests and their complete and utter rejection at the polls, they continue to push an agenda that Bermudians reject and that Bermudians know will see our people further marginalised in our own country.” He said that the party was committed to fair immigration reform that protected Bermudian jobs and opportunities, taking account of the country’s history and size. Mr Famous said: “It is unfortunate that the Arnold’s group has found the need to close three of their stores. However, for the owners to misplace the blame, and for the OBA to jump on this for political gain, is also unfortunate.”
A rescheduled town hall meeting to discuss immigration reform will take place on Thursday, it was announced this afternoon. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, will host the event at the Berkeley Institute cafetorium from 6.30pm until 8pm. He will be joined by Renee Ming, Christopher Famous, Leah Scott and Ben Smith, who are all MPs and members of the bipartisan immigration committee. Other panellists will include Danette Ming, the Chief Immigration Officer, and Collin Anderson, the national security ministry’s permanent secretary. Scott Simmons, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, will moderate. The meeting was due to be held last week but was postponed due to Hurricane Humberto.
The Transport Control Department’s testing facilities at Southside and Rockaway have been closed until further notice, as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Humberto. The department announced the closures at 9.30am today, and apologised for any inconvenience to customers.
Bermuda insurance industry veteran Fiona Luck is expected to be confirmed today as chairwoman of an independent advisory group set up by Lloyd’s of London to ensure that sweeping reforms to its culture are carried out. The UK's Sunday Times newspaper reports that Ms Luck and the other members of the independent advisory group will be expected to hold Lloyd’s chief executive John Neal to account over the pace and success of the overhaul. Today’s announcements come six months after a report by Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that Lloyd’s had a toxic workplace culture with a “deep-seated culture of sexual harassment” ranging from “inappropriate remarks, to unwanted touching to sexual assault”. The report also revealed a culture of bullying at the institution. Lloyd’s, which has operated an insurance market for more than 300 years, is also expected to announce a campaign aimed at the market’s 45,000 underwriters, brokers and Lloyd’s staff to encourage them to speak up about bullying, The Sunday Times reports. As well, Lloyd’s is expected to announce standards of conduct setting out behavioral rules for companies and individuals, the breach of which may result in bans or fines. Today’s announcement is expected to reveal the results of a cultural survey of Lloyd’s conducted by the independent Banking Standards Board. Ms Luck, a member of Lloyd’s franchise board since February 2018, has more than 25 years’ experience in insurance and reinsurance. She has been a non-executive director of financial regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, since 2013. Previously, she was non-executive director at Catlin Holdings Ltd and Allied World Holdings Ltd and, before that, spent a decade at XL Capital Ltd, in a variety of senior roles including chief of staff to the CEO and executive vice-president responsible for strategy, global HR, IT and corporate social responsibility. Ms Luck also worked for the Ace Group, now known as Chubb, between 1996 and 1999, and was president and CEO of Marsh and McLennan’s Bermuda operation between 1992 and 1996.
The Corporation of Hamilton has issued a request for proposal regarding the operation of the Hamilton cargo docks. A statement issued by the corporation said: “The port of Hamilton is a dynamic port facility. By supporting cargo ship calls it has become a key component in Bermuda’s chain. Given this importance to the City of Hamilton and the wider Bermudian economy, the efficiency of the port is of ever more importance. Without frequent, reliable, and cost-effective shipping services Bermuda will be less competitive. Owing to the remoteness of Bermuda, it is essential our maritime transport connectivity is maintained at optimal levels both in terms of operational and financial performance.” Patrick Cooper, city engineer, said: “The port arrangement based on a single stevedoring licence to encourage private participation has stood the port and the community well since it was introduced in the 1960s. As we look forward, port competitiveness remains critical and this may require important port improvements to be addressed in future to deliver both operational and cost improvements to safeguard our trading capabilities. It is for this reason that the City of Hamilton will be adjusting the port arrangement from an operational licence to a new arrangement that considers the cargo docks and the Front Street waterfront berths under a separate arrangement. The cargo docks will be based on a long-term concession that will include responsibility for security and maintenance of the infrastructure and superstructure components for the entire area of the cargo docks terminal. This adjustment will allow for future improvements to be better planned and implemented. As with the previous stevedoring licence, the new arrangement will contain safeguards against abuse of the monopoly position but the flexibility gained from a change of this type will allow greater certainty for the concession holder to invest to improve performance and for port users to plan their arrangements for the long term.” The corporation said that the Front Street waterfront area will be covered by a separate management licence restricted to cruise call operations only, while the cargo docks area will be contained in the concession agreement. The general Front Street waterfront berths beyond this will be subject to a separate berth operational support permit, the Corporation said, adding that the tendering process for the Front Street waterfront area will be forthcoming. Bid packages for the cargo docks RFP can be collected from the city’s administrative offices in City Hall. The deadline for submissions is 3pm on December 19. Stevedoring Services Ltd has operated the Hamilton docks under licence since 1966. The company’s current terminal operating licence, granted in 2016, expires in February 2021.
The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has implications for the re/insurance industry, says the moderator of a panel at next Thursday’s annual conference of the Bermuda Insurance Institute. Mark Simons is senior vice-president, FINPRO, at brokers Bowring Marsh. “Cannabis could be a $2 trillion to $3 trillion industry in a decade and this will be an enormous insurance opportunity. The opportunities in the cannabis space are endless; aside from the known medical and recreational side of things, there is massive beverage potential, sleep and pain management, animal health and arthritis. The major tobacco, alcohol and pharma companies are taking large positions in the major cannabis players which is indicative of things to come — they see how cannabis is going to structurally change the market. The cannabis industry is the fastest-growing industry and job market in North America and this trend is going global as well. The producers of these products will require substantial insurance.” The theme of next week’s BII conference is transformation. Mr Simons said: “Cannabis is the most transformative and potentially disruptive product of our generation. There are some key points worth noting — when cannabis becomes federally legal in the US, there will be much more competition, no doubt. However, that is certainly not happening anytime soon so we’re looking to 2021 at the earliest. When it is federally legalized, the market will explode and there will be lots of new companies for the insurance/reinsurance markets to offer coverage for all types of exposures. Cannabis companies currently are grossly underinsured versus traditional risks; this is a huge opportunity in and of itself and the universe is still small but new cannabis companies list daily so the market will continue to expand. Companies are only starting to scratch the surface on global opportunities.” The conference takes place next Thursday at O’Hara House, on Bermudiana Road, Hamilton from 8.30am until 4.30pm.
Asbestos fears at the West End will be investigated today by an expert on the hazardous building material. Concerns of possible asbestos debris were raised over a building on Boaz Island in Sandys, damaged last week in Hurricane Humberto. A West End resident yesterday said he had spotted suspected asbestos on the ground near a hangar belonging to Wedco. Joanna Cranfield, Wedco’s business development manager, said it was “unclear exactly where the asbestos originates from” because a privately owned building nearby had also sustained storm damage. Ms Cranfield added: “On Tuesday, an expert in asbestos will come to inspect the debris and to ascertain which building it came from. There is another privately owned building next to the hangar which appears to have been damaged and has a tarpaulin over it. If the asbestos is from Wedco’s building, we will immediately take steps to remove the debris. We will also make a thorough inspection of the hangar itself. Wedco is aware of the situation and has been working to clean and remove loose debris from all properties under its remit, that sustained damage from Hurricane Humberto.” The comments came after a West End resident, who asked to be referred to as G. Robinson, saw what he believed to be asbestos on the ground near the building in the wake of the hurricane. Mr Robinson said: “I looked around and I saw all this asbestos on the ground, immersed in the ground. I was wondering where it all came from and then I saw that old building standing there being a nuisance. This is all over the grass. I started to take pictures of all this asbestos. What would have happened if the wind would have taken that asbestos across the street to where all those people live? This building needs to come down. It’s hazardous. It’s dangerous. It’s detrimental to the environment. We still have Tropical Storm Jerry and Karen coming. Who knows which way the wind is going to blow?” Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said at a press conference on Tropical Storm Jerry that he had not heard complaints about asbestos in the aftermath of Humberto. Mr Caines added: “Obviously, if there is damage, the damage will be assessed and if there is triage needed, based on the reports that we received from the different government agencies, we will deal with that on a case-by-case basis.” A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works said today: “Wedco is aware of the situation and has been working to clean and remove loose debris from all properties under its remit, that sustained damage from Hurricane Humberto.”
Veteran broadcaster Gary Moreno will be the new corporate communications manager for the Bermuda Police Service, it was announced yesterday. Mr Moreno, who is known for his work with the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, is to join the BPS next month. He will work with Robin Simmons, who has undertaken the role since the departure of Dwayne Caines this year. Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said: “I am delighted to welcome Mr Moreno to the BPS team as our new corporate communications manager. He brings a wealth of journalistic and broadcast experience from his time with the Bermuda Broadcasting Company and he is a familiar face and voice to all in Bermuda. The panel who interviewed Mr Moreno for the role were impressed with his desire to work for the BPS and his plans to further enhance public and police relationships. I particularly want to commend Robin Simmons who has worked tirelessly in his role over the past few months, notably highlighted during the recent events of Hurricane Humberto, and continues to take forward our business in this area with professionalism and skill.” Mr Moreno, who first joined the broadcasting company in 1999, is to take up his new role on October 7. Patrick Singleton, the Bermuda Broadcasting chief executive, said yesterday: “He is a talented journalist and we wish him well in his new role.” Mr Moreno wrote on Twitter: “And so this chapter comes to an end. Thanking God for new beginnings.”
Eight Atlantic Canadian college and university representatives from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will visit Bermuda next week. Their visit will include student advising appointments, senior school visits and an educational fair. Students, parents and community members are invited to attend the Atlantic Canadian Educational Fair taking place on Monday September 30, 2019 between 6:30p.m. and 8:30p.m. at the Hamilton Princess Hotel. While most senior schools will receive visits from college and university representatives, students are still encouraged to attend the Atlantic Canadian Educational Fair with their parents and supporters. The senior school visits and fair will support students as they begin their post-secondary journey. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to connect with so many students and supporters during our visits to Bermuda and are equally pleased that so many students choose to study at our institutions” says Katherine Cross, visit coordinator and Assistant Registrar at Dalhousie University. “Students can expect to hear about the wide breadth and depth of academic programs available at our institutions. They’ll also learn about unique learning experiences, including opportunities to put their education into practice through work experiences, research, study abroad programs and hands-on learning.” Participating institutions include: Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Holland College, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, , NSCAD University, Saint Mary’s University and St. Francis Xavier University.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the approaching Jerry, with tropical storm force winds expected to start on Tuesday night. The storm’s closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours is expected to be within 29 miles of, or directly over, the island at 12pm on Wednesday. The Bermuda Weather Service said on Monday night: “A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect as Tropical Storm Jerry, a threat to Bermuda, is expected to bring tropical storm force winds with possible hurricane force gusts to Bermuda from Tuesday evening. “Ahead of Jerry, expect southeasterly winds to increase, clouds to thicken and rain with embedded showers and isolated thunderstorms. Dangerous surf and rip tides continue through Wednesday.” At midnight, the storm was 298 miles southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 63mph and gusts to 75mph. Jerry, which is projected to remain a tropical storm, was moving north at 7mph. The BWS said to expect winds up to 46mph and gusts up to 75mph over Tuesday and Wednesday. Meteorologists are watching the weather system closely and the Emergency Measures Organisation met yesterday morning to assess Tropical Storm Jerry’s threat to Bermuda. The US-based National Hurricane Centre said in its midnight update: “Tropical storm force winds are expected on Bermuda by late Tuesday. Large swells are also expected to affect the coast of Bermuda during the next few days. These swells could cause life-threatening rip currents.” A series of warnings are also in effect across the Caribbean for Karen, which formed in the Windward Islands and was downgraded to a tropical depression. Karen is forecast to bring heavy rain, flash floods and mudslides to Puerto Rico, and the US and British Virgin Islands on Tuesday and a tropical storm warning remained in effect at midnight. It is expected to continue in a generally northern direction, before veering sharply west to take it away from Bermuda on Thursday and Friday. At 6pm its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours was expected to be 392 miles to the south at 6pm on Thursday, but it could move closer after that point. Karen was at that time 1,134 miles south of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of almost 35mph and gusts to 46mph, and traveling north-northwest at 13mph. Meteorologists are also watching the recently formed Tropical Storm Lorenzo, which was this morning south of the Cape Verde islands. The system is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday as it drifts west-northwest.
Victims of violent crime are finally getting their claims for compensation heard by a government board which has been criticized for its “serious backlog” of cases. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board met on September 11 when members heard applications and approved financial awards for a number of victims, The Royal Gazette understands. Another hearing is set to take place this Wednesday, when more applications for compensation will be dealt with. But one man, who was shot and injured in 2014 and has been waiting for a decision on compensation since he applied for an award in 2015, pledged this week to pursue a civil claim for damages against the board and the Government over the delay in handling his case. The 26-year-old, who has suffered severe leg and back pain and depression since the attack, said: “It’s been such a long time. I have been struggling financially for so long. I have lifetime injuries because of it. The job I had before I got shot was a good paying job. Now I’m struggling with a job that doesn’t pay that much and they are trying to let me go from that because I’m not capable of doing certain things.” The man, who asked to remain anonymous, added: “The delay makes it harder. I have a child that I need to support.” His lawyer, Vaughan Caines, wrote to the Government on August 23 to say he’d been instructed to “issue proceedings seeking constitutional relief, inclusive of damages” against the board and “by extension, the Government”. Mr Caines wrote that his client’s constitutional right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time had been breached. He claimed the CICB had “failed to act on an embarrassment of applications for a number of years. Specifically, in [this] case, four years have passed since his application was first launched with the board.” The man’s compensation claim is now due to be heard at the CICB hearing on Wednesday and Mr Caines is expected to attend to make representations regarding the amount of any award. Separately, legal proceedings are expected to be filed in the Supreme Court if a settlement is not reached regarding the constitutional claim. Mr Caines wrote in a letter dated September 3: “That [the victim] has had to wait at least four years for his matter to be heard is bordering on unconscionable.” The Royal Gazette revealed last October that victims of crime were having to wait years for their compensation claims to be processed, prompting the Ombudsman to launch an investigation into possible maladministration. A Court of Appeal judgment the following month said it appeared the CICB had no “plan for disposing of the serious backlog” of compensation claims. The panel of judges criticized the board, chaired by Puisne Judge Nicole Stoneham, for failing to provide the court with enough detail on whether most cases were dealt with in a timely fashion. It noted it was the responsibility of the Attorney-General to ensure the CICB was “properly funded with adequate administrative support” to enable it to fulfil its statutory duty. The court heard there were 37 outstanding applications from those who had lost a loved one or been injured themselves because of a violent crime. Annual reports for the CICB do not appear to have been tabled in Parliament since 2015. It met only once in 2018, when it did not consider any cases. According to this year’s Government Budget book, $170,000 was spent on criminal injuries in the financial year 2017-18 and $325,000 was set to be spent in 2018-19. A further $380,000 was allocated for criminal injuries in this year’s budget. Questions to the Government about the spending received no answers earlier this year. A request for comment for this article from Mrs Justice Stoneham and Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, went unanswered by press time.
Bermuda Chamber of Commerce is to offer a presentation to its members next Tuesday on the impacts of advanced technology and innovation on business strategies. The presentation will take place at the HSBC Harbourview Centre from 5.30pm until 7pm. Thomas Ilube CBE, a British entrepreneur, educational philanthropist and British Broadcasting Co board member, will lead the presentation as keynote speaker. Mr Ilube topped Powerlist 2017, the annual listing of the United Kingdom’s 100 most powerful black people. He is founder and chief executive officer of Crossword Cybersecurity plc and previously founded several start-up technology businesses. Mr Ilube will define artificial intelligence and explain why it’s so important for business leaders to be a part of defining the future of business in Bermuda. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to discuss with this technology expert and education philanthropist, clear and practical advice on reshaping a business model in this rapidly evolving digital landscape, the chamber said, adding that the presentation will also provide hints and tips on how to protect businesses from financial crime, and the benefits of adopting best practices.
An infestation of termites is being tackled at the hall next to Bermuda’s oldest church. Interior woodwork, skirting boards and door frames were plagued by the pest in the church hall at St Peter’s Anglican Church, in the Town of St George. The hall has been tented so that it can be fumigated with cash provided by Unesco, the United Nations agency which promotes St George as a cultural site. Gillian Outerbridge, the parish administrator, said: “I am so relieved to have the tenting finally take place. “It has been a real worry that the termites might spread just a few feet across to the ancient and invaluable church. Ms Outerbridge added: “We are very blessed that the Unesco fund provided funds to The Friends of St Peter’s Church to cover the cost of the fumigation.” Ms Outerbridge said one hollow core door was literally filled with termites. She said: “We tried to tiptoe out of the building with it so as not to drop any on the way out.” St Peter’s, which dates back to 1612, is the oldest Anglican church outside England. The hall building includes housing offices, a choir room, flower room, toilets and the much used hall and kitchen on the ground floor. It was named for Edith Clair Spencer, long time church organist and greeter, in 2011.
According to Geoff Faiella, Killing Carlisle is an actor’s dream: it’s funny and thoughtfully written, with lots of twists and turns. His hope is that he does it justice. Mr Faiella will play the lead character Doe in the world premiere of Killing Carlisle, local journalist's Owain Johnston’s play that opens at Daylesford Theatre on Thursday night. “Doing it with Owain in the room is very rewarding,” he said of the Bermudian playwright and journalist with The Royal Gazette. “It’s giving him the opportunity to see his work come into the real world. I’m confident enough that I think he trusts me with his character, but I do hope that I do it justice.” Billed as “a dark comedy with light weaponry”, Killing Carlisle is about “a trained hit man and a jilted lover [who] break into the luxurious Bermuda home of Carlisle Mooney on the same night with murder on their minds — completely independent of one another”. “Unfortunately for both, Carlisle isn’t home,” Mr Faiella explains. “The pair find themselves killing time waiting for Carlisle to return home but, as the hours pass, plans fall apart, secrets are revealed and tensions rise until an explosion is inevitable. Blood, firearms and naughty words” make the show inadvisable for children, however for adults it’s a chance to support a home-grown cast. People should come out not only for an entertaining evening, but to support performing arts in Bermuda,” he said. “It’s a cast of mostly Bermuda talent and it’s community theatre at its core. We’re all volunteers. It’s a hobby for all of us. We’re all bringing our passion to it and hopefully that shows on stage.” Mr Faiella discovered acting around the age of 10, when he got involved with the annual pantomimes put on by the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society. “My father’s mother, Isabelle ‘Puss’ Faiella, encouraged me to get out there. She used to perform in clubs in Bermuda in the 1950s and 1960s. In school at Saltus, I liked performing on stage and when I went to high school in the States, I started getting even more involved in drama and performing arts. So it’s really been a lifelong hobby.” On returning to the island in 2010, Mr Faiella rejoined the local theatre scene, getting involved in shows with both BMDS and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society. He also frequently acted in plays Mr Johnston submitted for BMDS’s playwright competition, Famous For Fifteen Minutes. “When I heard he was going to be producing the world premiere of his play, I jumped at the opportunity and dropped everything to audition,” Mr Faiella said. “Owain’s writing style sort of matches with the way I go through the world. The dialogue matches with my mode of speech and his humour is always something that struck a chord with me. His plays were right up my street. Killing Carlisle is very much an Owain play. There are lots of twists and turns. Naughty words and light weaponry aside, it’s a funny and thoughtful play and I’m having a great time. It’s billed as a dark comedy and it is a comedy, but it doesn’t shy away from some important issues facing the island. It has heart.” Despite that enthusiasm, the reality was that he was a relatively new father with a limited amount of time for his hobby when the call for auditions was made. “I went into this completely fresh thinking I would put myself forward for a minor role because I wasn’t sure of my time commitment,” he said. “I have a 16-month-old and my wife Sarah and I try to take turns in [the roles we take on in the] performing arts.” As it turned out, his wife encouraged him to go for the role he really wanted. “The main role was a bigger commitment, but I am able to do it because of the support of my family. Because of my family, I get to enjoy my hobby,” Mr Faiella said.
The island’s soldiers stood down yesterday after a major effort to cope with the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto. Private Ariana Smith, 22, who only joined the Regiment last year, had a baptism of fire on her first hurricane deployment. She said: “I knew we would be cleaning up, but not much else. I have enjoyed the togetherness of it all. It’s been very rewarding. The lack of sleep has not been fun, but I would volunteer for this type of effort again.” Pte Smith, who joined the RBR after a friend in the service convinced her to have a shot at Recruit Camp in 2018, added the pay rates were attractive. But she said: “Really it was because I like new challenges and getting to try new things. I was excited to see what new opportunities joining the Regiment would bring – and this was just the latest one.” She was speaking after 120 Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers fanned out across the island on Thursday to help clear roads and help people whose homes had been damaged by the Category 3 storm, which hit on Wednesday night. Pte Kyle DeRoza, 22, from Warwick, was part of the hurricane nerve centre at the Bermuda Police Services communications centre at police headquarters in Devonshire and also worked with a team engaged in clean-up operations. The signals specialist said: “The updates came in fast and were processed fast as well.” Pte DeRoza, who studied computing at Bermuda College and who joined up in 2017, added he later transferred to a clean-up crew and hit the ground running. He said: “I am a hands-on person and like having something to do – what is keeping me beyond my minimum service is my pride in helping the island. You can directly help your neighbours and your community in the RBR. You can even help yourself – we have the tools, equipment and training to gain new certifications in trade skills or academics, which give you more job and career opportunities outside of Warwick Camp.” RBR Adjutant Captain Paolo Odoli, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Tuesday with a call-up to serve through the storm, also worked in the Prospect communications centre. He said: “It was another magnificent effort by our country’s soldiers, who stepped up to the plate yet again when Bermuda needed them. The RBR – and the entire country – should be proud of the men and women who left their own homes to help protect others from harm.” Captain Odoli added: “It was hard work and it was stressful – but, as Hurricane Jerry approaches, we will be ready to do it all over again if needed.” RBR Acting Commanding Officer Major Ben Beasley said: “I am immensely proud of the effort put in by our soldiers on land and at sea. The RBR has again proved its capabilities and ability to deal with a crisis, be it at home or overseas.”
Bermudians were warned yesterday not to take down their storm protection, with Hurricane Jerry maintaining its projected course to strike the island next week. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, will update the public today and tomorrow as the Emergency Measures Organisation meets each morning to assess the threat. The Bermuda Weather Service’s forecasts, which do not extend beyond three days, last night put the storm 400 miles southwest of Bermuda on Monday evening. But predictions continue to show the Category 1 storm on an apparent direct course over Bermuda on Wednesday morning. Steve Cosham, the national disaster co-ordinator, said that Jerry’s impact could be anything from Tropical Storm to Category 3 strength, under yesterday’s forecasts. Mr Caines said: “I would like to encourage Bermuda to stay prepared. Let’s keep our level of being prepared up. Do not let your guard down. It is our recommendation that you leave things boarded up and remain in a state of readiness.” Mr Caines also urged residents to use care: one person severed a finger while readying for Humberto earlier this week, and others required treatment after falling from ladders. In addition to press announcements at 12.30pm today and tomorrow, parents will get notice over the weekend on the readiness for public schools for Monday. Belco last night reported 11,000 still without power — roughly one third of its customers. A spokesman said the company aimed to have power fully restored by the end of Monday. Hamilton docks were open just 24 hours after Humberto, and Mr Caines said there had been “no indication from any grocery stories that we are running low on supplies”. The Royal Bermuda Regiment remains embodied, and CedarBridge Academy will once again serve as a hurricane shelter is required. Mr Caines noted there had been queries as to why the Devonshire school was used for emergency shelter, adding: “It is the only approved facility for shelter during a hurricane.” The minister urged residents to follow media and Government outlets for regular updates on Jerry. The Government’s tree frog app is available free from the App Store and Google Play Store for the latest storm information. According to the United States National Hurricane Centre, Hurricane Jerry had picked up speed last night and was headed west-northwest at 18mph. A weather system described as a mid-latitude trough was to steer the hurricane north and then northeast. However it remained unclear whether the trough would weaken or strengthen the storm on its course in Bermuda’s direction.
Tropical Storm Jerry has been confirmed as a threat to Bermuda. The storm’s closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours is expected to be 76 miles to the north-northwest at 5am on Wednesday. However, the system may move closer after this time period, depending on its track. The Bermuda Weather Service said: “Tropical Storm Jerry is currently a threat to Bermuda and is expected to bring tropical storm force winds with possible hurricane force gusts to Bermuda later on Tuesday. Ahead of Jerry, expect easterly winds to increase, clouds to thicken and light rain with a few showers as of late Monday evening that grow into a thunderstorm or two on Tuesday.” At midnight, the storm was 367 miles south-southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 63mph and gusts to 75mph. Jerry, which is projected to remain a tropical storm, was moving at 10mph. Meteorologists are watching the weather system closely and the Emergency Measures Organisation will meet at 10am to assess Tropical Storm Jerry’s threat to Bermuda. The National Hurricane Centre also reported that Tropical Storm Karen formed in the Windward Islands, and a series of warnings are in effect across the Caribbean. Karen is forecast to approach Puerto Rico, and the US and British Virgin Islands on Tuesday and continue in a generally northern direction. Its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours is expected to be 664 miles to the south at midnight on Thursday, but it could move closer after that point. At midnight, Karen was 1,328 miles south of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 40mph and gusts to 52mph, and traveling west-northwest at 12mph. It is forecast to gain strength but remain a tropical storm throughout the week.
Bus service along nine different routes resumed this afternoon as the island continues to bounce back from Hurricane Humberto. But Steve Cosham, the national disaster co-ordinator, warned Bermuda would feel some impact from Tropical Storm Jerry early next week. Mr Cosham told a press conference on Saturday at 12.30pm: “We have good confidence that Bermuda will see something from Jerry. We are going to see something. The question is what strength and when.” He added that Tropical Storm Jerry was this afternoon just below hurricane strength, but expected to become stronger before it reaches Bermuda. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, urged the public to remain on alert as Jerry approaches. Mr Caines said: “It has weakened to a tropical storm and is anticipated to pass over Bermuda, most likely sometime on Tuesday — however this could change. It is too soon to tell. As I stressed yesterday, we strongly encourage everyone to remain in a hurricane readiness mode.” He said the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Humberto continued, but that the island was “back in business.” Mr Caines said bus routes 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 all reopened at 1pm, and other routes were being evaluated with an update expected later this afternoon. And he said the number of Belco customers without electricity had fallen to a little more than 8,000 — just over a quarter of Belco customers. Lights in all homes are expected to be on by the end of Monday. Mr Caines said Government would announce tomorrow whether public schools will reopen on Monday. He also announced:
Mr Caines added: “I will remind the public to please take all necessary precautions while restoring their property. The hospital has treated a number of cases of persons receiving injuries while restoring their properties. “Additionally, pay close attention to the food in your fridge. If you have been without electricity for a few days the food in your fridge may be bad — throw it out.” With the approach of Jerry next week, both Mr Caines and Mr Cosham urged the public to take precautions, particularly those whose homes suffered roof damage in Humberto. Mr Cosham said: “Make sure your tarps are as secure as possible. We are going to get at least tropical storm-force winds from Jerry and probably stronger. Don’t just tie it down, batter it down with wood, screws and nails.” Mr Caines added: “If there are any vulnerable people in your house, elderly or children, I would ask the public to go to the emergency shelter. If you know your house is being held together with tarp, it makes no sense to endanger the lives of you and your family members. We have a shelter available with food and provisions.”
The Town of St George largely avoided major damage in Hurricane Humberto and has begun to prepare for Tropical Storm Jerry. A spokeswoman for the Corporation of St George said damage to the roof of the western shed building at Tiger Bay was the most serious destruction suffered in the storm. She said: “Immediately following the passing of Humberto, Corporation workers worked in conjunction with crews from Works and Engineering and the Royal Bermuda Regiment to clear the streets to allow safe vehicular passage. Staff from St Regis hotel development also assisted in the cleanup efforts. Numerous trees in Somers Gardens suffered damage and the gardens remain closed to ensure the safety of the public during the clean-up process.”
The Government urged people to dispose of foliage and debris properly after complaints that items are being discarded at schools and open areas. A spokeswoman said this afternoon: “We are finding that clean up teams are working around the clock to clear areas and within hours irresponsible truckers and members of the public are dumping horticultural waste. “As a reminder, the Marsh Folly facility will open Sunday from 7.30am until 4pm. Please take trees and foliage to the Marsh Folly facility — dumping fees have been waived. The public is asked to use this facility to dispose of horticultural waste responsibly.” In the immediate wake of Hurricane Humberto, the Government had organised satellite drop-off sites for foliage at Somerset Bus Station and the airport, but the public is now asked to take plant waste directly to Marsh Folly.
From autumn seedlings to Christmas carrots and poinsettias, Hurricane Humberto’s close pass this week left farmers and nurseries counting the cost. The battering on Wednesday night destroyed greenhouses around the island — and low rainfall meant extra salt damage to plants. Supplies of everything from cucumbers to bananas have been hit, while farmers rush to batten down ahead of next week’s anticipated hit from Hurricane Jerry. Tom Wadson, of Wadson’s Farm in Southampton, declared the impact “horrendous, devastating”, with casualties ranging from 2,000 tomato plants to beets and carrots. He said: “Everything in the field is basically toast, and the roof came off our greenhouse. We got a hard hit.” Cassava, another Christmas staple, managed to survive because plants had been topped in advance, but Mr Wadson said his farm had “a couple of tons” of paw paws on the ground. Nearby on Luke’s Pond Road, Warren Brown at Bermuda Gardens reported one greenhouse was “flattened”. The island’s top supplier of English cucumbers would take “a couple of months to recover from the loss. We lost about half our crop, which we supply for the whole island, so we are going to run short next week,” Mr Brown added. This storm had a real sting in it, and it caught us. It also got bigger as it rolled over us. But every time we rebuild, we make it stronger.” Both farmers said the drench of salt left by Humberto’s comparatively light rains had hurt vegetation. Yesterday, Mr Brown, still without electricity, was keeping his hydroponics going with generators. He said: “Belco has been busy elsewhere — we used to get priority as a food producer, but over the years we’ve been forgotten.” Brighton Nurseries in Devonshire, which reported online that its houseplant shed had been “mangled”, had discounted the plants yesterday to 50 per cent. Greenhouse damage hit Amaral Farms in Devonshire, according to Anthony Amaral. Mr Amaral joked: “You can’t even give away avocados right now. They all came down.” Early carrots and Christmas carrots were “gone”, Mr Amaral said, and late crops such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower had been set back perhaps three months. He added: “Bananas are worse. That’s been set back a year, year and a half. Farming is like Vegas — we roll dice with the weather.” Some of the farm’s seedlings, including the poinsettias popular for Christmas, had been secured from harm in a stable. But Julie Greaves, the manager of Aberfeldy Nurseries in Paget, said the business’s Somerset greenhouse was hard hit. Aberfeldy lost large numbers of poinsettias as well as vegetable seedling in demand with the end of summer. Ms Greaves said: “The storm took most of the roof off. Nobody realised how bad it was going to be — there’s a lot of damage. It’s too late in the year to start growing another crop of poinsettias. People love them, but it is what it is. Obviously, we will plant something different and try to offer other things.” She added: “It’s the vegetable seedlings that people really want now. Because we don’t have a roof on the greenhouses, we have the sun burning what plants we have left. We just need to get them rebuilt, which isn’t easy. They’re very technical; you can’t just put one together.” Not far from the Aberfeldy greenhouses, Westover Farm on Daniel’s Head is one of the island’s three main dairies. Richard Bascome, the general manager, counted the farm lucky: there was no damage, although the hurricane disruption threw the milking schedule into disarray. “A lot of people are going to have to start from scratch with their crops,” Mr Bascome said yesterday. The storm was stronger than a lot of people expected. What can you do? Let’s get ready for the next one.”
A trial continued this week in Britain for two Bermudian-born men who have denied charges of terrorism. Hisham Muhammad, 25, is accused of plotting to use a radio-controlled drone to attack an army barracks. His cousin, Faisal Ahmad, 24, is charged with failing to notify authorities of the scheme. They were caught by police in June 2018 after a raid on their apartment in Whitefield in Bury, Greater Manchester. The sting allegedly revealed equipment for an attack on the Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury, as well as for knife attacks. The BBC reported this week that a makeshift drone attachment found in the flat, and shown to the jury at the Old Bailey in London, included “lollipop sticks attached to an electrical component with black tape and various wires”. A military aircraft specialist stated that “significant” research had gone into methods for equipping the aircraft to drop items ranging from a bomb or pyrotechnic. But Bernard Richmond QC, who represents Mr Muhammad, argued that it was not necessarily harmful, noting that drones for children could drop toy parachutes. The trial continues.
Bermuda men’s rugby team have been crowned Caribbean champions after beating Guadeloupe 33-10 in the Rugby Americas North Championship final at North Field, National Sports Centre today. Bermuda ultimately proved too strong for their opponents, despite a spirited fight back at the beginning of the second half, building on a 14-0 half-time lead to prevail courtesy of two tries apiece from Alex Brown and Jamie Baum, as well as a penalty try and extras from Dan Cole, to regain a title not won since 2012. Alexandre Dagorn scored the visitors consolation try with Thomas Gouban adding the extras. Jamie Barnwell, Bermuda’s head coach, could not hide his delight at fulfilling an important target he set when taking over the men’s team at the beginning of the year. “We set ourselves this goal in January and to get across the line is fantastic, the boys have done a great job and so obviously we’re all very happy with that. This is a really important milestone for the team. There wasn’t any space for us not to win, we had to get a result to continue the trajectory we’ve been on and the boys did just that, it’s been a great team effort. There are a lot of people behind the scenes who have put a lot of work into the rugby programme in this country and Bermuda is seeing the results of that now, it’s good times at the moment. We’ve done what we wanted to do and now is time to reflect and see how we can push on further.”
Dwayne Pearman says competing against some of the world’s top golfers at the inaugural Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course is a “great opportunity” he intends to make the most of. The experienced and highly decorated local professional has been granted a sponsor’s exemption from qualification for the event and thus handed an automatic spot in the 72-hole tournament, which is a new addition to the 2019-20 PGA Tour and will involve professionals who do not qualify for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China this year. “This is a great opportunity and I am really elated that the guys decided to give me exemption,” Pearman said. “I don’t play as much golf as I used to, but it’s nice of them to think of me like that knowing what I have done over the years.” The championship will be held on the same weekend as the WGC-HSBC Champions and will involve 120 professionals. It will carry a purse of $3 million and offer 300 FedEx Cup points to the winner. As a boost to Bermuda, the event, which will run from October 31 to November 3, will be broadcast on The Golf Channel in 225 countries. “This is a big deal and is definitely overdue,” Pearman added. “It’s a lot bigger than the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, where you only had four players coming down. For this event, you have 120 players along with their families and their caddies, so it’s really going to be big. You don’t have the top 50 players in the world that are coming. But there are still a lot of good players that are going to be coming that a lot of people like to see, so it’s going to be a big event." Even though he is quite familiar with the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout at Port Royal, where he was previously employed as the head professional, Pearman does not consider it as home advantage. “Home advantage, I don’t think so,” he said. “These guys play golf every day. That’s all they do for a living. These guys are good and can play anywhere. I do know the golf course and know what clubs I want to hit off most of the tees. I do know that, but I don’t think it’s a big home advantage in that sense. You still have to hit the ball solid and make the putts. There is more than one thing to golf. There’s a lot of things that go with playing the game and so I don’t really think it’s that much of an advantage.” The government-owned course will host the championship in a five-year deal secured by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which will be the title sponsor of the event until 2023. The championship is the brainchild of Seniors Tour player Pat Horgan III, a former Bermuda Open winner, who is part of the PGA’s marketing and operational team. “I just want to take my hat off to PH Horgan and all his crew who have done a good job,” Pearman said. “I also take my hat off to all of the Port Royal crew that are working on the golf course. These guys are out there every day and are working overtime and doing a great job getting the course ready.” Pearman, who has won all but one of the major domestic titles, is the first local to be confirmed for the Bermuda Championship, with the others to be determined at a 36-hole qualifier at Mid Ocean Club on October 16 and 17.
A popular Bermudian singer who enjoyed a colourful career in the United States has died at 91. James Ellsworth “Al” Trott’s childhood dream of becoming a jazz singer landed him a stint with one of Bermuda’s top hotel circuit bands of the 1950s, called the Holiday Island Revue. The band, which was founded by the promoter couple Don and Elsbeth Gibson, shaped the careers of many young Bermudian artists, including Gene and Pinky Steede. Mr Trott performed at clubs around the island as well as in Canada. He moved to the US in the 1960s. According to family lore, he was sent a telegram inviting him to sing at the March on Washington in 1963, a milestone event organised by the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Mr Trott was asked to sing James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, known as “the Negro national anthem”; but had to turn it down because he was not yet a full citizen. His career blossomed as a nightclub singer in establishments throughout New York, and he went on to perform in Atlantic City and Hawaii, as well as Australia and Denmark. Mr Trott became a bus driver for the Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority, but continued his performing career as a dancer and singing waiter. The father of two is survived by his wife of 40 years, Quindella Jordan. Mr Trott’s funeral was held on September 6 in St Albans, New York.
Hurricane Jerry, the fourth storm of the season, has been confirmed as a potential threat to Bermuda. The Category 1 storm’s Jerry’s closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours is expected to be 336 miles to the south-southwest at midnight on Tuesday. However, the system may move closer after this time period, depending on its track. As of midnight, the storm was 824 miles south of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 80mph and gusts to 98mph. Jerry, which is remain a Category 1 on its arrival to the island, has slowed slightly to 16mph. Meteorologists are watching the weather system closely and the Emergency Measures Organisation will meet on Monday to assess Hurricane Jerry’s potential threat to Bermuda. The US-based National Hurricane Centre said in its latest update: “On the forecast track, the centre of Jerry will move north of the northern Leeward Islands later today, pass well north of Puerto Rico on Saturday, be well east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas on Sunday and turn northward on Monday. “Maximum sustained winds remain near 80mph with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast overnight, but Jerry could re-strengthen early next week.” The next update will be at approximately 6am on Saturday.
