All Stories - The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community en Court backs claimants in UK business interruption case Jonathan Kent Sat, 16 Jan 2021 0:48:00 GMT 2848afe3-0f3d-42a5-aa27-ddd7825d2ec9 Paying out: Bermudian re/insurer Hiscox says its estimated 2020 Covid-19 losses rose by $48 million as a result of a ruling by the UK Supreme Court Paying out: Bermudian re/insurer Hiscox says its estimated 2020 Covid-19 losses rose by $48 million as a result of a ruling by the UK Supreme Court Insurers must pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in disputed business interruption insurance claims after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of claimants today.

Bermudian-based Hiscox said its estimated 2020 Covid-19 loss estimate had climbed by $48 million, net of reinsurance, as a result of the judgment.

The law lords’ decision is the culmination of an industry test case, which was brought by British financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority, after insurers denied claims from thousands of business customers who suffered financial losses after being forced to close down during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Eight insurers, including Hiscox and fellow Bermudian re/insurer Arch Capital, agreed to take part in the proceedings.

The unanimous ruling from all five law lords, which largely confirms the previous judgment in the case by Britain’s High Court as all insurers’ appeals were dismissed, marks the final outcome of the case.

The 100-plus-page judgment provides guidance on a pool of about 60 insurers and 700 policies, potentially covering about 370,000 customers, although not all will receive payouts, as Hiscox’s statement today made clear.

“The Supreme Court largely confirms the outcome of the High Court’s ruling that, except in rare circumstances, cover is restricted to Hiscox policyholders who were mandatorily closed,” Hiscox stated.

“Fewer than one third of Hiscox’s 34,000 UK Business Interruption policies may respond as a result.”

Insurers including Hiscox had argued that their standard policies did not provide coverage for losses due to pandemic-related closures.

However, the courts found that the pandemic and the government and public response were a single cause of the covered loss, and that disease and denial of access clauses in many sample industry policies were enough to trigger payouts.

Lord Michael Briggs wrote: “The cover apparently provided for business interruption caused by the effects of a national pandemic type of notifiable disease was in reality illusory, just when it might have been supposed to have been most needed by policyholders.

“That outcome seemed to me to be clearly contrary to the spirit and intent of the relevant provisions of the policies in issue.”

The Hiscox Action Group, comprised of about 400 of the insurer’s business customers who have contested rejected claims, welcomed the court’s decision.

Richard Leedham, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Reya, who represented HAG, said: “This is a landmark victory for a small group of businesses who took on a huge insurance player and have been fully vindicated.

“What is important now is that Hiscox accepts the Supreme Court’s verdict and starts paying out to its policy holders, many of whom are in danger of going under.”

Huw Evans, director-general of the Association of British Insurers, said in response to the ruling: “Insurers have supported this fast-track legal process every step of the way and we welcome the clarity that the judgment will bring to a number of complex issues. Today’s judgment represents the final step in the appeal process.

“The insurance industry expects to pay out over £1.8 billion ($2.45 billion) in Covid-19 related claims across a range of products, including business interruption policies.

“Customers who have made claims that are affected by the test case will be contacted by their insurer to discuss what the judgment means for their claim. All valid claims will be settled as soon as possible and in many cases the process of settling claims has begun.”

He added: “We recognise this has been a particularly difficult time for many small businesses and naturally regret the Covid-19 restrictions have led to disputes with some customers. We will continue to work together as an industry to ensure customers have the clarity they need when it comes to what they can expect from their business insurance policies.”

Shares of Hiscox rose by 3.25 per cent in London Stock Exchange trading on Friday.

Covid-19: three new cases recorded Jonathan Bell Fri, 15 Jan 2021 23:53:00 GMT 5ca8f400-c756-4c31-a030-c6d2205442af An image of the coronavirus from the US Centres for Disease Control (file picture) An image of the coronavirus from the US Centres for Disease Control (file picture) Three new cases of the coronavirus were logged today, health officials announced.

The positives were among 643 test results that came back to the health ministry.

A case came in from overseas – a resident who arrived last Saturday on the American Airlines flight from Miami.

The individual tested positive on their Day 4 test.

The second case was classed as on-island transmission with a known contact.

The third case, a resident with no known link to infected people or recent travel history, is under investigation.

A total of 12 people have recovered from infection since the last update.

There are 75 active cases, with 69 monitored by public health officials.

Six people are in hospital but none are in intensive care.

The island has logged a total of 670 cases of Covid-19 with 583 people recovered and 12 deaths.

There have been 460 on-island transmissions and 184 cases came in from overseas.

A total of 389 of the on-island cases had known contacts, 71 had unknown contacts and 26 are under investigation.

One case has moved from being under investigation to local transmission with unknown contact.

The seven-day average of the real-time reproduction number is 0.54 and Bermuda’s country status remains at “clusters of cases”.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said she wanted to clarify an earlier statement that people already infected with the virus, or quarantined as a close contact, could not get the vaccine at present.

Ms Wilson said: “If you have recently returned from overseas, you cannot be vaccinated until you receive a negative Day 14 test.

“If you are in quarantine for any reason, you cannot be vaccinated until you receive a negative Day 14 test.”

“If you have tested positive at any time previously, and are not currently in quarantine, you can get the vaccine.”

She said more than 5,000 residents had registered for the vaccine.

Ms Wilson said registration did not guarantee an appointment at the moment.

The first supplies of the vaccine are limited and will be given out on a priority decided by medical staff.

Ms Wilson added: “When you submit your registration form, you will receive an auto-generated submission receipt.

“Your submission will be kept on file, and you will be contacted as appointments become available.

