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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
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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. 6.45pm: There were still 20,628 customers without power, Belco said early this afternoon. Buses will not run tomorrow for safety reasons, with the depot at Palmetto Road with no power this evening. Updates on the bus service will be given tomorrow afternoon. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he was “imploring motorists to use good judgment and common sense and please stay off the roads tonight”. As evening neared, he said teams are “working around the clock” to restore power and remove debris and wires from the roads. Government schools will stay closed tomorrow. Bermuda High School reported “quite a bit of damage” and will be closed. Warwick Academy will be closed until Monday. Somersfield Academy, which has not been damaged, is open for classes tomorrow. Mount Saint Agnes Academy and the Bermuda Institute will both be open tomorrow. Saltus avoided damage but opted to remain shut until Monday as cleanups continue. In a Ministry of National Security update, one person is in police custody for burgling buses. Somerset Police are working out of alternative accommodation after the station at the West End took damage. Buses remain out of service because of continued assessment of the roads and bus depots. A decision on the resumption of service is to be shared later today. Ferries will resume tomorrow. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said: “Every resident came together in the face of the impending hurricane, doing their part to ensure their families, friends, neighbours and homes were ready and prepared for this storm. This is the true Bermudian spirit of support and resilience that we are known for. So thank you to you for preparing yourselves, heeding the advisories and coming together after the storm to help your fellow Bermudians in need.” Reports came in on three structural fires, plus a propane leak at the airport which was contained. The fire service got reports of 17 “minor incidents” as a result of the storm. There were 11 medical reports and 20 reports made of roofs damaged, as well as a sinking boat, which was saved. Friday collection of trash will go ahead, but there is no collection for today. Residents who normally had Thursday collection will get service on Saturday. Tynes Bay is open for dropping off waste until 7pm, and will open again from 7am to 7pm tomorrow. Marsh Folly is waiving tipping fees for the disposal of trees, wood waste and foliage. The Royal Bermuda Regiment remains embodied. Beaches are open again — but lifeguards are not on duty, and swimmers were reminded to use caution. The Bermuda Tourism Authority reported all Bermuda’s hotel properties were “operational and ready to welcome guests”. All Bermuda Visitor Services Centres will reopen tomorrow. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s acute care wing sustained some roof damage, and there was minor damage reported for the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. Lamb Foggo Urgent Care in St David’s dealt with three persons who suffered hurricane related injuries. 12.30pm: The Causeway is back open, according to Wayne Caines. Mr Caines commended emergency teams, with the Royal Bermuda Regiment collaborating with Belco teams and Works and Engineering staff. He called the island “bloodied but unbowed. We went through a difficult night, and as soon as the sun came up we have assessed damage. There is structural damage around the island that will be quantified in time. The good news is there was no loss of life.” There were still 22,000 homes without power. Mr Caines confirmed that CedarBridge Academy in Devonshire, where 49 people availed themselves of the emergency shelter, had sustained storm damage that would be fixed “in short order”. The emergency shelter was not affected. Government schools are “definitely” closed tomorrow, but government offices will open. Meanwhile, the Emergency Measures Organisation is readying to meet on Monday to assess the threat to the island from Jerry, the new hurricane that has formed near the Caribbean. Early forecasts have the storm hooking north, potentially approaching the island next week. 11.30am: The Corporation of Hamilton reported “no major issues” — but has asked the public to avoid the city before noon. Downed trees, leaf debris and other foliage were being cleared from the streets this morning. A spokeswoman added: “There are no poles or wires down in the city but there is hoarding down in the area of the old Canadian Hotel and the Spurling property on Brunswick Street. Crews have been deployed throughout the city and we anticipate the city to be ready at 12pm.” She added that waste collection would resume in the city tonight. Sewage pump stations are all up and running, and all traffic lights are working at major junctions except at the junction of Cedar Avenue and Dundonald Street. 