Bermuda was “bloodied but unbowed” yesterday in the wake of Hurricane Humberto, a Category 3 hurricane that packed 125mph at its peak. The storm’s centre swung 75 miles north of Bermuda, battering the island with winds that pried into roofs, knocked out power for 80 per cent of homes and clogged roads with branches and debris. In its aftermath, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, commended the “true Bermudian spirit of support and resilience”. At sunrise, a combined team of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, works and engineering staff and Belco workers swung into action. Power restoration could take four days, Belco warned last night: by 7pm 16,448 remained without power, with 56 per cent of customers restored. Asking for the public’s patience, a spokesman added: “Our crews are making good progress, but there are challenges. Much of the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto is making it difficult to quickly and easily restore large areas at a time, so crews are working methodically, as fast as they can, to reroute lines and replace infrastructure as needed.” Buses today remain out of service, and Mr Caines implored drivers last night to keep off the roads as work continued “around the clock”. Even as the Atlantic season’s third hurricane churned north, Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation would convene on Monday to assess Hurricane Jerry, a possible threat early next week. He praised the community’s readiness and collaboration — although one person was in police custody yesterday for burgling buses. Today, public schools remain closed. Friday trash collection is scheduled to proceed, while homes missed on Thursday will be served tomorrow. Ferries are running, but an update on the bus service is expected today. The bus depot at Palmetto Road remained without power last night. Bermuda High School, reporting “quite a bit of damage”, remains closed today. Saltus, where debris was still being cleaned up, opens on Monday, while Somersfield Academy declared itself ready for classes today. Sue Moench, the principal at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, posted on the school’s Facebook page that it would reopen today, and Wayne Edwards, the Bermuda Institute principal, confirmed his school was set for today. Warwick Academy reopens on Monday. At CedarBridge Academy, where 49 people weathered Humberto in an emergency shelter, the school sustained storm damage that Mr Caines said would be fixed “in short order”. The emergency shelter was not affected. The storm dealt damage to the roof of the acute care wing at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, with minor damage reported for the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. Somerset Police Station was put out of commission, and a propane leak at LF Wade International Airport was tackled. The Causeway reopened at midday. Three structural fires were reported. Roofs all over Bermuda took damage: a section of roof was torn from a warehouse at Penno’s Wharf in St George’s, revealing the onion, traditionally dropped at New Year’s Eve, stored inside. Two Bermuda National Trust properties in the Town of St George suffered during Humberto. The historic Buckingham, which dates back to about 1750, was dealt “relatively minor” damage to its roof. More seriously affected was the roof of Samaritans’ Lodge on Water Street, where a trust team rendered it “safe from the elements” yesterday. Heidi Daniels-Roque, one of the owners of the St David’s Variety Store, explained that properties on the island’s Texas Road suffered roof damage. She said the business opened at about 1pm yesterday, adding: “It has been busy — a lot of people need ice, and gas for generators.” At the other end of the island, the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard will stay shut today because of cruise ship cancellations, and to give time for cleanup efforts. Visitors to Bermuda got to experience a different side of island life during Humberto. Tim Morrison, the general manager of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said the resort’s team kept guests “safe and entertained throughout”. Damage ranged from minor leaks in rooms and some water in the lobby, while a tree was uprooted in the car park. Mr Morrison added: “We’re pleased to say, though, that these issues have been managed and the disruption to our guests and members of the public is at a minimum. Simon Boden, the director of sales and marketing at Fairmont Southampton, said yesterday: “Generally speaking, we got through the storm very well. Everybody is safe and we are open for business.” Mr Boden said about 300 guests stayed at the hotel on Wednesday night. He added: “We were able to get some very positive feedback. We have an extensive hurricane preparedness programme that we enacted, it came off flawlessly.” A spokeswoman at Elbow Beach Resort and Spa said the damage there was limited to a fallen tree. She added: “We are in tip-top shape. Our building is over 100 years old; it’s survived every single hurricane. Now we are keeping an eye on Jerry.” As the cleanup continues, Tynes Bay is open today for dropping off waste from 7am to 7pm. And Marsh Folly is waiving tipping fees for the disposal of trees, wood waste and foliage.
Hurricane Humberto’s wrath was felt at Boaz Island Marine Service Station on Malabar Road in Sandys Parish. The station was closed yesterday due to the impact of Humberto, but general manager Lawson Williams was hoping to be back in operation this morning. “We had salt water inside the building, so we can’t get the computers up to get the pumps working,” Mr Williams said. “Computers don’t like salt air, and we got our share of it last night. We’re trying to get open on Friday morning if we can, but I may have to bring our tech guy in. We have someone on standby but I can’t get hold of him today because of problems with cell phone service.” Mr Williams said the station “lost quite a bit” from its overhead canopy, but he termed that damage as “cosmetic”. The Rubis Terceira’s station on North Shore Road in Smiths Parish suffered slight damage to the underside of the canopy above its gas pumps, but was open just after 1pm yesterday. “We are open for business — that’s what matters,” said owner Ralph Terceira. Insurance company BF&M Ltd was closed yesterday in line with the EMO’s request to stay off the roads, but the company had a skeleton staff in to assist with claims-related calls. The company will be open today. John Wight, group chairman and chief executive officer of BF&M Ltd, said: “We are relieved to hear that all who reside in Bermuda are safe. We have already received a number of claims for damaged homes, businesses and boats and are at work assessing the extent of the damages. Given the power of the gusts we experienced, it is fortunate that the island did not experience greater destruction. We are holding those who are dealing with damages in our thoughts and are doing everything we can to support their recovery as quickly as possible.” Hamilton Princess & Beach Club re-opened its Crown & Anchor and Marcus’ restaurants yesterday, while 1609 is expected to resume service today. This evening’s scheduled Marina Nights event is cancelled, but performers, The Big Chill, will play at the Crown & Anchor happy hour. The hotel was not accepting any new room reservations for last night. Meanwhile, private truckers were enlisted to assist government work crews with the clean-up, and many could be seen with flatbeds overflowing with tree branches and foliage, while others were seen ferrying utility poles. Restaurants and pubs also did a roaring business, both pre and post-Humberto. Many residents whose employers closed at noon on Wednesday seized the opportunity for a hot meal, and a cold beverage, at lunchtime with Humberto’s wrath still a few hours away — and eateries on Front Street were open for business yesterday morning, as was Soul Food Grill on Court Street and Devil’s Isle on Burnaby Street, among others. However, many local and international businesses in Hamilton remained closed yesterday. Wedco announced late yesterday that the Clocktower Mall will remain closed throughout today.
Residents in the West End were busy cleaning up yesterday after Hurricane Humberto battered Bermuda. The Category 3 storm snapped utilities poles, ripped off roofs of buildings including Allen Temple AME Church, uprooted trees and downed power lines on Wednesday. Tashae Bean said that she was at home with her family when the storm struck her house on Sound View Road, Sandys, and ripped off part of the roof. She added: “If it would have lasted longer, I don’t think we would have had a roof at all this morning.” Ms Bean said that the roof had also been torn off by Hurricane Fabian, a Category 4 storm that hammered Bermuda in 2003. She added: “It’s nothing that I’m not used to. It’s part of living on the island.” Area residents worked to repair the damaged roof yesterday morning. Ms Bean said that she loved the way the community came together to help one another in times of needs such as after a storm. She added that she would like to see the togetherness at other times as well. Ms Bean said: “We’re an island. We should have block parties and stuff like that. You should get to know your neighbours.” Ms Bean encouraged island residents to check on their neighbours, especially elderly members of the community. Allen Temple, located across the street, also suffered roof damage. The Reverend Howard Dill said the damage caused by the storm was “unfortunate”. But he added: “Life is more important than anything. As we hear people say in other jurisdictions, all this stuff can be replaced at some particular point in time.” Members of the congregation were on site yesterday morning to lend a hand to make temporary repairs. Mr Dill said that he encouraged church members to take care of their own homes and those of neighbours first and foremost. He added: “Some of our gentlemen before coming here were helping and assisting their neighbours.” Mr Dill urged Bermuda’s business community not to take advantage of those left in need by Humberto. He said: “This is a time for the businesses not to gorge with pricing. For persons who are assisting and helping people, it’s not a time to try get rich.” Several local businesses were also damaged by the storm. D&C Grill, on Middle Road, Southampton, lost part of its roof. Donald Taylor, the owner of the Caribbean restaurant, said that he was not at the location when the storm hit. He added yesterday: “This morning is when I saw what had happened.” Mr Taylor said that employees had pitched in to tarp the roof to prevent after further damage inside the business. Somerset Police Station lost part of its roof, although no officer injuries were reported. Work crews were also kept busy working to clear roads and restore power to area residents. John Martin, a Belco employee, expected a long work day ahead. He explained: “Probably straight through until midnight.” Mr Martin said that the priority was to first restore power to the main circuits and encouraged member of the public to give space to restoration crews.
Residents of a Pembroke condominium complex were reeling yesterday after a possible tornado tore through the area. The Queen’s Cove Apartments in Fairylands, Pembroke, lost pieces of roof and power during Hurricane Humberto on Wednesday night. Joan Terceira said that she remembered feeling “shock and horror” when the winds tore pieces off her roof and caused the ceiling above her living room to cave in. Her daughter, Karon Wright, said: “We saw that the ceiling was giving in and we weren’t sure whether it was the window or the whole roof. We didn’t come into the living room, we just stood outside, and the whole lot came down and brought everything down with it.” Ms Terceira explained that the ceiling closest to her patio, which was made of drywall, collapsed over almost half of her living room, destroying her television and a ceramic lamp. Ms Terceira added: “We usually don’t get damage, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.” Ms Wright said that they were later told that the damage was caused by a small tornado that was formed in the southwest and briefly moved past the buildings before collapsing. She added that family members would help her mother through Hurricane Jerry, which is expected to hit next week, while she flew back to her home in Britain. Ms Terceira said: “Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain too much until then, because there’s nothing to cover it.” The Bermuda Weather Service could not confirm whether a tornado had formed during the storm. A spokeswoman added that winds stronger than they had previously measured might have been responsible for the damages. The United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states on its website that weak and brief tornadoes can be created during hurricanes and tropical storms. Colin Young, 96, said that he was watching television on Wednesday night during the hurricane when he heard “an almighty crack”. He added that it wasn’t until the next morning that he learnt that the roof of his third-floor patio had completely caved in. He explained: “I hadn’t any idea what it was, but it sounded very metallic. I thought, ‘What is up on the roof besides air conditioner units? Mr Young explained: “I was sure they can’t move those by the force of winds. Little did I realise that the ‘almighty crack’ was the roof coming off the porch.” Mr Young said that the force of the winds pushed water through his outside doors and soaked much of his furniture and floor. Much of the tiling alongside the condominium complex had been torn off of the western side of the building. He said: “By our position we knew that we were in for some trouble, but you can only prepare for so much.”
The Transport Control Department advised that testing facilities at both the Southside and Rockaway locations are closed today due to damage caused by Hurricane Humberto. The Department apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause its customers.
A Pembroke reflexologist might have picked the wrong tree to shelter her car under. Holly Paiva, of Ocean Lane, awoke yesterday morning to find her Ford Fusion’s windshield smashed in by a tree and her hood damaged. “The thing is I picked that spot to shelter my car because I was worried that a large palm in my yard might fall on the car,” Ms Paiva said. “So I picked what I thought was a safer spot.” But at the height of the storm the sound of smashing glass hinted she had made a mistake. “I was inside with my two daughters when I heard it,” she said. “I had a feeling it was my car.” When the winds died down, she discovered a Mexican pepper tree had fallen on top of her car. The palm she had worried about earlier was still intact. Ms Paiva did not yet know how much it would cost to repair it. “I haven’t talked to my insurance company yet,” she said. “But I am a mobile reflexologist, so this is going to really put a damper on my business.” During the next storm she plans to park under the palm.
Bermuda’s only cargo dock has reopened for business. A spokesman for Stevedoring Services Ltd, which has the exclusive licence to operate the docks in Hamilton, said a team from SSL assessed and reordered the dock yesterday following the passing of Hurricane Humberto. The spokesman said: “It was determined that the facilities were in good order. The docks will open as normal at 8am on Friday, and will be able to receive containers back on the port at that time.” Warren Jones, the chief executive of Polaris Holding Company Ltd, SSL’s parent company, said: “I am pleased to report that the Hamilton Port has been reset and is ready to receive the Bermuda Islander and regular business customers on Friday.” The MV Bermuda Islander is set to dock in Bermuda this afternoon. Discharge of the Islander will occur immediately upon arrival, the spokesman said.
The Mall at Dockyard will reopen tomorrow as the Grandeur of the Seas is due to arrive on Saturday and the Norwegian Dawn on Sunday. However, the West End Development Corporation (WEDCO) is warning people that Dockyard is still in ‘hurricane mode’ with boats taken out of the water for Hurricane Humberto still on the roads and cleaning up work still in progress. Joanna Cranfield WEDCO’s Business Development Manager, said: “Boats will remain on the roads due to the approach of Hurricane Jerry. Our staff will also be out cleaning up after Humberto and preparing for Jerry. We very much wanted to open this weekend due to the arrival of two cruise ships and to show that Bermuda is open for business! While we want everyone to come to Dockyard and enjoy the fantastic facilities we have, we did have people coming just to see the damage from Humberto. It is very important that our staff are able to get on with securing and cleaning the area and we would ask people to bear that in mind before heading to the area.”
The emergence of cyber-risk is prompting insurance companies to move beyond pure indemnification of loss costs, the president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers has said. John Huff was speaking at Monte Carlo Reinsurance Rendez-Vous de Septembre, the annual conference of reinsurers. “What cyber is highlighting, and Abir members have been very strong in delivering, is that cyber starts with policyholders asking the insurers and the reinsurers to tell them how to protect themselves, through the underwriting process,” he told Monte Carlo Today, a special edition published by Intelligent Insurer. "Insurers are improving ‘cyberhygiene’ by telling potential customers, who are merely applying for cyber coverage, that no, they’re not interested in them because they don’t have the software patches, or hardware enhancements, or a protocol, or a culture for cyber resilience. The industry is now going from silent cyber, that may or may not be in D&O and other policies, to a true standalone affirmative cyber product. Regulators are pushing for it and the industry is responding. It will be an exciting time.” Mr Huff said Bermuda was at the forefront of the market and continues to provide the thought leadership and impetus to lead that shift to standalone products. “I’m getting very energized about cyber,” he said. “Bermuda will take a leadership role in this area because cyber is going to evolve. No-one knows yet what the magic formula is for coverage and for cyber terms and conditions and what will be the exact value proposition for cyber coverage. One thing is certain: it will require flexibility and adaptation.”
About 60 people turned out to demand action on climate change this morning as part of a global environmental effort. Mass demonstrations and strikes have been seen around the world today as young people take to the streets to protest climate change. Pupils from schools including Bermuda High School for Girls, Warwick Academy, Somersfield Academy and Saltus Grammar School held signs and called out slogans including “our planet, our future”. They were joined by Fridays for Future Bermuda, an activist group calling on the Bermuda Government to declare climate change an emergency and to ban single-use plastics among other demands.
Hurricane Jerry has formed near the Caribbean even as Hurricane Humberto continues away from the island. It is the fourth hurricane of the Atlantic season, with initial winds of 75mph, according to the United States National Hurricane Centre. Meteorologists are watching Jerry closely, and the Emergency Measures Organisation will meet on Monday to assess whether it presents a threat to Bermuda. The storm’s closest point as of noon was forecast to be 630 miles by noon on Sunday, but estimates only extend to three days. At noon, Jerry stood 1,250 miles to our southeast. It is expected to skim just north of the Leeward Islands. According to the NHC, Jerry’s long-term course towards Bermuda is affected by a subtropical ridge. But the service added a note of caution about predictions extending beyond three days, noting: “Since the environmental uncertainty at long range is so high, little change has been made to the previous forecast.”
At 8pm, power restoration continues, while schools have given their status for Friday after the overnight passage of Hurricane Humberto tore across the island — and buses will remain out of service tomorrow. Belco reported that power restoration could take days, and drivers have been urged to keep off the roads tonight. 8pm: Belco said 16,448 remained without power as of 7pm, with 56 per cent restored. The work is likely to take another four days until all have their lights back on. A spokesman added: “Our crews are making good progress, but there are challenges. Much of the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto is making it difficult to quickly and easily restore large areas at a time, so crews are working methodically, as fast as they can, to reroute lines and replace infrastructure as needed. The utility asked for the public’s patience as work continues.
A raft of closures and cancellations have been announced in advance of Hurricane Humberto.
Appleby partner Vanessa Schrum has been recognised as among the leaders in her practice area in the Private Client Global Elite Directory published by Legal Week. Ms Schrum, the global head of private client and trusts at Appleby Bermuda, has been recognised as “global elite”, one of just 294 lawyers worldwide to receive that designation. An additional 136 lawyers were deemed “ones to watch”. Those individuals recognised are determined by a number of contributing factors including recommendations received from the global legal community, their international networks including the jurisdictions in which they are qualified and in which they undertake cross-border work, and their overall experience, effectiveness and commitment to client service, the firm said. Launched in 2017, the directory receives thousands of entries annually.
Maceo Dill, the vice-president of the Bermuda Football Coaches Association, says he is encouraged by the strides that he and his colleagues are making in their efforts to raise local standards on coaching. To date, the association has helped nearly 400 locals obtain Uefa C Licence accreditation and another 35 have gained their B Licence, working in collaboration with the affiliated Bermuda Football Association. “We are continuously working in partnership with the BFA,” Dill said. “The BFA have a coaching-licensing programme, which we are assisting them to qualify coaches under. Over the years we have developed over 350 C Licence coaches in Bermuda and 35 B Licence coaches. So we have a big number, which bodes well as we try to professionalise our coaching industry.” The C Licence qualifies coaches to oversee the under-17 age group while the B Licence is a requirement for all coaches at senior level. The BFCA held an award ceremony at the National Sports Centre on Monday for the 32 candidates who passed the previous C Licence Course, which comprised various practical and theory exercises. The course took place over one week in February and again this month. “We had 32 participants and everyone passed their C Licence, but 15 of them scored 80 per cent or above to qualify for the Uefa B Licence Course delivered by the Scottish FA,” Dill added. The course was directed by Jacques Crevosier, the Uefa instructor and former Liverpool and France assistant coach, who was helped by a group of local coaching educators that included Dill as course manager. “We have developed our local coaching educators in the likes of Andrew Bascome, Derek Stapley, Maurice Lowe, Larry Smith and myself, who delivered the assessment and the instructional stuff,” Dill added. “But the C Licence Course is overseen by Jacques Crevosier, whom we have been bringing down for the last 14 years.” Among the latest to earn C Licence certification were Rai Simons, the former Chesterfield forward, Vashun Blanchette, the Somerset Cricket Club president and a former player himself, and Mishael Paynter, the vice-president of St George’s Cricket Club. “As you can see, we are starting to attract some younger candidates,” Dill said. “The likes of Rai Simons, an ex-professional player that’s now getting involved in the coaching educational part of it, which is great for our country to attract younger candidates.” In addition to staging the final part of the C Licence Course last week, the BFCA also partnered with the BFA to offer further professional coaching development to certified B Licence coaches. “We also want to keep enhancing the ability of our existing B Licence coaches, so we offered them the opportunity for additional development,” Dill said. “Part of the B Licence is that every two years you have to take additional development to keep current. So what we offered them was the ability to analyze the Panama game [Concacaf Nations League match] and prepare sessions to give them further credit in maintaining their licence. It’s just like first aid: you have to keep refreshing yourself. We recognised that coaches have to keep current and refresh themselves, so we are offering that service as well.”
Data services and business intelligence solutions firm Bespoke Analytics is to host a free, educational showcase to show local companies how quickly they can leverage their data using TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub data management platform. The company said the showcase is intended to meet a market need for companies to modernise their data estate and take advantage of some of the many game-changing data leveraging opportunities such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. The showcase will be held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on October 2 from 8.30am until 11am. Breakfast is included. Bespoke says the event will show frustrated data users how quickly they can leverage their data using Discovery Hub and accelerate the time to insight by up to 80 per cent faster than traditional data warehouse and business intelligence methods. A company spokesman said: “The aim of the showcase is to let companies know that there is a robust, fast, low risk alternative to traditional data warehouse and business intelligence solutions that will give companies in Bermuda advanced data capabilities and the competitive advantages these capabilities bring, allowing them to maintain their coveted position as leaders on the world business stage.” Bespoke Analytics builds data strategies and solutions that help clients leverage their data for faster, smarter decision making, it said. TimeXtender, Bespoke said, is a recognised global software company that enables instant access to any type of data in the organisation to support advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.
The Bermuda Weather Service has lifted the island’s Tropical Storm Warning as Hurricane Humberto continues to speed away. As of 3am, the storm was 195 miles north-northeast of Bermuda and speeding away at 23mph. A small craft warning remains in effect as rough conditions in Bermuda’s waters are expected to continue today. Kim Zuill of the BWS said: “Things are quieting down quite nicely. We have downgraded and we are no longer in Tropical Storm Warning.” The BWS forecast said: “As Humberto moves away local conditions will rapidly improve with a bright and mainly dry day and seas rapidly decreasing. Northerly winds will persist for a few days bringing a cool off to our temperatures.” The American-based National Hurricane Centre said this morning “Large swells and dangerous surf generated by Humberto will continue along the coast of Bermuda through today, and these could continue to cause coastal flooding. “Storm surge along the coast of Bermuda should subside today.”
Numerous buildings have been damaged and more than 28,000 people lost power as Hurricane Humberto battered Bermuda. Somerset Police Station lost part of its roof — although all officers were said to be safe — in the storm that has lashed the island with hurricane force winds for several hours. The CedarBridge Academy shelter suffered damaged windows but none of the 46 members of the public or 30 support staff were injured. Part of the roof blew off at Island Glass, on Serpentine Road, at least eight homes were reported damaged in the West End and the Government warned people to stay off the roads in the morning because of downed trees and power lines. At Humberto’s peak point of impact at about 8.30pm, wind speeds of more than 81mph and gusts of more than 114mph were recorded at LF Wade International Airport. The storm’s closest point to the island came at 9pm, when it was about 75 miles away. The Causeway will remain closed until further notice while it is examined for structural damage. Public schools and Government offices will be closed today. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said at 7.45am: “We have come through a really, really challenging night. “There were no fatalities. Our country is resilient. Today, we are going to get through this.” Mr Caines urged people to stay off the roads until they have been cleared, but encouraged them to help clean up their neighborhoods and “look out for the seniors and most vulnerable”. The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service received 45 calls by midnight, including three minor structural fires, nine medical incidents, 17 minor incidents such as gas leaks and transformer fires and 16 automatic fire alarms. Emergency incidents included a reported propane gas leak at Caesar’s Pharmacy on Main Road, Somerset, and a car getting stuck in the area of Stokes Point Road, St George’s. Harbour Radio reported a boat in distress but said the single occupant on-board was found safe, on land and uninjured. Power outages affected 28,515 Belco customers — about 80 per cent of the island — by 10.45pm. Belco urged people to stay off the roads early on Thursday because of downed trees and power lines. Hurricane force winds were beginning to subside by 10.30pm, but tropical storm force winds are expected to continue until 4am or 5am. By midnight, Humberto had passed and was about 128 miles to the north-northeast. It remained a Category 3 hurricane, with winds of 120mph and gusts of 150mph. A Government spokeswoman said at 1am: “At first light, early responders will start moving around Bermuda to assess and begin clearing the roads. In the interest of the safety of the emergency personnel, no assessments will be undertaken before daylight. Reports have been received by emergency services of downed trees and power lines. For their own safety, residents are urged to stay off the roads which will also give emergency services the time to do their jobs. The priority will be clearing major roads at each end of the island going to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.” She added that Mr Caines would give an overview and assessment of the island at 7.30am. Bermuda Hospitals Board said sections of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and old Continuing Care Unit facilities had suffered damage but that patient care was not impacted and staff kept services running throughout the storm. Services were expected to resume after the storm finishes. Anna Nowak, the vice-president of public relations at BHB, said: “Special thanks to all BHB staff who have worked tirelessly through the storm to ensure care continued. It takes hundreds of clinical, support and administrative staff in multiple facilities to implement organizational hurricane plans and ensure all events during the storm are managed so that people in need of care and support receive it without interruption. We are also grateful to all of the additional senior clinicians who willingly made themselves available on-site to react to any unforeseen emergencies. Finally our thanks to the Bermuda Weather Service for their very helpful products online which guide our management.”
First-quarter fiscal performance figures for 2019 were released by the Ministry of Finance yesterday. Revenues for the three months ending in June were $266.5 million, $6.4 million higher than in June 2018. A ministry spokeswoman said that the primary reason for the increase, was because of an increase in payroll tax collections of about $4.7 million, higher passenger tax collections of about $3.5 million and higher collections in customs duty of $1.9 million. She added: “In general, total revenues are tracking in line with budget estimates and the strength in payroll tax, passenger tax and customs duty receipts increases the chance of meeting the total revenue target of $1,118.5 million for the current fiscal year.” The spokeswoman said that current expenditures for the period were up $4.9 million from the same period in the last fiscal year to $235 million. She explained the increased spending was “mainly due to salary negotiated pay awards, offset by lower expenditures in grants and contributions and insurance”. The spokeswoman added: “In general, current expenditures, excluding debt service, are tracking in line with budget estimates. The $236 million spent in the first three months of 2019-20 represents approximately 25.4 per cent of the total current account budget of $929.9 million.” Capital expenditures for the period were $17 million, $5.2 million high than in 2018. The spokeswoman said: “This is due to structural refurbishment of bridges, refurbishing ferry docks, capital maintenance on Tynes Bay and new capital grant amounts to the Bermuda Housing Corporation.” She said that capital expenditures were “tracking on budget”, and that the $17 million spent represented about 26 per cent of total capital account budget of $64.7 million. The spokeswoman said total current and capital spending, excluding debt service, was $10 million, 4.1 per cent higher than last year’s spending. She added that interest on debt for the period was $29 million; $1.9 million less than last year’s period. The spokeswoman said: “This is primarily due to the refinancing of more expensive government bonds, in November 2018, when Government executed an international bond transaction.” The spokeswoman said the Government had incurred a deficit of $15.7 million in the period, compared with $29.9 million last year. She added: “This deficit was financed with working capital. No new borrowing was incurred during this period.” The spokeswoman said that gross debt at the end of June stood at $2.58 billion and net of the sinking fund, debt was $2.461 billion. She added: “In May 2019, $100 million of private placement notes matured. Government drew from the sinking fund to pay off these private placement notes, which reduced interest expenses on an annual basis, by $7.38 million.”
Royal Gazette Editorial. "Recent news of redundancies at Butterfield Bank and at Bermuda Security Group, and the recent announcements of retail store closures, must raise grave concerns about the state of the economy. This may seem alarmist, given the most recent government statistics. After all they suggest the Bermuda economy is growing, albeit slowly. But it is not alarmist. Business confidence remains exceptionally low and there is little suggestion that growth is likely to increase; indeed, it is more likely to contract as the big capital projects at the airport and at the St Regis Hotel in St George’s move towards completion. Recent statistics should not be dismissed, of course. Gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2019 was 3.5 per cent after inflation, the strongest in some time, and that was the fourth consecutive quarter of real growth. The balance of payments surplus also grew by 3.8 per cent in the same period, also suggesting that the economy was on the upswing in the first part of the year. The Employment Survey, based on reporting from employers in August 2018, showed that the number of filled jobs increased by 155, or less than 0.5 per cent. Similarly, according to the November jobs survey, unemployment fell to 4.5 per cent from 5.2 per cent in May. All of those numbers suggest that the Bermuda economy was growing in 2018 and that the growth continued into the early part of 2019. Other statistics are less positive, especially retail sales, which have been consistently down and dropped 4.4 per cent in May in real terms. At the same time, imports by consumers from overseas increased, although these numbers tend to go up and down. Bermuda’s retail sector is undoubtedly shrinking, both for structural, internally generated reasons such as customs duties and for global reasons like competition from online and bricks and mortar retailers such as Amazon.com and Walmart. The internet makes Bermuda’s attempts to protect its industries irrelevant. International business, which is directly responsible for 3,900 jobs — the largest sector — and indirectly responsible for thousands more, has been essentially flat for the past five years or more. And while hotel employment and tourism-related sectors have experienced growth, that increase has tapered off in 2019, and is unlikely to increase dramatically until more hotels such as the St Regis come online. The reality is that much of the positive growth of the past two years has been driven by the construction of the St Regis, which will not open until 2021 but has carried out much of the heavy construction in terms of the foundation and steel erection, and the airport, scheduled to open next year. Unless the beleaguered Caroline Bay project finds new financing and stages an unlikely comeback, what must concern policymakers and business leaders alike is that there is nothing on the horizon that will inject life into the economy. International business may well continue at its existing level, as will tourism, but there are few other signs of growth. The Premier, David Burt, has pinned most of his hopes and his credibility on fintech and Bermuda becoming a centre for cryptocurrencies. And while this may still happen, so far new jobs have been few and far between. Against this backdrop, a decade of little or no growth, mushrooming government debt — now increased further by the payment of the government guarantee on Morgan’s Point — and now the prospect of what little growth there has been in the past 18 months petering out, the Bermuda First report is timely. Commissioned by the Premier, it again pushes him to square the circle between the Progressive Labour Party’s populist rhetoric in the 2017 election and the harsh economic realities his government now faces. As with most other recommendations of recent years, the Bermuda First committee calls for a relaxation of the island’s immigration and residency laws as a means of invigorating the economy. It also recommends the broadening of the Bermuda economy through the sale of commercial real estate to overseas buyers and easing of the remaining 60:40 company ownership restrictions. Other recommendations will also clash with government priorities, including the establishment of an independent authority to oversee education and a profound disagreement with the present government plans to change healthcare. Nonetheless, it is the central theme of opening the economy that is of both the highest necessity for Bermuda and will cause the Government the most difficulty. It is hard to escape the irony that the PLP stood by when in Opposition as the People’s Campaign blockaded Parliament to oppose the previous government’s Pathways to Status but has now failed to produce its own plan to resolve the issue of long-term residency; nor that the airport construction, which the PLP so vehemently opposed, has produced much of what little economic growth there has been in the past two years. But the protests that accompanied those two events not being repeated since July 2017 proves that the PLP government is in a position to do what proved to be impossible for the One Bermuda Alliance government. Like Richard Nixon going to China, only the PLP can reform immigration because of its track record of putting Bermudians first and its concentration on protecting Bermudians in the past. It can say, with a credibility that the OBA had difficulty claiming, that it is easing immigration rules because there is no choice but to do so, and it has to do so because it is the only way to ensure a viable future for Bermudians. To be sure, the recommendations of the Bermuda First Committee contain risks, and this newspaper has already expressed its doubts about the passing of flagship Bermudian businesses into overseas hands. But the truth is that the Bermuda economy today is like a sailing ship on a lee shore: being pushed inexorably towards the rocks by the winds and the current. To survive, its tiny crew needs the help of others to come on board and row it to safety. The Bermuda economy cannot recover if it continues with the status quo. The stagnation of the past decade proves this, as does the success of the Cayman Islands in the same period. Bermuda refused to change and has declined. Cayman opened its doors and is thriving, creating opportunities for newcomers and Caymanians alike. Another newspaper, talking about an entirely different matter, said this recently: “There is a fine line between repeating an experiment until you reach perfection, and continuing it out of stubborn stupidity when the ingredients are clearly wrong.” For more than two years, the Government has tried to make the ingredients of Bermudians First and Bermudian protectionism work. As with many experiments, there may have been some indications of success — slight improvements in GDP and jobs, for example. But it must also be obvious that the successes have been limited, while the problems — stasis in Bermuda’s main industry, the ageing population, unaffordable healthcare, crushing private and public debt — continue to grow. Great leaders recognize when it’s time to change course. The time is now."
A legal battle between three sisters over ownership of a Pembroke home came to a head last month, as the Supreme Court decided the property should be divided among them. Rosemarie Pedro had argued she gained sole ownership of the property after the 2013 death of her stepfather, Quinton Dowling Jr. However, the court found her sisters, Wanda Pedro and Jennifer Pedro, were each entitled to one third of the property and that Rosemarie had used “undue influence” on her stepfather for her own benefit. Assistant Justice Rod Attride-Stirling said: “The idea that Mr Dowling would cut off two of his stepdaughters is inconsistent with the evidence, but is supportive of the allegation that Rosemarie had acquired ascendancy and was acting in a manner which took unfair advantage of Mr Dowling.” The court heard that Mr Dowling and his wife, Mary Dowling, bought a house on The Glebe Road on January 31, 1997 through a down payment and a $101,000 mortgage from HSBC, to be paid through Mr Dowling’s salary. On the same date, the couple, with Rosemarie, signed a declaration of trust that said she would “hold the said house as trustee for myself and my surviving sisters as tenants-in-common in equal shares”. The court heard the document was produced as part of a bank practice to get “young blood” on the mortgage to ensure someone younger was “on the hook” to repay the mortgage. Mr Justice Attride-Stirling said in his August 23 judgment: “The uncontested evidence at trial was that the parents did not want to add Rosemarie to the title deeds at all, but did this at the insistence of the bank. Rosemarie played no role in the acquisition of the property, nor in the payment of the mortgages. Rosemarie claims, however, that this changed later.” Rosemarie moved into an apartment at the property and she said she helped her mother and stepfather with the mortgage. The court heard Mrs Dowling died in 2004, and in 2009 HSBC made a second loan to Rosemarie and Mr Dowling in the amount of $205,000, secured by a new mortgage. Mr Dowling suffered a stroke in October 2011, which left him “severely incapacitated”, and he remained in hospital until his death in September 2013. Wanda argued Rosemarie had used “undue influence” on Mr Dowling when he signed the 2009 mortgage, and that under the trust document both she and Jennifer were entitled to one third of the property. However, Rosemarie denied having any undue influence and argued the trust document had no legal effect. HSBC agreed with Rosemarie and claimed they were entitled to 100 per cent of the proceeds of the sale of the house should they enforce the mortgage. Mr Justice Attride-Stirling said in his judgment that Rosemarie’s evidence “was not credible”. Rosemarie denied allegations that she used the proceeds of the 2009 mortgage to pay for a dog valued at $6,000, televisions and overseas trips, and said the funds were used to make renovations in the house. The judge said she produced “scant” evidence of where the money was spent and told the court the invoices were destroyed in a storm. Mr Justice Attride-Stirling said: “On the evidence before me, I am unable to conclude that Rosemarie used all or even most of the loan proceeds for the renovations. Further, I conclude that Rosemarie used some of the loan proceeds for her personal use. Given the state of the evidence, the court is not able to determine with precision what was spent and how it was spent.” Mr Justice Attride-Stirling found that Rosemarie had put undue influence on her stepfather in the case of the 2009 loan. He noted that she was the only person to benefit, as the loan was to improve her apartment, but not the one in which Mr Dowling lived. The judge wrote: “Rosemarie lived next door to Mr Dowling. Her evidence is that she was his principal caregiver and that he relied on her. In the context of the evidence heard, I find that this led to a relationship where Rosemarie had acquired a significant degree of ascendancy over Mr Dowling.” Mr Justice Attride-Stirling found that Wanda and Jennifer were entitled to two thirds of the property under the trust. He found also that Rosemarie did not have the power to enter into the 2009 mortgage agreement, which meant the agreement was unenforceable. The judge said HSBC did have a claim against Rosemarie for the full amount of the 2009 mortgage, but has no such claim against her sisters. If the bank enforces its claim and the property is sold, Mr Justice Attride-Stirling found Wanda and Jennifer would each be entitled to one third of the sale amount.
Liquor companies should pitch in to help fund addiction treatment, according to the head of the substance abuse intervention agency Focus Counselling Services. Leslie Grant, the executive director, made the call as he highlighted the need for extra resources in Bermuda’s recovery community. Mr Grant, who took the reins from Sandy Butterfield as executive director of the charity in April, said the service would host an open house today, to raise much needed funds. Alcoholism ranks as one of the island’s top forms of substance abuse, the internationally certified alcohol and drug counsellor and clinical supervisor said. Mr Grant called for the companies turning the biggest profits on alcohol to step up to a positive role. He told The Royal Gazette: “I am not saying that the alcohol stores and companies are the cause. They do provide the substance, but they don’t make people drink it. However, many of them do make a lot of money and in some countries, the alcohol companies put quite a lot of money towards treatment. I can’t say that they do that here. Alcohol is one of the most prevalent substances; it is not the only substance, but these companies could support the community, by sharing some of those profits to support the recovery community. It could help Focus and a lot of other charities and facilities; they could make a big difference.” Mr Grant added that he would like to see a specific fund to support treatment for all forms of substance abuse. He said: “There are different entities that raise funds, but I am talking about being able to provide resources and treatment overseas for persons who can’t get the kind of treatment they need here in Bermuda. Pathways Bermuda does assist, but they do the best that they can. There are people who could benefit, not only from a different environment, but a different treatment modality, and for a longer period of time — a mid to long-term facility that is offered that is in another country. There is no funding for that.” Focus provides supportive residency or sober living programmes, drop-in centre and individual and group counselling services for its clients, but Mr Grant says it would like to extend the level of support it offers under his leadership. The charity’s open house today runs from 10am to 3pm at 36 Union Street in Hamilton for networking with partners and to “reintroduce itself and its services” to the community. Dignitaries attending will include Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor. Mr Grant encouraged potential donors to attend to hear the charity’s latest plans. He explained: “We are having our open house to show the public that we are open for business and that we offer more than a place of refuge.” Mr Grant said he hoped to counter perceptions that “guys just come up here to hang out and sleep”. He added: “The drop-in centre does offer a safe space; they do need that, but we want to take it to the next level and provide more opportunities for them. We want to implement new programmes and structures to encourage recovery. We have already started; we have psycho-educational services, information about substance abuse disorder, the effects on the person, body and community, and we are looking to structure that. Focus is launching additional services catering specifically to women.". The majority will be referrals, but the service also aims to offer “some individual counselling as well. We want to be providing services on a consistent basis to support a healthier community,” he said. Mr Grant has served as senior counsellor at The Right Living House, an in-prison residential treatment programme. He also worked at the Turning Point substance abuse programme as an addiction counsellor for six years, as well as a consultant counsellor for Pathways Bermuda. Mr Grant said the top challenge for Focus was its resources. He added: “We do not have a full-time counsellor, and I have other responsibilities, now including oversight of clinical services, operational management, fundraising and building on existing programmes. We can provide outpatient treatment and individual and group counselling, but not on a consistent basis, as we are without a full-time counsellor. I have some, very little, time to counsel — that is not ideal, but we have to make it happen. We have a lot of lives to save.”