“Every submission will be replied to and there is no need for you to resubmit.”

She asked for the public to be patient as appointments are given out.

Ms Wilson reminded people to continue to get tested.

She said that the number of cases a day had dropped.

But Ms Wilson warned: “We do not want people to become complacent and let their guard down”.

She added tests were administered by appointment only.

Argus shares pull back 4.3% on BSX Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 22:30:00 GMT 9e643575-db07-414e-b0c9-3ee8548b5669 BSX daily trade BSX daily trade BSX weekly trade BSX weekly trade Shares of Argus Group Holdings fell 4.3 per cent in Bermuda Stock Exchange trading.

The insurer fell 18 cents to close on $4 as 3,000 shares changed hands. The move came after Argus rocketed 26 per cent in Wednesday’s trading.

Argus was the only stock to trade on Friday, as The Royal Gazette/BSX Index fell 3.96 points, or 0.18 per cent, to close on 2,233.34.

For the week, the index gained 2.2 per cent, helped by the 20.8 per cent spike in the share price of Argus over the five days.

Butterfield Bank’s US-listed shares tumbled $1.03, or 2.93 per cent, to close on $34.16. The bank last traded on the BSX at $34.75.

The BSX Insurance Index fell 17.59 points, or 1.08 per cent to close on 1,613.6.

Bermuda Government signs MOU with The Proof of Trust Gareth Finighan Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:48:00 GMT 404ab0ba-f931-4a58-89e5-eea43dcf9aec Cutting edge: the Premier, David Burt (File photograph by Blaire Simmons) Cutting edge: the Premier, David Burt (File photograph by Blaire Simmons) Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an international blockchain company to improve efficiency between departments.

The Premier, David Burt, said the agreement with The Proof of Trust (Bermuda) Ltd, demonstrated the island’s “continued commitment to engaging with innovators”.

According to a press release from the London Stock Exchange, the deal will “equip the Government with unparalleled blockchain-enabled technology, designed specifically to improve the connectivity between all governmental departments”.

The MOU was signed by the Premier and Kevin Richards, CEO of the Bermuda branch of The Proof of Trust.

The company uses the IBM blockchain platform, anti-collusion algorithm and delegates to ensure the authenticity of data put on the blockchain and used to execute smart contracts.

The company said it was incorporated to bring “cutting edge globally patented dispute and issue resolution technology to the island”.

Premier Burt said: "The agreement signed with The Proof of Trust is a clear testament to Bermuda's continued commitment to engaging with innovators.

“We are encouraged to be moving into a test phase of The Proof of Trust's protocol where Bermuda will definitively assess the numerous uses of The Proof of Trust product from a Government perspective.

"The global pandemic has shown the importance of accelerating adoption of a digital-first approach. Bermuda is committed to being an innovative smart leader and we look forward to updating on our progress with The Proof of Trust this year."

Dean Armstrong, a London-based lawyer and head of Proof of Trust’s global operations, said: "The Proof of Trust is delighted to be making this major commitment to Bermuda.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government of Bermuda, as they recognise the uniqueness of our protocol and its numerous applications. The Proof of Trust protocol can be effortlessly integrated into existing legacy systems. What we offer is a fast, secure and scalable solution as the Government of Bermuda looks to become a leader in government technology innovation driven by smart contracts."

Last year, Mr Richards told The Royal Gazette that the company would provide the public and private sector businesses an entry point for the adoption of distributed ledger technology “that is easily understood and has the power to fundamentally increase speed and efficiency when entering into agreements, while dramatically reducing the risk inherent in contracts that companies and governments enter into on a daily basis”.

Registration needed after 'security incidents' at school events Jonathan Bell Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:21:00 GMT 12803ee8-978d-4470-a8cc-a311c02e0dee Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education (File photograph) Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education (File photograph) Registration will be needed for virtual open house events on public school enrolment after “incidents” at two meetings, the Commissioner of Education said last night.

Kalmar Richards said the move was part of strengthened security rules.

A ministry spokeswoman said two virtual open houses had been “disrupted by someone who showed obscene pictures during the meeting”.

Both incidents have been reported to police.

Virtual open houses are being held remotely this month for parents and guardians of pupils planning to enrol in September.

The links to register will be on the same links advertised to put questions in advance. they can be found on, the Ministry of Education’s website.

Registrations will be checked by meeting organisers before people will be admitted.

Participants in open house events will be on camera live, and must display their full names.

Participants were also asked to arrive in the online waiting rooms at least 15 minutes early for administrative and security checks.

Fifty bus routes cancelled News Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:16:00 GMT 9dbfdb6c-9b02-43ee-ba41-670b4f033aba More buses were cancelled yesterday as a deadlock between Government and minibus operators continues. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) More buses were cancelled yesterday as a deadlock between Government and minibus operators continues. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) A total of 50 bus routes were cancelled today as Bermuda’s bus shortage crisis rumbled on.

The cancellations started with the 3.20pm No. 8 bus from CedarBridge to Dockyard and will finish with the No 7 bus from Hamilton to Watford Bridge at 6.30pm.

The Department of Public Transportation warned earlier this week that bus cancellations were likely to double as children returned to in-school learning.

The move meant vehicles on regular routes would have to be transferred to school runs.

Efforts by Government to negotiate a rate with minibus operators were unsuccessful, although it is believed talks continue.

Earlier bus shortages led to the Government hiring minibuses for school routes.

The crisis was worsened by Covid-19 social distancing requirements, which have slashed bus capacities.