10am:LF Wade International Airport was being checked over this morning; the airport’s web site is listing some cancellations. Travellers should check individual flights online as some delays to today’s flights were not showing on the LF Wade International site as of 10.30am. 8.30am: David Burt, the Premier, urged the public to co-operate with emergency services as the cleanup commences. Mr Burt said: “We’ve made it through and everyone is safe. That’s what is most important. The advance notice from the Bermuda Weather Service and the clear advisories from the Ministry of National Security allowed Bermuda to prepare for this storm. In this clean-up phase, I urge everyone to co-operate with the emergency and security services so that we can return the island to normal operations. This is the time to check on our seniors as well as those who may live alone to make sure they’re fine and have any assistance necessary.” Noting the birth of a healthy baby girl last night, the Premier added: “Congratulations to those parents whose new arrival provided a welcome note of joy in the midst of the storm.” 8.15am: BF&M have announced that their offices will be shut until the EMO determines the roads are safe to travel — but a skeleton crew are in the office to take claims by phone. 7.50am: Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said the Causeway has not yet been reopened to the public. Mr Caines said: “Structural engineers are currently examining the surface of the Causeway and will then conduct an underwater assessment.” Government offices and schools will remain closed today. The public is asked to stay off the roads to give emergency services the time needed to continue clearing the roads,” Mr Caines added. “Many roads have power lines dangerously low and the public is urged to stay inside.” Belco staff are assessing circuits as they begin the work to restore power to the 28,000 homes plunged into darkness by outages last night. A further update will be made at 11am. 6am: Hurricane Humberto was 250 miles northeast of the island and is expected to begin to weaken today. According to the Bermuda Weather Service, conditions on the island are expected to rapidly improve as the distance between the storm and Bermuda grows. The BWS said: “Skies will brighten, the humidity will remain in the 70s and cooler moderate northwest winds will gradually veer north by tonight. Although Radar shows an extensive area of showers to our north, some of this will dissipate before reaching the island.” 3am: The Bermuda Weather Service lifts the Tropical Storm warning as Humberto is tracked 195 miles north-northwest of Bermuda. The National Hurricane Centre said: “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.” 1.15am: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said the Tropical Storm warning may be lifted at 3am as winds have already fallen below tropical storm level in areas of the island. A small craft warning would remain in effect. 1am: A Ministry of National Security spokeswoman said early responders will start moving around Bermuda to assess and begin clearing the roads at first light. The spokeswoman said: “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.” As of Midnight, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service received 45 calls, including 16 automatic fire alarms, 17 minor incidents such as gas leaks and transformer fires, nine medical calls and three non-serious structural fires. 11.55pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports that Humberto is 130 miles north-northeast of Bermuda, traveling northeast at 23mph. The service said: “Tropical-storm-force winds will persist on Bermuda into late Thursday morning. Humberto may bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through Thursday, with rainfall accumulations of 2in to 4in with maximum amounts of 6in expected.” 11.33pm: The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds had fallen to 35mph, while gusts had fallen to 50mph. 11.30pm: Wayne Caines, Minister on National Security, said Government would make a statement about the condition of the island at 7.30am. Mr Caines said: “The closest point of approach for Hurricane Humberto has passed. The winds are still very high so we are suggesting everyone stay inside. Tomorrow morning, at approximately 7.30am, we will give an update to share with you how Bermuda fared the storm.” He thanked the island’s emergency services for their hard work throughout the storm and urged the public to continue to listen to the Emergency Broadcast Station at 100.1FM. Mr Caines added: “This has been a rough 24 hours, but I know together we can make it through it.” 11.20pm: The Bermuda Weather Service has ended the Hurricane Warning, however the Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect. 10.45pm: Power outages now affect 28,515 Belco customers — about 80 per cent of the island. A Belco spokeswoman urged the public to stay off the roads early Thursday morning because there are downed trees and power lines. 10.35pm: Emergency services has received reports that a portion of the roof of Somerset Police Station has been blown off — all officers are safe and a full assessment of the damage will be made when the winds subside. A report has also been received that a portion of the roof of Island Glass on Serpentine Road has been damaged. 10.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said winds have begun to ease across the island as Humberto moves away from Bermuda. Tropical Storm Force winds are however expected to continue around 4am or 5am. Winds are now tending to veer into the west with further veering into the west-northwest later tonight. 10pm: According to Government, there has been a report of damaged windows at the CedarBridge Academy shelter near the library where staff were located. There are no injuries and all staff have been relocated. There are 46 members of the public who are at the shelter with 30 support staff from different agencies. Everyone is safe and secure. Meanwhile King Edward VII Memorial Hospital has reported the delivery of a healthy baby girl earlier this evening. 