The Argo Group Gold Cup, one of the most storied match-racing regattas in the world that has been won by the luminaries of the America’s Cup arena, will rejoin the World Match Racing Tour for its 70th competition next year, scheduled from May 11 to 16 in Bermuda. Event organisers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club also confirmed that Argo Group, an international underwriter of speciality insurance and reinsurance, will be back as the title sponsor. An expected field of 12 teams will battle for the King Edward VII Gold Cup, the oldest match-racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts that dates back to 1907, and a $100,000 prize purse. “The Argo Group Gold Cup has long been coveted by skippers and crews around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome back Argo Group and to rejoin the World Match Racing Tour,” said Leatrice Oatley, the event chairwoman and a past commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “The Gold Cup has carved out its place in the match racing calendar by providing thrilling racing within metres of the shoreline for spectators to see, and first-class hospitality. The continued support of Argo Group and rejoining the World Match Racing Tour reinforce the prestige associated with the King Edward VII Gold Cup,” Oatley said. Argo Group returns as the title sponsor for the eleventh time, renewing a longstanding tradition of supporting community and sporting events in Bermuda. “We are thrilled to continue as title sponsor of the Argo Group Gold Cup,” said Mark Watson III, the Argo Group chief executive. “Argo’s support of this prestigious match race demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Bermuda. Supporting this event is also a natural extension of Argo’s commitment to innovation, teamwork and sustainability. “Like the elite athletes who compete in the Argo Group Gold Cup, we know that rewards come only to those who overcome risks through innovation, approach risks as a team, and manage risks in ways that respect our environment.” The Gold Cup rejoins the World Match Racing Tour after a four-year hiatus. The tour has been under new ownership since earlier this year and is returning to its broader business model with a collective of world championship-level events, including the Gold Cup and qualifier events that will comprise the tour season. Points accumulated at the events will lead to the crowning of the Open Match Racing world champion as sanctioned by World Sailing. The Gold Cup was a flagship event for the tour before its hiatus and now is the first event to join the tour as it reassembles. “I am delighted to welcome back the Argo Group Gold Cup as an official event of the World Match Racing Tour,” said executive director James Pleasance, a tour principal since 2002. “The Argo Group Gold Cup has a longstanding history as a flagship event of the World Match Racing Tour and is a favourite of match-racing teams all over the world. We look forward to working with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Argo Group and their partners again next year.” Earlier this year, Ian Williams, of Britain, became the twelfth multiple winner when he defeated Johnie Berntsson, of Sweden, in the final. It was the second title in Bermuda for Williams and ranked him alongside luminaries such as Sir Ben Ainslie, of Britain, Taylor Canfield, of the US Virgin Islands, Chris Dickson, of New Zealand, and Berntsson as two-times winners. America’s Cup legend Sir Russell Coutts, a five-times winner of the Auld Mug from New Zealand, is the Gold Cup’s title leader with seven victories. “When I was getting into match racing, this was the first big event I came to in 1998,” said the 42-year-old Williams after his victory on May 11. “This was the one you really wanted to win. To win in 2006 was huge for us; it was our first big win. I’ve been coming back since and always fell at the final hurdle. We traditionally struggle here. To win for the first time in 13 years is incredible.” Invitations to the 70th Argo Group Gold Cup will be issued later this year.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, urged the Bermuda public yesterday to be prepared for the potential impact of Hurricane Humberto. Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation has been closely monitoring the Category 1 hurricane’s progress and will meet both tomorrow and Wednesday afternoon, at which point it will be decided what services, if any, will be halted for the storm. “We want the people of Bermuda to be prepared for the storm. We have been through this before. The majority of us lived through Emily. We lived through a few of these things. How do we minimise damage? How do we prevent people from getting hurt? We prepare.” Mr Caines added that the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been put on standby and the EMO has been in dialogue with Government House. He said: “We believe we are capable and talented, and the Bermuda Regiment has trained for this for a number of years, but the Governor has indicated that the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] does have a team that is ready to assist us on standby in Miami.” The storm has already caused the cancellation of a town hall meeting on the issue of immigration, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday night. As of this morning Bermuda was under a Tropical Storm Warning as Humberto continued to travel towards the island. At 9am today, Hurricane Humberto was 555 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, but the storm is expected to blow 97 miles past Bermuda’s north-northwest at 11pm tomorrow. The Bermuda Weather Service said last night: “Squalls and showers in patchy heavy rain, as well as gusty thunderstorms, will push out well ahead of Humberto. Dangerous seas start Tuesday night. Storm-force winds with hurricane-force gusts may begin as early as Wednesday evening, lasting into Thursday.” The US-based National Hurricane Centre warned: “Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Humberto is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.” Steve Cosham, the national disaster co-ordinator, warned that the forecasts have a margin of error, which means the storm could still miss the island entirely or be a direct hit. He said: “Humberto is still three days out, and the National Hurricane Centre allows for an error in their predictions of 40 miles for every 12 hours out the storm is. This equates to more than 240 miles in three days. This means it’s too early to say exactly what will happen. We could have a direct impact on Thursday or we could have blue skies with hardly any breeze if it’s 240 miles away. So we don’t want to pull the trigger on closing anything, but we want to have people understand why we can’t yet make that decision.” Mr Caines said rain associated with the storm could begin as early as tomorrow morning, and urged all members of the public to prepare for the storm. “I must implore all Bermudians to take the storm seriously and prepare their homes and businesses and everything in their personal set of circumstances for the storm. After mid-morning tomorrow, we will see thunderstorms, which will lead to the edge of Hurricane Humberto.” Boats were being evacuated yesterday from the Dockyard marina and stored on land ahead of Hurricane Humberto’s approach to the island. Joanna Cranfield, the business development manager at the West End Development Corporation, warned motorists to take care in Dockyard and noted that the South Basin, North Rock car park and Smithery Lane will be closed to the public. Travellers were encouraged yesterday to move their vehicles from LF Wade International Airport before the arrival of the storm. Mikaela Pearman, the marketing and communications officer for Skyport, said: “While we can’t predict the exact weather conditions, the low-lying car park at the LF Wade International Airport has historically been subject to flooding. Ms Pearman added: “We would like the public to take the necessary precautions and remove their vehicles from the long-term parking area in the event flooding should occur. If you are off island, please try to find someone to move your car for you if possible.”
Importers are being encouraged to collect goods from the Hamilton docks today before the arrival of Hurricane Humberto. Stevedoring Service Limited said that the MV Somers Isles was being unloaded before it departed later today. The company said: “SSL will prepare the port for Hurricane Humberto and support customers as they collect their imports from the docks. SSL and the port will be closed all day tomorrow to allow staff to make personal preparations for the storm. An advisory will be issued on reopening as soon as possible once Hurricane Humberto has passed and conditions have been duly assessed.” Warren Jones, the chief executive, said that crews had been working since Sunday to unload goods. He added: “In order to ensure the Oleander and Somers Isles have been fully serviced, the team has not had the opportunity to do any personal preparations. We wish to ensure that they have every opportunity to ensure the safety of their own families and property.” Importers should collect all goods from the docks by 4pm. For more information call 292-3366.
The Government intends to “soft launch” a significant revision of Bermuda’s healthcare next autumn, but full implementation could take years. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, told a town hall in Sandys last night that the details of the Bermuda Health Plan and how it will be rolled out are still under discussion as the consultation process continues. Ms Wilson told an audience of about 50 at St James Church Hall that the Government will work with stakeholders, such as insurers and doctors, to determine how the transition from the existing healthcare model to the new scheme could be carried out. She suggested that it may be decided that a percentage of the population be moved into the new system, with more being added over time. Ms Wilson added: “It may be a couple of years before all 65,000 are in. The stakeholders will be able to say what would be reasonable to expect.” She said the existing standard healthcare benefit offered little in the way of preventive and primary care, which the new plan is intended to address. Ms Wilson said: “With the standard healthcare rate, 95 per cent of it is for inpatient and outpatient care. We are looking at cases where people say they can’t afford to go to the doctor because they can’t afford the copay, so we want to include primary-care visits with a regular fee, a regular copay, to encourage people who are saying they can’t go to a doctor to go for their annual visit.” She said such an approach would mean issues may be caught and addressed sooner, which would reduce overall healthcare costs. But Ms Wilson said the specifics of what the plan would contain, and what it would cost, are still up for discussion. A “mock package” for a single adult shows the present yearly cost of $7,058 potentially dropping to $6,308, with suggested savings such as:
Ms Wilson explained the meetings are intended to gather public feedback about what benefits they want to see, along with what premiums and co-pay are reasonable, to find the right balance. Ms Wilson added the ministry had already been told by some that the $400 coverage for prescription medicines seemed too low, but said the standard healthcare benefit does not include such coverage. The Bermuda Medical Doctors Association voiced reservations about the plan on Sunday and complained about the level of consultation with doctors. Ms Wilson responded yesterday that the ministry was “fully committed” to continued dialogue with physicians and healthcare providers. She said: “The Bermuda Medical Doctors Association statement reflects both the shared interest in putting patients first, and the mutual desire to continue dialogue. The ministry has been made aware of the BMDA’s position with respect to the Government’s decision to adopt a unified model of health financing. Their concerns are important and will inform the consultation and development of a transition road map to phase reforms gradually and avoid unintended consequences.” Ms Wilson added that a BMDA representative was included in the Health Financing Reform Stakeholder Consultation Group last year and BMDA members were invited to participate in a survey.
Crypto industry leader Jeremy Allaire will join Premier David Burt for the opening keynote conversation at the Bermuda Tech Summit on October 16. The event has been organised by the Bermuda Business Development Agency, in partnership with FinTech Bermuda. The conversation kicks off a complimentary full-day agenda, under the theme “Focused on the Future”, at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, showcasing Bermuda’s ongoing success in embracing innovation that will shape the future of international commerce. Mr Allaire is the founder and chief executive officer of Circle, a global crypto financial services company that provides individuals, institutions and entrepreneurs a digital assets platform to trade, invest and raise capital, backed by $250 million from investors including Goldman Sachs. In the next two years, the company plans to grow its Bermuda office to more than 30 people and has already started hiring. As part of Bermuda Tech Week 2019, ten panel sessions will look at the extent of business transformation in a wide range of industry sectors including financial services, hospitality, insurance and telecommunications. A networking reception will conclude the event in the evening. Mr Burt said: “I look forward to sharing a dynamic discussion with Mr Allaire, exploring the opportunities technology can bring not only to Bermuda’s economy but in its potential to fundamentally improve financial services globally. As the first company to be granted a full licence under Bermuda’s Digital Assets Business Act of 2018, Circle exemplifies the quality we are looking to attract to our island. By highlighting what can be achieved together, we hope to open the door to more growth and innovation moving forwards.” Mr Allaire said: “I am honoured to be joining Premier Burt on stage for the Bermuda Tech Summit. A lot can be learnt from Bermuda’s visionary approach and its ability to keep pace with change whilst simultaneously providing a regulatory framework that delivers certainty and security. Digital currency technologies and blockchains will continue to evolve rapidly in the next several years with adoption becoming mainstream. Countries, like Bermuda, able to participate in the innovation stand to benefit, helping hundreds of millions of people in the process.” Mr Allaire has spent the last 25 years building internet technology platforms and companies, including multiple global, publicly traded technology companies. As one of the most respected leaders in his field, Mr Allaire has provided expert testimony on cryptocurrencies and digital assets before the US Senate Committee on Banking where he spoke about Bermuda’s approach and how it should be emulated by other countries. Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the BDA, said: “Bermuda is now leading the way in emerging technologies, specifically fintech and insurtech, attracting innovative companies by offering them a global platform from which to grow and do business while ensuring our hard-earned reputation is not compromised. Our Bermuda Tech Summit, as part of the wider Bermuda Tech Week 2019, reflects this and is the ideal event to attend for those who want to stay informed on current trends and hear from key players in government and industry.” The day’s line-up promises to deliver fresh perspectives with insights from industry leaders, including Sean Neville, co-founder of Circle; Chris Evans, CIO and co-founder of Flyt Limited; Niclas Adler, CEO of Seaheal; Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block; Philip Bekhazi, CEO and Julien Aucherone, COO of XBTO; Chance Barnett of Jewel Bank; Michael Fan, chief strategy officer of Blade; Lucia Gallardo, founder of Emerge; Tim Grant, CEO of DrumG; Ted Chuckmala, Executive Director of Technology, AccorHotels North and Central America Region; Eduardo Cruz Del Rio, vice-president of operations, Wyndham Hotel Group; Diana Plazas, vice-president, marketing, Caribbean and Latin America, Marriott; Davina Nightingale, senior digital property channel, Hilton; Mina Matin, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright; Oscar Garcia, CEO of Uulala; Sol Girouard, CEO of Data Innovation Labs; Susan Oh, CEO of Muckr.ai; Joel Ogren, CEO of ACA International; Erik W. Contag, executive chairman, GlobeNet Telecom; David Edwards, CEO and founder of ChainThat; Cormac Kinney, CEO of Diamond Standard and Lewis Katz of Permanent Capital. Other Bermuda-based participants include Denis Pitcher, chief fintech adviser to the Premier of Bermuda; Gerald Gakundi of the Bermuda Monetary Authority; Roland Andy Burrows of the BDA; Fiona Beck, board director of the BDA and former CEO of Southern Cross; Kevin Richards of the BDA; Steven Rees Davies of Appleby Bermuda; Kathleen Faries of RICAP Bermuda; Katryna Gorbunova of EY; Giles Harlow of Aon (Bermuda) Ltd and Susan Pateras of Liberty Specialty Markets. The latest Bermuda Tech Summit sponsors include 24Exhange, Appleby (Bermuda), Blockchain Radio, ChainThat, ConnecTech, HubCulture, Swan Group, The Royal Gazette and Walkers (Bermuda).
Bermudians interested in employment in the hospitality industry are invited to complete an online registration allowing them to be alerted about job openings, specific training, and learning and development opportunities if they need to refresh or learn new skills. The initiative, a joint campaign by Government’s Department of Workforce Development, Bermuda Hotel Association, Bermuda College and Bermuda Tourism Authority, aims to attract more Bermudians to the hospitality industry to fill a projected growing supply of jobs over the next two years. The effort comes in response to a new study indicating Bermuda’s need for hospitality workers will increase as several new hotels open on the island within the next two years; these include the St Regis Bermuda Resort in St George’s, and Azura Bermuda and Bermudiana Beach Resort, both in Warwick. “We are pleased to be a key stakeholder in this initiative to ensure we have Bermudian talent ready to meet the rising demand in the hospitality industry,” said Lovitta Foggo, the labour minister, who encouraged related jobseekers to complete the survey, accessible via the Bermuda Job Board homepage. She added: “We are committed to providing training and development opportunities for emerging hospitality careers that will be required in the very near future. It is important we identify persons who have a desire to learn, work, and advance in the hospitality sector. There is a wealth of opportunity, and we are excited about the prospects for Bermudians.” The Bermuda Hospitality Needs Assessment Study, carried out by PwC Bermuda for the BTA, found that by 2021 the gap between Bermuda’s future talent supply and demand for hospitality workers may range between 555 and 814 positions, driven largely by 335 new hotel rooms due to come available. The range is based on differing scenarios in 2021, depending on whether new properties open by target dates. Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, said: “The ongoing revival of Bermuda’s tourism industry brings both challenges and opportunities — specifically, in the demand and supply of Bermudian hospitality workers for projected job growth. As employment opportunities increase, it’s important that Bermudians be aware, prepared and empowered to successfully obtain positions in the industry.” The estimated future demand of hospitality workers ranges from 3,039 to 3,298, depending on best- and worst-case scenarios — an increase of seven to 16 per cent compared to current demand, the study found. Roles with the largest gap in supply and demand of hospitality workers are housekeeping and food & beverage, representing 63 per cent of the overall gap. “The Bermuda Hotel Association is very pleased to welcome Bermudians to register for a number of employment opportunities that will be available in the near future to those genuinely interested in pursuing careers in the hospitality and hotel industries,” said Stephen Todd, CEO of the BHA. He added: “It is vitally important to the future growth, sustainability and prosperity of our destination that we encourage Bermudians to join us in this endeavor, as we seek to attract increased repeat business and leisure visitors to Bermuda.” A key factor affecting availability of workers is age, according to the study. Based on the sampled population, a quarter of hospitality workers in Bermuda are over the age of 60, and the island’s rapidly ageing population would continue to put downward pressure on the supply of workers for the industry. “Bermuda College is looking to increase its enrolment in hospitality-related courses, such as culinary arts, hospitality management, bartending and our certified restaurant service programme, as well as increase outreach to local high schools to attract more students to hospitality offerings,” said Duranda Greene, Bermuda College president. She added: “Public high-school students are currently enrolled in our hospitality department programmes as part of the Department of Education’s dual-enrolment programme. We expect more students will take advantage of this opportunity to gain valuable job skills and earn college credit while still in high school. We will also consider expanding that programme to include the certified restaurant server programme offered through our Professional and Career Education division.” Gaps in the supply and demand of hospitality workers will grow as the industry continues its revival, the study noted — but training and development of the local workforce may decrease the gap faced by hotel operators. Increasing how individuals are recruited and subsequently retained will help the industry and the workforce. PwC used workforce data for the study from a sample of hotel properties in Bermuda, as well as publicly available demographic and economic information. Demand was estimated by identifying key drivers, in particular new developments scheduled to open by 2021. Key executives from 14 existing properties and new developments participated in the study and provided workforce data.
Opinion, by Michael Dunkley, the former Premier of Bermuda, an opposition backbencher and the MP for Smith’s North (Constituency 10). "It is so typical of the Progressive Labour Party to try to paint the One Bermuda Alliance in the worst possible light at every opportunity, taking the focus off their own failures before 2012 and over the past 26 months since winning the election in 2017. Just look where we stand today, with economic statistics portraying a dismal picture, confidence in Bermuda at its lowest point since the inception of the survey, and Bermudians emigrating on a regular basis. The writer of the PLP op-ed will not face up to these realities, just like he would not stand up and take his party to task over the $330 million budget deficit that the OBA inherited in 2012, the astronomical increase in debt under the PLP watch, the doubling of the Berkeley contract from about $70 million to $140 million, the fiasco with the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, the $45 million squandered on the failed Grand Atlantic and the Auditor-General’s report outlining serious challenges and potential lawbreaking in the way the PLP handled the public purse. The writer also forgets that it was the PLP, under pressure before the 2007 election, which orchestrated the land swap with the principals of Morgan’s Point to get them off the Southlands property and put them on the brownfield site that required significant remediation. When the OBA became the Government, we faced very difficult circumstances with a government that could not meet payroll in January 2013, deficits that were threatening to drown Bermuda, an economy that was in a tailspin and many other significant challenges. As former finance minister Bob Richards has said on numerous occasions, we took a two-track approach to turn the island around: a plan to balance the budget over the next few years and to attract badly needed inward investment of capital. While we were not perfect — we made mistakes along the way — we did turn around the wellbeing of the island in spite of the constant headwinds we faced, often manufactured by the PLP to regain power. In fact, the only positive signs in our economy at present started under the OBA. But what happens when the new airport terminal opens next year, Belco construction ends and St Regis opens in 2021? Arbitrade is not the answer. Fintech has not created the jobs promised. The multitude of memorandums of understanding proudly displayed by the Premier, David Burt, are not even worth the paper they were printed on. The situation at Morgan’s Point is a concern and not what we envisioned when the guarantee was agreed to by the Government and by Parliament. However, while hindsight is 20/20 vision, I am not going to question the decision today, but instead my colleagues and I are willing to work with the Government and Morgan’s Point to turn this situation around, to get the project going again, make sure creditors are paid, complete the development and open it for business! Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to work together for Bermuda, put aside the partisan politics and to help the people we serve?
The mother of murdered Bermudian teenager Lyrico Steede has spoken out against violent crime as police in Britain launch a national knife amnesty. Keishaye Steede, whose 17-year-old son was fatally stabbed in Nottingham on February 13 last year, has told Nottinghamshire Police that getting involved in gun or knife crime can “destroy your life, for ever”. As part of the nationwide drive, Nottinghamshire Police are holding a knife crime amnesty with the support of community partners. This week the authority will showcase its work to tackle knife crime, as part of Operation Sceptre, which ends at midnight on Sunday. Ms Steede said in a filmed interview with police: “It is the people who kill people, and if they have any problems with something that’s going on, or they feel unsafe, they need to talk to somebody, because ending a life or getting in trouble for carrying a knife or gun or whatever, could really destroy your life, for ever. I would just say to get your education, stop listening to all that ‘trap music’, stop writing music that is ‘dissing’ each other and try to be more positive. A positive life is a happy life.” In December 2018, a jury found Kasharn Campbell, 19, and Christian Jameson, 18, guilty of murder, and a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, guilty of manslaughter, along with Remmell Campbell-Miller, 18. Campbell was sentenced to 20 years and 37 days, while Jameson was given 16 years and 36 days. The 17-year-old boy received a sentence of 7½ years and Miller-Campbell was given nine years in custody. This week, persons armed with knives are encouraged to drop them off at an amnesty bin at 25 police stations, partner agency and community building receptions across Nottinghamshire, without fear of prosecution. According to the Nottinghamshire Police website: “It is a chance for people to play their own individual part in making their own communities safer by preventing weapons from falling into the hands of criminals.” Throughout the week, Nottinghamshire Police will display its efforts to combat knife crime, including educational workshops for schoolchildren, community weapons sweeps and proactive operations.
Watlington Waterworks Ltd’s profits fell in the first six months of the year, as piped water sales dipped. In the company’s report to shareholders for the first half of 2019, Watlington said rainfall that was three inches higher than the same period of last year dampened demand for piped water. However, sales of all other products and services increased. Watlington’s profits for the six months through June 30 totaled $1.3 million, down from $1.41 million in the corresponding period of 2018, according to financial statements filed with the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Revenue slipped to $5.62 million from $5.79 million, as a $202,000 decrease in water sales was partially offset by gains in other areas. Watlington said its Utility Division, which supplies piped water as a supplement to rainfall harvesting, generates 65 per cent of revenue. “The company’s results therefore have a strong inverse correlation to rainfall,” Watlington wrote to shareholders. “In years when rainfall is below average one can expect stronger results and vice versa. For the first six months of this year rainfall was more than three inches above last year. This created softer demand for our piped water product, which resulted in piped water sales being down compared to last year. This was offset to some extent by increased sales from both our bottled water and retail plumbing divisions improving from the same period last year.” The company said it was continually connecting new customers to its pipeline network and had to invest in infrastructure. “The company completed the purchase of a parcel of land in Southampton on which it is intended to build a new large reservoir and water treatment building,” Watlington stated. “Excavation of the site commenced during the second quarter. Plans for the structure are well advanced with the aim to commence construction sometime in the first half of next year. This total project will involve significant capital investment in our infrastructure to meet customers’ current and future demand.”
Humberto has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane and is a threat to Bermuda. As of 6am, the storm is expected to be 104 miles north-west of Bermuda at its closest point by 5am on Thursday as a Category 2 hurricane. But the storm could come closer to the island after that time, depending on its track. The US-based National Hurricane Centre has said the storm, which is packing sustained winds of 86mph gusting to 104mph, has slowed and is moving north-east at 5mph. The Emergency Measures Organisation is continuing to monitor the track of Humberto. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said: “The EMO is prepared and stands ready to convene should the weather system’s forecasted track pose a threat to Bermuda. I take this opportunity to remind the public that Bermuda is in the midst of hurricane season. I strongly encourage the public to revisit your business, household and family preparedness plans.” Some hurricane preparedness steps include:
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, urged the Bermuda public yesterday to be prepared for the potential impact of Hurricane Humberto. Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation has been closely monitoring the Category 1 hurricane’s progress and will meet both tomorrow and Wednesday afternoon, at which point it will be decided what services, if any, will be halted for the storm. “We want the people of Bermuda to be prepared for the storm,” he said. “We have been through this before. The majority of us lived through Emily. We lived through a few of these things. How do we minimise damage? How do we prevent people from getting hurt? We prepare.” Mr Caines added that the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been put on standby and the EMO has been in dialogue with Government House. He said: “We believe we are capable and talented, and the Bermuda Regiment has trained for this for a number of years, but the Governor has indicated that the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] does have a team that is ready to assist us on standby in Miami.” The storm has already caused the cancellation of a town hall meeting on the issue of immigration, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday night. As of this morning Bermuda was under a Tropical Storm Warning as Humberto continued to travel towards the island. At 9am today, Hurricane Humberto was 555 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, but the storm is expected to blow 97 miles past Bermuda’s north-northwest at 11pm tomorrow. The Bermuda Weather Service said last night: “Squalls and showers in patchy heavy rain, as well as gusty thunderstorms, will push out well ahead of Humberto. Dangerous seas start Tuesday night. Storm-force winds with hurricane-force gusts may begin as early as Wednesday evening, lasting into Thursday.” The US-based National Hurricane Centre warned: “Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90mph with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Humberto is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.” Steve Cosham, the national disaster co-ordinator, warned that the forecasts have a margin of error, which means the storm could still miss the island entirely or be a direct hit. He said: “Humberto is still three days out, and the National Hurricane Centre allows for an error in their predictions of 40 miles for every 12 hours out the storm is. This equates to more than 240 miles in three days. This means it’s too early to say exactly what will happen.” Mr Cosham added: “We could have a direct impact on Thursday or we could have blue skies with hardly any breeze if it’s 240 miles away. So we don’t want to pull the trigger on closing anything, but we want to have people understand why we can’t yet make that decision.” Mr Caines said rain associated with the storm could begin as early as tomorrow morning, and urged all members of the public to prepare for the storm. “I must implore all Bermudians to take the storm seriously and prepare their homes and businesses and everything in their personal set of circumstances for the storm,” he said. Mr Caines added: “After mid-morning tomorrow, we will see thunderstorms, which will lead to the edge of Hurricane Humberto.” Boats were being evacuated yesterday from the Dockyard marina and stored on land ahead of Hurricane Humberto’s approach to the island. Joanna Cranfield, the business development manager at the West End Development Corporation, warned motorists to take care in Dockyard and noted that the South Basin, North Rock car park and Smithery Lane will be closed to the public. Travellers were encouraged yesterday to move their vehicles from LF Wade International Airport before the arrival of the storm. Mikaela Pearman, the marketing and communications officer for Skyport, said: “While we can’t predict the exact weather conditions, the low-lying car park at the LF Wade International Airport has historically been subject to flooding. Ms Pearman added: “We would like the public to take the necessary precautions and remove their vehicles from the long-term parking area in the event flooding should occur. If you are off island, please try to find someone to move your car for you if possible.”
Government is exploring how Bermuda can issue bonds on a global basis utilizing blockchain technology, the Premier has said. In a tweet, David Burt said he met with Radoslav Albrecht, chief executive officer and founder of German fintech company Bitbond, which he said “utilises #blockchain to provide innovative financial solutions”. A spokesperson for Bermuda’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement: “We had the opportunity to meet with the founder and CEO of Bitbond to discuss innovative financial solutions they have delivered. Bitbond is a German company whose primary business is originating loans to small and medium-sized businesses globally using its blockchain platform. What we found particularly interesting is that the company has also funded some of its growth by conducting a security token offering. An STO is much like a typical corporate bond offering in terms of the contractual financial obligations, but operational aspects such as subscriptions, transactions, payments and custody are handled automatically using blockchain technology. Consequently, although we are at very early stages, we are endeavoring to explore ideas and solutions for similar and other types of fund raising that may facilitate the issuance of digital assets in Bermuda.” Founded in 2013, Bitbond claims it is the “first global lending platform for small business loans. We leverage blockchain technology to connect creditworthy borrowers with individual and institutional investors”. Based in Berlin, the global peer-to-peer lender closed on a security token offering in July, which was approved by German regulator BaFin. The offering raised€€2.1 million for a digital bond, a report on the website crowdfundinsider.com says. Investors from 87 different countries participated in the offering, minus the United States and Canada. The site said the World Bank raised $110 million in a “blockchain bond” almost a year ago. There have been other entities that have leveraged blockchain technology to issue bonds, it added.
A former Bermuda judge has been criticized by the Court of Appeals for saying he was getting “horny” in the middle of a murder trial. Carlisle Greaves, who had served as a puisne judge until last month, made the comment as Troy Harris, a witness in the trial of Khyri Smith-Williams, testified that he had shared women with the defendant. Smith-Williams was later convicted of the murder of Colford Ferguson and of using a firearm to commit the offence. Jerome Lynch, lawyer for Smith-Williams, used the comment and others to say the judge had behaved inappropriately during the trial. In a decision released on July 25, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal, but appeal judge Sir Maurice Kay added the court could not condone the judge’s comments. Mr Justice Kay said: “In particular, his comment ‘all this sex is beginning to get me horny’ was inappropriate and inimical to the dignity of court proceedings. Mr Lynch was justified in criticizing it. However, I do not believe that it damaged the defence or had the potential to undermine the safety of the conviction.” Smith-Williams was sentenced to serve at least 35 years in prison last October, after he was found guilty of the murder of Mr Ferguson by a majority verdict. Mr Ferguson, a 29-year-old father of one, was shot dead in February 2011, as he worked on a house near the junction of Mangrove Bay Road and East Shore Road in Somerset. Mr Harris, a witness for the Crown, told the court that Smith-Williams confessed his involvement in the killing to him and admitted that he had driven the getaway motorbike. He said Smith-Williams also told him that Rasheed Muhammad had pulled the trigger, and that Mr Ferguson was not the intended target. Smith-Williams launched an appeal against his conviction, which was heard in June. In the hearing, Mr Lynch criticized Mr Justice Greaves’s handling of the case, particularly his behaviour during Mr Harris’s evidence. He argued that the judge had done little to rein in the witness’s use of vulgar language and that the “tacit approval” of the behaviour had lent it credibility. In transcripts presented to the Court of Appeal, Mr Harris cursed repeatedly, called Mr Muhammad a f****t and made repeated references to “f***ing p***y”. But the higher court found Mr Justice Greaves’s response to the unsavory language was not prejudicial. Mr Justice Kay wrote: “Anybody familiar with serious criminal trials, in this jurisdiction in recent years, knows the judge has a very personal style, whereby he engages with witnesses, defendants, juries and advocates in an informal way, often using casual language and rich metaphors. In relation to Harris, it was important that the judge should facilitate his evidence, whatever it turned out to be. If he took the view, and I suspect he did, that the best course was to let the witness have his say, subject to the rules of evidence, rather than seek to inhibit him, it seems to me that that was an exercise of judgment which was open to him.” Mr Lynch also sought to overturn the verdict on the basis of new evidence, including an unsworn affidavit from Mr Muhammad. The Court of Appeal heard Mr Muhammad had visited Mr Lynch’s offices after the trial had ended and said he had not come forward sooner because he was afraid of reprisal. An affidavit was produced, but never signed by Mr Muhammad. Mr Justice Kay said an unsworn affidavit from an alleged accomplice in the crime “does not immediately inspire confidence”. The appeal judge wrote: “There are insurmountable problems in the way of admitting the so-called fresh evidence of Mr Muhammad. The notion that a conviction for premeditated murder might be set aside, on the basis of an unsworn affidavit attributed to the alleged principal offender, where the only other material attributable to him is his denial in interview when under arrest and caution seven years after the event, is unattractive in the extreme.” The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
Four men were in custody last night after multiple shots were fired outside of a Court Street nightclub over the weekend. No one is believed to have been injured in the attack. A police spokesman said: “Detectives continue to investigate a confirmed firearm incident that occurred around 9.50pm on Saturday on Court Street in the City of Hamilton, near the junction with Elliot Street; where a lone gunman is understood to have opened fire at a group of men outside Spinning Wheel entertainment complex before fleeing the area. There were no reported injuries and the scene has been processed by the relevant police personnel.” The spokesman said four men were arrested on Sunday afternoon in connection with the shooting, and were still in custody last night. At least five evidence markers were visible on the ground at the scene. The spokesman said there were several people in the area at the time of the incident and urged anyone with information, or anyone whose personal property was damaged, to come forward.
Opinion. By Michael Scott, Progressive Labour Party MP for Sandys North (Constituency 36). "By all indications, when the Dunkley administration decided to gamble with $165 million in taxpayer’s money, they knew that the Morgan’s Point project was on shaky financial footing. That begs the question; why take such a risky, high-stakes gamble with so much of the people’s money? One can only assume that the One Bermuda Alliance, having broken so many promises, faced so many protests as a result of their anti-Bermudian policies and seen the defection of two of their founding members, found themselves in a state of desperation, and like all men drowning they reached out to whomever they thought could save them; a big announcement, a loud press event and a flashy photo-op, promises to Bermudians of a new hotel, new jobs and new opportunities, was an irresistible prospect for the OBA. In their desperation they put short, and what eventually were shown to be unsuccessful political gains, over the public purse and the best interests of Bermudians. They gambled big and now we have all been forced to face cleaning up the former non-contrite finance minister’s mess. The repercussions of the OBA’s irresponsible and reckless gamble are far-reaching. First, there are Bermudian companies and Bermudian workers who are owed money. Second, our standing with global ratings agencies have been threatened. Third, by backing a tourism project with so many problems, the OBA have also made the job of attracting more tourism investment to our shores even more difficult. A real mess. Yet Bob Richards, the former finance minister and the author of the mess has declared if he had to do it again he would do nothing differently. In real terms though, they have made life more difficult for Bermudians. Just imagine where we would be if we didn’t have to clean up the OBA’s $165 million mess? Money that could have gone towards educating our people, training and retraining Bermudian workers, scholarships, building new schools, supporting our youth and providing relief to our seniors; all lost. The OBA paid the price for broken promises and anti-Bermudian policies at the polls. Now they need to come clean about the Morgan’s Point deal and why they gambled with the future of Bermuda and against the best interest of Bermudians."
Bermuda’s doctors have warned the proposed Bermuda Health Plan may not reduce the cost of healthcare without hurting the quality of service. In advance of the first in a series of town hall meetings on the proposed changes, the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association urged the Government against rushing into the reform process. Henry Dowling, the BMDA president, said doctors at the organisation’s first Physician Summit agreed that there was not enough consultation with doctors on the creation of a unified healthcare system. Dr Dowling said: “Since the majority of physicians had not been given any more information about the new plan than the public, we sought out as much information from local stakeholders, as well as those in countries that had already transitioned to a similar healthcare model. What we found caused us concern.” He said the doctors agreed there was an “inherent and grave danger” with the introduction of a single-payer financing model. Dr Dowling explained: “Volatility in the cost of an ageing population could place financial burdens on the single government system, which will force them to cut services, or raise prices. Both options will hurt Bermudians’ access to local and overseas services. Bahamas has undertaken similar healthcare reform, and their experience is enlightening. An official that helped to initiate their reform confirmed the need for a clear financing structure to be in place prior to planning any dramatic changes, or income taxes would have to be imposed to make up the shortfall.” Dr Dowling added: “There was unanimous agreement that the unified model would not lower healthcare cost, without negatively impacting the quality of care and waiting times of services.” The Ministry of Health will host a series of town hall meetings about the proposed Bermuda Health Plan — the first of which will be held today at the St James Church Hall in Sandys at 6.30pm. Subsequent meetings will be held at St Paul AME Centennial Hall in Hamilton on September 30 and at Penno’s Wharf, St George’s on October 10. Dr Dowling said the organisation was asked to put forward its opinion on the proposed plan, which he described as a “complete overhaul”, towards a more socialized system of healthcare as found in Canada and the UK. He said: “Like those systems, the Bermuda Health Plan has described itself as seeking equity in healthcare and wanting to achieve universal healthcare through moving the funding of our health under a single, government-controlled system. “They have written and verbalized the ability to bring down the cost of healthcare using this model, and through it finding ways of helping Bermudians become healthier within this new model.” While the BMDA spokeswoman said there had been interest in the idea that a unified system would improve access to primary care, the doctors agreed that more robust data was needed before they could support such a system. He said: “We have great concerns on the very short timeframe in which the Government is proposing to implement these changes, and have challenged them to reconsider extending it and not putting any legislation forward next year that will advance such a rapid move towards socialized healthcare.” The BMDA spokeswoman said many of the historic missteps in Bermuda’s healthcare system could have been avoided if a representative of the group could be included in the Bermuda Health Council, the Bermuda Medical Council and the Bermuda Hospitals Board. And he said the concerns of the BMDA about the potential impact of the changes were echoed by the BermudaFirst’s report on Health. Dr Dowling added: “We have begun putting a group of physicians together who will create a white paper that will lay out a more in-depth analysis of the healthcare dilemma.”