For a full list of cancellations, visit

Ballands stepping down as Ocorian CEO Scott Neil Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:15:00 GMT 8fb7aa22-9f6e-47e6-8620-8fc1171174c4 Farah Ballands is to step down as CEO of Ocorian (File photograph) Farah Ballands is to step down as CEO of Ocorian (File photograph) Farah Ballands has decided to step down as chief executive officer of Ocorian. She will be succeeded by Frederik van Tuyll, the current chairman, on March 31.

She guided Ocorian and Estera through a merger last year. Estera was spun off from law firm Applebly in 2015, and Ms Ballands became Estera’s CEO in January 2016. She held that post until the merger with Ocorian, and has been CEO of Ocorian for the past year.

Ms Ballands said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed leading the business through the acquisition and merger with Estera. However, now we are one year on, the time is right for me to hand over the reins. I am confident that we have built an excellent management team, created a platform for growth and that Ocorian will go from strength to strength.”

Ocorian provides corporate and fiduciary services, fund administration and capital markets. It has offices around the world. Its Bermudian office is on Victoria Street, and a year ago Ocorian had a 74-strong team on the island.

The company’s next CEO, Mr van Tuyll, was appointed chairman of Ocorian in 2019.

He said “We want to ensure continuity for our clients and employees and it therefore makes total sense for me to combine the responsibilities of chairman and CEO. Our strategy will remain the same and we will continue to build our business.”

“Farah has done an outstanding job and will be sorely missed. She has been incredibly ambitious and achieved a remarkable amount: firstly, for Estera and most recently, of course, for Ocorian. Under her stewardship we have successfully brought everyone together so that we are now operating more collaboratively and as one unified business. Her agility, hard work and effort has built a solid foundation for our business. I am extremely grateful to her and, given the personally challenging year she and her family have had, I fully understand her decision.”

BEDC to provide business opportunities update online Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:14:00 GMT 7a7c5bde-2beb-485b-b779-871cf1676c38 The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation is to host a virtual seminar next week to provide an update on the business opportunities that exist in the local market and abroad, post Covid-19.

The Next Big Thing! – A Follow Up, One Year Later, is the sequel to a seminar held by the BEDC in November 2019.

The free online event will take place on Thursday from 11.30am until 1pm.

Featured panellists include David Burt, the Premier; Marico Thomas of Four Star; Karen Franks, president/founder, ADA Group Holdings Ltd; Neville Grant, board chairman, BEDC, and head of corporate banking, HSBC; Nhuri Bashir, co-founder of Burnt House Productions; and Tulani Bulford, senior partner, Portland Lane Capital.

The BEDC said the panel will discuss the following questions and more: What is required to solve real-world problems? How do you identify an opportunity and then seize it? During a global pandemic, is it more important now to understand how to recognise business opportunities and, if necessary, pivot to survive?

Panel members will provide insight to attendees on the steps they have taken to navigate through a global pandemic and how innovation has played a factor in helping to do business differently.

The BEDC said attendees will hear from Mr Burt about what has been accomplished towards achieving his goal for the development of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bermuda.

The accompanying panel of entrepreneurs will provide an update on the opportunities that they have identified and how they have realised or shifted to continue to achieve their business objectives.

Mr Thomas said: “I feel fortunate to have been able to maintain business operations through the pandemic and want to share my experiences which may bring benefit to others.”

Erica Smith, executive director of the BEDC, said: “The last year has been a challenge for so many entrepreneurs. This seminar is timely and will provide a macro- and microeconomic outlook on how entrepreneurs are surviving and, in some cases, thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added: “Our hope is that the panel inspires attendees to continue to identify and leverage opportunities.”

Registration is free. To reserve a spot, register online at

Hi-tech thermal detectors at hospitals Owain Johnston-Barnes Fri, 15 Jan 2021 18:48:00 GMT 3cf2f46c-e924-40a8-9d6f-4dd747dd8054 A new thermal scanner at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. (Photograph provided) A new thermal scanner at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. (Photograph provided) Hi-tech thermal detectors have been introduced in hospitals as part of a pilot programme to measure temperatures without contact with staff.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board said two brands of monitor have been in use since Christmas Eve – two at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and one at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

A BHB spokeswoman said: “Specifically designed to address concerns with the spread of Covid-19, the monitors will advise you to wear a mask if you don’t have one on, or if it does not cover your nose and mouth.

“If your temperature is too high, a recording announces that your access is denied and a red light flashes.

“If you are wearing a mask and you do not have a fever, the monitor will display your temperature on the screen and sound a message that giving you permission to enter.”

Earlene Wilkinson, the BHB’s security and fire officer, said the response from staff and the public had been good.

She added: “People appreciate the move away from the personal contact involved in manual temperature taking.

“Both brands are compatible with our access control doors and so we will have the ability to programme the entrance doors not to open automatically if you are not masked or if your temperature is too high.”

Visitors can stand in front of the devices to have their body temperature measured by digital sensors.

The spokeswoman added that rules were in place to manage people who are denied entry, with emergency staff wearing protective equipment to attend to those going to into the emergency department.

Other people denied access will be advised to contact their GP.

UK introduces arrival quarantine to fight new Covid-19 strains Owain Johnston-Barnes Fri, 15 Jan 2021 18:02:00 GMT 5ac365b1-a819-44eb-8f0e-162699a5df16 British Airways flight lands at LF Wade International Airport. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) British Airways flight lands at LF Wade International Airport. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) Bermudians travelling to the UK will need to quarantine on arrival from next Monday, the UK Government announced today.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, said that the UK will shut all air travel corridors as the country attempted to control the spread of Covid-19.