9.45pm: 28,495 Belco powers have lost power, according to the company. 9.30pm: Eight homes are reported damaged in the West End, while a propane gas leak is reported at Caesar’s Pharmacy on Main Road, Somerset. Government also reports a car got stuck in the area of Stokes Point Road, St George’s, and a road was blocked west of the Port Royal Fire Station. A report of a boat in distress was made but Harbour Radio reported that the single occupant on-board is safe, on land and uninjured. 9.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Hurricane Humberto had passed its closest point of approach and conditions would improve slowly. 9pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Hurricane Humberto is 75 miles north of Bermuda and moving east-northeast at 20mph. The NHC said: “Hurricane conditions are occurring on Bermuda and should continue for a few more hours. Tropical-storm-force winds will persist on Bermuda into late Thursday morning.” The service’s 9pm update added: “An automated station at Pearl Island recently reported sustained winds of 100mph and a wind gust of 123mph. LF Wade International Airport recently reported a wind gust of 115mph.” 8.45pm: 27,730 homes are now without power according to Belco, but the company has said they will begin restoration work as soon as possible. 8.31pm: The Bermuda Weather Service records sustained winds of 81mph and gusts of 114mph. 8.15pm: The eye of the storm is around 92 miles away from the island, and sections of the island have recorded sustained hurricane-strength winds. James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “We are in the worst of it right now. The pressure is bottoming out.” 7.45pm: More than 21,000 Belco customers — just under 60 per cent of all Belco customers — have lost power. 7.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Commissioner’s Point has recorded a gust of 115mph. 6.55pm: The Bermuda Weather Service has recorded winds of 53mph and gusts reaching 74mph. 6.50pm: Belco confirms that more than 16,000 homes have lost power across the island, but they urged the public not to call in to report outages unless there is an emergency. 6.40pm: Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, has again warned the public to stay inside after reports of people on the roads and on South Shore. 6.30pm: Belco’s outage map now lists more than 10,000 customers without power. 6.15pm: The Bermuda Weather Service said Humberto is still on track to pass 90 miles from the island at 8pm. 6pm: The Causeway has been closed to traffic. 5.50pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Hurricane Humberto is 100 miles west-northwest of Bermuda and has maintained Category 3 strength. The NHC said: “An amateur radio operator at Ports Island near the southern end of Bermuda reported a sustained wind of 75mph and a gust to 104mph during the past hour. “An amateur radio operator in Somerset Village recently reported a sustained wind of 70mph and a gust to 89mph.” 5.40pm: Another rash of outages increased the number of Belco customers without power to more than 5,000. 5pm: More than 2,000 Belco customers have lost power in scattered areas around the island, according to the company’s website. 4.55pm: The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds of 39mph and gusts reaching 55mph. 4pm: British Airways has confirmed that it intends to run flights between Bermuda and London tomorrow, provided that LF Wade International Airport is open tomorrow afternoon as expected. 3.55pm:The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds of 30mph and gusts reaching 46mph. 3pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Humberto, now 140 miles west of the island, is still a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120mph. The NHC said: “Outside preparations are becoming difficult or dangerous and should be completed soon.” A gust of 51mph has been reported at LF Wade International Airport. 12.50pm: Severe flooding has been reported on South Road, Warwick, near Swizzle Inn. 12.49pm: The BIU Gas Station is closing at 3pm and will reopen on Friday morning at the usual time. The BIU offices will close at 1pm and reopen at 9am on Friday. The Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society will close at 1pm and reopen on Friday morning at 9.30am. 12.30pm: The Bermuda Weather Service warns that Humberto is a “big hurricane” which will bring very strong winds, high seas and swells and possible tornadoes. But national disaster co-ordinator Steve Cosham notes the storm is “brushing us” and he does not expect major damage. 12.30pm: The public must be off the roads by 5pm and the Causeway will shut at 6pm, the Government announces at a press conference. The shelter at CedarBridge Academy will open at 4pm. All evening flights are cancelled. 12.15pm: The last operating buses on all routes will depart at 3pm, according to the Department of Public transportation. Noon: Humberto, a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 121mph, is now 193 miles west of Bermuda, moving at 16mph. It is expected to come within 90 miles of the island at 8pm 9am: Humberto, a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 115mph, is now 249 miles west of Bermuda, moving at 16mph. It is expected to come within 101 miles of the island at 7pm. Overnight on Tuesday: Heavy rain lashes Bermuda and leads to flooding in areas all over the island.