An advisory group has called on a faster and more transparent immigration policy as the island awaits the details of promised immigration reform. BermudaFirst’s Future State Report, the second phase of its national socioeconomic plan, said any new immigration policy needs to be agile and reactive to help businesses and the Government attract top talent to Bermuda. But it said educational and professional development opportunities must also be available for Bermudians to make sure they can compete at an international level. In the report that was commissioned by David Burt, the Premier, the group compared the issue of immigration to that of a county cricket team which may have to choose between hard-working local players and better-skilled guest players. The group said: “Teams face a dilemma. To win, a team must attract talent, but a county is unlikely to find among its ranks enough players that can win a championship. Under this scenario, it is possible for a county to field a team entirely made up of guest players, but this defeats the purpose of having a county game in the first place. This dilemma is resolved by having a limit on the number of guest players, but, inevitably, there will be some locals who will be replaced by outsiders. Immigration policy faces a similar dilemma. Some Bermudians will not be good enough to make the team of their choice. We must be willing to accept that there are select, key positions within our community where having the very best person in the role, one whose skills and expertise meet global standards, is more important than having a Bermudian in place.” The BermudaFirst report said it may not be possible to fill all positions with Bermudians initially, the opportunity should be taken to train up local talent so they can compete for the posts in the future. The report said: “The Government, by leading in this manner, can positively influence the discourse, thereby reducing the emotive element of our usual dialogue about immigration. We applaud the Government’s decision to move forward with the talent assessment initiative for senior civil servants. We recommend transparency with the public to aid in the shift in mindset that must be achieved so that we attract and retain the global talent required for our success as well as make opportunities available for Bermudians to realise their full potential.” BermudaFirst made a series of recommendations to improve immigration to produce more job opportunities for Bermudians. It called on Government to align its goals, such as GDP growth and an increase in international business, with its immigration policies and shifting the mindset of the immigration department to recognize the needs of the business community. It suggested a work permit system that caters to the needs of international businesses. The report said: “One example would be distinguishing between work permits for group employees who are in Bermuda on a rotation basis versus those employees who are expected to fill long-term jobs.” BermudaFirst also called on the Government to “resolve” issues associated with family and long-term residency, and to streamline the immigration processes. The report said the issue of diversity should also be considered in immigration. It said: “In the interest of diversity, no longer can the fount of immigration be solely people of European origin. Already we see evidence of increased diversity in the guest worker population and efforts in this regard should continue; it is not uncommon to encounter people from Africa or Asia whilst walking along Front Street.” Comprehensive immigration reform legislation was expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly in a special sitting held last Friday, but Mr Burt announced that the legislation had been pushed back. The Ministry of National Security has not said when the legislation will be tabled, but a public town hall meeting on the subject of immigration reform will be held on Thursday.
Premier David Burt tabled a slew of Bills aimed at boosting the economy at the House of Assembly yesterday. The Premier wrangled with Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, who complained that the legislation had not been placed on the order paper. MPs — sitting on the third floor of the Veritas Place office block on Court Street while Sessions House undergoes renovations — eventually voted in favour of Mr Burt tabling the Bills after he argued they were of “significant economic importance”. Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, objected to the tabling of the unseen legislation. Mr Cannonier noted that the special sitting of Parliament had initially been called so that national security minister Wayne Caines could table a Bill to deal with mixed-status families. That Bill, which Mr Caines had originally promised would be tabled at the previous parliamentary session in July, was put on hold again. Mr Cannonier said afterwards that the Premier has “disrespected the Speaker and Parliament”. He added: “The Premier can’t just show up with these Bills. If he’s serious about getting in agreement with the Opposition, then at least he should say something to us.” Mr Cannonier criticized “rushing Bills through and then paying the price”, which he said had been the fate of the sugar tax legislation. The new legislation tabled by Mr Burt included the Economic Development Amendment Act, which is intended to lay the groundwork for development in economic empowerment zones in North Hamilton, St George’s and the West End. Mr Burt explained in a statement yesterday: “The amendments will make it clear that those who haven’t had the chance to benefit from these kinds of opportunities will finally get a fair shake. The EEZs can be transformed to the benefit of those who call them home or do business there now and lead the move towards a revitalization of Bermuda, socially and economically, that is long overdue.” Other legislation tabled was Post Office Amendment Regulations, Post Office Administration Amendment Regulations, the National Pension Scheme Occupational Pensions Amendment Act, the Tourism Investment Amendment Act, the Casino Gaming Miscellaneous Amendment Act and Digital Asset Business Amendment. The alternative venue for the House lacked microphones for yesterday’s proceedings, which were also not broadcast. Mr Lister was unable to say, at the close of the brief debate, when MPs would move back to Sessions House.
Bermuda’s debt ceiling will be raised by $250 million after Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, tabled legislation allowing the Government to pay lenders over the failing Caroline Bay development. The Government Loans Amendment Act increases Bermuda’s debt limit to $2.75 billion. MPs met in an improvised chamber on the third floor of the Veritas Place office block on Court Street, while Sessions House undergoes renovations. Mr Dickinson condemned the former One Bermuda Alliance government for putting the island “on the hook” for a guarantee of $165 million backing the project at Morgan’s Point three years ago. He said a credit facility of up to $200 million had been negotiated with local banks, with the $165 million to be paid next week. This will end the Progressive Labour Party administration’s plans to avoid raising debt this fiscal year. Construction ground to a halt at the former United States military base late last year due to financial problems. Two Bermudian contractors on the project confirmed yesterday that their companies remained unpaid for their extensive work. Mr Dickinson said the Ministry of Finance had been in discussion with ratings agencies over concerns that the island could suffer a downgrade. Mr Dickinson told a press conference: “These extraordinary circumstances and the liabilities triggered by these defaults, have resulted in the Government having no choice but to raise the debt ceiling, in order to borrow monies to fund the payments, as set out in the guarantees.” Former finance minister Bob Richards had provided credit facilities on behalf of Morgan’s Point Limited for use in the construction of the hotel and condominium project in March 2016. Mr Dickinson said: “What the people of Bermuda did not know was that even before the marina had opened, the Caroline Bay project was experiencing difficulty. This had to have been known to the OBA Cabinet and the developers who persisted in providing public updates on the project which were inaccurate. Despite the financial viability of this project having been in question for many years, the OBA government guaranteed much of its lending even as this project continued to be beset with difficulties. Despite extensive efforts by myself and the Premier to support the developers, they have defaulted on the terms of the loan agreements with their lenders.” He added: “While this government did not enter into the deal that placed the people of Bermuda ‘on the hook’ for the debt consequent upon the failure of this development, we are responsible for resolving the negative and unfortunate outcomes from the deal negotiated by the former government.” Both Mr Richards and Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, disputed Mr Dickinson’s claim that the OBA administration had acted irresponsibly. Mr Richards said that no financing issues had ever been raised with him during his tenure. Mr Cannonier said OBA members had met “several weeks ago” with developers at the project, known as Caroline Bay, and discussed “a plan for new investment” from billionaires. He said developers met also with the PLP and David Burt, the Premier. Mr Cannonier further queried the motive for the $250 million debt threshold, set at $85 million more than the guarantee. A ministry spokeswoman responded last night: “Neither the new borrowing nor the revised debt ceiling amounts have been determined for any purpose other than to fulfil the Government’s obligations and exercise of its rights under the respective guarantees for the Caroline Bay project. Ideally, the Government would not draw any additional funds other than the amount needed to purchase the interests of the tranche B and C lenders.” Mr Dickinson identified tranche B as “institutional investors, principally in the US” who were owed $80 million, and tranche C as local insurers Axis, Arch and Validus. Validus sold its loans to the other two firms “at some point last year”, Mr Dickinson said. The spokeswoman said the ministry would seek professional advice on whether the Government would face other potential liabilities. She added: “Without this advice, borrowing or establishing a debt ceiling without room for contingency would be irresponsible.” According to Mr Dickinson, the Government will now “acquire the valid claims of Bermudian companies”. The minister said: “Finally, we must bring this project to conclusion.” Mr Richards said yesterday that this remark implied that Mr Dickinson intended to “kill the project”, which the finance minister said was “incorrect”. Mr Dickinson added: “What we have done today, is fulfil the sizeable obligation the former government placed on the people of Bermuda, and our stated intention is to use our best efforts to protect that investment. I wish him well.”
Bob Richards, the former Minister of Finance, stands by the administration’s $165 million guarantee on the Morgan’s Point development. “If I had to do it all over again, I would do it,” Mr Richards said yesterday of the decision, which was formally signed in March 2016. Mr Richards countered finance minister Curtis Dickinson’s charge that the One Bermuda Alliance committed the public purse to a development already mired in financial difficulty. “Nobody came to me as minister to say the project was in trouble, that the loans Arch and Axis made were not being serviced, that they were defaulting,” he said yesterday. Instead, Mr Richards criticized the Progressive Labour Party for opting to raise the country’s debt ceiling instead of putting aside funds earlier to cover the guarantee. Mr Richards’s comments were echoed by Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, who called Mr Dickinson “disingenuous”. Mr Cannonier added: “That project put hundreds of Bermudians back to work. What has his government done? Let’s remember, that’s a project the PLP put in place. We were the ones to incentivise it and get it moving.” Mr Richards, who lost his parliamentary seat in the July 2017 General Election, described a bleak economic scenario for the OBA administration, which took power in December 2012 searching for projects to stimulate the economy. He insisted that “context is everything” and added: “The traditional way to get a country out of recession involves the Government borrowing money and creating projects. We could not do that because the Government was already in huge debt and running deficits that automatically put us in more debt.” Pollution at Morgan’s Point from its days as a military base meant “we had inherited an unworkable arrangement”, as the Government had to spend about $35 million to clean up contaminated land. “The principals got land they could use, but because it was a brownfield site, there was no way any investor was going to put a penny in without a government guarantee.” Mr Richards was unfazed at the scale of the guarantee. He said $165 million was “not much” and that a full development of the site with a hotel, marina and residences could have been worth $2 to $3 billion. Asked if he felt he had been gambling, Mr Richards said: “There’s risk in everything. We felt it was an investment in Bermuda’s future.” He explained: “Look at the alternatives. If we were sitting pretty with a stable economy and a normal tourism industry, that step would have been imprudent. I agree. But that was not the case. We had a situation where we were mandated to try and get things moving.” Mr Richards added that he could not say whether developers had overstated their hand when it came to financing. But he speculated that, in the rush to complete its marina in time for the 2017 America’s Cup, developers may have “diverted money from the hotel”. A request for comment on Mr Richards’s suggestion was sent last night to a spokesman for the developers. Mr Richards said superyachts attracted to the regatta might have led to easy sales of luxury condos, but “most were in Dockyard and in town” when the races arrived. “They got themselves in a spot of bother,” he added. Mr Dickinson stated yesterday that the PLP government, after seven months in office, was informed in February 2018 of “significant financing issues”. Mr Richards said: “They did nothing. That’s not prudent management. And they kept spending anyway. That’s not on Bob Richards; that’s on the current government.” He said the Government should have set funds aside over the two subsequent Budgets “in case they had to make good on the guarantee”. Mr Richards also said he suspected the minister of intending to “pull the plug” on the project. Mr Dickinson responded last night that the former minister was “incorrect”. Mr Richards added: “The only real way this project can be brought to a conclusion is if Caroline Bay is finished and opened to the public, with guests spending money and the Government getting taxes. How are we going to get that $165 million, plus $35 million spent on remediation, how are we going to make that $200 million not a waste of money?”
Morgan's Point/Caroline Bay Development Timeline over 14 years, most recent announcements first.
Balls of grease and human waste have washed up on at least two beaches along South Shore. “Sewage balls”, also known as “grease balls”, were spotted along Elbow Beach and Grape Bay Beach, both in Paget, early this week. It is the first time since April that grease balls have been reported. A mother of four who lives in the Grape Bay area described the situation as “revolting”. She added that she was most concerned for the health of her children, who were all under the age of six, with the youngest being less than a year old. The mother explained: “I’ve got four young children who are on the beach every day, if not every other day. Obviously, because of where the balls do come from, who knows what the repercussions are to their health?” The mother, who asked not to be named, said that she knew about grease balls, but had not seen them this year. She added that she saw them about 18 months ago when she first moved into the area and did her own research. But her worry was that others would not know about them or the potential health risks that came with them. The mother said: “I don’t think that many people know too much about them. It wasn’t something we’d been told about after all.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that grease balls were oils that mixed with waste water and congealed into a buoyant mass. These masses float to the surface of the water when the waste is disposed off at the offshore Seabright Sewage Outfall. However, she explained that they occasionally came back to shore as “grey pebble-like lumps of grease the size of marbles”. The department spokeswoman added: “Grease balls are not scattered over the beach but will be in the wrack line: the line of debris left on the beach by high tide. The wrack is usually made up of sargassum weed, bits of plastic, and marine debris.” The grease balls first appeared in 2013 and created a public health hazard that made beaches “unfit for recreational use”, according to a study of the beaches that same year. The Government began daily tests on the water quality and imposed strict policies on fat disposal for food services. Grease balls reappeared in 2016, though the water quality remained at a level that was safe enough for recreational use. The department spokeswoman said that the beaches were still safe for use when tests throughout the year reported low levels of bacteria. She added: “Historically, the bacterial levels in the seawater are unaffected by the presence of grease balls; analysis has shown that the grease and its encapsulated bacteria do not transfer to the seawater. We only resample when bacterial levels in the actual seawaters exceed the Department of Health guideline value.” The spokeswoman said that the Department of Parks had been contacted to arrange further clean ups. She added that beachgoers should avoid contact with these grease balls and report them to the Department of Health at 287-5333. Children should be kept away from the area until the grease balls have been removed. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources did not respond to a request for comment.
The jobs of 20 Bermudian security guards at Bermuda Security Group’s cash-in-transit business unit are to be made redundant. The mix of 12 full-time and eight part-time workers will lose their jobs at Shield Security Ltd on September 27. The company will close and be replaced by a joint venture between BSG and Caribbean security powerhouse Guardsman. Guardsman Bermuda Ltd will start up with 15 Bermudian staff comprising a mix of former and new employees, BSG said. Three former Shield staff have been hired full-time by the joint venture. Of the 20 workers made redundant, eight applied for jobs with Guardsman Bermuda. The new company has been recruiting staff for several weeks, it said, adding that the forecast for operations projects that staff enrolment numbers will grow. BSG said the joint venture will operate with an entirely new business model with a focus on cash-management services. The transition was made necessary, BSG said, because the “evolution of the industry with advanced technologies, improved efficiencies and risk mitigation, has created a demand for a modernized approach”. The company had to adapt to changes in the cash-in-transit business to remain viable, it said. Herman Tucker, chairman of BSG, said: “We regret that this will result in the redundancy of staff at Shield Security Ltd. We have worked closely with the Bermuda Industrial Union and Ministry of Labour in meeting our obligations with the collective bargaining agreement and employment legislation. What’s more, we continue to work to secure alternative employment opportunities for those affected. We are proud of our role as a major local employer with approximately 350 employees across our group. We look forward to working with our new partner to deliver a state-of-the-art cash-management service.” BSG said the process of determining how to transform the cash-in-transit business into a cash-management service business has taken several months. During that time, the company recognised that in order to deliver the new services BSG would require an experienced partner with expertise, a proven track record, and history in the cash-management and logistics industry. Guardsman, the Caribbean region’s largest private security enterprise with 13 companies and more than 8,000 employees, “checked all the boxes”, BSG said.
Government had an opportunity to help save Caroline Bay, the One Bermuda Alliance said today. OBA Leader Craig Cannonier said: “Several weeks ago, we met with the developers of Caroline Bay where they outlined a plan for new investment into the hotel. They also met with the Progressive Labour Party and the Premier. “The developers had billionaires lined up to invest. Did this Government encourage that plan? If not, why not? Given what was at stake, we need to know what happened. Instead we are going to raise our debt ceiling by $250m although we have had no explanation of why it is $85m more than the amount owed under the guarantee. What is that $85m for – has this Government overspent? When we came into Government, Bermuda was on the edge a financial abyss and we had been left with an out of control debt. The OBA had a two-pronged strategy to cut the debt and stimulate the economy and we succeeded. Every Government around the world uses incentives to developers to ensure that jobs are created or jobs are not lost. That is what we did and I am quite sure that given the same opportunity and the same economic climate that the PLP, which has had two years to help Caroline Bay, would have done the same.”
The Bermuda Government has been forced to pay lenders for the hotel and resort at Morgan’s Point before the end of this month, finance minister Curtis Dickinson confirmed today. A loan of $165 million will be negotiated with local banks and paid next week, which will end the administration’s plans not to raise debt this fiscal year. As reported in The Royal Gazette this morning, Mr Dickinson will now table legislation to raise the island’s debt ceiling to cover the guarantee on the Caroline Bay development. The unfinished development, where construction has ground to a halt, was put on notice over the summer by Mr Dickinson. Mr Dickinson told a press conference today that Parliament had no choice but to raise Bermuda’s debt ceiling by $250 million this morning, and that the island’s debt would be pushed to $2.75 billion. The minister laid the blame on the One Bermuda Alliance for agreeing to the $165 million guarantee on March 14, 2016. Developers at Morgan’s Point have failed on the terms with their lenders, who include the reinsurance firms Arch, Axis and Validus Re. Meanwhile “a number of businesses” are pursuing claims against the project. Mr Dickinson said there was potential for the island to suffer a downgrade at the hands of ratings agencies as a result. He said: “We are responsible for resolving the negative and unfortunate outcomes of the deal negotiated by the former Government.” Asked if the emergency payments meant that the development would be acquired for the Bermuda Government, Mr Dickinson said the Government had simply acquired the debt on the project as a result of its obligations. The Royal Gazette understands that the Government Loans Amendment Act will be the only legislation tabled in what is likely to be a brief session this morning at the temporary venue of Veritas Place, on Court Street, while renovations continue at Sessions House. The move comes with profound implications for the Government’s hopes of balancing the 2019-20 Budget. The guarantee for the development at the former United States military base in the West End dates back to 2015, under the One Bermuda Alliance administration. It is the second-largest on the Government’s books, behind $276.8 million for the Bermuda Hospitals Board. Others include $71.8 million for the West End Development Corporation, $29.3 million for the Bermuda Housing Corporation, $10 million for the Bermuda Tourism Authority, and $1.2 million each for the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. The guarantees are not charged against the island’s statutory debt ceiling unless the obligation becomes due and payable by the Government, pursuant to the amended Government Loans Act 1978. Immigration reform legislation covering mixed-status families, which was postponed in July, has been delayed further as a result.
A Canadian engineer praised for his work for the Bermuda Government has admitted being involved in dishonest practices in Canada. Yves “Bob” Lortie, from Quebec, served as a chief engineer for the Ministry of Public Works for three years and was hailed for his work training Bermudians before his contract expired on August 21. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported this week that Mr Lortie admitted in May that he had been involved in dishonest or questionable procedures “by tolerating a system of contract sharing that would bypass the city of Montreal’s bidding process” between 2005 and 2009. The engineer also admitted to the Discipline Council of the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec to having wrongly approved the payment of two invoices. Both of the allegations related to his time as vice-president at Genivar, a major engineering firm in Quebec. Mr Lortie told CBC News that he admitted the charges as part of a compromise after negotiation, and that he would have liked to have argued his case. He also told the media that he had been open about the allegations against him when he was hired by the Bermuda Government. Mr Lortie said: “I unveiled everything in a very transparent way, then they made the choice.” He added: “These people are able to evaluate; they did their checking.” Patrick Leblanc, a spokesman for the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec, said: “The actions for which Mr Lortie admitted his guilt are serious and the sanction that will be recommended will reflect this degree of seriousness.” A penalty hearing is scheduled to take place in November and Mr Lortie could receive a suspension and a fine. The investigation into Mr Lortie was one of 400 launched by the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec in the wake of the Charbonneau Commission, which looked at corruption in the awarding of public construction contracts in Quebec. The commission heard evidence that there was an elaborate system of bid-rigging through which engineers and construction firms won contracts in the city of Montreal in exchange for political donations. One former construction boss claimed that 3 per cent of the value of all contracts he received from the city went to the political party of the mayor at that time, and another 1 per cent went to a city official. Among the firms implicated in the investigation was Genivar, Mr Lortie’s former employer. Opposition leader Craig Cannonier, who was the Minister of Public Works when Mr Lortie was hired, said he knew nothing of the allegation against him. Mr Cannonier said he had been impressed by Mr Lortie’s work in the ministry, but questioned how well he had been vetted before he was hired. He said: “Ministers are not involved in the hiring process themselves. At no point is any interference by ministers allowed in the hiring of people. It really boils down to a question of what checks and balances are there in the Civil Service? How is it possible that no one knew anything? What kind of a vetting system do we have?” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, previously praised Mr Lortie for his work to hire, train and promote Bermudians in the ministry.
For months, the judge overseeing national litigation over the opioids crisis urged all sides to reach a settlement that could end thousands of lawsuits filed by state and local governments. But the chaotic developments this week in the case against Bermuda-registered OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, which also has other Bermuda links, underscore how difficult that goal is. By yesterday, half of America’s state attorneys-general said they would reject a tentative deal crafted by the other half, and many criticized the terms as grossly insufficient. Purdue and the Sackler family that owns it “will never be able to undo all the damage they have done”, Virginia Attorney-General Mark Herring, a Democrat, said in a statement, “but at the very least, they must face real, significant, personal accountability for their lies and for the pain and heartbreak they have caused”. Herring and other attorneys-general opposed to the terms say the amount of money involved will be far less than the $10 billion to $12 billion promised by Purdue and the Sacklers. They want the family to pay more from their vast fortune, much of which has been shifted overseas, and say the current settlement terms allow the relatives to walk away without acknowledging their role in a crisis that has killed 400,000 Americans over the past two decades. “This epidemic has affected everybody in our state,” Delaware Attorney-General Kathy Jennings, another Democrat, said yesterday in a statement. “Irrespective of Purdue’s actions or evasions, we will continue to pursue justice on behalf of those harmed by the Sacklers’s greed, callousness and fraud.” The failure to reach a wide-ranging settlement so far, as the Sacklers had hoped, means the legal battle over what their company must pay will probably shift to bankruptcy court. Questions about the family’s responsibility could play out at the same time in dozens of state courts. More than 20 states have filed separate cases against members of the family, and it’s not clear whether federal bankruptcy proceedings would halt those state cases. The company is expected to file for bankruptcy protection within days. Attorneys-general who say they agree with the terms said the deal is better than what their states and communities would likely receive if Purdue files for bankruptcy without any settlement language to guild the proceedings. “Sadly, this agreement cannot bring back those who have lost their lives to opioid abuse, but it will help Florida gain access to more life-saving resources and bolster our efforts to end this deadly epidemic,” Florida Attorney-General Ashley Moody, a Republican, said. “I want to assure Floridians that we will continue to aggressively pursue our state case against all remaining defendants.” Some attorneys-general — the group that had been leading the settlement talks with Purdue — have described the negotiations as ongoing and unsettled. Katie Byrd, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney-General Chris Carr, declined to comment yesterday about the state’s stance, but described the situation as “fluid”. Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison said “widespread uncertainty” remains about the details of the settlement terms, including the size of the payments, how long they would be made and how Purdue and other Sackler-owned entities would be operated going forward. Under the proposed deal, the family would give up ownership of Purdue and pay $3 billion to $4.5 billion, depending on how much Purdue brings in from selling a company known as Mundipharma, which is registered in Bermuda. Several attorneys-general said they are skeptical that Mundipharma is worth that much, and they want more money guaranteed from the Sacklers. OxyContin is probably the best-known prescription opioid and was a blockbuster drug in terms of sales after it was introduced in 1996. In their lawsuits, the state and local governments say Purdue aggressively marketed the drug while downplaying its addictiveness. The developments related to Purdue and the Sackler family come just five weeks before the scheduled start of the first federal trial over the toll of the opioids crisis in the US. That trial involves claims by Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties against multiple opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies. If the company files for bankruptcy, the trial will go on without Purdue. Families who have lost loved ones to the crisis or have otherwise been hurt by opioid addiction have pushed back against settlements with Purdue and other players in the opioid industry. They want a chance to face company executives in court and tell their stories. In a statement, members of the Sackler family urged governments to sign on to the settlement terms, saying it will fund solutions to the crisis rather than continue “endless litigation”.
All public schoolteachers should be internationally certified as part of a proposed sweeping reform to education, a new report has urged. Inaction to make “radical change” to the education system would be the “most significant missed opportunity” in Bermuda’s history. The stark warning came in the Future State Report unveiled yesterday. The 31-page document was created by the BermudaFirst think-tank and is the second phase of its national socioeconomic plan. The group recommends that an independent authority be created to be “responsible for the performance management of educators and researching and implementing an holistic public education system that is appropriately sized/structured, resulting in a learning environment that facilitates optimum student success”. Nine specific recommendations for the authority are identified. They include:
In the report the group envisions a “world-class public education system that produces student outcomes where our children can successfully compete in the global marketplace and our citizens are lifelong learners”. It adds that the reformed education system “must be based on accountability for outcomes”. The report says: “Despite the best efforts to date, we have under performed, and one glaring reality is the portion of our population that is unable to compete for existing job opportunities, much less present themselves as candidates for emerging 21st-century work. If we fail to act decisively now, our passivity will be viewed as the most significant missed opportunity in the history of the island.” The group says the Department of Education “is part of the problem”. The report explains: “A common criticism of the DoE by the many government-sponsored reviews is that the public education system lacks accountability at all levels and that the department lacks leadership, as well as a vision for improving public education. It follows that our public education system lacks the wherewithal to address the challenge of preparing our students for further study or the working world. The existing public education and workforce development systems are not up to the task of meeting the needs of learners in a technologically driven 21st-century Bermuda. The authority must be progressive, agile and based upon accountability for educators and students. This radical change is required, since tinkering with the existing school system for the last several decades has not — and there is no reason to expect that this approach will produce the results we deserve. The ineffective bureaucracy, lack of agility to adjust to externally and internally generated change and the ongoing politicization of public education all combine to resist substantive progress. These root-cause systemic factors are the reason why BermudaFirst believes it is imperative that a radical shift transforming our oversight of public education to an independent authority is the change we must make.” The group argues the authority would “deliver improved student outcomes, better quality classroom instruction and site-based leadership combining to make Bermuda a globally recognised education jurisdiction. The authority, with revised hiring practices, a strong focus on performance management and a streamlined accountability structure, would be able to build mutually beneficial partnerships with all stakeholders who have a commitment to enabling our children to achieve and participate equitably in a growing sustainable economy. Turnover in ministerial leadership” must be reversed. We are hopeful that the Government will commit its resources and political will to this challenging task. The window of opportunity is now; each day of delay makes the journey of change more formidable.”
Opinion, by Vic Ball, a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017. "Immigration is an extremely red-hot-button subject that most people will choose not to touch. Recent history records that the subject is so emotive and explosive that the One Bermuda Alliance paid dearly for it at the polls in 2017." The Progressive Labour Party, while in opposition, stoked the racial emotions of Bermudians so much so that some stormed the Senate in 2015 and even more blocked the House in 2016. Now that the PLP is in government, it is now left with the challenge of how to handle it, with the minister promising Bermudians, again, that he will bring forward legislation this month after missing the original July deadline that he set. On one side of the coin are those who believe that Bermuda needs to grant status, as our only hope, to re-energize the stagnant economy of Bermuda. On the other side are those who view any attempt to do this, with a great deal of suspicion of an ulterior motive to alter the electoral demographic and to increase competition for scarce jobs and resources. The passion and the contradictions of the immigration debate are not unique to our island. However, unlike other countries, we do not have waves of migrants washing up on our shores or crossing our border. What we do have is the dispute over how to address the “mixed family status” and the “belongers” issue. When observing the contradictions, we see that the 45th President of the United States was elected on an anti-immigration platform. He launched his campaign descending an escalator to deliver a vitriolic message against migrants while his immigrant wife with a thick accent was by his side. Additionally, Britain has committed itself to an anti-immigrant Brexit via referendum, to regain control of its borders from migrants coming from their former colonies. Meanwhile, Bermuda, which publicizes to the world an economy dependent on international business and its highly skilled foreign labour, ousted a government that was intent on providing a pathway to status for our long-term residents and their children. What has not been done consistently or convincingly by anyone in leadership is to make sense of the immigration debate from the angle of “population sustainability”. Instead, our immigration debate has devolved into a black versus white and an “us versus them” issue. Population sustainability has a multidimensional approach with birthrate, death rate, emigration and immigration factors coming into play in that order. These first four dimensions should be used as it relates to maintaining and enhancing our economy, and our way of life. The statistics show that our population growth rate is 0.4 per cent. This is one tenth of the highest population growth rates of 4 per cent in other countries. It has been pointed out many times that our population is ageing and our birthrate is low. It has also been said many times that we need a young and vibrant workforce to bear the weight of supporting an ageing population. However, this should not automatically translate into granting status to more people. What we do need is an economic plan that successfully provides economic growth. This plan will require producers and laborers to derive the necessary revenue to meet the demands we face now and in the future. Our politicians are not going to convince enough Bermudians, especially those unemployed or underemployed and facing financial hardship, that we need to grant status to more people to come into our island to work. The working man doesn’t equate the desire or the need for foreign investment with the need to grant status. In fact, Bermuda has been granting foreign access to our economy for decades, and even built a world-class financial jurisdiction and successful economic model by doing so. Therefore, to declare now that the granting of status is the only way to improve the economy flies in the face of reason and our economic history. I’m sure some potential investors may be attracted by a more liberal immigration policy, and some of the investors that are already here may be insisting on it. However, investors invest because they believe that it is competitively profitable to do so, not because they can live here indefinitely and vote. What has made Bermuda attractive to foreign investment in the past, and will do so in the future, is profitability. There has not been any convincing arguments made that would compel us to radically change an immigration policy that spawned one of the most successful economies in the world. Bermudians’ backs will be up against the wall when policymakers rush legislation through and expect buy-in. We learnt this the hard way. The appropriate starting point is a sustainable population for Bermuda to have a viable future. No one can argue against that. However, the obvious questions to be asked are, what does sustainability mean and where do foreign workers and investors fit into the equation? It costs the proverbial arm and a leg to raise a child in Bermuda — even giving birth to one. However, our leaders have not devised policies to encourage Bermudians to have more children and raise them successfully, while making it affordable to do so. Our seniors are fleeing to other jurisdictions to spend their pensions and to contribute to other societies, and our leaders have yet to factor this into an immigration policy except to identify them as an increasing burden and to saddle them with increasing taxes. Our young university graduates are choosing to stay abroad rather than return home, and our leaders have provided no policy assurances for them to do otherwise. Bermuda continues to have a sizeable and highly skilled foreign workforce because we have failed to produce Bermudians capable of meeting the need. We have productive skilled and unskilled Bermudians who are fleeing to Britain because they are unable to find employment here at home. We also have an untapped resource of Bermudian entrepreneurs, job-creating energy that we have not exploited or developed while we debate an immigration policy to attract foreign job creators. Bermuda requires leadership on a sound economic policy with a proven record that breeds confidence in our financial future. If such a policy creates the demand for outside investors and highly skilled workers after meeting our domestic employment and population-growth needs, Bermudians have proven ourselves to be acceptable to accommodating them. I will conclude with a few words on the issue of Pathways to Status. There are very compelling reasons for us as a nation to grant status to people born here and who have been living here for 15 to 20 years and more. In many cases, it is simply the right thing to do — and sensible as well. These are people that have invested in Bermuda and Bermudians. They also have been integrated into our society socially, culturally and economically. They are our school friends, work colleagues and community helpers. In some instances, they have never lived anywhere else and have nowhere else to call home. They add value to our island, and when Bermuda finds the way to accept them as fellow Bermudians, we will be better off for doing so. It was and is to our detriment to do otherwise."
The people of the Bahamas need “emotional and spiritual” support after the destruction of Hurricane Dorian, a frontline relief worker said. Major Clarence Ingram, formerly with the Salvation Army’s Bermuda Division, said that the island of Abaco “is nearly uninhabitable”. He added: “The damage is severe. In addition to helping with physical needs, the people need emotional and spiritual care. This is the most extreme hurricane damage I have ever seen.” Major Ingram, the divisional commander for the Salvation Army’s Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Division, is co-ordinating the relief efforts for evacuees for Abaco, Nassau and Grand Bahama. He was speaking after Bermudians came together last weekend to amass 200 tonnes of supplies to send to the region. The 63-year-old said on Tuesday that low-lying areas of Nassau, which had been flooded, had “mostly returned to normal, with the exception of ongoing power outages and challenges with the phone system”. He said the situation elsewhere was much different. Major Ingram explained: “Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands both have severe damage which will require many years to rebuild. Life is very hard — especially on Abaco. Most residents of Abaco had been evacuated to Nassau where shelters had been opened." Major Ingram said that his focus was “to supply the essential for life”, including water, food, clothing and shelter. He added: “We will gradually add assistance with building materials, etc, as people are in a position to receive them.” Major Ingram said he was not involved in rescue efforts which are being handled by the military, defence forces and rescue specialists. He said that the biggest obstacle that he faced was logistics. Major Ingram explained: “Getting supplies to the impacted islands is very challenging.” He said that financial assistance to purchase needed supplies and to pay for transportation, warehousing, and other similar costs was most essential. The Category 5 hurricane tore through the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama last week, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 50 people. Anthony Ferguson, the Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said that as of Monday, 42 bodies had been found in Abaco and eight recovered on Grand Bahama. He added in a statement: “We anticipate the discovery of more deceased persons as the process of search and recovery progresses.” Calvin Ming, the public relations and development director for the Salvation Army’s Bermuda Division, thanked the Bermuda public “for their outpouring and expressions of love in providing goods and materials for early distribution in the Bahamas”. An account for donations has been set up at the Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society. The spokeswoman encouraged all to contribute. She said: “We are imploring our members to make deposits to this account — no matter how big or small.” The account number is 9693.
A re-modeled healthcare system focused on outcomes, an independent education authority, moves to lower the cost of living and immigration policies to address the island’s talent gap are among the proposals in an advisory group’s plan for Bermuda’s future. BermudaFirst revealed Future State Report, the second phase of its national socio-economic plan, in a press conference at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute today. The group claims in the report, which was commissioned by David Burt, the Premier, that the priorities it identified “will enhance the lives of Bermudians and provide citizens with the tools and opportunity to realise their full potential”. The report points out shortfalls, particularly in the island’s education and healthcare systems, and spells out recommendations to address them. It also challenges Bermudians to show the courage in leadership and willingness to change that is necessary to meet the challenges the island faces. “If we are going to change Bermuda’s trajectory, we will have to change our mindsets to deal with the social and economic realities of the 21st century: a shrinking and ageing population, an under performing education system and healthcare costs that are spiraling out of control,” BermudaFirst states. BermudaFirst’s roots in lie in a think tank led by reinsurance veteran Don Kramer, comprising business and political leaders and formed in 2009 with the aim of finding solutions to the island’s economic challenges. The group was resurrected by the Bermuda Government in 2017, this time including no politicians and led by chairman Philip Butterfield, the former chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Bermuda. Other members represent sectors including business, charities, unions and education. The report identifies four global trends impacting life in Bermuda: rising inequalities, the rapid rate of technological change, tribalism and climate change. Action on education, healthcare and talent/immigration are seen as “critical priorities”. BermudaFirst points out the underperformance of the public education system and that consequently “one glaring reality is the portion of our population that is unable to compete for existing job opportunities, much less present themselves as candidates for emerging 21st century work! If we fail to act decisively now, our passivity will be viewed as the most significant missed opportunity in the history of the island.” It adds that the public education system “lacks accountability at all levels” and calls for an independent authority responsible for performance management of educators and a requirement that all teachers be internationally certified by an approved list of institutions. The group envisions a “world-class public education system that produces student outcomes where our children can successfully compete in the global marketplace”. In healthcare, the report cites research showing that nearly 10 per cent of Bermudians have no healthcare insurance and that Bermudians who have jobs and health insurance spend 18 per cent of their income on healthcare. “The current health system is not sustainable from the perspective of cost, service provision or capacity,” the report states. The report calls for changes leading to a patient-centric, outcome-based billing model focused on value rather than price, and including regulation of healthcare providers. “Bermuda’s model of healthcare must evolve to focus more on outcomes and value and less on the perverse incentives tied to a system that revolves around reimbursement of service,” the report states. “Any model that simply pays without due consideration of actual results leads to excessive utilization at an ever-escalating price.” It calls for a national health education programme aimed at encouraging people to eat better and exercise more, to combat preventable, lifestyle-based diseases that generate a large portion of healthcare costs. Among its recommendations, BermudaFirst calls for reform of the Standard Health Benefit, the basis of how health insurance premiums are set. “Instead of SHB solely depending on a fee-for-service model, create a pooling system that aligns residents to insurance packages based on their income,” the report proposes. “This model will require Government to regulate fees and insurers to establish set rates.” SHB pricing should also be published, it adds. BermudaFirst believes its proposals would reduce healthcare expenditure by 10 to 15 per cent and result in a healthier population. BermudaFirst touches on the impact of demographic trends and projections that show the workforce will shrink as the non-working-age population grows. The report states: “It is also important to note that, if we fix the healthcare industry, but do not expand our population, Bermuda will continue to be challenged with higher than acceptable costs as there will simply not be the number of individuals across which to spread those costs.” BermudaFirst would like to see a “a growing population with enhanced immigration policies that expand opportunities for Bermudians and make Bermuda a destination of choice for diverse talent who will be a productive part of our community”. The report stated that “in the past, immigration policy and other means were used nefariously to maintain white numeric superiority”, but that today’s immigration policies had to be market-based and diverse. Some roles in the public and private sector had to be filled by those whose skills and expertise met global standards if the island wanted to remain competitive and innovative, BermudaFirst argued. This would inevitably sometimes necessitate bringing workers in from overseas. The group’s top three recommendations for immigration reform that would produce “more jobs for Bermudians than the present immigration regime” are:
BermudaFirst said another priority was lowering the cost of living, particularly by decreasing the costs of staple food items, energy, healthcare and rents. It suggested that the Government could help by reviewing tax policy as taxes contributed to the cost of items such as energy and food. Other priorities mentioned were moves to strengthen the island’s charitable sector, the provision of affordable housing for at-risk populations, a better transportation system including public and private elements, amendment of the 60:40 rule to stimulate inward investment, implementation of a debt management programme to deal with the Bermuda’s currently “unsustainable” debt level and the positioning of Bermuda as a “world leader in e-services by 2022”. “Quick-win” recommendations include liberalizing ownership restrictions on commercial real estate to encourage a positive response to economic substance requirements and to stimulate urban renewal, allowing hotels to have a minibus licence, allowing the importation of second-hand electric cars and implementing a temporary hardship allowance for qualifying homeowners. Eight working groups and more than 90 people worked on the BermudaFirst project. “This is not the first time the people of our country have had to choose between making a major change or being left behind,” BermudaFirst states. “We have successfully reinvented ourselves throughout our history. Now is the time to do the same.”