The move will mean that anyone arriving in the UK – including travellers from Bermuda – must quarantine for ten days.

Britain introduced a pre-arrival test which must be taken inside 72 hours of departure earlier this week.

Travellers can agree to take a test on Day 5 to shorten the isolation period.

The policy is expected to remain in place for a month – but could be extended.

The change will not affect passengers on board tonight’s British Airways flight to London, but will apply to travellers on next week’s flights.

Bermudian fine arts student wins scholarship Owain Johnston-Barnes Fri, 15 Jan 2021 17:39:00 GMT 1081931a-5788-49d6-bb6e-33b08eefeadb Hailey Barbosa, winner of the Bermuda Society of the Arts’ Bursary Award. (Photograph supplied) Hailey Barbosa, winner of the Bermuda Society of the Arts’ Bursary Award. (Photograph supplied) Fine arts student Hailey Barbosa has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Bermuda Society of the Arts Bursary Award.

The $5,000 bursary will help Ms Barbosa as she seeks her Masters degree at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, UK.

A BSOA spokeswoman said Ms Barbosa intends to earn a teaching degree and then return to Bermuda to help educate and inspire young people.

The spokeswoman said: “The challenges of the pandemic changed the landscape of the Bursary selection process.

“Some seven aspiring artists applied for the bursary by submitting portfolios of their work.

“The high quality of the submissions made for a difficult task in deciding who would receive the final award.”

The candidates were shortlisted by members of the BSOA’s bursary committee, and all finalists will be given the opportunity to have a free show of their work at the BSOA.

The $5,000 bursary, awarded annually by the BSOA, is designed to provide financial aid to a Bermudian student interested in furthering their post-secondary education in fine arts or design.

Police in e-mail scam warning Gareth Finighan Fri, 15 Jan 2021 17:35:00 GMT 7bfc7002-4c48-4543-8981-0406d09ba82e Cyber crime: police are warning residents to be wary of phishing scams seeking to get your bank account details Cyber crime: police are warning residents to be wary of phishing scams seeking to get your bank account details Scam artists are circulating e-mails asking recipients to provide personal information in order to claim cash prizes.

The Bermuda Police Service is urging residents to avoid responding to the hoax correspondence, warning that “if it’s too good to be true, it isn’t true”.

The e-mails are usually linked to advisories informing the recipient that they have come into significant sums of money and that, in order to collect the funds, they need to provide personal information.

Superintendent Sean Field-Lament said: “The purpose of these scams is usually identity theft. The advice is to not respond to these e-mails and immediately delete them.

“Do not open any attachments or links. Block the sender to stop any further messages from being received.”

According to the BPS, one clue that an e-mail could be a scam is the use of bogus e-mail addresses to respond to and advisories that security measures need to be updated.

“Company directors do not use Hotmail accounts. Legitimate businesses do not operate in this fashion, ” Superintendent Field-Lament said

“Let me again stress, do not provide any personal information in response to e-mails from individuals or companies that you do not know and should you receive, such e-mails delete them immediately.”

Campaign to save Bermuda seagrass beds gets under way Owain Johnston-Barnes Fri, 15 Jan 2021 17:15:00 GMT 6ae76c38-cdb9-41a2-978c-b2431e532903 Successful seagrass restoration near Trunk Island (Photograph supplied) Successful seagrass restoration near Trunk Island (Photograph supplied) Seagrass restoration cage deployed at Chub Heads in August 2020 (Photograph supplied) Seagrass restoration cage deployed at Chub Heads in August 2020 (Photograph supplied) Evidence of turtle grazing along the inside edge of a seagrass restoration cage (Photograph supplied) Evidence of turtle grazing along the inside edge of a seagrass restoration cage (Photograph supplied) Efforts are under way to protect Bermuda’s native seagrass beds – and the species that rely on them to survive.

Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the ministry launched a restoration project last summer, installing large mesh cages over struggling seagrass areas around the island.

Mr Roban said: “Anyone swimming or boating around our Island last summer is likely to have noticed that many of our seagrass meadows have disappeared, for example at Admiralty Park and Somerset Long Bay.

“In a few places where the seagrass is short, it no longer provides refuge for juvenile fish, newly settled spiny lobsters and other small animals.

“This loss of seagrass will very likely upset the dynamics of our shallow water environment as well as negatively impact recreational and commercial fisheries.”

The mesh cages installed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are intended to limit access to the seagrass to juvenile fish, young lobsters and other marine organisms such as seahorses and juvenile queen conch.

A spokeswoman for the ministry said multiple factors have contributed to the loss of seagrass, including shoreline development, dredging and the creation of docks, along with boats anchoring, grounding and mooring.

The spokeswoman added: “At Bermuda’s northern latitude the cooler water temperatures and shorter day lengths in winter limit seagrass growth rates and their ability to recover from any negative impact.

“More recently, green turtle grazing has put unprecedented pressure on these habitats leading to their local collapse.

“The plants struggle to recover from the intensive grazing by the increasing number of juvenile green turtles arriving on the Bermuda Platform.”

Turtles will be able to eat seagrass near the edges of the cages, while the taller grass inside will be able to provide shelter for other species.

Mr Roban said that the department has received public donations to support the project, and thanked those who contributed.

He added: “The department is extremely grateful to members of the public who are committed to creating areas of restored seagrass in Bermuda which in turn benefits a host of marine organisms and ecosystems.”

“With these recent donations, DENR can expand the seagrass restoration project beyond the six areas currently caged. The additional material will enable the restoration of larger areas of seagrass at more locations, both inshore and offshore.