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.”
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.
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).
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?
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.”
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.
Opinion. By Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. "A human and natural tragedy of catastrophic proportions. "Are there lessons for Bermuda? According to recent Dorian hurricane media reports, the Bahamas islands most heavily affected areas are lowlands, rising 15 to 20 feet above sea level in some respects. Imagine experiencing your home and those around you collapsing, roofs escalating in screaming flight above you, rain, surf and thunder roar pounding at you for hours and hours and hours, storm surges moving ever higher “while the sharks circled outside their second floor home windows”. Unendurable, yet so many did endure. His face flat, his voice a monotone, his survivor’s terse statement embedded in countless replays of videos across the globe. “No home, no job, no food, no life.” So it was disturbing to read that the top FOB officials of their large neighbour to the west pronounce that no one from the devastation areas would be admitted without proper verifiable documentation: passports, visas, and credible testimony, etc. Such regulations appeared to demonstrate a callous indifference by those outsiders whom it is assumed have never, ever, had to fight by their wits (and God’s grace) for their own and loved ones’ survival. Except, ironically, in a matter of days, Bahamian immigration services have now applied similar restrictions on illegals residing within their island borders — accompanied by deportation proceedings. When budgets are maxed out, humanitarian aid becomes monetized, too. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, composed of a sprawling network of hundreds of small/large islands, 30 of which are fully inhabited, is well connected to this day to Bermuda islanders because it was settled in 1648 by Bermudians on the island of Eleuthera. Further population additions down the centuries were comprised of American Loyalists and their slaves. Bahamas abolished such abominable practices in 1834; the island became a welcoming haven for freed, escaped, illegal, and liberated slaves from other nations. Modern-day parallels are eerily similar, between the two countries. Bahamian and Bermudian abundances of natural island getaway sites, and proximity to mainland United States generated millions of tourism and international business journeys over the years.
The observations and recommendations from the FRP and IMF are again incredibly similar:
The radically distinct differences
Last week the Bahamas Ministry of Finance announced a $100 million draw down from their IASB credit line. The long, massive financial, emotional, and physical recovery (housing, job retraining, basic necessities, healthcare, schooling and a future) for an estimated 25 per cent of the population — about 70,000 people — has begun. They will need all they help they can get! Bahamas tourism will and should continue unabated as travellers realise that Bahamas’ largest tourist destinations were unaffected by Dorian. Everyone loves sand, sparkling seas, and radiant blue skies, a respite from cruel, northern fall and winter soon to arrive. We wish them well and God’s blessings.
Next: Sudden disrupters of climatic events, and complacent financial tolerance can torpedo an idyllic, serene existence. How will/does Bermuda manage a disrupter of epic proportions?
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”. People can donate at www.helpsalvationarmy.org. 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 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 at www.gov.bm/healthplan. 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.
• Buy Entanglement — Quantum + Otherwise at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
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. Any inquiries to participate or perform at Harbour Nights next year can be sent in writing to Tanya Cropley Minors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, email the Association on email@example.com or 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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September 21, 2019
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