NEW YORK — OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP, linked to Bermuda, reached a tentative agreement with some plaintiffs to resolve widespread litigation over its alleged role in fuelling the US opioid crisis and plans to tussle with states opposing its settlement offer in bankruptcy proceedings starting as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said. On Wednesday, lead lawyers representing more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs suing Purdue, along with 23 states and three US territories, were on board with an offer from the company and its controlling Sackler family to settle lawsuits in a deal valued at up to $12 billion, the people said. The Sacklers are reported to have extensive interests in Bermuda, while a variety of companies related to Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue have had a presence on-island for up to three decades. More than a dozen other states remain opposed or uncommitted to the deal, setting the stage for a legal battle over Purdue’s efforts to contain the litigation in bankruptcy court, they said. States yesterday updated a federal judge on the settlement offer’s support, which could evolve as the day progresses, the people said. Purdue’s board is scheduled to be briefed on settlement progress today, one of the people said. There remained a chance negotiations could fall apart and the company’s plans, including timing of a bankruptcy filing, could change, the person said. The Sacklers, well-known wealthy philanthropists, have declined to revise their proposed settlement contribution of $3 billion over seven years and another $1.5 billion or more through the eventual sale of another business they own called Mundipharma, several people familiar with the matter said. The offices of Mundipharma Medical Company, and other companies carrying the Mundipharma prefix are located on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton. The network of companies was reportedly set up to do business outside North America. New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut, where privately held Purdue is based, are among the states opposed to the current offer and have pushed the family to guarantee $4.5 billion, the people said. Last weekend, the Sacklers “refused to budge” after attorneys-general in North Carolina and Tennessee presented the family with counterproposals they said had widespread support from other states, according to correspondence reviewed by Reuters. The lawsuits, which in some cases targeted the Sacklers as well as Purdue, claim the family and company contributed to a public health crisis that claimed the lives of nearly 400,000 people between 1999 and 2017, according to the latest data from US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The suits allege Purdue aggressively marketed prescription painkillers while misleading doctors and patients about their addiction and overdose risks. Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations. With negotiations over the family’s contribution to a settlement at loggerheads, Purdue is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this weekend or next with the outlines of a settlement in hand, albeit one lacking support from many states, the people said. Purdue would then ask a US bankruptcy judge to halt litigation while settlement discussions continue, a move some states said they are likely to challenge. A bankruptcy judge could force holdouts to accept a settlement as part of Purdue’s re-organization plan if enough other plaintiffs agree. “Purdue Pharma continues to work with all plaintiffs on reaching a comprehensive resolution to its opioid litigation that will deliver billions of dollars and vital opioid overdose rescue medicines to communities across the country impacted by the opioid crisis,” the company said in a statement. Members of the Sackler family targeted in lawsuits said in a statement that they support “working towards a global resolution that directs resources to the patients, families and communities across the country who are suffering and need assistance” as opposed to engaging in what they described as “endless litigation.” With Purdue facing more than 2,000 opioid-related lawsuits, Reuters reported in March that the company and the Sacklers began exploring bankruptcy options to halt litigation and attempt to reach a far-reaching settlement. One reason Purdue is eyeing a bankruptcy filing soon is to avoid an October 21 trial, the people said. That trial, stemming from widespread lawsuits consolidated in an Ohio federal court, risks a verdict with outsize damages Purdue could not withstand, one of the people said. Purdue’s current proposal envisions it using bankruptcy proceedings to transform into a public trust with a board selected by court-appointed trustees, the people said. The trust would donate drugs the company developed to combat overdoses and addiction to US communities, which Purdue values at $4.45 billion over ten years. The Sacklers, who amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune from OxyContin sales, would cede control of Purdue, they said. A Chapter 11 filing with a deal many states oppose risks triggering more litigation and longer, more expensive bankruptcy proceedings that could reduce payouts to plaintiffs unless a broader deal is reached. “I remain steadfast in my view that the Sacklers have to give back the money they took from selling opioids so that we can put it towards solving the problem they created,” Connecticut Attorney-General William Tong said in a statement. “The current proposal does not do that.” The Sacklers have rebuffed requests from some plaintiffs for more details on the family’s finances, some of the people said. North Carolina Attorney-General Josh Stein said he was preparing to follow other state officials and sue the Sacklers. “A large number of states are committed to the notion that the Sacklers need to guarantee more money,” he said, adding that different states “have different views, as is to be expected”.
A charity tackling one of the island’s most prevalent chronic illnesses has appealed for funding, even as it prepares to open a badly needed new treatment centre in Hamilton. Next week, the Bermuda Diabetes Association celebrates with a roof-wetting ceremony at its Hilton Hill Diabetes Centre on the corner of Dundonald Street and Princess Street. “This will make a huge difference for us,” Debbie Jones, the executive director, said. “Diabetes, unfortunately, is a growing problem. A study in 1995 showed 11 per cent of the population had it. Now you could say it’s anything from 14 to 20 per cent.” Lifestyle factors, especially poor diet and sugar consumption, are the leading causes for type 2 diabetes. The new centre, a repurposed home built of Bermuda stone purchased from the Hill family, will give the group 2,000 square feet for its pharmacy, education rooms and offices. Ms Jones called the facility “a one-stop shop — a hub” to accommodate therapy sessions, education, and even healthy cooking classes in its kitchen. But the old building, purchased at the end of 2017, came with hidden roof damage, requiring a replacement. Ms Jones added: “We found other surprises like an old tank nobody knew about, and a passageway to the property next door that had to be blocked. It’s one of the oldest houses in this area. So now we are hoping for a last and final push for more funding.” The association has a target of roughly $500,000 to raise. Pedro Madeiros, the head of Paradise Contracting whose own family have been affected by diabetes, said the centre was hoped to be completed by the end of November. Bermuda has advantages in the fight against diabetes: insulin, the hormone required by diabetes patients to regulate their body’s sugar levels, is obtained by the association directly from the manufacturers in Canada, cutting out the intermediaries that have raised prices in countries such as the United States. Ms Jones said: “Our fee is minimal. It’s nothing compared to retail. And for patients that can’t afford it, we have a client-assisted programme to help pay for it.” However, Bermuda’s rate of diabetes has risen. Last month, a study by the Bermuda Hospitals Board revealed that one in three patients at the hospital had the illness. Women should have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day, and for men it’s nine,” Ms Jones said. “That means no drinking soda, at all. If we could change that as a first, people would feel better right away. Another message is simply that people need to move more.” She said the group was optimistic that simply encouraging patients to walk, such as strolling from the centre to Victoria Park and back, would improve health. The roof-wetting ceremony on September 20 marks a celebration, even though repairs to the same roof cost an unexpected $200,000 extra. Greg Vandermade, the charity’s treasurer, told The Royal Gazette: “For us to take this dream to the next level, we need loving, caring people in Bermuda and generous companies to help us fulfil it. We need this centre. Every year the problem gets bigger and bigger, while our insurance and healthcare costs keep rising.” The 38-year-old reinsurance executive, originally from Canada, developed inherited type 1 diabetes at age 10, six months after the death of his father. Mr Vandermade said: “Both my parents are type 1 diabetics. It was inevitable. I’ve been on insulin every day since.” With the help of his doctor, Annabel Fountain, he has developed a schedule for administering his daily insulin. He said: “With diabetes, there’s never one day the same.” Mr Vandermade added: “You wonder why when you see people walking down the street eating a load of carbs and washing it down with fast-acting sugar. If I could not have this disease, I’d love to take a day off. My advice is to take time to make healthy choices. It doesn’t take that much extra time. Diabetes hasn’t slowed me down or stopped me doing anything I wanted to do. I have run in five May 24 marathons and travelled the world. It can be done.”
The island’s seniors advocacy group remains resolute despite suffering its worst financial year for two decades. Age Concern revealed “a challenging year” for fundraising, with a deficit of $107,804 for the year ending March 31, 2019. The financials were unaudited, but Tracey Pitt, the treasurer, said its numbers were “pretty much in the ballpark”. Ms Pitt said yesterday that the last fiscal year’s revenues added up to $655,903 while expenses stood at $763,707. Claudette Fleming, the executive director, told the group’s annual meeting: “In my 19 years at Age Concern, we’ve had $100,000 deficits before. This has probably been the hardest year for our organisation. Cash flows remain positive and we have met all our bills, but we have experienced this very significant loss.” Dr Fleming added: “The philanthropic and economic landscape continues to shift. Companies and individuals are uncertain about their economic futures. As a result, they are hesitant to come to assist.” With the island’s senior population on the rise, Dr Fleming said the group had 4,848 members at last count — making it “the largest membership organisation on the island”. Charles Jeffers, the deputy chairman of Age Concern, said membership fees would increase in 2020 from $25 to $35 a year for persons aged 50 to 64, and from $25 to $28 for those aged 65 to 79, with seniors over the age of 80 retaining complimentary membership. New members will also be subjected to a $15 sign-up fee. Mr Jeffers told the gathering at the Evangelical Church Hall in Paget: “Think very clearly, give what you can, and make sure that this organisation stays afloat.” Linda Smith, the chairwoman, said the group’s board had also agreed on restructuring, switching from a maximum of 14 and a minimum of 11 members to a range of 11 and seven. Mr Jeffers was presented with an award for longstanding service, along with Ottiwell Simmons, the former MP and president of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Jason Hayward, the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, delivered the keynote speech, describing his work with the sub-committee tasked by the Labour Advisory Council with raising the compulsory retirement age in the Civil Service. Legislation approved this year raised the compulsory retirement age from 65 to 68 for certain public offices. The group’s report also called for raising the mandatory retirement age to 70 over the next ten years. Mr Hayward predicted that businesses would follow suit. “This is an important milestone that sets the tenor for what is to come in the private sector.” The senator said that the island’s human rights legislation needed to be bolstered to protect seniors from age discrimination in the workplace. Mr Hayward added: “There are now more employees in the workforce who are 65 and older than ever before.” Seniors who wished to continue working should be “afforded every opportunity to do so”, he said. (Note, the Bermuda Government recently enacted legislation to allow Government employees to work after 65, but has not extended this to the private sector. In contrast, in the UK, as part of the Equality Act 2010, all persons now have the right to work in their present jobs after 65).
Bermuda is featured as a wedding destination in a major multicultural bridal magazine. Several Bermuda businesses were showcased in the Munaluchi Bridal Magazine shoot at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club organised by destination wedding planner Oniki Hardtman, the owner of Oniki Occasions and wife of Bermudian entrepreneur Jamel Hardtman. Ms Hardtman flagged the island up as an ideal location after the magazine’s Coterie Retreat was hosted here last year. The quarterly magazine’s Instagram account has attracted 12.2 million individuals since 2019 and its Pinterest account receives about three million impressions each month. Ms Hardtman said the design of the wedding shoot was jewellery by Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery that she received as a gift from her husband. She said: “Alexandra Mosher’s pink sand jewellery was so inspiring as a bridal collection. I saw it as part of the decor of a high-end wedding so I built the design for the photo-shoot around her jewellery.” The bride at the centre of the shoot, which took place last December, is Bermudian model Sophia Manders who has been featured in the Bermuda Fashion Festival, RG Magazine and shoots in New York. Flowers by Gimi and Blueprint Hair Studio were also featured.
A trial for two men from Bermuda facing terrorism charges in Britain began yesterday at the Old Bailey in London. Hisham Muhammad, 25, accused of subscribing to radical Islam, allegedly planned to use a radio-controlled drone to attack an army barracks. His cousin, Faisal Ahmad, 24, is charged with knowledge of the plot and failure to inform authorities. The two have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Anne Whyte, QC, the prosecutor, told the court that Mr Muhammad “grew up in Bermuda where his parents lived but moved as a young man to Gambia”. Mr Ahmad was said to be Bermudian-born but moved to the United States as a young man, and then to Gambia, West Africa. The men, who are brothers-in-law, were said to have moved to Britain in 2013. Both were arrested in June 2018 after a raid on their apartment in Whitefield in Bury, Greater Manchester, where weapons were allegedly found. The jury heard that Mr Muhammad subscribed to “extremist” ideology in the vein of the Islamic State terrorist group, and planned a “lone-wolf attack”. According to the Manchester Evening News, the prosecutor told jurors: “He had researched how small drones might be adapted to drop some sort of device designed to harm others. He had also obtained a variety of weapons and researched how to use knives to lethal effect. He had purchased blade-sharpening implements and had used them.“ Mr Muhammad allegedly feigned interest in joining the British Army as a pretext for visiting the Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury in May of last year. He was accused of preparing to target the armed forces or police with knives. The men lived together with Mr Ahmad’s mother, who notified the landlord she planned to move out that May. The two fell behind on their rent, and their landlord told them to leave a month later after finding the property neglected. The jury heard that the landlord grew concerned and contacted police after noticing knives and wiring in the flat. No explosives were uncovered in the residence, but police found evidence of plans to drop “some sort of harmful device” from a drone, Ms Whyte said. Camouflage clothing and a variety of bladed articles were discovered, as well as clothing and cardboard allegedly slashed in preparation for an attack. Mr Muhammad was said to have owned a drone, and the jury heard his phone had been used to research explosives and download jihadist videos glorifying terror attacks. According to the Crown, Mr Muhammad’s plans were “imminent”. Both men’s wives were in Senegal, and Mr Ahmad was alleged to have messaged his spouse with concerns about his cousin’s plans. The jury heard testimony from a police officer who attended the flat and believed that he saw bomb components. Mr Muhammad faces a charge of “engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism”, while Mr Ahmad, is charged with one count of having information that he knew or believed might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of an act of terrorism by another person and failing to notify the authorities. The trial continues on Monday.
A forum on immigration was held behind closed doors last night at Alaska Hall, the Progressive Labour Party headquarters, on Court Street in Hamilton. The town hall meeting, billed as open to all, was announced yesterday as “for PLP members only” by a party press officer. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that the Q&A-style forum had been well attended and that it had not focused on any one specific aspect of immigration. Otherwise, Mr Caines refused to be drawn on the specifics of the meeting, in particular the topic of mixed-status families. He added: “I talked about immigration reform generally and gave an overview of what the Department [of Immigration] is doing — the strengths, what we are trying to build on.” Mr Caines said that work was being done to organise public meetings to discuss the issue. The forum featured Mr Caines, who is responsible for immigration, with Renée Ming, a PLP MP and member of the bipartisan parliamentary committee on immigration reform. Leah Scott, the deputy Opposition leader and a member of the committee, posted online on Monday that she had sought clarity from Mr Caines about the whether the meeting was open to the public. Ms Scott cited “the sensitivity and emotion around immigration and any proposed reform” as well as the “vital need for inclusion and input”. She said the reform committee would hold public meetings of its own for discussions on immigration.
The chairwoman of the Bermuda Health Council has resigned for “family and personal professional reasons”. Alicia Stovell-Washington said that she had to return to her profession full time after the death of her colleague, the eye surgeon Leonard Teye-Botchway. Dr Stovell-Washington was appointed chairwoman of the health council in October 2017. Her resignation comes four months after former chief executive Tawanna Wedderburn alleged in a court case that Dr Stovell-Washington interfered with the day-to-day operation of the council, along with David Burt, the Premier, and Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, to push taxpayer-funded payments, to Ewart Brown, the former premier. Ms Wedderburn made the claims in May as part of an application for judicial review before the Supreme Court as part of her attempt to quash her termination as CEO last December. She said that the trio’s interference was unlawful “because it was done for the purpose of controlling the council’s policy decisions, and/or facilitating government payments and/or other pecuniary awards to specific Progressive Labour Party supporters, a former premier, at least one Cabinet minister, and/or others”. A Ministry of Health spokeswoman previously said that the respondents in the case vigorously deny the allegations and are robustly defending themselves in the proceedings, which continued in the courts yesterday. Dr Stovell-Washington said in a statement released by the Ministry of Health yesterday: “I’m very sad to be stepping down from such a vital organisation as the health council, but my personal circumstances require my full attention elsewhere at this time. I must return to my family and my medical practice and advocate for patient care and my own family’s health. Following the recent passing of my colleague, Dr Teye-Botchway, my time and attention must be dedicated to assisting with patient care and continuity in every way I can.” She added: “I am a physician first and foremost, and I must return to my profession full time right now. However, I will continue to support the health council and the Ministry of Health in every way I can, particularly at this time of important reforms and a transformation of our health system.” Ms Wilson said that she was saddened to accept the voluntary resignation. She said: “It is absolutely evident that the health council grew and evolved during Dr Stovell-Washington’s chairmanship and I’m entirely indebted to her for her dedication, fortitude and immense contribution. I know that she leaves the health council stronger than when she took over. While I am saddened at the reasons for her need to step down at this time, I’m confident that Dr Stovell-Washington will remain a stalwart of fairness in the health system and will continue to be an advocate and partner in our efforts to make Bermuda healthier.” The ministry’s statement said that Dr Stovell-Washington had “excelled in her leadership of the board and council”. It said: “Under her tenure, the health council refocused its strategic direction, increased oversight and regulation of health insurers, continued to improve its healthcare data repository and dissemination, ensured decisions were data-driven and evidence based, enhanced board governance and grew its relationship with local and international partners such as the Pan American Health Organisation.” Dr Stovell-Washington steps down formally tomorrow. A new chairman will be announced in due course.
The former chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council was accused in court yesterday of “throwing as much unsubstantiated mud” as possible and engaging in a media “bloodbath” after she was fired from the government quango. Tawanna Wedderburn, who was sacked from the BHeC last December, alleged in court documents earlier this year that she was ousted on the orders of Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health. She claimed Ms Wilson, along with David Burt, the Premier, and former BHeC chairwoman Alicia Stovell-Washington interfered in the day-to-day running of the health watchdog to push taxpayer-funded payments to Ewart Brown, a former Progressive Labour Party premier. The allegations were vigorously denied during a one-day Supreme Court hearing yesterday, with Juliana Snelling, lawyer for both the health council and Dr Stovell-Washington, questioning why Ms Wedderburn never filed any “bribery or interference complaints” when she was still being “paid handsomely” her $185,000 salary. Charles Richardson, representing Mr Burt and Ms Wilson, likened the opening of an affidavit filed with the court by Ms Wedderburn as reading like a work of fiction by novelist Jeffrey Archer. Ms Wedderburn stated in the court filing: “As I am coming down the long stairwell in Utopia Restaurant on Front Street, my legs are heavy and my hands are shaking. I take out my phone and dial my husband’s number. When he answers, I say ‘Liv, they just fired me’.” Mr Richardson said: “I have never seen an affidavit that begins like this.” Later, after hearing arguments from Ms Wedderburn’s lawyer, Eugene Johnston, Mr Richardson said: “I am hearing Jeffrey Archer again. I don’t feel like reading Mr Archer right now.” Ms Wedderburn is seeking a judicial review of the BHeC’s decision to sack her. Yesterday’s proceedings before Assistant Justice David Kessaram were to hear arguments on whether her case involved matters of public law, suitable for a judicial review, or private law, where an alternative legal remedy could be sought. Mr Johnston said the issue was one of public law, since the Minister of Health had a “clear function to play” regarding the appointment and termination of the health council CEO, as set out in section 9 of the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004. He claimed: “The directive to dismiss was given by the minister.” Ms Snelling said that was “hotly disputed” by her clients, while Mr Richardson added: “I can’t let that allegation go against my client.” When Ms Snelling spoke up again, Mr Richardson told her: “I can handle it.” She continued: “It’s alleged that my client was directed to do it and there is zero evidence of it.” Mr Johnston said even if the minister didn’t give the directive, the council didn’t go through the proper procedure to terminate Ms Wedderburn’s employment. Ms Snelling said the health council voted eight to one, with no abstentions, to get rid of Ms Wedderburn on December 6 last year because of dissatisfaction with her leadership. She had been in the CEO post for three years and had worked at the council in other roles since 2007. “This is not the chair off on a frolic of her own with a personal animosity towards the applicant ... seven people voted with her,” said Ms Snelling. She said the chairwoman contacted Ms Wilson after the vote was taken. The next day, the minister and Dr Stovell-Washington spoke again before Ms Wilson e-mailed approval of the decision. She said Ms Wedderburn was not a public officer, as defined by the Constitution, and not a civil servant. “Even if she was, if it’s a private law issue ... it will not be subject to judicial review,” argued Ms Snelling. She said the civil case was a private law matter because it was “in [Ms Wedderburn’s] private interests to be employed by the council. The council was not performing a public duty when it terminated [her employment],” Ms Snelling added. Ms Wedderburn’s husband, Livingston, wrote a letter to The Royal Gazette in January this year, alleging his wife had been “ambushed and viciously bludgeoned”. He asked: “Who plotted and led the charge on the night of the long knives and who appointed and/or instructed them?” Ms Snelling described the plaintiff as acting “so ferociously” after she was sacked. “The bloodbath, the media, that resulted from the termination ...,” she said, adding that her clients were accused of “horrible things” and materials were made available to the press to “embarrass the council”. Mr Richardson said: “We haven’t criticized Ms Wedderburn in any way, neither my clients or the council. Any reputational damage has been self-inflicted.” He said she should have gone to an employment tribunal, rather than seek a judicial review. “Her dismissal was not something done under the powers of the [Health Council] Act,” he said. “It was contractually based. That remedy may not have been as glorious as the one she is now seeking, but it’s there. If Ms Wedderburn was not advised by her counsel to secure her position before the employment tribunal, that’s sad.” Mr Johnston said listening to lawyers for the respondents was “almost like being caught in a whirlwind of confusion”. Mr Justice Kessaram reserved judgment to a later date.
Bermuda Red Cross has raised more than $100,000 in a week to help families whose lives were torn apart by Hurricane Dorian. The Category 5 hurricane tore through the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama last week, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 50 people. Ann Spencer-Arscott, the executive director of the Bermuda Red Cross, said: “On September 3 we launched an appeal to the residents of Bermuda to aid those devastated by Hurricane Dorian, one of the strongest hurricanes on record in the Atlantic Ocean. As of September 10, Bermuda Red Cross have collected over $100,000.” She said all the funds will be sent to the British Red Cross, which will transfer the money to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Ms Spencer-Arscott added: “We want to thank you, Bermuda, for opening your hearts to our fellow islanders to the south.” As of yesterday, Anthony Ferguson, the commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said 42 bodies had been found in Abaco and eight recovered on Grand Bahama. The World Food Programme has estimated that 70,000 people have been affected and in need of aid as a result of the storm.
Bermuda-based companies' reinsurance rates are inadequate, according to a panel of Bermuda-based executives attending the Monte Carlo Reinsurance Rendez-Vous de Septembre event. They shared views at the annual Bermuda: Re and ILS Monte Carlo Roundtable, held in association with Markel Re. Christian Dunleavy, chief underwriting officer at Aspen Re, said that while rates are improving, any increases are merely keeping pace with loss cost inflation and reinsurers are not gaining any extra margin in real terms. “There is a long way to go on rates,” he added. Adam Szakmary, director of underwriting-Bermuda, Hiscox Re + ILS, said: “In the past, the spike in rates post-event was more pronounced. Without that, the cycle should be smoother but rates must be sustainable.” Dan Malloy, chief executive officer of Third Point Re, said that rates were improving but further increases were needed. Meanwhile Peter Gadeke, executive vice-president of Willis Re, Peter Gadeke, said rates increased at the June 1 renewal but that represented a recalibration of the cost of risk. He doesn’t necessarily believe that rates will go up in the January 1 renewal period. He said: “Retro rates will increase and insurers are also achieving rate increases, but reinsurers seem to be squeezed in the middle.” Intelligent Insurer, a publication that covers the re/insurance market, reported on the panel in its special edition, Monte Carlo Today. The appetite of alternative capital investors seeking to enter the Bermuda market continues, according to Appleby partner Brad Adderley, who said he was aware of a number of new vehicles that would be entering the market by year-end. Andre Perez, chairman and CEO of Horseshoe Group, said his company was seeing significant inflows of alternative capital into the sector. Others involved in the panel included John Huff, president and CEO of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers; Greg Wojciechowski, president and CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange; Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda insurance leader; and Kathleen Faries, chair of ILS Bermuda and of RICAP Bermuda.
An American motivational speaker said last night that he regretted past statements in which he referred to homosexuality as a “sickness” and to gays as “an inferior being”. James Small said that comments he had made about homosexuality in a series of online videos do not reflect his feelings today. “That’s five years ago,” Mr Small said. “I’ve done a lot of research and studying, and talked to my friends and family who are gay. I’m old enough, smart enough to know that first you got to know what the hell you don’t know. And then you got to get to know people. My position on that issue is not the same as it was then because I understand a hell of a lot more now than I did then.” Mr Small, who spoke with firebrand activist Ayo Kimathi at a controversial event in 2015, will return to the island for a lecture titled “Healing Thyself Through Knowing Thyself” at the Liberty Theatre on September 22. Mr Small, a former professor at City University of New York, said in an interview that publishes today in The Royal Gazette’s Lifestyle section that his talk will focus on “spirituality and reality”. Videos posted on YouTube show Mr Small and Mr Kimathi discussing homosexuality within the black community, with Mr Small expressing views similar to comments made by Mr Kimathi that landed him on the stop list four years ago. In one video, Mr Small called homosexuality a “sickness”. He added: “You’re talking about an inferior being.” Mr Small went on to say that “the culture of homosexuality is fundamentally the European culture”. He also discussed adoption of children by gay couples in a video named “Homosexual Agenda Attacks African Studies Agenda”. Mr Small said: “How can a homosexual raise a normal, non-homosexual child? You’re a paedophile. You had to go out, and search out, and hide to find your victims — now you got your victim as your son and your daughter.” In another video, “Arab Homosexual Assault on Afrikan People”, Mr Small described homosexuality “as a weapon in the arsenal of the white supremacist in his effort to commit genetic annihilation of the black family and the black race”. He later used the word “cracker” to describe white people and “f****t to describe gays in the video. The four videos were posted in May 2015. Mr Small said last night that his comments were not “sensitive or appropriate”. He added: “I regret those things. I’m not against homosexuality, because that’s somebody else’s way of life. I can’t tell them how to live their life and I don’t want them to tell me how to live mine. It’s as simple as that. I will not disrespect that person and I would hope that person wouldn’t disrespect me.” Mr Kimathi, an American known as the Irritated Genie, was placed on Bermuda’s stop list by Michael Fahy, then the home affairs minister in the former One Bermuda Alliance government, over comments he made at the Liberty Theatre, which included describing homosexuality as a cancer that originated from white Europeans. He said at the event: “We don’t agree with homosexuality, we don’t agree with paedophile, none of this European ‘white sex’ stuff that we talked about. We ain’t with that. We are not even negotiating with it.” Ian Kawaley, then the Chief Justice, upheld Mr Fahy’s decision and called Mr Kimathi’s presentation an “unfiltered message of hate”. Latoya Bridgewater, the host of the Liberty Theatre event this month, declined to comment about Mr Small before his presentation. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, who is responsible for immigration, was asked if he was aware of Mr Small’s visit and whether he supported him coming to Bermuda, given statements he had made in the past. Mr Caines did not respond by press time yesterday. Mr Small will speak alongside Mwalimu Melodye Micëre Van Putten, an education consultant, writer and lecturer. An event flyer invites people to “join us as we dive into the heart of healing by exploring our African-Bermudian history with Mwalimu Melodye Micëre Van Putten and African spirituality with Professor James Small”. The event includes a two-hour morning lecture component, followed by a four-hour “chat and chew” in the afternoon.
Progressive Labour Party members only will be welcome at a meeting on immigration tonight. The PLP had previously stated on a flyer about the Alaska Hall event: “All are welcome.” But a spokeswoman said today: “I write to clarify for the public that the immigration town hall slated to be held at Alaska Hall today is for PLP members only. The public will be notified of any further meetings open for attendance on this topic.” Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, who is responsible for immigration, will lead the discussion alongside Renée Ming, a Progressive Labour Party MP and member of the bipartisan parliamentary committee on immigration reform that was established in October 2017. The meeting was scheduled as MPs prepare to debate potential changes to immigration policy for mixed-status families on Friday, when they return from the summer break. A Bill designed to tackle the issue of mixed-status families had been scheduled to be tabled on July 26. Mr Caines decided to postpone that after meeting the drafters of the legislation, as well as the Government’s policy team. He said “important elements” were unresolved and more time was required.
All of Bermuda’s public schools welcomed pupils back today for the start of the new academic year. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said: “All Bermuda public schools were open and safe to receive students today.” But she added that there were staff vacancies at some school levels. The spokeswoman said that two art, two music and one physical education teacher were needed at the primary school level. She added that one math and one foreign language teacher were still needed at the middle school level. The spokeswoman said: “The Department of Education has experienced staffing challenges in filling vacancies for music and art teachers at the primary level, and in securing math teachers at middle and senior school levels. In the interim, in cases where there is a staff vacancy, a trained and qualified substitute teacher has been provided. Staff recruitment is set to commence by the end of September 2019 for placements for September 2020. She added that the island’s 10 preschools and Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, in Devonshire, had a full complement of staff. The spokeswoman said: “With the current staffing complement, the Ministry and Department are confident that all schools are positioned to proceed full-speed ahead with teaching and learning for the 2019/2020 school year.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, and DoE staff welcomed pupils and staff back to school today.
It was still unclear last night if all public schools would be open today as pupils return to the classroom for the new academic year. Questions about the readiness of schools were sent to a Ministry of Education spokeswoman last night. She was asked whether all schools would be open, if work to tackle asbestos continued at any schools, and if all schools had been declared safe. There was no reply by press time. The questions were sparked by work at three schools in the past few weeks. The spokeswoman confirmed last Friday that work had been carried out at West End Primary School, Sandys, to remove floor tiles. She said the work was a “precautionary measure” in case they contained asbestos. The spokeswoman said at the time that the Ministry of Education was “confident” the school would be “safe to receive students and staff” today. She added two other schools — Prospect Primary School, in Devonshire, and Clearwater Middle School, in St David’s — were “expected to open on Tuesday, as scheduled”. Work to tackle asbestos at both schools took place over the summer break. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said yesterday that she along with Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, and Department of Education staff would be at schools today to welcome pupils back. Ms Richards said the visits were designed to “show our support to staff and students, and to remind us about the important work we do each day — work for our children”. She added: “The staff and I are fully committed to student success and will continue to set out a path towards improving results and transforming Bermuda public schools.” Ms Richards said that 4,820 pupils would return to public schools for the new term. She added: “I expect our students to do well and I look forward to seeing an improvement in our results this year.” Ms Richards said that teachers had taken part in professional development to prepare for the new academic year. She added that new teachers had also completed orientation “to equip them with the knowledge they need to seamlessly transition into the Bermuda public school system”. Ms Richards said: “I have no doubt that all of the staff will inspire and encourage our students towards their maximum potential this year. I am also encouraged by work being done within the DoE to ensure a successful year.” She said that DoE staff had been involved in tasks that included the preparation and delivery of school supply orders, finalization of staff assignments, and preparation for the increase of internet bandwidth at preschools, primary schools and middle schools. Ms Richards added that staff had also prepared for the launch of the DoE’s complaints policy and upgrades to PowerSchool, the online school information site.
Three acts of vandalism in the run-up to Bermuda’s first Pride parade are still under investigation, police have revealed. CCTV footage showed a suspect spray-painting the Pride sticker on the front entrance of The Royal Gazette offices on Par-la-Ville Road between 3am and 8am on August 30, the day before the parade. A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said: “Efforts to identify and locate that individual are ongoing.” He added that police were also probing the vandalism of crosswalks on Queen Street and Washington Street in Hamilton, which had been decorated in Pride colours in honour of the parade, the night before the rally and march. Witnesses should call 717-2072.
British Airways flights between Bermuda and London will be cancelled today for the second day running because of a strike by pilots. The 2.55pm flight from Gatwick has been cancelled on both days, as well as the return flights scheduled for 8.10pm. The airline cancelled about 1,700 flights yesterday as the British Airline Pilots Association embarked on a two-day strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. A BA spokeswoman said: “British Airways sincerely regrets that flights to and from Bermuda today and tomorrow are cancelled due to the strike action caused by the pilots’ union, Balpa. “We understand the frustration and disruption Balpa’s strike action has caused our customers. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this. We remain ready and willing to return to talks with Balpa.” Balpa has claimed cost cutting and “dumbing down” of the BA brand had eroded confidence in the airline. The union gave notice of the two-day strike last month, as well as a third day on September 27. Balpa estimated the series of strikes could cost the airline about $150 million. The spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, with no detail from Balpa on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent of our flights all over the world.” She added that British Airways had offered all affected customers refunds or the option to rebook to another travel date.
A new “world-class” beachfront fun zone planned for Snorkel Park Beach in Dockyard will provide a venue for Bermudian artists, entrepreneurs and business collaborations, the new operators said yesterday. Belcario Thomas, the chief executive of the project said the new-look attraction would create more than jobs and include a water park and upgraded nightlife. Mr Thomas added: “We will enhance the island’s guest experiences overall by reducing pressure on Horseshoe Bay and set certifiable service and control standards for the beach economy to raise the bar in Bermuda. Through collaboration and creativity with area businesses, we can work on addressing seasonality through bundled packages. This venture gives us the opportunity to focus on residential and community programming, products and pricing that more strikes a needed balance.” Mr Thomas will take over operations at Snorkel Park with the rest of his team at Beach Boys Ltd, the operator of Tobacco Bay in St George’s, alongside several partners. He said that, as well as roles for kitchen, bar and beach staff, there would also be several “back of house” positions available. The unfilled posts include some for people who have completed Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Bermuda Hospitality Institute and Chamber of Commerce tourism industry programmes. The team said it had a three-year plan to overhaul Snorkel Park Beach with an emphasis on safety, accessibility and “a welcoming sense of place”. Dennie O’Connor, of Beach Boys Ltd, will be operations director for the new venture and Raymond Walker will be managing director. Mr O’Connor, the winner of this year’s International Certified Tourism Ambassador award, said the nightlife would have a “broad appeal”. He added: “We’ll introduce our versions of sunset Hawkins Island-esque experiences, evening transport and fresh, outside the box events,” he said. A process of consultation with the planning department, Dockyard operators Wedco and others will take place before proposals for the water park are made. Mr O’Connor said: “Fortunately, we do have architectural project management and contracting expertise in-house who will begin this period of discovery, allowing for sensitivities to any preservation areas, weather considerations, cost and benefit analysis and the like.” The Beach Boys team are also joined by Joyce Hayward, a former accountant-general, as financial controller, architectural project manager Vanessa Daniel and programming manager Jennifer Turini Ysseldyke. Paul Franco, the president of Vasco Da Gama, is the contractor, and Podiatry Board chairwoman Natasha Thomas is in charge of productivity and business intelligence. Chris Garland, the managing director at Harbourside Holdings Ltd, which owns Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Hamilton and other hospitality businesses and Sidley Carswell Sanna, the liaison member of the operating group, rounded of the new ownership of Snorkel Park. The group was one of six that submitted bids after Wedco issued a request for proposal in June. Glenn Jones, the chief development officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the plans were “an awesome opportunity for tourism. We know the leadership team at Beach Boys understands this premise and we’re glad to hear they’ve earned the chance to advance Bermuda’s beach economy in the West End. The BTA has always believed improving infrastructure and amenities on beaches where they already exist is the pathway to a better beach experience for visitors and locals alike."
Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) has announced the awarding of nine scholarships, worth $155,000, over one or more years. All the scholarships are administered by BHB, with funding for five from Bermuda Hospitals Board ($70,000), three from the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation ($45,000) and one from GlaxoSmithKlein Insurance Ltd, a Bermuda-based subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline plc ($40,000). Venetta Symonds, BHB President & CEO, comments: “Congratulations to all the scholarship winners. It is exciting to see the next generation of healthcare professionals working to complete their studies. Forty three years ago I was in their shoes – a successful BHB scholarship winner. I wish them all the best in their studies and look forward to seeing their careers blossom. Whether they focus on their speciality or go on into senior leadership, I wish them well. I would like to thank the BHCF and GlaxoSmithKlein for their on-going investment in Bermuda’s healthcare future, and to all the members of the BHB Scholarship Committee who administer and support the selection process.”
Scholarships funded by BHB:
Scholarships funded by the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation (BHCF)
A veteran nurse with almost 50 years on the healthcare frontline is shocked to find she has no insurance coverage for emergency bone cancer treatment overseas. Eloise Bell, 73, said yesterday: “I’ve worked here for 50 years, paid my insurance for 50 years, and the one time I need it I can’t get any coverage.” Ms Bell said she was told by a pharmacist when she picked up prescriptions for blood pressure treatment and painkillers six weeks ago that her health insurance covered only hospital care at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. She added: “I couldn’t believe it. I don’t even get a discount for being over 65.” Ms Bell, who had bone cancer in her right leg diagnosed three weeks ago, said she had no choice but to travel to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston tomorrow for further treatment. She added: “If I could get it checked here, I could understand why they won’t cover me overseas. But they won’t do it here. Ms Bell asked: “So what happens to someone who has a condition they can’t handle here? Do they have to die because they don’t have insurance for overseas?” Ms Bell said she now has to find thousands of dollars for her flight, hotel accommodation and treatment in Boston, and did not know what further treatment might cost. She added: “They are causing me to put my life over money and I have 24 hours to make a decision.” Now she has launched an appeal for financial help and obtained a temporary fundraising licence. She said: “This is my appeal to the public to lend their voice in my support. “Perhaps some of the people I have helped over the years will be able to help me out.” Ms Bell said she had cared for thousands of patients over her career, including hundreds flown overseas by the Bermuda Air Medivac plane from 2004 to 2011. Ms Bell was the service’s vice-president and chief flight nurse for the service until it folded. She said her health problem started in April with an ache that she at first thought was a pulled muscle. Doctors suggested arthritis, then myositis, a muscle inflammation, but a CT scan, followed by an MRI, revealed a tumor on her right thigh bone near her hip. Ms Bell said: “You can see on the scan that it is almost through to the marrow of the bone. That’s why there is such time pressure.” She added: “It’s serious. I was told the worst-case scenario is I’ll lose my leg. I had a little cry and then pulled myself together for the next step.” She said a biopsy at Brigham and Women’s would determine if the cancer was malignant or benign. Ms Bell explained the procedure was said to be “too dangerous to do in Bermuda”. She added: “In my 50 years as a nurse, I have had one inpatient hospital visit, for the delivery of my daughter. I have been off ill about ten days.” Ms Bell retired from the hospital seven years ago, but she has been employed there ever since in full-time, part-time and casual roles. Ms Bell explained that casual nurses were called in when the hospital was short staffed, and were “not supposed to work more than a certain number of hours per year”. She added: “All I knew was I had hospital insurance. I didn’t think it mattered whether it was Bermuda or Timbuktu.” Ms Bell said a part-time nurse from overseas had a massive heart attack last year while he awaited a new contract. She added: “He had no insurance because he hadn’t started his new contract. He told me he thought he would have a second heart attack when he found out it cost about $100,000, but they still covered him. I never knew my insurance only covered me for hospital here. I don’t have FutureCare because I don’t need it. Last month, I did full-time hours in the emergency room, so I should be covered for that.” A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Hospitals Board confirmed last night that Ms Bell was “a casual at BHB”, but said that board could not comment on individual cases because of employment confidentiality. She added: “However, we can confirm as a matter of policy, all staff are offered the BHB retiree health plan when they retire from BHB, which includes overseas care as part of major medical. People who do not take up the plan due to their pursuit of alternate employment or their decision to take a health plan independently, forfeit their option to join the retiree plan. Those who take alternate employment post retirement, including working at BHB as a casual, are subject to the health plan offered by the employment. BHB casual health benefits only cover those required by the Health Insurance Act.”