"The most visible cages are the ones at Bailey’s Bay and Trunk Island – the public can see a cage from the shore in Flatts Inlet located by the seawall adjacent to the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo.”

]]> Chubb’s chief financial officer Bancroft to retire Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 16:54:00 GMT 10c87f3f-04c9-4be0-a242-04d07c16dd74

Chubb’s chief financial officer, Philip Bancroft, will retire on July 1 after 19 years with the company.

He will be succeeded by Peter Enns, who is to join the company as an executive vice-president on or before April 1.

Mr Enns has more than 30 years of finance and investment banking experience. He spent more than 20 years with Goldman Sachs and most recently was with HSBC, including his last assignment as global co-head of Investment Banking Coverage based in Hong Kong.

Mr Bancroft is expected to remain with the company beyond July 1 in an advisory capacity for the remainder of the year, and to be available to support Mr Enns.

Evan Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Chubb, said: “On behalf of all my colleagues and our board of directors, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to Phil Bancroft. Phil has contributed a great deal to our company's success over his nearly 20 years. He has been a key member of the executive team that helped transform the company to become what it is today, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer. Under his leadership, Phil has built and groomed an outstanding finance team. I wish Phil and his wife Denise much happiness in his retirement."

Regarding the appointment of Mr Enns, he said: “Peter and I have known each other for more than 15 years. He has the right background to lead our finance organisation, with proven experience in corporate finance, investment banking, accounting and public markets. Peter's broad experience across financial services includes property, casualty and life insurance as well as asset management. He is a seasoned international executive with deep knowledge and operating experience in the Asia region, including China. His character, integrity and style are an excellent fit for the Chubb culture."

Bermuda’s Jonté Smith signs for non-League Woking Colin Thompson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 15:13:00 GMT 6b906658-8adc-4a29-b3d2-01262ba48939 Jonté Smith has been a free agent since leaving Cheltenham Town last June Jonté Smith has been a free agent since leaving Cheltenham Town last June Jonté Smith is no longer a free agent after signing for Vanarama National League side Woking today.

The Bermuda striker has agreed to the terms of a deal keeping him at Kingfield Stadium at least until the end of the season.

“It is confirmed that Jonté Smith has signed for Woking till the end of the season,” said a spokesman from Smith’s agent, SRV Sports Group.

“It comes after the club have been keen on getting his signature since he first joined Oxford United.

“He is happy to have a manager that backs him and wants the best for him.”

Smith, 26, has been brought in as cover for Josh Davison, whose loan spell from Charlton Athletic has expired.

He is now expected to be included in Alan Dowson’s squad for their next fixture away to league rivals Bromley in the FA Trophy fourth Hayes Lane on Tuesday.

Smith became a free agent when he was released by Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham after his contract expired last June.

Open letter: Americans, be encouraged by example of MLK Joint Open Letter Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:28:00 GMT 578fb0b3-5352-4641-80bc-df70dad72a15 Let freedom ring: the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr gestures to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 30, 1967 (Photograph courtesy the Associated Press) Let freedom ring: the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr gestures to his congregation in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 30, 1967 (Photograph courtesy the Associated Press) We, the undersigned residents of Bermuda, take this opportunity on the birthday of the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr to express our concerns and best wishes to our neighbours, the people of the United States of America, as that country navigates a most challenging crossroad.

On the one hand, we do this in response to the January 6 storming of the Capitol, during which five people died in tragic and unprecedented circumstances

In addition, we join with people across the globe in sharing grave concern that those claiming responsibility for the January 6 tragedy, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are promoting even more violent attacks over the next week, which are planned to include all state capitols.

This timing is fortuitous. MLK, a global icon lived a life engaging critical crossroads. He was drafted to become the voice of the Montgomery Bus Boycott — in December 1955 — a most transformative movement in the 20th century. Notwithstanding that movement’s demonstrated commitment to peaceful protest, on January 30, 1956, only weeks into that yearlong campaign, Dr King’s home was dynamited — thankfully his wife and baby were uninjured.

Of course, that was only one of numerous terror incidents against that peaceful movement, which was actively lobbying for simple, basic rights. However, Dr King and all those activists maintained their nonviolent approach and, over years, they successfully shifted the trajectory of this most powerful nation, which has benefited all involved.

Martin Luther King Jr went beyond addressing only civil rights, ignoring the pleas of colleagues in an historic speech at Riverside Baptist Church on April 4, 1967 — exactly one year before his assassination. MLK identified that his country and the world were at a key crossroad at that time. The champion of nonviolence not only called for an end to the War in Vietnam, but addressed the “Big Picture”.

The “Drum Major for Peace” made a case for a “revolution of values”. He called for a focus on people rather than profits, making a case for fundamental transformation. Dr King’s call for change cited the reality that US military spending consumed the majority of the billions of tax dollars, leaving paltry amounts for services for the people, such as education, healthcare, etc. The 2020 US Budget reflects that same disparity, reinforcing the notion that might makes right — a concept arguably embraced by those caught up in the January 6 mindset.

At this 2021 crossroad, we encourage the American people to use mindful and peaceful consideration in charting their way forward, as this will undoubtedly have implications for all of us who share the planet.