12 Bermudian employees at Butterfield Bank in Bermuda are to be made redundant as the result of cost-cutting restructuring measures. The bank is making a further ten roles redundant in the Cayman Island, with those and the Bermuda jobs being moved to the bank’s support services centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The roles impacted are in the bank’s card fraud department, middle office area and call centre. A bank spokesman yesterday said employees had been given advance notice of their positions being relocated to Canada during the coming months. He said that Butterfield was working to find alternative roles within the bank for the impacted employees. The spokesman confirmed that all 12 employees affected in Bermuda were Bermudian. “Butterfield is one of the island’s largest employers and 93 per cent of Bermuda-based roles are held by Bermudians. Where restructuring is effected, the impact on roles tends to reflect this proportionality,” he said. Affected employees were informed of the redundancies last Thursday. The spokesman said: “Halifax provides us with an in-sourced, cost-effective location in which to consolidate teams that serve our businesses in multiple jurisdictions.” Efforts are being made to find alternative roles within the bank for impacted employees, the spokesman said, adding: “The timing of role redundancies for impacted employees varies by position and each employee was provided with details for his/her role last Thursday. In all cases, we have provided several months’ advance notice.” The redundancies are the second round of job losses at Butterfield’s on-island operations this year. In April, 11 people lost their jobs at the bank when their positions in Bermuda were made redundant, and more than 30 accepted early retirement packages. At the same time, Butterfield announced the closure of its Rosebank banking centre and drive-through teller services in Hamilton.
Tonnes of emergency aid supplies were loaded yesterday on board a Royal Navy ship bound for the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas. HMS Protector, the Navy’s Antarctic patrol ship, will stop off in the Bahamas with Royal Bermuda Regiment Colour Sergeant Sheldon Fox and National Disaster Co-ordinator Steve Cosham on board to deliver the massive amount of food, water, hygiene supplies, plywood and other donated items. Colour Sergeant Fox, student Bandmaster with the RBR Band & Corps of Drums and also trained in disaster relief, said: “It’s a bit different from music, but it’s part of the versatility we offer to the country. I’m doing the management and handover of supplies in Bermuda and in the Bahamas to ensure it all gets to the right people.” The 32-year-old former music teacher from Warwick, now a full-time soldier, added: “I wasn’t expecting to be doing this this weekend, but it’s the nature of the job; we serve the people. I’m looking forward to representing the regiment and Bermuda and helping where I can.” Colour Sergeant Fox was speaking as sailors from HMS Protector stowed an estimated 100 tonnes of disaster relief supplies, donated by the Bermudian public and businesses over just one weekend, in its hold before it steams to the Bahamas today. Small businesses with trucks and large companies volunteered their vehicles to transport donations from the main collection centre, at the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church on King Street, to the dockside on Front Street. Soldiers and volunteers had earlier stacked donated goods on pallets and secured them at the church, for easy loading on board HMS Protector, which stopped off in Bermuda en route for patrol duty in the South Atlantic. Private Trent-ton Daniels, 22, who worked alongside Protector’s crew, said his civilian background as an employee at Price Rite in Spanish Point, meant he had experience of forklift trucks and pallet transport. Pvt Daniels said: “The moment they asked me to do this, I was more than willing. I do it for my job and it’s great to do it for my country, and help out our sister islands as well.” The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama suffered massive damage after the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian slammed into them last Sunday and slowly crossed over northern Bahamian chain for four days. The International Red Cross estimated this weekend that more than 70,000 people had been forced to flee their homes and that 45 per cent of homes in the devastated islands had been destroyed or severely damaged. Captain Matt Syrett RN, the Commanding Officer of HMS Protector, said: “We’ve arrived in Bermuda at an opportune time and we’re delighted to be able to assist. We could stay here and load much more because of the generosity of the Bermudian people, which has been very impressive.” But he said the need for aid in the affected islands was so great, the ship would be most useful by getting assistance there as fast as possible. Captain Syrett added that the response of the people of Bermuda had been “inspiring. The spirit of this island in helping another island ... is just amazing.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the Commanding Officer of the RBR, said: “This is an excellent example of how the RBR can support the civil authorities and work with other armed forces in times of need, at home and abroad. I am very proud of all the soldiers who turned out at very short notice and threw themselves into the work with huge enthusiasm.” Manai Roberts, of Smith’s-based MIR Trucking, was one of dozens who came forward to help transport tonnes of aid to the navy ship. Mr Roberts said: “I figured, at the end of the day, if something like that happened to our country, people would do the same for us. I just like to help people and I enjoy doing it.” Lieutenant-Commander Robbie Nash added: “We’ve all seen in the press the devastation that Dorian caused and we’re very proud to be representing Bermuda, the UK Government and the Royal Navy. We’re glad to help out.” John Rankin, the Governor and also the Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, dropped off his own donation at the church on Saturday and visited the massive military and civilian effort to pack and move aid supplies yesterday. He said: “The people of Bermuda have been incredibly generous. I am grateful that HMS Protector, together with the Royal Bermuda Regiment and with support from the community and the City of Hamilton, are loading everything on the vessel so they can take it to the Bahamas and help those who so desperately need assistance. The international community, as a whole, is determined to help the Bahamas in its time of need and Bermuda is playing its part, in that effort. I hope all the material that is coming from here will help get people back on their feet and provide them with what they need to get them through the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.” Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that more than 200 tonnes of goods had been collected since Friday and that 100 tonnes’ worth would depart today. Mr Caines said that work continued to determine when the additional goods would leave Bermuda. He added: “By midweek, we should have an update.” Mr Caines said that the people of Bermuda had come together and had emptied their homes and their hearts. He added: “I am so excited to see the love that the people of Bermuda have shown. I am proud to be a be a Bermudian today. I know in my heart that we can do anything. This is an example of what we can do every day in our island home.” Simone Smith-Bean, the chief co-ordinator of the Bahamian Association of Bermuda for the relief effort, thanked Bermuda for its “outpouring of love. We are so grateful for all of the support that you have given us over the past 48 hours. We are bubbling over with so much gratitude and so much respect for this island nation that has come to our aid at this time.” Ms Smith-Bean said the volunteers who had given their time to the cause over the weekend were "heroes."
Three public town hall meetings to discuss proposed reforms to health benefits are to be held in the coming weeks. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that healthcare providers, insurers, employees and patients had been sought to “encourage meaningful, constructive dialogue”. She added: “These reforms will affect us all and I need the input of everyone in the community to build solutions that work in our shared best interest.” Ms Wilson said that talks so far on the proposed reforms had been “ extremely interesting. I’m hearing a range of points of view and very important perspectives. This will help us build a better health system to make Bermuda healthier.” The meetings are scheduled to take place on:
All meetings will start at 6.30pm. A consultation guide on the proposed reforms has also been released. A ministry of health spokeswoman said that the guide “provides a description of the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 proposals, the detailed data modelling assumptions in the ‘mock plan’, and information on how to respond to the consultation”. Ms Wilson unveiled plans last month for a revised package of health insurance benefits designed to cut out-of-pocket expenses for the public. She said that the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 would replace the Standard Health Benefit coverage for all the island’s 65,000 residents. But the level of coverage, as well as who will administer the scheme, remain unclear. Ms Wilson said at the time that consultation documents on the plan would be released “over the coming weeks” and that there would be a four-month consultation period on what the plan should include and cost. The administration of the plan will also be discussed. Naz Farrow, the chief executive of Colonial Group International, warned last month that the creation of a new system was a “massive and complex undertaking”. Peter Lozier, the executive vice-president of group insurance at Argus Group, said that “health reform of this magnitude and complexity requires comprehensive input from a breadth of stakeholders”. He added that the company “encourage the adoption of a flexible, rather than fixed, consultation period” as many details of the plan had not been determined.
BF&M Ltd has reported shareholders’ net income of $11.4 million for the first half of the year, an increase of $4.7 million year-on-year. John Wight, group chairman and chief executive officer, said: “For the first half of 2019, BF&M reported strong earnings by both our property and casualty operations and our life and health business. Strong investment results also contributed to our performance for the six-month period.” Equity attributable to shareholders at June 30 was $284.7 million. General fund assets totaled $1.3 billion of which $143.4 million was held in cash and cash equivalents. Gross premiums written for the period were $198.8 million, driven by growth in home insurance business in the Caribbean and higher group health and annuity premium. With increased premiums written, the company also benefited from increased commissions on business ceded to the reinsurance market. Commission and other income increased from the prior year by 11 per cent to $25.6 million. Investment income for the period reflected a strong first half with a $26 million increase in the fair value of investments in the period. Short term claims and adjustment expenses decreased 6 per cent, year-on-year, to $12.3 million from favourable loss experience in 2019. Life and health policy benefits increased by 111 per cent to $80.8 million. Life and health policy benefits includes changes in life reserves, which increased in 2019 compared to the same period last year due to differences in market interest rates. Operating expenses increased 5 per cent to $32.5 million for the period. Mr Wight said: “At this time, our thoughts are with all those affected by the devastation from Hurricane Dorian. We stand ready to do our part in beginning the process of rebuilding, not just through our donation in support of the work of the Red Cross, but by promptly assessing and processing claims as these start to come in.” The company said it is too early to provide an estimate of the loss the BF&M group has suffered from Hurricane Dorian, however it expects that the loss will be contained within its reinsurance programme. BF&M offers property and casualty products as well as health, life, annuities, pension products, investment advisory and financial planning services.
Insured losses from Hurricane Dorian have been estimated at between $1.5 billion and $3 billion, by AIR Worldwide. The catastrophe risk modelling firm said Dorian first made landfall on August 28 at St Thomas, but quickly strengthened to maximum category 5 as it reached the northwestern islands of the Bahamas on September 1. In Grand Bahamas and Abaco Island buildings were destroyed, roofs were torn off, trees were felled, streets and homes were flooded, and cars, boats, and debris were strewn everywhere. Hundreds of people remain missing, while the official death count in the Bahamas from the hurricane is 43. Dorian moved away from the Bahamas and weakened as it moved north in proximity to the US coastline. It later made landfall on a peninsula of North Carolina, and on Saturday swept across Nova Scotia, Canada, as a post-tropical cyclone. AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates for the Caribbean include damage to onshore residential, commercial, and industrial properties and their contents, as well as automobiles; time element coverage (additional living expenses for residential properties and business interruption for commercial properties that experience physical loss from both direct and indirect sources); and storm surge. The estimates do not include loss to offshore properties, pleasure boats, and marine craft; losses to infrastructure; losses from hazardous waste cleanup, vandalism, or civil commotion whether directly or indirectly caused by the event; demand surge; losses resulting from the compromise of existing defences, such as levees.
There is now no need to spend time going up and down supermarket aisles gathering your groceries in a cart. MarketPlace has launched an online ordering service today, which allows customers to choose what they want to buy and then drive to the Hamilton store to pick-up the packed groceries. Online grocery order and pick-up services is a growing trend in a number of countries. In the US, big name retailers offering such services include Walmart, Target and Whole Foods. MarketPlace is initially offering its new online order and pick-up service at Hamilton MarketPlace, however it intends to extend the service to more of its stores before the end of the year. The aim is to make shopping quicker and easier for customers. The ordering is done at the MarketPlace website, or through mobile apps that can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App store. When ordering, customers can specify alternatives to their first choices in case they are not available. There are reserved pick-up parking spots where customers can quickly have their groceries loaded at a time convenient to them. The minimum online grocery order is $50. There is a $4.95 fee, although this is waived for the first order. Customers can choose from more than 25,000 items online at Marketplace.bm. Items are organised by category, and customers can shop the weekly deals and still enjoy 5 per cent off on Wednesdays. Seth Stutzman, president of The MarketPlace, said: “Our online ordering and pick up service is perfect for customers who want to spend their time on things that matter most. We recognize that grocery shopping can sometimes be a time-consuming experience. Our goal for implementing online ordering is to give some of that time back to our customers, allowing them to spend it on things that matter the most. This service is also great for visitors to island. Our customers from the US, Canada, the UK and other similar jurisdictions are accustomed to these sort of tech-advanced services, as well as residents who have lived and travel abroad. Our team has worked tirelessly over the last few months to get the new website and mobile app operating, and I thank them immensely. We are thrilled to be offering this service.” He said supermarket associates will carefully select the best quality items and keep customers up to date on their order until it has been collected. Shoppers simply park in one of the reserve spots for pick-up and call or text the listed number on the designated parking spot signs to alert an associate of their arrival. Their order is brought out and loaded into customers vehicles within minutes.,” Mr Stutzman said.
Drummer and singer Charles “Tao” Taylor died at the age of 71 in June in Toronto, Canada. He was a prolific musician who set the tempo for one of the island’s hottest acts from the 1970s and 1980s, Burning Ice. A memorial jam session for him was held at the Leopards Club, on Saturday. Mr Taylor played with a host of bands in the prime of Bermuda’s entertainment scene, but was best known locally for Burning Ice. He also backed several famous visiting artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Pat O’Connor, his sister, recalled growing up as one of six siblings in a vibrant musical household on Parsons Road in Pembroke. Their parents, Robert and Gwendolyn Taylor, were both artists. “Everybody used to come, and rehearse at our house. We grew up around music,” she said. “Music was passed through the family. Charlie had his drum set and I grew up singing. Most drummers are not singing people, but my brother could do both.” She described her brother, who called her “Earth Angel”, as “outgoing, outspoken, sometimes hardheaded”. Ms O’Connor added: “The way he played was awesome.” She said she had been “blown away” to hear strangers recognize her brother’s style in the drumming of her son, Tajai O’Connor, who plays in the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band. Mr Taylor’s niece, Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, known professionally as Powergirl Trina, said her uncle’s career took flight with the musician and band leader Michael “Curtis” Clarke. She said: “He was a drummer for many years with Gene Steede. I remember growing up, going to all the different hotels where people performed, and being so proud. That was his life, his bread and butter. He would sleep during the day and at nights, he would perform. It was a time when the entertainment industry was booming.” A consummate joker who could improvise songs for fun, Mr Taylor “loved to pull pranks on people, especially his wife, Stephanie”, Ms O’Connor-Paynter added. His obituary at the memorial celebration listed local bands including the Cortinas, Six Love and Three Plus Three Explosion. John Burch, a guitarist with Mr Taylor in the 1960s group Green Forest, said the band’s name came from a picture hanging on Mr Taylor’s bedroom wall. Mr Burch said: “He was a Motown type of guy and sang nice. Charlie was funny, always speaking with folks. We’d play weddings at places like Castle Harbour and Elbow Beach.” With the 1970s, Burning Ice grew into a top act. Along with Mr Taylor, it comprised Colin Lee, Jeffrey Marshall, Basil Burns, Danny Rowling, Gregory Seymour, Wendell Darrell and Antonio Dill. Mr Marshall said: “It wasn’t very often you would see Charlie in a down mood. He kept a positive attitude about everything.” He added: “Charlie was a phenomenal singer and an amazing drummer. Nothing flashy. He didn’t aspire to a lot of chops. What he played was massive, massive grooves. You could not sit still.” June Caisey, a singer and contemporary, traced Mr Taylor’s career back to “Curtis” Clarke in the late 1950s. She said: “He was part of my life more than 60 years. Charlie was philosophical and loved everyone unconditionally. Burning Ice saw the future — they were visionaries.” Cleveland “Outta Sight” Simmons said he helped promote the band for its Canada tour in the late 1970s. Mr Simmons said: “Those guys stayed out there for ten years. To start with, they didn’t have permits. They used to work non-union places. They used to go to this club on Yonge Street for jam sessions every Saturday afternoon when Prince was the main feature. That was the same year Prince recorded the song Purple Rain.” Dale Butler, the music historian and former MP, wrote in his book, Music on the Rock: “The ‘Ice’ placed profound emphasis on originality — and an all-out effort to overcome their audience.” Mr Butler added: “Charles was an exceptionally talented drummer, who I first got to see when I was a teenager, when he rehearsed with Charles Michael Clarke, in Curtis Clarke and the Cortinas on Angle Street. He was a much sought-after drummer, who could play anything. He was a major icon in Bermuda music, when we transitioned from mainly calypso and began to explore a variety of music.”
A visitor from the United States who died in a crash last week was identified by police as Jamie Kopp. It marked the sixth fatal traffic accident of 2019. Ms Kopp, 49, was riding with her husband on a separate rental scooter in Hamilton Parish on Thursday, at about 1.45pm, when her vehicle collided with a water truck. The two were headed west on North Shore Road near the junction with Cottage Hill Road. The truck was travelling in the opposite direction. Ms Kopp succumbed to serious injuries, despite life-saving efforts at the scene and on the ambulance to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. A police spokesman said her husband and the driver of the truck were not injured. A family liaison officer was assigned to help Ms Kopp’s family. An investigation continues.
More than a year has passed since Government promised to look at ways to develop Shelly Bay to improve access for older people and the disabled. Campaigners who put forward the plan, as an alternative to a Bermuda Tourism Authority proposal to house food and beach equipment and rental concessions in re-modeled shipping containers at the Hamilton Parish beach, said they were confident work would be carried out in the near future. The Ministry of Public Works, however, declined to comment on when the redevelopment was scheduled or if cash had been earmarked for the project. Members of the pressure group, which included area residents Cheryl-Ann Griffin, Esme Williams and LaVerne Furbert, said earlier that it was their hope that the work would be completed in time for this year’s summer season. Ms Williams said this week that the group would follow up with the minister regarding the status of the plans. She added: “I am confident that the plans will go ahead and am hopeful that they will be included in the upcoming budget.” The Government last August blocked the BTA plan, part of its Beach Economy Vision, after public consultation. The public works ministry instead agreed to examine the campaigners’ proposal, which was backed by a petition with more than 1,000 signatures. The ministry organised a meeting in April and outlined plans for a gazebo, water wheelchairs and removable non-slip mats that would run to the water’s edge, as well as improved access to the beach. Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly and also an area resident, was on the panel at the April meeting along with Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, who said at the time that the plans were “not cast in stone”. Mr Burgess also refused to comment on the development and said it was a question for the public works ministry. The BTA hosted a taster event last August to allow potential concession operators to promote their businesses. Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development at the time, said during the event that “we’re the ones that will make the final decision”.
Migrant workers have shared “horror stories” claiming abuse, xenophobia, unfair discrepancies in working contracts and having their travel documents seized, according to a union leader. Jason Hayward, the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union has launched a guest worker task force to address the issues migrant workers face in their employment. Mr Hayward met with members from 14 groups this week, including unions, the Bermuda Hospitals Board, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce and cultural organisations representing ethnic groups. Mr Hayward told The Royal Gazette: “The way in which migrant workers are being treated needs to be addressed immediately. The concerns are severe — I have been hearing some horror stories. It is important that we recognize that guest workers play a vital role in our society as Bermuda will always have to rely on guest workers to fill some areas of our workforce. Guest workers undoubtedly contribute positively to our economy. We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to the plight of this population in Bermuda, as all workers should be afforded decent work.” Mr Hayward said the task force heard stories including “bullying and harassment, precarious work, instances where employers have seized travel documents when guest workers arrived in Bermuda, variation to guest worker employment contracts after arrival and numerous other abuses by employers which are against the Employment Act. More alarming stories were shared on how some stakeholders have assisted domestic workers in escaping their places of employment as a result of the abuses and undignified treatment they receive from their employers.” The union leader said that the Department of Labour had received similar complaints, although the Department did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. Mr Hayward said that the task force agreed to focus on numerous aims including to promote cultural diversity, inform guest workers of their rights, campaign against xenophobia and combat discrimination, raise concerns to the government’s Labour Advisory Committee, and ensure that Bermuda’s legislation fully protects all workers. Mr Hayward said that he would encourage local companies to survey their employees in order to identify instances of bullying and abuse within the workplace. He said: “We are trying to get companies to put out employee opinion surveys so they can get a better grasp of the culture that exists within their work environments. We are actively engaged in the migrant worker population, how to move forward and assist them and we intend to meet on a monthly basis.”
have rallied in response to calls to send 200 tonnes of goods to the
hurricane-stricken Bahamas. “This could have happened to us,” Juanita
Caldwell told The Royal Gazette yesterday. Ms Caldwell was dropping off $100
worth of supplies in a temporary storage room at the Hamilton Seven-Day
Adventist Centre. She said: “I can’t imagine what people are going through.
I’ve just brought simple things, things for people to clean themselves, to
help give them a sense of sanity.” Ms Caldwell was accompanied by ten-year-old
Alec Geekie, who said: “I just like helping people.” The Saltus year six
student pitched in carrying donations with Wayne Caines, the Minister of
National Security, who yesterday called on “every household in Bermuda” to
donate. Tens of thousands are in need, and hundreds feared dead, after the
Bahamas this week bore the brunt of Hurricane Dorian, the worst storm in the
country’s history. Donations are still being solicited this weekend at the
church centre on King Street, to be shipped on Monday. David Steede, the pastor,
said: “It’s been a steady stream of people. It’s all kinds of Bermudians
from all walks of life. This is the most expensive country to live in, but
people are still willing to give.” Among donors was Wanda Francis, dropping
off a load of toiletries. “This is just who I am,” Ms Francis said. “If I
say I’m a Christian, then when people are in need I just do it.” Mr Steede
said every donation would have to be itemized and packaged before going aboard
the Royal Navy ice patrol ship HMS
A Massachusetts man who was caught with cocaine in his cruise ship cabin was ordered to pay $750 before he can leave the island. Kyle Melannson, 29, from Leominster, pleaded guilty yesterday to importing cocaine and THC — the active ingredient in cannabis — into Bermuda in an incident on September 3. The court heard the drugs were found in a search of his cabin by the crew of the Norwegian Gem. Melannson admitted to police that the drugs, 0.2 grams of cocaine and a vape cartridge that contained THC, belonged to him. He told the court he was concerned about his ability to pay a fine because he had no money and the ship left Bermuda on Tuesday. Melannson said: “On the first night I slept outside. I’m scared, sir. I’m afraid I cannot pay. I apologise to all for this situation. I just want to go home and I will do my best to get the money and get the plane to go home.” Charles Richardson, duty counsel, said Melannson had no previous convictions here or in the United States and that the drugs were not intended for supply. He added that he had advised the defendant to contact family and friends overseas to secure the money to pay for whatever fine he received. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe fined Melannson $500 for the cocaine and another $250 for the THC. The magistrate also ordered that the fines be paid in full before Melannson is able to leave the country.
Work has been carried out at West End Primary School to remove floor tiles as a precaution in case they contain asbestos. Air samples have also been taken and are being sent overseas. Last night the Ministry of Education confirmed that during an inspection on Wednesday some tiles were found to be coming up from the floor in a storeroom at the school. The next day the health department and Bermuda Water Service visited the school, on Scott’s Hill Road, Sandys. “After some discussion, it was decided that the best course of action was to remove the tiles in question in case they contained asbestos. Air samples were also taken. All works and samples collected were carried out due to the visual inspection finding,” the Ministry of Education said in a statement. “The tiles in question were removed and the floor was encapsulated, removing all possibility of asbestos being present. This work was completed on Friday.” The ministry said ceramic tiles are scheduled to be laid today, and air samples are being sent “overseas as per standard protocol”. It also emphasised that the abatement work was a precautionary measure solely based on visual inspection. Parents and staff will be formally notified on Monday, and the ministry said it is confident the school will be safe to receive students and staff on Tuesday. The ministry’s statement came after two photographs that appeared to reveal asbestos work at the Sandys school were sent to The Royal Gazette yesterday. The first, bearing a Ministry of Health letterhead and dated September 4, showed a permit for asbestos abatement at the school, located on Scott’s Hill Road. It said that AMR Services was authorized to start asbestos abatement on that day and complete the work by yesterday. The permit, signed for the chief environmental health officer, added that the work would tackle the “lifting and replacement of loose vinyl floor tiles. An Asbestos Abatement Completions should be issued after a satisfactory inspection has been performed by Occupational Safety & Health.” The second photo showed what looked like a plastic tented area that had the permit taped to it. Teachers have already expressed concern over safety after the discovery of asbestos at Prospect Primary School, in Devonshire, and Clearwater Middle School, in St David’s, earlier this summer. A ministry of education spokeswoman confirmed on Tuesday that work on asbestos had been completed on three areas inside Prospect Primary. She added at the time that work to tackle asbestos at Clearwater continued. The spokeswoman explained: “Some additional abatement works were needed, in one area of the cafeteria.” She said in an update yesterday that Prospect Primary and Clearwater “are expected to be open on Tuesday as scheduled”. The spokeswoman added that abatement work at Prospect Primary had been completed and that school staff had been back inside the building. She said: “The abatement work has also been completed for Clearwater.” Questions about a whether a back-up plan was in place for pupils and staff should Prospect Primary and Clearwater not be opened went unanswered.
A dissertation dealing with racial bias in Bermuda’s education system written more than 40 years ago will now be available online. People will be able to access Muriel Wade-Smith’s A Survey to Identify and Prioritise Goals for the Bermudian Education System in digital form through the Bermuda National Library. Dr Wade-Smith said that her dissertation, submitted in 1978, was about “the goals of education in this country”. She added that she had compared the goals of education models for other places with Bermuda’s as outlined by the Department of Education in 1948. Dr Wade-Smith said: “What struck me was that all the other places never mentioned race, but Bermuda’s did. To me, the goals were biased against children in the public school system, which were mostly black. My recommendation was that we included different groups in re-establishing what the goals in education should be.” She said that her friends and family had told her that the act of making the dissertation available was “long overdue”. But she added: “I say everything happens in its time.” Dr Wade-Smith said that yesterday marked the start of what she had predicted last year of the “volcanic eruption” that was needed in education. I believe that today is the beginning of good fortune for education for Bermuda’s children.” Dr Wade-Smith said: “I believe that I have been commissioned to bring about two elements in the education of Bermuda’s children.” She said of the those areas was African-centric education. It is incumbent upon us that we give our children their history, and their, culture, and their roots.” She identified the other element as justice. “Justice is conduct that shows that one is acting in accordance with what is morally right or fair. So if we want the tumbling out of the blessings, we must prepare ourselves to deal with Bermuda’s education system from truth and justice. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it brings us to a better place.” Dr Wade-Smith was a co-founder of the Bermuda Christian Deliverance Academy in 1994.She later opened other schools in the Caribbean. Dr Wade-Smith apprenticed at the Berkeley Institute in 1960 and later went on to work at a local primary school. She received her first degree, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Miami University, in 1971. She completed her Masters of Education three years later in 1974 and later her Doctorate of Philosophy in Elementary School Administration and Early Childhood Education. Diallo Rabain, the Minster of Education, said that Dr Wade-Smith “embodied what it means to exhibit Bermudian academic excellence in every way. She has been a pillar of strength in her community and shown what it means to advocate for children and education here in Bermuda.” Mr Rabain said that Dr Wade-Smith had made “significant contributions” to the academic community in Bermuda. “She has also worked diligently to spread her knowledge and expertise internationally.” Mr Rabain said that it was important that Bermudian contributions to academics were not forgotten. He added: “Our aim is to glean insight and knowledge from present and past works of academia to inspire the course of Bermudian education moving forward.”
Warwick Academy recorded its best IGCSE results this year. The school reported 96.5 per cent of its pupils achieved five grade C/4s or above and 88.3 per cent of all distinct subjects written were at C/4 or better. A spokeswoman for the school said this compared very favorably to Britain, where students achieved 67.3 per cent grades at C/4 and above. A further breakdown showed:
Noah Da Silva achieved straight A*s and 9s, a feat achieved by only 0.1 per cent of the IGCSE candidates worldwide. The top ten students were:
Principal David Horan said: “A tremendous amount of hard work from the students and staff goes into achieving results like these. I extend my congratulations to all our students and pass on my thanks to our staff who either directly or indirectly contributed to their success during their time at Warwick Academy.”
Premier the Hon. David Burt, JP, MP, met yesterday with the Bahamian-Bermuda Association coordinating committee, for the Northern Bahamas Hurricane Relief Fund. This committee has established a Registered Charity (designated account) to facilitate their fundraising initiative and met with the Premier to discuss plans to further assist this humanitarian effort. They have received an overwhelmingly compassionate interest from the Bermudian community. Premier Burt said, “Our heartfelt prayers continue to go out to the Bahamas as they come to grips with the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. We will work with the Bahamian Association of Bermuda to offer support and ensure our collaborative relief efforts.” Residents can assist the people of the Bahamas by providing cleaning supplies, building supplies, safety and hygiene supplies, and non-perishable food items. For more information and to offer assistance contact the Bahamian Association of Bermuda at 297-2326.
Bahamians living in Bermuda have lost family members after the worst hurricane in the country’s history devastated parts of the island chain, a Bahamian-born Bermudian lawyer said yesterday. Simone Smith-Bean, the wife of former Progressive Party leader Marc Bean, said: “It looks like the aftermath of an atomic bomb. There are hundreds still missing. They haven’t even started moving the rubble.” Ms Smith Bean was speaking after Category 5 Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas last Sunday and battered the Abaco islands and Grand Bahama, for two days. She said some of her own relatives had swam for their lives after a huge storm surge inundated Marsh Harbour, the capital of Abaco, and had taken refuge in a church, with hundreds of other refugees from the storm. Now about 100 Bermuda residents with family ties to the Bahamas have joined forces to send urgent relief to the stricken country. Ms Smith-Bean said: “Two or three are saying they have lost family. They are my people and I can’t leave them behind.” Ms Smith-Bean said she had tracked friends and relatives in the country on social media and shared their location coordinates with the United States Coast Guard, who are part of the massive rescue operation. She added: “Now it’s about sending relief.” She said Bahamians in Bermuda had teamed with the We Care Project, a disaster relief charity, to send emergency supplies to the affected islands. Her law offices in Melbourne House on Parliament Street in Hamilton were being used to collect basic supplies from tents to canned goods and storage containers. Bermudian-based drinks giant Bacardi said the firm had donated $1 million in cash and other assistance to the international relief operation. Bacardi, said it would work with charities and the Bahamian Government “to ensure that this cash donation provides immediate and long-term assistance to local relief agencies in their efforts to support the islands and communities that need it most”. Bacardi was based in the Bahamas for a short period after the family-owned firm was forced out of its homeland, Cuba, after the 1959 revolution, and it made rum in the Bahamas for 50 years. A spokeswoman added: “The company has also organised an employee drive to collect much needed items for those in need in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.” Bacardi has also sent a link to its global workforce where they can donate cash to aid organisation Mercy Corps. Guilden Gilbert, a Bermudian who lives in Nassau, the country’s capital, said: “There are still a lot of people unaccounted for. Storm surges were in excess of 30 feet; one report I saw had storm surge at nearly 40 feet. That storm surge would be absolutely devastating. There’s just no protection whatsoever. There’s just nothing that can be done to slow that down.” Mr Gilbert said Nassau, on New Providence Island, had suffered heavy rain and flooding, but got off lightly, in comparison to other parts of the country. He said Freeport, on Grand Bahama and the second largest city in the country, had been badly hit. He explained: “When you look at Freeport, it’s somewhat like New Orleans, Louisiana, in that it sits below sea level. Coming from the south, there is some protection, but on the north side, there is no protection. That’s why the airport is under water. Once the water goes over the airport, there’s nothing to keep it out of Freeport.” Mr Gilbert said Bahamian authorities had warned that the death toll, more than 20 people so far, was sure to rise. We don’t know what that number is going to be, but the reality is that it’s more than likely it will be significant, based on the conditions that exist, the number of houses that were completely destroyed and the number of people that have been reported missing. Myra Dill, married to former United Bermuda Party minister and lawyer, Jerome Dill, said the couple considered their house in Nassau their “second home”. Ms Dill, who had spoken to healthcare workers in the Bahamas, left stunned at the storm’s ferocity, said: “I have never seen anything like this from a hurricane. It’s devastation. Complete and utter devastation. I wouldn’t want anybody to have to live through this sort of thing. Bermuda is in a position where it can help out their neighbour island, and that’s something we should be doing. Ms Dill warned: “It’s very early days. It’s not going to be a matter of weeks before things are back to usual. It’s going to be years.” The Bermuda Government said yesterday it had been asked by businesses, organisations and members of the public how they could help. A government spokesman said the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation team had launched efforts to ensure aid was directed to the appropriate agencies. The spokesman added that cash donations should be made to the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund or the Bermuda Red Cross. Police warned residents last night to check the credentials of relief organisations looking for funds and remain vigilant against social media scams.
BE Solar have pledged to donate $20 per solar panel sold in the month of September towards Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas. "BE Solar recognizes that Climate Change continues to affect the most vulnerable societies and that collectively we must do more to stop damaging our planet. Every solar panel that is installed helps stop fossil fuel from being consumed, and helps to reduce the effects of Climate Change. "Stuart Kriendler, Managing Director at BE Solar stated “We were inspired by the government for encouraging Bermuda to support these vulnerable communities that have experienced catastrophes as a result of Climate Change. The advent of more extreme natural disasters should be a reminder of what the future may hold if we do not collectively address Climate Change. Extreme Heat Waves, Floods, Fires and Hurricanes are all becoming far too common.“ As of Friday, September 6th 2019, BE Solar have raised $1,440 for the Bahamas’ hurricane initiative. This appeal is supported by the Rocky Mountain Institute called the “Building Back Better: A Call to Action for a Resilient and Renewable Future for The Bahamas”. Earlier in 2019, BE Solar initiated a similar month long fundraising program where for each solar panel sold, the company donated $20 towards the disaster created by Cyclone Ida in Mozambique in March 2019. Over 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands became homeless overnight by this horrific storm. A total of 84 solar electric panels were sold which raised $1,680 for the appeal and was donated to the Mozambique Relief fund. BE Solar would like to extend great appreciation to clients that supported the previous Mozambique initiative, and look forward to working with new solar clients to raise funds to assist our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas.
The prisons adviser to the British Overseas Territories has been called in to examine the operation of the troubled Westgate Correctional Facility. Keith Munns toured the prison yesterday with Timothy Seon, chairman of the Prison Officers Association, to talk to staff members, having already met officials from the Department of Corrections. Mr Seon said before the tour that he planned to raise worries over staffing and budget levels with Mr Munns. He added he would also discuss some of the prison officers’ grievances, including officers having to make Government Employees Health Insurance contributions. Mr Seon said mould removal at Westgate was done by prisoners because there were no certified specialists available. He explained: “We have no one certified to do it so we use inmate labour. We are aware that there are certifications for mould remediation and we are pushing to have a professional cleaning company on a consistent basis to deal with it.” Mr Seon added the prison also needed “deliverable and consistent programmes” for prisoners. He said: “We have a sewing class, art class and a small engines mechanic class which has just ended. We are hoping to have more classes but that is all that we have running. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, and it creates a harder environment for security staff to manage these individuals. All of this is to do with staffing and financing. Mr Munns will, more than likely, make some suggestions by way of financing, but, at the end of the day, the Ministry of Finance holds the purse strings and if they say there are no finances for it, then ... it is what it is. There is a lot of angst and frustration within the department.” Mr Seon said that would hold a meeting with POA members next week over problems that hit efficiency. “The climate is tense and morale is low when you have a labour government taking back a contractual benefit. In my opinion, the whole labour dispute was fruitless, because the only definitive recommendation that was made is that we are going to pay into the GEHI benefit. I have to get back to my membership to find out what direction they want to take moving forward, then the executive will move accordingly. If my membership has the appetite to take it further, then that is what it will be. I haven’t heard anything from government. I will talk to Mr Munns about this.” Mr Seon has, in the past, said conditions in the prison were “deplorable” and he has complained about a lack of maintenance, burst pipes and a recent ceiling collapse in the prison’s kitchen, The Prison Officers Association marched on the House of Assembly in a protest over pay and working conditions in June. Mr Munns was asked to review Westgate and draw up a report. Mr Seon said: “Mr Munns will report on how we can better the service and the product that we provide, and give an internal review of the prison service, before following up with a report recommending how to make it more effective. He is taking an holistic approach. After his visit, he will then have a follow-up with the minister and ultimately the Premier and Government. Many of the concerns we have at the facility come down to staffing and financing — budgetary constraints. Mr Seon added: “We have a lot of outstanding issues and concerns.” Mr Munns worked in the UK prison service for 42 years and is a former governor of HMP Albany in the Isle of Wight and HMP Wormwood Scrubs in London. His role now is to ensure that the prison systems in the Overseas Territories are in line with UK standards. Wayne Caines, the Minister for National Security, defended Government’s record over Westgate in the House of Assembly after the June protest. Mr Caines highlighted the recruitment of 25 new officers, a new cleaning regime and improvements to air conditioning, as well as the CCTV network and telephone systems. The national security ministry did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
A man from the Dutch Caribbean territory of Sint Maarten who admitted four charges of theft and bank fraud was jailed for nine months yesterday. Angelo Toussay, 35, pleaded guilty at Magistrates’ Court to the theft of $2,350 from HSBC and an attempt to steal a further $8,590. He also admitted possession of plastic cards with magnetic strips and a machine designed to make fake credit cards. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe sentenced Toussay to nine months’ imprisonment for each charge. He ordered the sentences to run concurrently with time already spent in custody taken into account. Mr Wolffe said: “These sorts of offences are all too prevalent now and strike at the heart of our financial institutions.” Toussay at first denied the charges when he appeared in court on July 29, but changed his plea to guilty on August 14. Kenlyn Swan, for the Crown, told the court that Toussay arrived in Bermuda from Philadelphia on July 20 and stayed at a hotel in St George’s for three days. Toussay was later seen by the hotel manager to try and get money from an HSBC in the Olde Towne. Toussay checked out of the hotel on July 23 to catch a flight and asked the hotel manager to give his laptop bag and a speaker to an associate who would come to the hotel later that week. The hotel manager was suspicious and inspected the speaker, which had an electronic card reader and several fake bank cards concealed inside and contacted police. Toussay returned to the hotel later that day after he missed his flight and made a reservation for several days. Police arrived the next day and arrested Toussay. The court heard that police seized $2,350 in Bermuda dollars stolen from HSBC. They also seized an additional $2,400 from Toussay, but were unsure if the cash was the proceeds of crime. Ms Swan told the court that the offences showed a high level of sophistication and planning. She added that Toussay was one of several foreign nationals who had attempted to steal from Bermuda banks in recent months. Ms Swan said: “They attend this island for the sole purpose of criminality. These types of offences strike at the pillars of the community and attack financial institutions.” Bruce Swan, Toussay’s lawyer, said that his client had co-operated with the police. He added that Toussay had come to the island to get money owed to him and became involved in a criminal scheme. Ms Swan that the Crown would ask for a forfeiture order on the other $2,400 found on Toussay. Mr Wolffe adjourned the case until September 26.