? This opinion was penned on behalf of the following signatories although not the organisations with which they are associated: the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, Anglican Bishop of Bermuda; the Reverend Larry Dixon, presiding elder of the AME Church; Glenn Fubler; Carol Patricia Marsh-Lockett, PhD; Lynn Millett; Michelle Khaldun; the Right Reverend Wes Spiewak, Catholic Bishop of the Hamilton Diocese; Kristin White; Lynne Winfield; Imam Saleem Talbot

Bermudian named HR director of new St George’s hotel Jessie Moniz Hardy Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:11:00 GMT a4e3cfe6-2845-4639-968c-881aa64a28d5 Bermudian Stephani Lacey is the new human resources director of operations at the St Regis Bermuda Resort in St Georges (Photograph supplied) Bermudian Stephani Lacey is the new human resources director of operations at the St Regis Bermuda Resort in St Georges (Photograph supplied) Jan Vanhaelewyn will be the general manager of the new St Regis Bermuda resort in St George’s (Photograph supplied) Jan Vanhaelewyn will be the general manager of the new St Regis Bermuda resort in St George’s (Photograph supplied) St Regis Hotel under construction in St George’s St Regis Hotel under construction in St George’s

Bermudian Stephani Lacey has been appointed human resources director of operations of the new St Regis Bermuda resort in St George’s.

The hotel announced today that Ms Lacey will take on the role when the resort opens in St George’s this spring.

She will oversee all aspects of the human resource operations including talent acquisition and development, employee relations, and both the Marriott International Take Care and Spirit to Serve community programmes.

Corey Guest, multi-property director of human resources, said Ms Lacey modelled the St Regis brand.

“Her leadership will be essential in bringing the St Regis legacy to life in this unparalleled destination by inspiring talented hosts who will ‘make the everyday exquisite’,” he said.

Mr Guest said her expertise will honour and invigorate the company heritage by evolving their culture and foundations of service.

A spokesmen for the hotel said: "With a career that spans over 15 years in the travel and hospitality sector, both locally and internationally, Stephani brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her new role.”

Ms Lacey previously worked for hotel chains such as the Fairmont, Hilton and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Most recently, she was part of the opening of The Loren at Pink Beach in Smith’s Parish, as the human resource coordinator and personal assistant to the general manager. She received two promotions during her time there, ending as the human resources and administration manager.

“While at this celebrated, boutique luxury resort, she was instrumental in developing and bringing he culture to life for both the property’s staff and facilitating the heart of house administration,” a hotel spokesman said.

Ms Lacey is reportedly abroad in training this week.

The hotel had previously announced that Jan Vanhaelewyn will be the general manager.

Mr Vanhaelewyn has 12 years of hospitality experience in both hotel and food and beverage management.

Mr Vanhaelewyn started at Marriott International in 2008 serving as resident manager of Hacienda San Jose and Hacienda Temozon, both on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. He has also held management positions at Marriott hotels in Spain, Puerto Rico and Colombia.

Also on the Facebook site is a notice calling for application for a number of jobs at the hotel such as senior assistant director of finance and accounting, chief engineer, sales manager, senior butler, executive chef, and others.

? Interested parties are encouraged to see

This article has been updated to reflect Ms Lacey’s correct job title: human resources director of operations.

Bermuda-based Convex raises another $500m Jonathan Kent Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:10:00 GMT 78e4707c-8ce0-4b46-bb02-a9694cfb4a57 Capital raise: Stephen Catlin’s Convex has stoked up capacity to take advantage of the hardening market in insurance (File photograph) Capital raise: Stephen Catlin’s Convex has stoked up capacity to take advantage of the hardening market in insurance (File photograph) Commercial re/insurer Convex Group Ltd has ramped up its total committed capital to $3.2 billion after a $500 million investment from US investment firm Sixth Street.

The Bermudian company, launched in April 2019 by industry veterans Stephen Catlin and Paul Brand with $1.7 billion of initial committed capital, raised a further $1 billion in a capital raise last year.

The latest $500 million investment comes in the form of preferred equity capital from Sixth Street, meaning the investor will be paid a periodic coupon.

Mr Catlin, chief executive officer of Convex, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with the Sixth Street team to strengthen our position even further in today’s cyclically advantageous market environment.

“This significant additional capital provides us with greater flexibility as we continue our recent momentum in growing our business.”

Sixth Street, which has about $50 billion of assets under management, had previously invested in Convex’s equity. Other shareholders include GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Onex, a Canadian private-equity group.

Convex underwrites insurance and reinsurance across a diverse range of business lines including aerospace, casualty, energy, marine, property and other lines of business.

Sixth Street’s investment add to the billions of dollars pumped into the Bermuda insurance market last year, raised by incumbents as well as start-ups, as insurers seek to raise capacity to take advantage of rising insurance rates.

A. Michael Muscolino, cofounder and partner of Sixth Street, said: "With an exceptional track record and disciplined team of underwriters, Convex is uniquely positioned to pursue opportunities made available by a hardening market.

“Our cross-border financials investing franchise is pleased to be supporting Convex management alongside their impressive existing institutional investor base, and we look forward to our long-term partnership.”

JP Morgan and Evercore acted as financial advisers and Slaughter and May and Appleby acted as legal advisers to Convex. Goldman Sachs acted as financial adviser and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Conyers acted as legal advisers to Sixth Street.

Conduit hires Whelan and writes $160m of premium Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:09:00 GMT fa40e992-f707-4bf6-b51c-315f56f7d2a4 New recruit: former Lancashire Group executive Elaine Whelan has joined start-up Conduit Re as chief financial officer New recruit: former Lancashire Group executive Elaine Whelan has joined start-up Conduit Re as chief financial officer Bermudian start-up reinsurer Conduit Re hit the ground running writing about $160 million of gross premium during the January 1 reinsurance contract renewal season,.

The new company, backed by $1.1 billion of capital raised in an initial public offering of shares last month on the London Stock Exchange, said the outcome was “in line with our plan and consisting of a targeted series of January attaching contracts”.