Scores from an annual pupil assessment should be used to guide maths teaching in public schools, the head of the teachers’ union said yesterday. Shannon James, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said that the results of the Cambridge Checkpoint assessment “should be used to move the system in a certain direction”. Mr James added: “Out of this ,there needs to be action steps, a concise plan, professional development, coaches, funding and resources to ensure that our maths competency improves.” He was speaking after it was revealed last week that a third of public primary schools were ranked as poor in maths based on average pupil scores on the Cambridge Checkpoint assessments for 2015 to 2017. Mr James said it was “sad” that the results of the annual assessments had “become something of a political debate”. He added: “The test itself is diagnostic — it is a doctor’s visit, per se.” Mr James said that a plan had been developed in 2015 and that there was a team of subject specialists, including a maths specialist, who had been “making strides in implementing a concerted maths effort. That programme was cut and the content specialists were disbanded. Too many times we chop and change with programmes when we need to let this diagnostic test guide us into the direction that we need to go and follow up with a concerted effort to ensure that excellence in delivered. We have the expertise; we need to ensure that it is put to use and that we do what needs to be done to improve our math skills.” The detailed Cambridge Checkpoint results were released after a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette. Bermuda’s annual assessment rates Primary 6 pupils on English, maths and science. The Cambridge system uses scores from 0, ranked “very poor”, to 6, graded “excellent”. The Pati request asked for the average pupil score, by school, in the three subject categories. The average pupil score in each of the three subject areas in each year was added together and divided by three to get the average pupil score over the three-year period. The exercise found that the average pupil score in maths at six of the island’s 18 primary schools scored below 2 — labelled “poor”. The results of the 2018 and 2019 Checkpoint exams have not been released publicly, but were sought in the Pati request. A Department of Education employee said this week “that the information is unavailable until in has been released by the minister”. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education earlier said that the results for both years would be released next month. Cole Simons, the Shadow Minister of Education, said that he understood that the results of the 2018 and 2019 assessments had been given to some principals and teachers. Mr Simons said it was “bizarre” that the results had not been made public by Diallo Rabain, the education minister. He added: “Given that we are now at the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, one would have thought that we should have the 2018 and 2019 Checkpoint results in full and published by now.” Mr Simons said that it was “crucial” that pupils and teachers “know where they stand”. He added: “The longer the Minister of Education delays the complete release of these assessment results, the more our students’ performance is possibly compromised and the more they are left behind.” Mr Simons said that Mr Rabain would deserve praise if the test results showed pupil improvement. He added: “If the performance results are not as positive as they ought to be, the minister should use this as an opportunity to address the areas which need support, and also, give our teachers the tools required for them to produce student plans, and teaching tools and resources, which will enable them to secure improved student outcomes, and place them on par with their international colleagues.”
A female tourist died yesterday after a motorcycle crash. The victim, a 49-year-old American, was on a rental motorcycle that was in collision with a truck on North Shore Road, near Cottage Hill Road, Hamilton Parish, at about 1.45pm. The woman, who has not been named, was the sixth road fatality of 2019. A police spokesman confirmed: “Sadly, despite life-saving efforts, the female visitor involved has been pronounced dead at the hospital.” The spokesman said CPR was performed at the scene before the woman was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Traffic diversions were set up as police examined the crash scene. The police spokesman said the woman would not be identified until next of kin had been informed. Witnesses should contact police on 295-0011.
The Government’s delay in filing against same-sex marriage with the Privy Council in London has been branded “scandalous” by a lawyer for the side backing same-sex unions. Rod Attride-Stirling, representing the LGBTQ rights charity OutBermuda, with four other respondents, said the Government had “purposely delayed every single step” in having the case heard by Britain’s top court. “They are trying to make it go as slowly as possible,” Mr Attride-Stirling said this week. “If they had filed notice of appeal in London in January or February, it would likely be over now, or a date would be fixed.” He added: “As a result, some of the same-sex couples who are getting married in Bermuda are being told there’s a question mark hanging over their marriage. Who would want that?” The lawyer said that the Bermuda Government had lodged its notice of appeal with the Privy Council on July 12. Documents were filed one day short of seven months after the Government’s application for leave was lodged with the Bermuda Court of Appeal last December. Mr Attride-Stirling said the notice to the Privy Council would have been “virtually identical” to the appeal filed in here. “It should have taken them two weeks at the most,” he said. “It’s scandalous. They wanted to delay it — there’s no other reason why.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “The Government’s appeal is properly before the Privy Council and all deadlines have been duly complied with. Information and practice directions on the applicable timelines and processes can be found on the Privy Council’s website.” Reuters reported last Friday that no date had been confirmed for the hearing, which was “unlikely to be this year”, according to a Privy Council spokeswoman. The spokeswoman said: “We have received the paperwork for this case and it is being finalised. It has not been listed yet so we do not know yet know when the hearing will be. The case number is JCPC 2019/0077.” The Government’s decision to take the case to the highest court of appeal for Bermuda marked a last-ditch effort in the legislative battle over same-sex marriage. After a milestone Supreme Court ruling in May 2017 opened the way for gay couples to wed, Bermuda’s Parliament countered by passing legislation that December that replaced same-sex marriages with domestic partnerships. In June 2018, the Chief Justice of the day, Ian Kawaley, ruled in favour of a constitutional challenge against sections of the Domestic Partnership Act revoking same-sex marriage. The Bermuda Government appealed unsuccessfully in November 2018. Mr Attride-Stirling said his clients were “champing at the bit to proceed” and had “written 100 times” to the Government’s side querying the delay in filing with the Privy Council. The lawyer said that in the interim, Carnival Cruise Line, which has its ships registered in Bermuda, has stopped granting same-sex weddings aboard its vessels. He said: “Carnival is worried about conducting weddings in case the Privy Council changes the law.” Mr Attride-Stirling said he was “cautiously optimistic” because “the Bermuda judgments are massively in our favour”. He added: “We will get a date set soon. We just do not know when the hearing will take place.”
Belco is ready to send teams to help the Bahamas in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian. The storm struck the island nation on Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane and lingered there for almost two days, causing extensive damage. A Belco spokesman said the company reached out to partners in the Caribbean Electric Services Corporation to offer help when it became clear the Bahamas would be hit. Dennis Pimentel, the Belco president, said: “Our first thoughts are for the safety of all the residents of the Bahamas. “It’s clear that this powerful Category 5 hurricane, the second most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, has caused several deaths and extensive damage to property and infrastructure on the Abaco Islands and on Grand Bahama. Our team is on standby as assessments need to be carried out and a plan of action put into place by the Bahamian disaster management team. We are in regular communication with our Cariclec counterparts, and are ready to assist, once our crews have the necessary accommodations and other considerations, to effectively help with restoration efforts.” Mr Pimentel added that Algonquin Power and Utilities, a Canadian energy company which has offered to purchase Belco’s parent company Ascendant, would be able to assist Bermuda, if the island faced a similar disaster. The sale has been approved by stakeholders, but the deal is still subject to regulatory approval. He said: “One of the major benefits of being acquired by Algonquin is having a mutual aid agreement in place. Through Algonquin’s Utility Division which employs over 130 linesmen, Belco will have access to a number of these resources, which can be deployed to Bermuda, in the event that we are impacted by a hurricane, greatly improving our ability to rapidly restore power throughout the island.”
Front Street has been visited this week by a Royal Navy ice patrol ship. The HMS Protector, a 292ft vessel, usually patrols the Antarctic where it conducts surveys and assists with efforts to enforce environmental guidelines. According to the Royal Navy, the vessel is equipped with two cranes capable of lifting up to 60 tonnes of stores and equipment. The ship, originally called the MV Polarbjørn, the Norwegian word for polar bear, was first launched in 2001 in Norway as a polar research icebreaker. The Royal Navy chartered the ship in 2011 as a temporary replacement for the HMS Endurance, but the Royal Navy purchased the vessel outright in 2013. The ship is expected to remain in port until Sunday, when will sail for Miami. Government House did not respond to a request for information on the reason for the vessel’s stop in Bermuda.
Two would-be nurses became the first winners of scholarships set up to honour the memory of an intensive care nurse who died two years ago. The Vickie Smith Nursing Scholarships were awarded to Donnalyn Smith and Milon Outerbridge. Ms Smith, who is due to start a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of West England in Bristol, said: “This scholarship helps me a whole lot. My parents are very hardworking; I see how hard they have to work for me. I would do anything to help. I want to give back whatever I can, to ease the load.” Ms Smith said she became interested in a career as a nurse when she volunteered to work at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital to notch up community service hours while she was at middle school. She added: “A friend had volunteered at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital as a teen volunteer and she persuaded me to go. I volunteered in the continuing care unit and from the first day, I loved it. We sat with elderly patients, those who could not speak, those with disabilities … We read to them, we watched movies together, we walked with them. I was so happy, making other people happy. I liked the personal connection that nurses have with their patients and I wanted to make it a career. I am interested in going into geriatrics, pediatrics or surgical, but that could change once I get more experience.” Vickie Smith, who died in 2017, was a veteran nurse and her mother, Julia, donated $20,000 for two nursing scholarships in her name. Yvonne McHugh, a friend and colleague of Ms Smith as an emergency nurse, helped to select the recipients. Ms McHugh said: “Vickie was from New York and we started at the Bermuda Hospitals Board in 1989 at the same time. We loved our patients. She took on the challenge of becoming the best ICU nurse she could be. She was a brilliant nurse, you could ask her anything and she would know it; she could run the show on her own. The doctors and anesthetists all respected her and she contributed to saving countless lives. Ms McHugh added: “She also loved having fun. She would organise dinners, get all the girls together, and, if there was a new nurse, she would invite them to her house, and have a BBQ or something. Vickie had big dogs in a tiny apartment. Her mother, Julia, wanted her memory to live on through a nurse scholarship. Vickie was very humble and didn’t like any fuss, but she would be very proud of this.” Ms McHugh said that Ms Smith and Ms Outerbridge were stand out candidates. She added: “Straight away I could feel their passion.” Ms Outerbridge has already left for Britain in preparation for the start of her BSc course.
Leonard Teye-Botchway, a Ghanaian-born surgeon and former Olympic runner who gave up his athletic ambitions to devote himself to medicine, has died at 64. The father of three moved to the island in 1994 with his wife, Ronita, and pioneered ophthalmology in Bermuda. He became the island’s first honorary consul for Ghana in Bermuda in January 2011, organising diplomatic and humanitarian links between the countries. Originally from Accra, the Ghanaian capital, Dr Teye-Botchway was educated at the University of Ghana Medical School. His late uncle, John Atta Mills, who died in 2012, served as president of the West African republic. His brother-in-law, Kern Reid, described him as a deeply committed Christian and “innate diplomat, who always lifted people up”. Dr Reid added: “He was hugely generous; I consider him a brother. When I would bring my family to Bermuda, he would not let me pay for anything. He always had a positive outlook and always kept a good relationship. It was his inherent nature.” A keen runner, including marathons, Dr Teye-Botchway joined Ghana’s Olympic team in the 1970s and became West African champion over 400 metres. Andrew Morrell, a fellow ophthalmologist in Britain, where Dr Teye-Botchway went to study, said: “You would never have known. He was outstanding in everything he did.” Calling Dr Teye-Botchway “my deepest and truest friend”, Dr Morrell said the two met in 1988 at the University Hospitals in Coventry and Warwickshire. Dr Teye-Botchway was on the training rotation there. The two men worked together at Leeds in 1993, where Dr Teye-Botchway met his Bermudian wife. Dr Morrell added: “Ronita was doing a degree at the University of Leeds. They met through the church.” Dr Teye-Botchway was “an exemplary doctor, highly skilled, but with the compassion that not everybody has”, he said. Not only did he run a very busy clinic, and serve as consul for Ghana, he was an assessor for Paralympian athletes. In his work, he revolutionized ophthalmology in Bermuda. He introduced the latest techniques and technology. He helped every single person he came into contact with; I don’t know how he did it all.” Dr Teye-Botchway keenly competed in road races in Bermuda, including the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby. He helped organise the Eye Institute Classic 5K, a popular road race held in the East End, which relocated this year to Devonshire for its 16th anniversary. Dr Teye-Botchway was the medical director for the Bermuda International Institute of Ophthalmology, where his abrupt passing on Tuesday, left colleagues in shock. Dawn Burgess, a technician of 12 years, said Dr Teye-Botchway believed in continuing education and “always pushed us to go one step further”. Leonie Curtis, the institute’s receptionist and a close family friend, described him as “fair and considerate, slow to anger and forgiving; truly a Christ-like man”. She added: “He was a man of few words, but very deep and compassionate. We love him with all our hearts.” Carol Ross-DeSilva, the operations manager, called him “a world-renowned ophthalmologist, and too good to be true”. She said the clinic would be closed for business tomorrow, but would remain open for friends to sign a book of condolences. The High Commission of the Republic of Ghana yesterday called Dr Teye-Botchway “dedicated and indefatigable” and offered condolences on behalf of Ghana’s president, foreign minister, Government and people to his family. David Burt, the Premier, said: “Dr Teye-Botchway was a well-respected eye surgeon and served his homeland Ghana very well as honorary consul. Only recently I had the pleasure of hosting him and the Ghanaian High Commissioner to London for talks during the High Commissioner’s visit to Bermuda. His untimely passing comes as a tremendous shock. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I wish to express sincere condolences to his wife, three sons and entire family.”
Bermuda National Gallery (BNG) has welcomed Ian Hind, Cameron Snaith and Mitchell Klink to the Board of Trustees of BNG. These new additions to the board bring a broad range of local and international experience in business, philanthropy and the arts, The BNG look forward to their support and expertise in continuing to develop the BNG’s engagement with Bermuda’s communities. “As the Bermuda National Gallery continues to evolve, I am delighted to welcome, as Trustees, the enthusiastic engagement of Ian Hind, Cameron Snaith and Mitchell Klink whose combined experiences and skill sets will assist the Gallery in its mission to develop a greater appreciation of the arts as a necessity to the well-being of our community.” - Gary L. Phillips, Chairman Ian Hind brings to the Bermuda National Gallery board over 20 years of experience and engagement with Bermuda’s arts communities. He also brings an invaluable and comprehensive understanding of building, architecture and systems, all critical to the BNG’s museum infrastructure and controls, through his accomplished career as an engineer, most recently as Senior Engineer for the City of Hamilton. Cameron Snaith wears many hats in his business and philanthropic ventures and brings a deep entrepreneurial engagement to the board, coupled with a comprehensive understanding of the importance of the arts to community development. Cam Snaith is the Co-Founder and Principal of Bleeker, a company that helps talented professionals create meaningful careers. Based in New York City, Bleeker is committed to guiding exceptional people towards mastery, growth, and impact through our diverse ecosystem. Over a thousand executives, entrepreneurs, artists, and athletes from around the world trust Bleeker to advance their most essential pursuits. Outside of Bleeker, Cam was invited to join the prestigious MIT Media Lab in 2015 as a Research Affiliate in their Social Computing group (a lab creating socio-technical systems that shape our urban environments). He is the Founder and Founding Chairman of Giving Opportunities To Others, a New York City-based not-for-profit organization that enriches the lives of promising, underprivileged middle school students by immersing them in art and music and has raised millions of dollars since it’s founding in 2001. He built and operated this charitable organization on nights and weekends while working in New York City as a marketing professional. As a marketer, he’s worked at the global headquarters of both PepsiCo and the National Basketball Association and before that, he spent time working in advertising and talent agencies in New York City. Cam is a mentor to Olympic athletes through the United States Olympic Committee’s Athlete Network, to entrepreneurs and artists in the NEW INC incubator, and to Princeton University undergraduates through Princeton Internships in Civic Service. Cam also proudly serves as a Director on the Butterfield & Company Board and a Director on the Ignite entrepreneurial accelerator, both in Bermuda. He received his BA in English from Princeton University in 2000 and MS in Strategic Communication from Columbia University in 2010. Mitchell Klink has a rich background in the arts through his work with museums, galleries, artists and collectors, and brings a wealth of knowledge around contemporary art and programming to the BNG Boards and committees. Mitchell Klink has recently moved to Bermuda from Atlanta, where he led tours and gallery talks as a docent at the High Museum for over 10years. Through his educational, personal and professional travels, Mitchell is engaged with museums, galleries, artists, collectors in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Mitchell has advised private collectors, emerging artists, and arts institution leaders; enjoys collecting contemporary paintings and drawings; and draws and paints a bit, too.
Premier David Burt said last night he had offered the island’s support to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated large areas of the island chain. The Premier extended the offer to the Bahamian Prime Minister, Hubert Minnis, saying he would consult with the Governor to deploy The Royal Bermuda Regiment if necessary. Mr Burt added: “We will be assessing our resources, to determine what we can provide, and how we can best assist.” His remarks came after the Bahamian Embassy in Belgium appealed for aid. Renée Webb, the Bermuda Government’s representative in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the EU, said Maria O’Brien, the Bahamian ambassador, had asked for an international relief effort. The northern Bahamas sustained unprecedented damage from the storm, which packed the highest wind speed at landfall of any Atlantic hurricane on record. The Queen and Prince Philip said they were “shocked and saddened” at the loss of life. The letter from the Royals’ summer home in Balmoral, Scotland, was posted on the Government House website. The Bermuda Red Cross asked for financial donations, only, to help with relief efforts as the storm, which yesterday had dropped from a Category 5 to Category 2, continued to batter Grand Bahama. Ann Spencer-Arscott, the executive director of the Bermuda Red Cross, said the islands would require help from around the world as the massive extent of the damage was assessed in the storm’s aftermath. Donations can be made at BNTB account 20 006 060 365472 200 or to Clarien account 4010035760, Donations by bank card can be made via the Bermuda Red Cross number 236-8253. Brian Madeiros, president of Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, said he had been in touch with colleagues from Coldwell Banker’s affiliate in the Bahamas. He added: “On the basis of the communication I have received during the last couple of days from a variety of local sources, many of the island communities will remain significantly impacted for years to come. Devastation is an appropriate description for many of the outer islands and their communities.” The Bahamian company said that agents, family and friends, remained cut off, and that some had had their homes destroyed, as Dorian crossed from Abaco to Grand Bahama.
This summer, two Bermudians interned with the London Representative Office in the UK. The interns, Ari Minors and Madeleine Fox, spent thirteen weeks learning about the work of the London Office and gaining an understanding of Bermuda’s relationship with the UK, specifically within the UK Government and UK Parliament. The interns had the opportunity to work and attend meetings with the UK Overseas Territory Association (UKOTA) and the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) in Brussels. In addition to attending a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting with UK MPs, shadowing officials in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and a working week within a prestigious law firm in the City of London. Ms Fox is a graduate of the University of Oxford (Lincoln College) with a BA in Jurisprudence with Honours. Following her achievement at Oxford Ms Fox has recently completed the Bar Professional Training Course at the City Law School. Prior to studies in the UK Ms Fox completed her first degree in Psychology with Honours from the University of California, Berkeley in the United States. Ms Minors has a Bachelor of Arts Business Administration Degree with Distinction from Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada. She is currently completing her Masters of International Business degree at Regent’s University London. Premier the Hon. David Burt, JP, MP said, “I am immensely pleased that this opportunity has benefited these outstanding, young Bermudian women. The renewal of the internship programme and the addition of placements in our overseas offices creates the kind of international experience that Bermudians need to compete in the global economy. Our hope is that we will be able to do this annually, and for more young Bermudians.” Ms. Kimberley Durrant, Director and UK Representative for the Government of Bermuda, who supervised the interns added, “Ari and Madeleine represent the excellence of Bermuda in their achievements both professionally and in academics. The internship was an opportunity for young Bermudians to be encouraged to develop a career within the public service in the areas of international relations and diplomacy. I am pleased that these young women are encouraged to move forward in this career path.”
The chief executive of the Bermuda Hospitals Board is to retire next year after 40 years in healthcare. Venetta Symonds, 61, is to stand down at the end of July after she handed in her notice two weeks ago. Ms Symonds said: “My contract says I have to give six months’ notice. I gave a year’s notice, so the board can work together, along with the health minister, and figure out the next phase. It takes a long time to determine who you need and what the process will be, going forward.” Ms Symonds said most people in a similar role spend two or three years in the job, and that she will have done eight years by the time she retires. She became CEO in 2012 after six years in the deputy CEO role, which included an eight-month stint as acting CEO in 2006. Ms Symonds had a baptism of fire as acting CEO, after she found herself in the middle of a row over plans to build the new hospital on part of the nearby Botanical Gardens. She had to face down hundreds of angry people at town hall meetings, organised to discuss the proposal. Ms Symonds said: “I stood there, looking at this crowd and trying to understand their passion, and trying to rationalize it, against the reality of putting things on a green field. The lesson I walked out of there with was, you have to listen. You can’t make a decision that is huge, without engaging and bringing the public along with you.” The BHB backed down and changed their plans. Ms Symonds said: “When it went for the final permission at planning, when there could have been a thousand signatures saying ‘no’, no one registered a concern.” Ms Symonds started at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital as a 17-year-old summer student and worked as a file clerk in the radiology department. She became interested in radiology and won a BHB scholarship to get an associates degree in the subject. The scholarship was only for two years, but, when she passed her board examinations with flying colours, she decided to study for a bachelor’s degree. However, the scholarship committee said she was already qualified, and wanted her to start work right away. One committee member told her: “What do you think you’re going to do? Come back and be CEO?’.” The committee gave in and paid for an extra two years at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, and she returned to start work as a certified radiology technologist in 1980. Ms Symonds said: “I was so nervous and scared on my first day. People laugh at me when I say I am shy, but that day, I kept my head down, even when going into the cafeteria. I felt like there were all these people looking at me.” She was promoted to manager in the radiology department in 1998, after Adrian Ringer, then the head of the department, said if she could keep hospital administrators off his back, the job was hers. The post of chief operational officer came up around the same time, and the BHB chairman visited her at work and said she should apply for the job. Ms Symonds said: “The reason I am here is because different individuals have spotted something in me, and they encouraged me. When I was nervous and didn’t have confidence, they had confidence. I have had an incredible journey, to get here.” She added she was grateful to her parents, Norris and Ilis Pearman, for their support. Ms Symonds said: “Towards the end of her life, my mother would sit there, and say, ‘I can’t believe you are CEO of the hospital’. The tears would come. I said ‘mummy, okay, it’s been five years’. She’d say ‘but I can’t believe it’.” Ms Symonds said medical technology had changed since she started as a radiologist, when she would have to wet develop X-ray films, a process that is now digital. She added she had seen the first MRI scanner arrive at the hospital in 2002. “The machine came in a pre-made building. They had to lift the building off the ship and onto the dock. It was put on a trailer and we all walked behind it, to the hospital. They had to change the medians in the road to accommodate us.” Ms Symonds said she planned to explore a new-found passion for art, gardening and travel, as well as spend more time with husband Carlos and adult children Marcus and Natasia. William Madeiros, the BHB chairman, said: “BHB has flourished under Ms Symonds’s vision and direction. Quality has improved, there is a strong strategy in place driving exceptional care, a strong partnership and a healthy community, and BHB has become a more open, transparent and caring partner under her leadership.”
Residents who could be the subject of outstanding warrants were advised yesterday to see police before they try to go overseas. Police said the service knew of people who had been arrested at the airport because of unresolved court cases, which had caused disruption or even cancellation of trips. A police spokesman added that anyone worried about an outstanding warrant should visit Hamilton Police Station at least 48 hours before their date of departure. He said people should go between 8am and 9am, Monday to Friday “to ensure any court matters are properly finalised in a timely fashion”. The spokesman explained: “Warrants are instructions issued by the court to the police to apprehend persons for various reasons, including those who have failed to respond to outstanding ticket summons, reconcile outstanding fines or just failed to attend court. The BPS advises people to proactively resolve these matters ahead of any travel plans.”
Work to tackle asbestos at another public school was completed over the long weekend, an education ministry spokeswoman confirmed last night. However, the spokeswoman said that it was “anticipated” that Prospect Primary School would be ready to welcome pupils for the first day of school, on Tuesday. She added that a report had been received over the weekend, that work was needed in three areas of the Devonshire school. The spokeswoman said: “Abatement works have since been completed and the Department of Education is awaiting a final certificate of completion, from the Department of Health.” She added the certificate was expected to be received “on or before” Friday. The spokeswoman said that extra cleaning was also needed in parts of the school. Teachers from Prospect Primary were sent to nearby CedarBridge Academy yesterday to prepare for the start of the new school year, instead of their own school. The spokeswoman said the move was made “in the interest of the health and safety of teachers”. She added that government officials had yesterday met the principal and school staff to update them on the Prospect Primary building and answer questions. The spokeswoman added that parents of children at the school would be given an update by today. She said that work to tackle asbestos at Clearwater Middle School in St David’s continued. The spokeswoman explained: “Some additional abatement works were needed, in one area of the cafeteria.” She said that the affected area had been sealed off and that teachers had completed preschool activities, in the building, yesterday. Teachers will be in off-site professional development sessions today and tomorrow, and they are expected to be back at the school by Friday. She said that Government representatives had also met the principal and school staff from Clearwater, for a progress report on the asbestos abatement work. The spokeswoman added that parents of Clearwater pupils would get an update today. She said: “It is anticipated that students will be welcomed at Clearwater Middle and Prospect Primary on Tuesday.” The confirmation from Government came after two sources told The Royal Gazette that asbestos had been found at Prospect Primary. Shareka Tucker, the president of the Parent Teacher Association at Prospect Primary, said she had not been told anything about asbestos at the school. She added: “I wasn’t aware of the situation.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, was sent several questions about the school yesterday. He was asked where and when the asbestos had been found, and if parents had been alerted to the problem. He did not respond by press time. Mr Rabain announced last Friday that the “majority” of public schools would be ready for teachers and staff today. He said that “all but two” schools had been given the all-clear and that he expected an update, about the two schools, before the end of that day. Mr Rabain added: “The results that we are waiting for, is indication that the schools have been cleaned, and set up properly, for the teachers.” He apologised, last month, to parents and staff at Clearwater, and admitted they had not been told of work to tackle asbestos “in a timely fashion”. Mr Rabain added: “It is our aim to be transparent and forthcoming, with all information in regards to school facilities and work being conducted, that relates to health and safety. Protocols are being put in place to ensure that the Ministry has all parents’ correct e-mail addresses and contact information, to allow for notices of this nature to be sent out quickly and efficiently.” Prospect Primary was given the all-clear after asbestos work was carried out in 2013. A spokesperson for the education ministry said at the time that asbestos had been found in the adhesive used to stick tiles to the floor.
A 17-year-old denied a string of offences including the theft of a purse from a Canadian tourist. Zaire Burrows pleaded not guilty in Magistrates’ Court yesterday to the theft of a Longchamp purse, a credit card, a Canadian driving licence and an iPhone owned by Tracy Tory. The incident is alleged to have happened on August 23. The court heard that the items had a total value of $1,050. Mr Burrows also pleaded not guilty to the theft of a motorcycle, failure to stop for police, dangerous driving, failure to stop after an accident and driving a motorbike of more than 50cc while underage. The alleged offences were said in court to have happened between August 21 and 23. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe released Mr Burrows, from Pembroke, on $3,000 bail and adjourned the case until October 14.
Walkers (Bermuda) Limited has boosted its team with Melanie Fullerton joining the firm as a senior associate in the Bermuda Regulatory & Risk Advisory practice. She was formerly with the Bermuda Monetary Authority, where she was a senior officer for legal services, policy and enforcement. Prior to the BMA, she practiced for five years in the corporate team of Bermuda law firm Cox Hallett Wilkinson Ltd. Working in concert with Walkers’ global Regulatory & Risk Advisory Group, Ms Fullerton’s role will involve advising clients on all aspects of existing and new regulation that impacts Bermuda, including domestic and international measures. Walkers’ global Regulatory & Risk Advisory Group has grown from two lawyers in 2017 to 15 providing regulatory advice from the Cayman Islands, Ireland, Hong Kong, London and Bermuda offices. Jonathan Betts, head of Walkers’ Bermuda Corporate, Finance & Funds group, said: “Melanie brings with her a strong regulatory understanding of the Bermuda market. Her expertise will greatly benefit our clients and we are thrilled that she is joining our growing team.”
Efforts to align the island’s economic substance requirements with other low-tax jurisdictions have been welcomed by the business world. Will McCallum, a managing director and head of tax at KPMG Bermuda, said it was important that competing countries operated on a level playing field. Mr McCallum admitted that there was still uncertainty after the legislation was implemented for existing entities in July, but that the professional services industry was in a much “happier space” than earlier this year. He said the Economic Substance Amendment Act 2019, passed by Government in June, was a “total game-changer". It meant that entities tax resident in another jurisdiction did not fall within the scope of the regulations, provided that their home base was not on the EU “blacklist” of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Mr McCallum said last week: “Without that non-residency exception, there were a number of entities that were incorporated in Bermuda but tax resident elsewhere that would have been incredibly challenged to meet the economic substance requirements. Government has made a lot of informal statements in public about further efforts to better align our legislation with legislation passed in other jurisdictions, which would be welcome as well. It has been a much brighter, happier space, I would say, in the past couple of months than it was in March, April or May. I think you’ll find people feel a whole lot better about economic substance now than they did in certainly the spring and early summer. If we think about May 17 we were moved from the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, that was massive. The fact that within a month the Government instigated and completed an effort to change our legislation to include an exemption for non-resident entities, was massive.” Mr McCallum said that perhaps thousands of entities on the register were “fundamentally impacted” by the non-residency exemption. He acknowledged that there remained a “degree of uncertainty” around the requirements, which were introduced under EU rules designed to combat tax avoidance. Economic substance includes physical presence, employees and revenue-generating activities. The expert said that even the OECD was “not exactly certain” where lines will be drawn or how the regulations will be enforced. Mr McCallum said KPMG had received calls from countries in Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa and Europe, as well as the US and Canada as entities tried to determine to what extent they meet Bermuda’s economic substance requirements. He explained: “These are people who don’t understand our rules and need to, because they have entities affected by it. We’ve been very busy assisting entities, understanding the rules, looking at their specific facts and at least starting to help them understand — given that the goalposts are still moving a little — whether or not their facts support an assertion that they meet economic substance requirements. There are organisations that look at their presence in Bermuda or Cayman or BVI and they probably wouldn’t meet the substance requirements the way they are set up, they don’t really want to, they don’t really need to. In a lot of cases people have set up entities that have remained on the register but they weren’t really serving much of a purpose any more, the reason for their existence had diminished. In that kind of situation you’re not going to bend over backwards to meet the substance requirements, you’re just going to strike the entity.” But he added: “There is a comfortingly high number of people who either meet the requirements today or might want to consider tweaks to the way they operate to meet that. At the other end of the spectrum is people who really have no possibility given their current structure, and in some cases no desire, to meet economic substance requirements in Bermuda.” Mr McCallum said there had been a hope that Bermuda’s existing infrastructure would mean that the island might be a “net winner” in terms of company losses and gains. "The way in which the rules have been implemented in various jurisdictions meant that “there hasn’t been a mad run for the exits” elsewhere. I have no doubt” the overall company count would fall in all of the affected jurisdictions but it was too early predict the impact."
More than 20,000 customers across the island lost power after a major transmission fault at Belco this morning. Residents reported outages in every parish from about 10am. A Belco spokesman said at about noon that service had been fully restored. He added that at the height of the outages 20,269 customers were without power. The spokesman said that the outages were linked to a switchboard fault and not the result of ongoing work taking place at Belco. He added: “It was an isolated incident.” Warwick Academy was among the buildings to lose power for about 45 minutes on the first day of the school term, as did the new building at Somersfield Academy. Bermuda High School for Girls and Mount St Agnes for Girls experienced a brief glitch, while Saltus Grammar School reported business as usual because it has back-up generators. Lights in the west end of Hamilton remained on. The spokesman said shortly before 11am that a “major transmission fault” was to blame. He added: “We know that outages are inconvenient and we thank everyone in advance for their patience.”
RG editorial. "It’s no real surprise that Ascendant Group shareholders voted to sell their company to Canadian energy company Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation despite cogent arguments being made against the sale of one of the island’s largest remaining Bermudian-owned businesses. But in this case, the shareholders do not have the final say over the transfer of ownership of Bermuda’s major energy supplier and, to all intents and purposes, its sole distributor of electricity. That decision lies with the Regulatory Authority, acting under ministerial direction from the Minister of Home Affairs. In general, governments should shrink from dictating to private enterprise or over-regulation. But there are occasions when governments should have some say over a business, and Ascendant, as a near 100 per cent monopoly and the producer of a commodity which is critical to Bermuda’s survival and success, is a prime example of this. So, while shareholders of Ascendant can hardly be blamed for agreeing to double the recent value of their investment, the RA and the Minister have an obligation to consider the public interest, and to decide whether this sale is the best path for Bermuda’s energy future. Sir John Swan, a former premier and leading businessman, and Michael Murphy, one of the most influential figures in Bermuda’s insurance industry for decades, recently made cogent arguments against the sale. Hardly radicals, they deserve a hearing over the Ascendant sale. They argue that, before Bermuda sells its utility into foreign hands, it should consider whether or not Bermudians can, in fact, make a better fist of it, especially given that mid-takeover, the RA completely rejected Ascendant’s strategy — years in the making — of using liquefied national gas to generate electricity in favour of a strategy that would see Bermuda rely on alternative energy for three quarters of its power supply in less than 20 years’ time. Sir John and Mr Murphy, almost alone, have made the technical arguments. These can be found quite easily on The Royal Gazette’s website, and there is no need to repeat them in detail here. But, there is a broader debate to be had, over whether the slow death of Bermuda’s 60:40 ownership rule and the consequential increased ownership of Bermuda by foreign corporations, has been in the island’s best interests. It is true that Bermudian ownership of Bermuda businesses was never absolute. It was long ago recognised that there was insufficient capital to build and maintain large hotels, and that the marketing heft of large hotel chains could help Bermuda tourism. So, hotels were exempt from the 60:40 rule. And, as was recognised by ET (Bob) Richards when he was Minister of Finance in the last government, that the 60:40 rule was also designed to protect the old white oligarchy’s businesses, not only from foreign competition, but from poor Bermudians, mainly black, who might otherwise have secured overseas investment to help them build their businesses, when credit and investment in Bermuda was often channeled on racial lines. As the world has become more globalised, the arguments for allowing foreign investment in hotels spread to other industries. And it can also be argued that, after a decade of economic decline, Bermuda does not have the internal capital needed to invest in its infrastructure and to modernize its economy. Foreign direct investment is essential for Bermuda’s success. Indeed, the argument for allowing the Bank of Bermuda first to list its shares in the US and then to allow its purchase by HSBC, was that it needed more capital in order to serve the insurance industry. Allowing for that, more than a decade after the sale of the Bank of Bermuda, how much has Bermuda really benefited? Much of the investment windfall that came fuelled a local real estate bubble, which burst around 2010 and has never re-inflated, or was invested in safer and higher return markets abroad. Today, it is tempting to take the skeleton of the bank’s headquarters on Albouy’s Point as a metaphor for the hollowed-out remains of what was once Bermuda’s leading local business institution, one which now employs a fraction of its former workforce. Certainly, all banks have had to relentlessly pursue efficiencies in order to survive, and it is by no means certain that had the Bank of Bermuda remained independent that it would be any better off. Indeed, the near collapse of Bermuda’s other main bank, Butterfield, after the 2008 financial crisis, is an object lesson. It became foreign-owned by a US investment company and a Canadian bank to save it from near collapse in what would have been a catastrophe for Bermuda. The experiences of both banks, though, show what can happen to local institutions once they attempt to compete in the free-for-all of global markets. Bermuda’s other foreign takeovers have been less high profile. KeyTech, the owner of the Bermuda Telephone Company (BTC), was already floundering when its operating units were finally carved up by its rivals, but the public should remember that BTC was first sold to a mysterious group of foreign investors, whose main goal seemed to be to flip it to Digicel. And while both Digicel and One Communications work hard at being good corporate citizens, both are essentially foreign owned, and will always be under pressure to put profits over people. At the same time, the consumer now lives with a duopoly. It is curious that the Government, which was so vociferous in Opposition about the handing over of the airport to a Canadian corporation, has been so restrained over the Ascendant sale. At least in the case of the airport, the property will eventually come back to Bermuda — that almost certainly will not happen in Ascendant’s case. There are arguments in favour of foreign ownership, including lack of local capital. And there should be technological advantages and economies of scale from being part of a larger organisation. In theory, these should benefit the consumer as efficiencies lower the cost of production. But, there are serious negatives as well. Although Algonquin has promised to keep Ascendant’s headquarters in Bermuda, that does not mean that many of its back-office functions need to be on the island. It’s likely just a matter of time before its accounting, finance and bill collecting, are being carried out from somewhere else, that most of its computer operations will be managed from another country, and that any other jobs, that can be done more cheaply or efficiently somewhere else, will be. Algonquin has to recover its investment, after all. It’s likely that Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, will approve of this sale, although, it will most likely be granted with conditions on job preservation and other provisions aimed at preventing Ascendant from being asset stripped. But, those conditions will certainly be diluted over time; they always are. That’s too bad. Bermudians should have the opportunity to show they can carve out a successful energy future for their island. Indeed, there are successful disrupters already in the market. They showed that alternative energy can work in Bermuda, while Belco continued to burn barrel after barrel of oil, and the small companies even convinced the RA of the viability of alternative energy, while Belco refused to deviate from its vision of a fossil-fuel dependent future. Now facing a large and tough competitor in Algonquin, the question must be asked whether these small companies, who have a tiny fraction of the capital of their rival, will be crushed, forcing the island to continue to live with a monopoly, but one now owned by an absentee landlord. Mr Roban has a lot to think about."
For Rhona Emmerson, the sale of advertising agency AAC to Premier Tickets Ltd marked the end of an era. Ms Emmerson retired from the agency in March 2018, but retained an ownership interest. That stake has now passed to Michael Branco’s Celeste Group of Companies, which includes AAC, Premier Tickets, Fireminds and Innovation House. After more than 35 years in the advertising business, Ms Emmerson said it was difficult to cut ties with AAC — but she is convinced that both the time, and the new ownership group, was right. “There is a time to bow out gracefully and allow the business to reinvent itself,” Ms Emmerson said. “It was that time for me. I felt I had contributed all that I could. John White did that for myself and co-owner Cathie Mahoney many years ago — and now we have passed the baton. Michael and AAC was the right fit. The timing was perfect. He has the drive, understands the challenges, and is a team builder. He understands the value of great communications and has invested in a well run company, with a very professional, creative team, and many years of experience to build on. He has the sheer energy and partner companies to guide and build the company going forward.” While her head told Ms Emmerson that it was time to sell, her heart took some convincing. “It was difficult, and took a few years to really come to terms with fully leaving and letting go of all AAC,” she said. “I loved the company we collectively had built, I looked forward to going to work — yes, some days more than others — and I still loved a good challenge. The company was driven to make a difference and grow ‘Bermuda Inc’, and that I feel we have accomplished. It was a privilege to serve so many great clients over the years. They taught me so such, they trusted our partnerships. I have met and worked with so many clever people, great supporting vendors and very interesting local and international companies, some of them clients for over 20 years. The bonus for me: working with creative, smart, loyal and truly kind staff. Over the years, so many chose to cross over the door each day and work with me. I am truly grateful for their time and many talents.” Ms Emmerson and her husband, photographer and platinum printer Mark, have retired to Gers in southwest France. “So now we are enjoying a quieter country life, surrounded by sunflowers and vineyards,” she said. “This we can live with. I have painted all my life, was a very active plein air painter in Bermuda, and look forward to spending more time painting and discovering the wonders of Europe. There is so much to see and taste, my goodness — it is wonderful to be retired. Our French language skills are terrible, but we are working on it. So, another new challenge!”
Bermuda’s immigration policy and the high cost of doing business are set to claim another member of the island’s retail sector with the imminent closure of award-winning stationery and gift store Pulp & Circumstance. Owner Michael Grayston said that the Washington Lane shop is to close on Saturday September 14, putting three full-time staff and two part-time employees out of work. Mr Grayston took over the running of the business following the death in 2015 of his wife, Kristi, who opened the store in 1996. He said: “After 23 years in business this has been an agonizing decision to make especially as it impacts my all Bermudian staff and their livelihood as well as numerous Bermuda artisans who sold their creations in the shop, but the business is simply not sustainable.” Mr Grayston added: “After we lost Kristi, it was important to me to keep her legacy going. I knew that she wanted to keep her team employed and wanted the business to survive. We have made every possible effort but business conditions in Bermuda have made it no longer viable. After many months of soul searching and reshaping the business model, I have come to the realization that the business has run its course and sadly it is time to close our doors.” Mr Grayston said several factors had contributed to the store’s demise. “In my view, a radical change in Bermuda’s immigration policy would be the most beneficial to our business and the retail sector broadly,” he said. “The loss of thousands of people over the last ten years has impacted all of us. Immigration policy is critical. We simply need more people on the island to support a vibrant retail sector.” Mr Grayston added: “Along with this, increased taxes on the private sector, exorbitant duty and high payroll costs and overheads have made the traditional bricks and mortar small business retail model unprofitable.” He said the business has been in steady decline since the global financial crisis began to impact Bermuda in 2009. “We don’t sell anything you need,” Mr Grayston said. “We sell luxury goods, things that are nice to have. A big part of our clientele were the people who left Bermuda.” In its early days, Pulp & Circumstance was a retail success story. After opening a tiny store on Old Cellar Lane in 1996, the business expanded rapidly. By 2008, it employed 12 staff at two shops in Hamilton, and outlets in Clocktower Mall at Royal Naval Dockyard, and at the airport. Mr Grayston said Pulp & Circumstance became known for its exquisite engraved and letterpress invitations, stationery, writing instruments for the serious collector and greeting cards along with a unique and sophisticated collection of gifts for any occasion. Mr Grayston said the business enjoyed a multigenerational clientele, adding that his wife attributed her success to “an impassioned focus on customer service and building long-term relationships with customers who often became friends”. He said: “Kristi was an all-in, high energy entrepreneur and understood before a lot of retailers that providing an in-store experience was an important component in keeping and attracting new customers. She had a passion for retail and championed all retailers and Bermuda businesses during her time as retail chair, and in her role as president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.” The two Hamilton stores were consolidated into one operation in 2011. The Dockyard shop, opened in 2005, closed in 2012. The airport outlet closed in January 2018 when its lease was not renewed. “That was a pretty heavy hit to me,” Mr Grayston said. “It prompted me to do a re-evaluation of the business, and that led me to where I am today, closing it down. Running an independent, one-store operation in Bermuda is very difficult due to the operating costs.” Pulp & Circumstance is not alone; retail sales figures released last week by the Government Department of Statistics revealed that, year-on-year, retail sales on-island have declined in 14 of the last 15 months. Mr Grayston said: “I want to make people aware that it’s a challenge to operate in Bermuda. Some people think that retailers make money hand over fist, but I have good relationships with other retailers, and they are all going through the same thing. There are a few more business owners who are in the same situation of evaluating a business that is declining, and deciding whether to hang in or not. Retail is struggling. If Bermuda wants to retain stores like Pulp & Circumstance, shops that add interest and vitality to the island’s retail sector, then we need to address some of these issues.”
Bermuda is at the centre of a crime fiction book written by a sailor who fell in love with the island and its people on visits here. Entanglement — Quantum + Otherwise, John K. Danenbarger’s first novel, “unravels the generational impact on reality after the death of a loved one”. Q: What’s Entanglement about? A: An explosive collision between a pick-up truck and a Volvo erases two momentous scientific discoveries. Quantum probability results in complex emotional entanglements. Voices return from the dead. A bloodstained piano becomes an heirloom. Although a picture-perfect family, Beth Sturgess divulges an ignominious past (much set in Bermuda) to her loving husband — who has deadly secrets. Mistakes are fatal. With deeply flawed, relatable characters, is an intricate literary crime story that unravels the generational impact on reality after a loved one’s death. Q: Is this your first novel? A: Yes, this is my debut novel. Q: What led you to feature Bermuda in your book? A: I featured Bermuda because I love Bermuda. Period. The story I always tell about the kindness and consideration of the Bermudian people is when I had to take a large engine battery from the yacht to a marine shop in Hamilton on a rented scooter. I had barely ridden a scooter before and was concentrating on driving on the “wrong side of the road” (left-hand driving being difficult for us foreigners), when two different cars stopped to help me. The first one saw that I was riding without a helmet and stopped to tell me to put it on. The second car stopped to ask if he could help me when I was trying to get the scooter going again. That told me everything. I was stunned by the kind consideration. Q: So you have been to Bermuda? A: I sailed a 46ft sloop from Salem Harbor to Hamilton’s Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the first time with my son and our spouses. We slept on board, but explored the island on motor scooters both times. The second time, I sailed with two male friends on the way down and, since one friend had to suddenly return alone by plane, we sailed with my one friend and his adult son back to Massachusetts. The Newport to Bermuda Race was arriving the second time we were there, so we had to move the boat to another harbour. Q: When was the last time you were here? A: I sailed on my own yacht to Bermuda twice from New England (Salem, Massachusetts to be exact). Both trips were about two years apart; sorrowfully, the last time being a little more than ten years ago. I miss Bermuda. Q: According to your publicist you sailed off the coast of Bermuda and New England with the Merchant Marine. How did that come about? A: The “merchant marine” is a sort of misnomer because it is not related to the Marines, but a merchant marine licence allows a sea captain to sail a ship up to a certain weight level, and is required for ships with paying passengers and/or freight. I took the merchant marine exams because I wanted to raise my competency level as a sailor. Q: How does Bermuda fit into Entanglement’s plot? A: Bermuda is a haven and cure for a young woman who has been ruined by drugs. Second, it is an eroding haven for a wealthy criminal who inherited his wealth from his family’s slave trade. Thirdly, it is a metaphor for human values which enrich and influence the characters who live there and the young lady character, shown through the actions of a kind Bermudian woman and her acquaintances. Q: Do you plan to do a book signing here? A: Our publicity team hasn’t scheduled anything as of yet, but it would certainly be a tremendous pleasure to return to Bermuda again.
Two men were charged with possession of a total of $550,000 worth of drugs yesterday. Charles Butterfield, 33, was charged in Magistrates’ Court with possession of cannabis and cannabis resin with intent to supply on December 20, 2019, in St George’s. Kinte Smith, also 33, was charged with possession of cannabis resin between an unknown date and December 20 last year in St George’s. The court heard that the two, both from St George’s, were alleged to have more than five kilograms of cannabis resin with an estimated street value of $500,000. It was further alleged that Mr Smith had about one kilogram of cannabis with a street value of $50,000. The men did not have to enter a plea as the case must be heard in the Supreme Court. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson released the pair on $10,000 bail and ordered them to hand over their passports. She adjourned the case until the October arraignments session at Supreme Court.
A former head of the Bermuda Industrial Union was honoured at yesterday’s Labour Day celebrations. The BIU headquarters building on Union Square was renamed the Ottiwell A Simmons Building as a tribute to the ex-leader and MP. Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, said a dream of Mr Simmons’s had been fulfilled when the BIU moved to the building in 1987. He told the former MP: “We owe you a great debt of gratitude, sir.” Speakers yesterday also highlighted Bermuda’s first gay Pride celebration two days earlier. Jason Hayward, the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union and a Progressive Labour Party senator, told the crowds: “What Saturday showed me was we have to be absolutely proud of who we are as individuals.” Mr Hayward said his religious faith had taught him tolerance and empathy. He added: “Support is real, coming from the labour movement, we have worked hard to reduce bullying, harassment and discrimination for the LGBTQI community, in the workplace. We are continually trying to challenge norms.” However, Mr Hayward took a swing at Butterfield Bank’s sponsorship of the Pride parade after recent redundancies. Mr Hayward said: “They had the nerve, the gall, to be the lead sponsor, for a public event, when, a few months ago, employees walked into their offices and didn’t know if they were going to be dismissed. Where do your priorities lie? You have not showed your workers that you care for them.” The bank restructured in April with the loss of 11 jobs and the closure of the Rosebank Centre in Hamilton. Mr Hayward also pledged support for exploited workers from overseas and said the BPSU would hold a meeting this week in a bid to tackle their concerns. David Burt, the Premier, told the crowds outside the union HQ: “This weekend, there was another march in some of these same streets. The themes were not new. Words like equality and freedom were used in support of that cause. The Constitution of Bermuda guarantees that all people are entitled to freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of assembly. Those are hard-fought rights.” Mr Burt added: “It should not be lost on anyone who marched on Saturday that today’s march is what made Saturday possible.” Labour Day was established as a holiday in the wake of a general strike of 1981 and was first commemorated in September 1982. Speakers said the fight for fairness and worker’s rights continued and highlighted this year’s theme of “social justice and decent work for all workers”. Lovitta Foggo, the minister responsible for labour, underscored the Government’s commitment to a living wage, and listed some of the administration’s legislative achievements for workers over the past year, including extended maternity leave and the introduction of paternity leave and an increase in the retirement age of 65. Shannon James, head of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said people should remember the struggles of earlier pioneers in union rights. The crowd of about 200 held a moment of silence in memory of Leroy Simmons, the late president of the Bermuda Entertainment Union, who died in April. Hundreds more joined in as the march set off at midday through the streets of Hamilton with banners that celebrated the achievements of the island’s labour movement.
A Pride parade is to become an annual fixture after 5,000-plus people took to the streets of Hamilton in a massive show of support at the weekend. Elizabeth Christopher, a lawyer and one of the organisers, said Saturday’s celebrations went “much better than expected”. She added: “We want to send a message that we belong in civil society just as much as the next person”. Ms Christopher said: “We are going to have it as a regular event.” But she said it was possible the event could be moved to another date in the calendar rather than stick to the long Labour Day weekend, which is also a holiday in the United States. The holiday weekend brought tourists to celebrate with island supporters in a procession that filled up Front Street from Cabinet Office to the Birdcage. Colourful costumes and rainbow attire mingled with banners and slogans designed to back love and equality. Ms Christopher admitted the scale of support “really hasn’t hit me yet”. But she said: “There were a lot of tears shed. It brought a lot to the fore for everybody. I think it struck the right note for Bermuda.” The event was timed to mark the 25th anniversary of the Stubbs Bill, which decriminalised gay sex in 1994 after a bitter debate in Parliament. Renée Webb, a former Progressive Labour Party MP and minister, said: “My journey from the Stubbs Bill [of May 1994] until the Pride parade has been a long one.” Ms Webb, who made an unsuccessful bid have sexual orientation protected by the Human Rights Act in 2006, said: “I was so glad I was able to participate in it. To see 6,000 souls take to the streets of Bermuda in support of equality warmed my heart.” She added: “One thing in life that is a constant is change. Bermuda’s destiny has spoken.” The gathering in Victoria Park before the march included a moment of silence to remember others who had suffered under out-of-date laws and from prejudice. Ms Christopher held up a portrait of Wilfred “Oopie” Ming, an openly gay man who was stabbed to death in a St George’s nightclub on September 10, 1994. She told the audience: “I just wish he could have been here with us to celebrate this. This is the kind of event that he fought and lost his life for.” Mr Ming’s first cousin, Shanon Stovell, said Mr Ming was “an amazing, funny person” who was “stolen from us in a hate crime”. Ed Christopher, the Hamilton town crier and MC for the event told the audience: “For those who went before us, we see your footprints; we are going to walk in them and make them deeper.” Barbara Maguire, a Pride supporter, said she had come to celebrate “our entire community today”. Her friend Paul Minnick praised organisers. He added: “I’ve felt a bit of an outcast in my own home. This is a huge stride forward.” Joanne Bawden said: “I’m very proud. It’s kind of a birth — people coming together to celebrate Bermuda.” Carlita Lodge added: “Celebration in any community is important. I’m a member of the Rainbow Alliance and I’ve represented Bermuda at World Pride in Toronto. I feel so proud of my country and my people here celebrating intersectional diversity.” Kim Walton said: “There’s overwhelming love and support for everybody. You hear people say they’re in support of LGBTQ, but you don’t physically see them. This is overwhelming, beautiful — it means so much.” There was only a token protest against the parade and three rainbow-painted pedestrian crossings were vandalized with paint and obscenities. Tony Brannon, a musician who launched a petition in 2015 in an attempt to legalise same-sex marriage, said after the parade there was “no going back”. Mr Brannon thanked Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley, who pledged police support for the parade. Mr Brannon said: “This was huge. It gave people confidence that the parade would be safe.”
More than 20 per cent of the world’s top 50 largest reinsurers are based in Bermuda or have a significant presence here. In a latest rankings, PartnerRe Ltd is the highest placed Bermudian-based company, appearing at 12 on the 2018 list from ratings agency AM Best. It had $6.3 billion of unaffiliated life and non-life reinsurance gross premiums written, as measured by AM Best’s methodology. The list was released as part of a 74-page Global Reinsurance market segment report published on Thursday. One spot below PartnerRe on the list is Everest Re Group Ltd, with similarly assessed gross premiums written totaling $6.22 billion, while at 14 is XL Bermuda Ltd with $5.21 billion unaffiliated gross premiums written, according to AM Best. RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd and Axis Capital Group Ltd, also make the top 20, while Arch Capital Group Ltd is at 21. Others on the list include Tokio Millenium Re, Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd, Validus Reinsurance Ltd, Hiscox Ltd, Chubb Ltd, and Third Point Reinsurance Ltd. A new entry at 47 is Argo Group International Holdings Ltd, while Maiden Holdings, which had been at 40 in 2017, did not make it into the latest top 50. In its report, AM Best called the Maiden Re result the most significant drop. It added: “The drop was driven by Maiden Re’s decision to divest all of its US treaty reinsurance operations, which no longer factor into its premium revenue.” Swiss Re Ltd changed places with Munich Reinsurance Company to top the list with unaffiliated gross premiums written estimated by AM Best at $36.4 billion. AM Best noted that the year-on-year growth in the top 50s total gross premiums written was close to nil, with the 2018 total at $263 billion. There had been growth in 2017, which was driven largely by reinstatement premiums resulting from hurricane losses created by Harvey, Irma and Maria. The combined ratio of the 2018 top 50 was 100.9, reflecting the losses sustained from US hurricanes, wildfires in California and Typhoon Jebi in Japan, however it was a substantial improvement on the collective combined ratio of 109.1 seen in 2017. Bermuda-based reinsurers also dominated AM Best’s subgroup showing the top 15 global non-life reinsurance groups. Again using a measurement of unaffiliated gross premiums written, Everest Re, Partner Re and XL Bermuda were seven, eight and nine, respectively, on the list, with RenRe at 12, and Axis Capital and Arch Capital at 14 and 15 respectively. The list was led by Munich Re. In introductory remarks to the report, Matt Mosher, president and chief executive officer at AM Best, said: “In December 2018, we revised our outlook for the global reinsurance segment from negative to stable. “Reinsurers faced a challenging year in 2018 — following an even more challenging 2017. Typhoon Jebi, California wildfires, and Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused above-average insured losses even as insurers and reinsurers were hoping for a respite after 2017. At a recent panel discussion we held, reinsurance experts agreed that, after the natural disasters in 2017 and 2018, the reinsurance market would be more rational over the near term and that third-party capital investors would maintain their presence in the market owing to differing return expectations and lower interest rates.” AM Best’s market segment report on global reinsurance also features commentary on trends at Lloyd’s, the mortgage market, collateralised reinsurance, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
The Governor has thrown a special reception to honour the decades of service to the island’s military by Royal Bermuda Regiment Honorary Colonel Eugene Raynor. The Government House event, hosted by John Rankin, was held to mark the retirement of Colonel Raynor after 20 years as Honorary Colonel and almost 60 years in Bermuda’s armed services. The Governor also used the occasion to thank former RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Gibbons, who will succeed Colonel Raynor as honorary colonel, for taking up the role and to welcome Major William Madeiros as the new chairman of the Defence Board and Promotions Board to replace Colonel Gibbons. The honorary colonel’s role is to advise the Governor, the commander-in-chief of the RBR, and the regiment on military matters and to promote military service. Mr Rankin said Colonel Raynor had joined the segregated military in 1961 as a private soldier in the Bermuda Militia Artillery. He added: “You were a founding member of the integrated Bermuda Regiment Band, and rose to become commanding officer between 1980 and 1984.” Mr Rankin, speaking at the reception last Friday night, reminded the audience that Colonel Raynor was also the first black commanding officer of the island’s defence force and was awarded an OBE for his service. He added: “I know enough to know that such awards are not made easily and are for genuine service to your country.” Colonel Raynor, who will continue to sit on the Defence Board, was presented with a miniature replica of a commanding officer’s sword to mark his retirement. Mr Rankin said: “Your advice has been valued by successive commanding officers of the regiment and also by my predecessors as Governor and myself. Your service has been outstanding.” National security minister Wayne Caines said he was a junior leader when Col Raynor was CO of the regiment. He explained that the young soldiers were in awe of him and learnt from him. He added: “I represent your legacy as Minister of National Security. Thank you for pouring into me as a young man. Thank you for that.” Colonel Gibbons told Colonel Raynor: “I joined the Regiment when you were commanding officer, and I was commissioned when you were commanding officer … and I’m here now. And it’s an extremely proud moment to take over from you.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the CO of the RBR, said he had joined up after Col Raynor stood down as CO, but knew him in his honorary role. He told Col Raynor: “You were out and about with the troops in the field and giving advice to privates and commanding officers. You would always ask those key questions — I think it opened my eyes immensely and helped me to get the post I am in now.”
Police found no evidence of a crime after five tourists on jet skis were “abandoned” at sea by their tour guide without ignition keys for their craft. The Government said that “corrective measures” have now been introduced by the company that hired out the machines. The cruise ship passengers were rescued by a passing boat, which started to tow the jet skis to shore. They were met on the way by a boat from KS Watersports, believed to be the firm that had rented out the vehicles before the July incident. A police spokesman said this week: “Inquiries regarding the circumstances of this incident were conducted by police, with all parties involved, but no criminal offences were detected. The matter has since been addressed by KS Watersports management, and the Department of Marine and Ports Services.” A government spokeswoman added: “Marine and ports investigations are not for public consumption. The matter was fully investigated by the Department of Marine and Ports and corrective measures have been implemented by the company.” KS Watersports did not respond to several requests for comment. The incident came to light on July 20 after Joseph Froncioni came across the stranded holidaymakers. The group told him that their tour guide had become upset with how they had operated the machines. Dr Froncioni wrote on Facebook at the time: “Great boating day ... except for our return on South Shore. We were nearing the Vixen [wreck] when we were hailed down by people on three jet skis. Turns out five passengers off one of the cruise ships in Dockyard had rented jet skis from KS Watersports in Dockyard. They told us that their guide was somehow unhappy about how they were handling their jet skis and so took all of the jet ski keys and abandoned them. They had been there for quite a while and asked for assistance, which we gave. We affixed three tow lines and proceeded towards Dockyard.” Dr Froncioni, who was the medical director for the 35th America’s Cup and is a former chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, said the incident was reported to the Maritime Operations Centre. The centre contacted KS Watersports and the company sent a boat to meet the jet skiers. He explained that the vessel took the tourists to their cruise ship, which was about to depart. Dr Froncioni’s Facebook post added: “I was truly embarrassed that this could happen here in Bermuda. We apologised to the tourists and wished them all the best. I doubt very much they will ever come back to Bermuda. Can’t wait to find out what really happened. However, no transgression on their part could possibly excuse abandonment at sea. Hope the responsible guide is dealt with appropriately.”
Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas cruise to Bermuda was cancelled on Saturday after the ship developed mechanical problems. The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday the five-day cruise returned to Baltimore and disembarked passengers. The ship’s maximum capacity of passengers is 2,446. One passenger, Lisa Rinker, of Indianapolis, Indiana, reported the cruise was sold out, and is angered at her family’s treatment. “I feel like we’re being punished because their equipment broke. And that’s not our fault. Now we have to fight just to get home. After all is said and done, I’ll be out close to $1,000 for a trip that didn’t happen.” Rinker said The Grandeur of the Seas never got far from port. Shortly after pulling away from the dock, the ship began moving in circles, she said. At around 8pm Saturday, the captain announced that the cruise had been cancelled. Passengers were told they could choose to leave the boat immediately or remain on board overnight and disembark at 6am Sunday. When passengers returned to their state rooms, they found a letter promising to reimburse them for the cost of the cruise, which, for Rinker and her son, totaled $3,000, and for any items they’d purchased from the company in advance, such as shore excursions. In addition, the company offered to reimburse domestic passengers up to $200 and international passengers up to $400 to change their flights and up to $200 for one night’s stay in a hotel room. Passengers also will receive a credit for a future cruise based on the fees they’ve already paid, according to the letter signed by Thordur Thorsson, the Grandeur's captain. “We know how much time and effort go into planning a vacation,” the letter said. “We’re terribly sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the full experience we had planned for you.” Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau said in a statement Saturday. “We understand this is an unfortunate inconvenience for our guests and sincerely apologise for the interruption in their travel plans. Royal Caribbean officials were unavailable for further comment. The cheapest air fare Mrs Rinker could find back to Indianapolis cost her $700 for two tickets, or nearly twice the $400 she expects to receive from Royal Caribbean. She will not be reimbursed for her stay in a Baltimore hotel the night before she boarded the cruise ship, for the luggage fees she paid, for their meals, for parking at the airport, or for the other incidental expenses involved in planning a week’s vacation. She acknowledged that many costs could have been avoided by purchasing travel insurance, but she thinks Royal Caribbean should have gone “above and beyond” to help its passengers get home safely. “My son and I were sitting on these little benches [in Baltimore’s Inner Harbour] at 10.30 at night trying to make hotel and plane reservations from our mobile phones,” she said. “We don’t know anybody in Baltimore. I felt abandoned. If my son hadn’t been with me, it would have been kind of scary.” She’s not sure if she’ll take Royal Caribbean up on its offer for a future cruise. “I love cruises,” she said. “This is probably the 15th cruise I’ve taken, and about ten of them have been on Royal Caribbean. I’ve never had any problems before. So I’ll have to wait and see how I feel after I get home. But right now, I am not at all happy.”
A former leading executive with Validus has been appointed president of Bermuda-based Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited. Jonathan Ritz has taken on the role with immediate effect. He was formerly the chief executive officer of Validus’s US insurance operations, and also served as chief operating officer of Validus Holdings Ltd. He has been in the insurance and reinsurance industry for more than 25 years. In the newly created role, he will report to Mark Cloutier, executive chairman and group CEO. Mr Cloutier said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to attract such a proven and experienced leader as Jonathan to this important role. His impressive track record and reputation, together with his extensive expertise across the sector, and in a range of disciplines, will add further considerable strength to our senior leadership team. In his role as group president, Jonathan will be joining the group executive committee and group underwriting committee, and will be working very closely with me as we continue to refine and build upon our strategies to make Aspen a recognised leader in the area of specialty risk transfer through the combination of our insurance, reinsurance, and capital market capabilities.” While Mr Ritz, said: “I am delighted to be joining Aspen at such an exciting time in the company’s development. Under Mark’s leadership and Apollo’s ownership, the business is refocusing on its core strengths and I very much look forward to playing a part in its future success.”
Rare Bermudian coins, including one of four three pence in private hands, will go up for auction in the US this week. The Long Beach Signature Auction, will feature several of the island’s historic “hogge pennies” which date back to 1616. Two sixpences, two Sommer two pences and a shilling will also go under the hammer on Thursday and Friday. Only eight of the three pence coins are known to exist and half of them are held by private collectors. The coins are prized by collectors because of their rarity. A Somers Island sixpence sold at auction in New York for $70,500 in 2015. Hogge money, named after the hog featured on the coins, was introduced less than ten years after settlement began under the leadership of Daniel Tucker, who was appointed by the Bermuda Company. Brass coinage with a thin silver coat was created in denominations of two pence, three pence, sixpence and a shilling, with Roman numerals used for values. But tobacco remained the main medium of exchange for larger transactions. The three pence included at the Long Island auction, organised by Heritage Auctions, was said to be one of the “more attractive” examples known to exist. The auctioneer said the coin “recently surfaced” in Bermuda. The description from Heritage Auctions said: “Like all examples seen, the steel-brown/silver-grey surfaces show some light corrosion, but significant amounts of the silver plating remain intact.” But the auctioneer added the coin was “unusually well-detailed, with fine interior detail still evident on the hog’s fur”. The catalogue said: “With only four examples in private hands, and two of those sold relatively recently and now in strong hands, it may be many years before a comparable example becomes available.”
A boat designer has won a $4,000 scholarship from an international tanker shipping firm to help fund his studies in Britain. Hereward Dill, who is enrolled in the yacht and powercraft design course at Solent University, Southampton, was awarded the 2019 Concordia Maritime scholarship. Mr Dill graduated from the Landing School in Maine with an associate’s degree in marine systems in May. A spokeswoman for Concordia Maritime said it also continued to support previous winners of the scholarship. Lamar Samuels, last year’s winner, will given more funds to continue his studies at South Shields Marine School in the UK, where he will start the phase three part of the course in September. In addition, Alexander Cook, the 2017 recipient, will receive support as he continues an archaeology degree at Cardiff University in Wales. Angelique Burgess, general manager of Concordia Maritime, said: “We are very proud of our scholarship recipients who are very focused on pursuing their educational goals. Concordia Maritime (Bermuda) Limited have been providing scholarship awards up to $10,000 since 2011 to deserving students. Many of the past recipients have graduated and are employed either locally or overseas in the maritime industry which is a testament to the benefits of the scholarship programme.”
The little-known story of Bermuda’s expulsion of German nationals at the outbreak of the Second World War has been revealed by a history group. The war — which started 80 years ago today — led to the British authorities ordering Germans to leave the island after Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, made a radio announcement that the UK had declared war on the Nazis. Andrew Bermingham, president of the Bermuda Historical Society, said Harry Stern, a German-American, who was on holiday in Bermuda with his family when the expulsion order was made, told his story to the society last month. Mr Stern, who was aged just eight in 1939, told the BHS that the events were “burnt into my memory”. He added: “My father managed to get a seat on the last Pan American Airlines clipper to depart the island. The Monarch of Bermuda liner sailed September 13 for the three-day voyage to New York through the U-boat infested waters of the North Atlantic. A horse-drawn landau brought us to the dock on the morning of the 13th. My mother cautioned me not to speak German with our nanny once on board.” Germany invaded Poland on September 1 which sparked the British declaration of war two days later. A German submarine had torpedoed and sunk the British liner Athenia off the southwest coast of Ireland on the eve of Britain going to war. A total of 18 of the 128 passengers lost were Americans. Mr Stern, an 88-year-old antiquarian bookseller from Chicago, added The Monarch of Bermuda’s portholes were sealed to keep the ship dark and passengers were mostly confined to the lower decks. The Furness Bermuda Line’s tourist cruises were halted in 1939 and did not resume until the end of the conflict. Mr Bermingham said: “He was on holiday here with his parents, three brothers and his younger brothers’ German nanny at the outbreak of the war.” He added: “They were among the last passengers on that ship out of Bermuda.” It was also the ship’s last civilian run of the war as it was requisitioned as a troopship after it reached port in New York. Mr Bermingham said: “There are many stories from that time. It’s another that shows how lives changed on that day.”
Tennis superstar Roger Federer celebrated his US Open advancement to the quarter finals at the weekend by serving an autographed ball direct to the wife of a Bermuda Tourism Authority board member. Kimberley Caines-Best, a barrister married to BTA board member Joseph Best, was picked out of thousands at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queen’s, New York by the 20-time Grand Slam Swiss star after the US Open match. Mr Best said Ms Caines-Best’s moment came after an interviewer asked Federer to hit a signed ball to someone in the crowd. He picked Ms Caines-Best, who was holding up a purple towel high in the stands, and delivered the serve with spot-on precision. Mr Best said: “At the end of the game, the interviewer asked Roger if he could hit any target with his signed ball. Hearing this, Kimberley started waving the towel ...Roger saw her, and said, ‘I will hit the ball to the lady with the purple towel’. He hit the signed ball towards her with exact precision — and we now have an awesome souvenir to remember this weekend.” Mr Best added he and his wife got a taste of tennis celebrity status after she caught the ball. He explained: “Afterwards, so many people came up to us to take pictures of us and the ball. It was amazing.” Mr Best was speaking after Federer beat Belgian David Goffin 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday. A BTA booth was set up at the event and Bermuda branding was prominent after the authority signed a multiyear deal with the United States Tennis Association to be the US Open’s exclusive tourism partner. The collaboration will also see a new tournament in Bermuda next spring, which will feature a pro-am event as well as exhibitions with tennis legends and up-and-coming American players.
After an extended 21 week season, tomorrow night, Wednesday September 4th marks the end of the 2019 Harbour Nights season. The Chamber of Commerce is encouraging visitors and residents to come and enjoy the special night’s festivities including the Gombey Warriors, Strong by Zumba demonstrations, Working Title Band and Coral Beats, the Brazilian percussion group. Harbour Nights is a 25+ year street festival that provides, entrepreneurs an opportunity and a platform to unveil their products or experiences to visitors and guests. Sponsors showcase their brands to the more than 60,000 visitors and locals who attend the event each year. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Kendaree Burgess comments “The Chamber of Commerce would like to say thank you to all of this year’s sponsors, especially the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the City of Hamilton, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Bank of Butterfield. We also want to thank and acknowledge our vendors, community partners, visitors and residents who have visited Harbour Nights this year and continue to support one of the longest running and popular event series in Bermuda”. Harbour Nights will recommence in early 2020..
The Portuguese Cultural Association has announced an evening of Fado music to take place on 5 October 2019 featuring musicians coming from the Azores: Alfredo Gago da Câmara (Guitar and Voice); Mário Fernandes (Viola da terra and Voice); and Ricardo Melo (Bass). Da Câmara, a native of Vila Franca do Campo in the Azores, is a musician, poet, teacher and author. He has composed many musical pieces for himself and for other performers throughout the Portuguese diaspora. He opened a ‘House of Fado’, has taught classical guitar and the ‘Viola da Terra’, a stringed instrument native to the Azores, and has performed countless times throughout the Azores, the rest of Portugal, Spain, the USA, Canada, Luxembourg, Brazil and Venezuela. This will be his first visit to Bermuda. Da Câmara frequently collaborates with Fernandes and Melo in his performances, both of whom will be traveling to Bermuda with him. Fado is a traditional folk music from Portugal that dates back many centuries. Its songs are characterized by sadness and melancholy based on the hard realities of daily life faced by the Portuguese. Lyrics centre on longing and loss, but balanced with themes of hopefulness and love. Fado music often has one or two 12-string Portuguese guitars, one or two violas, and sometimes a small 8 string, bass. The event will take place on Saturday, 5 October 2019 at the Vasco da Gama Club, starting at 7:30 pm, and will feature dinner and dessert before the performances start. If tickets are bought before 27 September 2019, prices are $90 for adults and $50 for children. If bought on or after 27 September, the prices will rise to $110 and $60 respectively. All funds raised will support the Portuguese School of Bermuda and the Vasco Youth Program. Tickets are available for sale at Vasco da Gama Club. For more information, call 292-7196.
Flora Duffy finished fifth in her second race since returning from injury at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday. She finished the Olympic-distance race — 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike and 10km run — in a time of 2hr 4min 26sec, with splits of 19:15, 1:06:35 and 37:29. Katie Zaferes, of the United States, took the honours to claim a maiden world title in 2:02:45, with Jessica Learmonth, of Britain, finishing second in 2:02:49 and team-mate Georgia Taylor-Brown third in 2:03:03. “Thank you Lausanne,” Duffy wrote on Instagram. “That was a race to remember. The crowd + course was incredible! Thank you for all the cheers. I needed them ... especially on the run! After the race I was so exhausted, (like I laid down in the grass for a long time) it took me a while to appreciate 5th as pretty solid and more forward progress even if I felt very defeated today. Congrats to the champs!!” Duffy was confident the challenging and hilly course would play to her strengths, and made a break on the final lap of the bike but was soon pegged back by Zaferes to set up a showdown in the run. The Bermudian, however, understandably showed signs of ring rust during the final discipline and started to drop back with about 6km to go and was overtaken by Rachel Klamer, of Holland, for fourth on the third lap. Zaferes held off a spirited challenge from Learmonth, who led out of the swim but was hunted down by the chase group, which included Duffy, on the bike. Duffy, meanwhile, will have been encouraged to come through second straight race after missing 12 months of action because of a foot injury. She won the Tokyo Olympic Test Event in controversial fashion two weeks ago after leaders Learmonth and Taylor-Brown were disqualified for causing a deliberate tie.
Macai Simmons and OJ Pitcher led a fight back with the bat to help St David’s retain their Eastern Counties title after the final round against Flatts Victoria ended in a draw at Lord’s on Saturday. The pair came together at the crease with their team in a spot of bother at 78 for four and were equal to the task of repairing the early damage as they added 137 runs to steady the ship. Simmons led the charge as he lashed 11 fours and four sixes in a knock of 89 from 74 balls, while Pitcher hit six fours in a more sedated and unbeaten innings of 68 from 106 balls. St David’s went on to post 250 for seven in 62 overs after losing three of 65 overs teams are allocated in the first innings to rain. Openers Shannon Rayner (24), Dean Simons (25), captain Justin Pitcher (14) and Chare Smith (10 not out) were the remaining St David’s batsman in double figures. Simmons and Pitcher’s battling knocks and timely partnership overshadowed a superb bowling display by all-rounder Kamau Leverock who claimed four for 63 from 21 overs. Regino Smith was also rewarded for some tidy bowling as he took two for 62 from 18 overs. Flatts also found themselves in early trouble in their reply at 87 for four with the explosive Leverock among those back in the pavilion after stroking 21 from 13 balls. Opener Reggie Baker scored 59 from 94 balls and middle-order batsman Dajon Carey an unbeaten 57 from 75 balls. However, it was not enough as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. Smith (25) and Coefield Robinson (20), the Flatts captain, and Nelson Bascome (11) all made starts but were unable to go on. Flatts, whose innings was reduced from 51 to 47 overs, were 222 for nine at stumps, 28 runs shy of their target. St David’s captain Pitcher led his team’s attack with figures of three for 52, while Brian Hall and colt Seth Campbell took two wickets each. Reflecting on the match, St David’s coach George Cannonier said: “I thought Flatts put up a good fight. We made up our mind to bat if we won the toss and we did but lost early wickets. I was a little concerned at the time but the game change a lot thanks to Macai and OJ. That partnership really bailed us out. I didn’t expect us to make 250 and knew it would be a hard score for Flatts to pull down with the overs they had left. I’m happy that we did what we had to do to defend our title and with the way the guys have applied themselves over the whole three games.” Clay Smith, the Flatts coach, said the century partnership between Simmons and Pitcher played a huge factor in his team coming up short of their objective. “Both of them put their head down and batted extremely responsibly and that was the difference in the game,” Smith said. “There was a period right after lunch where I thought for about an hour we were very flat and sort of lost our plot a little bit. When you’re playing against champions like this those little gaps can make the difference between winning and losing. Overall, I thought my boys gave a good account of themselves and hats off to St David’s for a good all-round performance.”
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