The Class of 2020 reinsurer also announced that it had hired Elaine Whelan as chief financial officer, replacing Mark Heintzman, who has left the company.

Ms Whelan is well known in Bermuda, having worked for more than 14 years at Lancashire Group, most recently in the role of group chief financial officer.

Angus Hampton will also be joining as head of international casualty.

Neil Eckert, Conduit’s executive chairman, said: “Conduit Re is off to a strong start and we are on track to deliver on the business plan we set out to our IPO investors in December.

“The hiring of Elaine is obviously a major step for the business and she brings enormous experience from her previous role at Lancashire where she was CFO for nine years.”

He added that Mr Heintzman had “done a very good job in helping take Conduit Re through all of the milestones in its start-up phase. We would like to extend our deepest thanks to Mark for his contribution."

Trevor Carvey, chief executive officer and chief underwriting officer, said: “We are very pleased with our first renewal season’s trading which has met our expectations and we believe addresses any concerns that may have been raised over our ability to gain traction in the market in a responsible manner.

“We have been extremely well supported by brokers, clients and our reinsurers and we look forward to continuing to execute on our business plan through the rest of the year.

“In addition, I'm delighted to welcome Angus Hampton to Conduit Re to lead our international casualty business which completes our senior underwriting team.”

In its statement, Conduit said it had established formal trading agreements with 12 of the world’s leading reinsurance brokers.

The company said it had a “specific focus on key quota share contracts to deliver a balanced start to our trading” and that pricing, terms and conditions were “in line with management expectations”.

Horseshoe to manage new Lloyd’s ILS vehicle Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:06:00 GMT a9dc3cb8-c358-4f49-b740-01f0ee526845 Horseshoe CEO Andre Perez Horseshoe CEO Andre Perez Bermudian-based insurance-linked securities specialist Horseshoe Group is to provide insurance management services for Lloyd’s of London’s new multi-insurance special purpose vehicle.

Lloyd’s today announced that it has sponsored the creation of an independently owned and managed UK protected cell company, London Bridge Risk PCC Ltd.

It said UK regulators had given approval for the SPV.

This appointment builds upon and adds to the previous success of Horseshoe as the insurance manager selected for five of the six existing British-based ILS vehicles and solidifies Horseshoe’s position as the largest ILS service provider in the world.

Andre Perez, Horseshoe’s chief executive officer, said: “We are honoured to be involved with this innovative ILS structure which reinforces further Lloyd’s commitment to the Future at Lloyd’s.

“We look forward to working with investors and members to expand a complementary mechanism by which capital can be deployed into Lloyd’s. More broadly, this new PCC reaffirms the ILS potential of the London Market and hopefully this is the first of many more to be established in the UK.”

Horseshoe, founded by Mr Perez in 2005, is an independent insurance manager and fund administrator dedicated to both the ILS and alternative fund markets.

It has offices in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, United States, Gibraltar, Ireland, and London.

Lloyd’s said the approval is a key milestone for the Future at Lloyd’s strategy, which aims to create an insurance market that attracts new forms of capital. The new platform will make it easier for investors to access the Lloyd’s market and will benefit investors by offering a more transparent and efficient capital management process.

It said the PCC will provide an access point for both UK and international investors, including ILS investors, to deploy funds in a tax transparent way into the Lloyd’s market. Lloyd’s members will be able to use the new vehicle to manage their capital requirements by attracting new classes of investors such as pension funds and will benefit from reduced set-up times and lower transactional costs.

In addition, Lloyd’s said standardised documentation and processes have been developed, designed to make the process quicker, more tax transparent and to streamline the approach to regulatory approval for investors. Provided new individual proposals utilise the standard documentation and stay within the regulators “scope of permissions”, it will be a simple notification process for each deal, removing the need for costly, and often lengthy, individual applications.

It said the new vehicle complements the more traditional approaches to deploying capital at Lloyd’s by providing additional optionality.

Burkhard Keese, CFO at Lloyd’s, said: “As part of the Future at Lloyd’s strategy, we continue to look at all ways we can make it easier and more efficient to deploy and manage capital at Lloyd’s. We are delighted that Lloyd’s has received regulatory approval to set up a new investment platform that will be available for all of the market to use.

“Through our sponsorship of the London Bridge Risk PCC we will give investors the option of a new tax transparent way to participate in the market with standardised documents and a much simpler repeatable process.”

He added: “ILS investment is not new to Lloyd’s, but this is the first time that a UK PCC has been set up as a platform to allow investors to back and provide capital to members at Lloyd’s. We look forward to working with investors and Lloyd’s members who wish to use this new PCC to structure their participation at Lloyd’s.”

Horseshoe Insurance Services Holdings Ltd was acquired by Artex Risk Solutions in 2019.

Horseshoe is now the global brand of ILS services for Artex.

Aon ends relationship with Trump Jonathan Kent Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:05:00 GMT fb53075f-2769-49be-9352-740531c6a5cd Cutting ties: insurance broker Aon has ended its business relationship with the Trump Organisation (File photograph) Cutting ties: insurance broker Aon has ended its business relationship with the Trump Organisation (File photograph) Aon, an insurance broker with offices in Bermuda, has ended a business relationship with the Trump Organisation.

The company is one of several to turn their backs on US President Donald Trump’s enterprise since last week’s violent and deadly storming of the Capitol in Washington, DC, by a pro-Trump mob.

President Trump was yesterday impeached by the House of Representatives, which accused him of inciting the violence that delayed lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump in last November’s presidential election.

Bloomberg News reported that a spokesman for Aon had confirmed that the broker had cut business ties with Trump.

In 2019, Aon received a subpoena from New York’s insurance regulator about dealings with the Trump Organisation.

Other financial businesses to turn their back on the president’s family business include Professional Bank and Signature Bank.

Signature, which shut down Trump accounts containing about $5.3 million, also has a Bermuda connection. In March 2019, the New York-based bank announced that it was prepared to do business with Bermudian-licensed fintech firms, unlike local banks that have shied away from the evolving sector.

On Wednesday, New York City said it would end all business with the Trump Organisation, a move that Eric Trump, the president’s son, said the group plans to fight.

The PGA of America’s board also voted to end an agreement to host next year’s championship at a golf course owned by President Trump.

Real estate firms Cushman & Wakefield and Jones Lang LaSalle, as well as lender Deutsche Bank, have also abandoned the Trump Organisation, as well as Shopify, the Canadian-based business that ran Trump's online shop, while Facebook and Twitter kicked the president off their social networks.

Hamilton Group hires Scully Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:02:00 GMT 8d48af1d-03fe-40bb-a57d-3820d176c5c4 Hamilton hire: Elaine Scully, appointed senior vice-president, head of casualty insurance at Hamilton Re Ltd Hamilton hire: Elaine Scully, appointed senior vice-president, head of casualty insurance at Hamilton Re Ltd Bermudian-based specialty re/insurance outfit Hamilton Insurance Group Ltd has appointed Elaine Scully as senior vice-president, head of casualty insurance in its Bermuda company, Hamilton Re Ltd.

Ms Scully will report to Tim Duffin, chief underwriting officer at Hamilton Re.

The company said she will be based in Bermuda and is due to join in mid-February, subject to immigration approval.

Megan Thomas, chief executive officer of Hamilton Re, said: “We're committed to the excess casualty insurance space in Bermuda and I'm thrilled to welcome Elaine to lead the charge. She is a dynamic and collaborative leader whose experience, skill and perspectives will be key as we continue to capture opportunities to maximise our portfolio, enabled by the current market."

The company said Ms Scully is “committed to superior client service and underwriting excellence”.

Hamilton said she most recently worked at Axa XL in Dublin, Ireland where she was head of excess casualty, responsible for navigating the competitive broker and economic environments to manage a team and strategically grow the business.

Before that, Ms Scully was vice-president, senior underwriter at XL Group, now Axa XL, in Dublin, where she was responsible for underwriting a profitable portfolio of diverse, complex accounts and high value client relationships.

During her time at XL Group, she held underwriting roles with increasing seniority, Hamilton said.

The initial years of her career were spent first at Allied World in Dublin as an underwriter, followed by Ironshore DAC in Dublin as a senior underwriter.

HSBC’s Church Street branch to reopen next week Business Staff Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:01:00 GMT 09cd80e5-599f-4a83-9a1e-33bd867ae4ab HSBC Bermuda’s Church Street branch will reopen on Monday (File photograph) HSBC Bermuda’s Church Street branch will reopen on Monday (File photograph) HSBC Bermuda announced yesterday that its Church Street, Hamilton, branch will reopen on Monday.

The branch, which was closed over the Christmas and new year holiday period, will be open every weekday from 9am through 4pm, starting on January 18.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome back our customers and the public to the Church Street branch”, Tanya Bale, head of wealth and personal banking, said.

“The closure of the branch over the holiday period enabled the bank to maintain optimal customer service levels while ensuring we supported those branch staff who were either unable to report to work or who had to adapt their working schedules.

“We appreciate that this may have proven inconvenient for some of our customers and we thank them for their understanding and continued business.”

Minister on Covid-19: Get tested, Bermuda Jonathan Bell Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:44:00 GMT 012eb01f-2c60-4273-91d3-10db275eef23 A total of three new cases of coronavirus have been detected – two classed as on-island transmissions with known contacts.

The third was a resident who flew home on the Air Canada flight last Friday from Toronto, and tested positive on the Day 4 test.

The news came as the health minister urged residents to take advantage of free tests for Covid-19.

The latest cases were among 769 tests that came back to health officials last night.

There have been five recoveries from infection since the last update.

The island has 84 active cases of Covid-19, with 77 under public health monitoring and seven in hospital – one in intensive care.

There are 38 cases of on-island transmissions with known contacts, and 70 with an unknown contact, while 26 are under investigation.

The latest cases brought Bermuda’s total number of infections to 667, with 571 people now recovered and a death toll of 12.

A total of 458 cases were on-island transmissions and 183 came in from overseas.

One case has moved from being under investigation to on-island transmission with a known contact, and three have gone from under investigation to on-island transmissions with unknown contacts.

The seven-day average of the real time reproduction number is 0.58 and Bermuda’s country status remained at “clusters of cases”.

The Ministry of Health said the public should use the free tests available by appointment only at locations across the island.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said last night: “If you haven’t already, get tested.”

She said test slots were available, but warned the ministry could not vaccinate people already infected, or quarantined as a close contact.

She added: “If you or your family falls into one of the priority categories for early vaccination, we encourage you to get tested.”

Pop-up testing is available, and can be booked here or by calling the hotline, 444-2498, between 9am and 9pm.

Anyone with symptoms should contact their doctor for symptomatic testing appointment slots.

For more information on the Covid-19 vaccination programme and the priority scheduling for the first vaccinations, visit here.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority’s free webinar on tests for Bermudian travellers returning home will run today from 3.30pm to 4.45pm.

Viewers can register here.

Focus looks to expand services and hire staff Fiona McWhirter Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:33:00 GMT ad9380d8-acfe-423d-80ea-b19ba0602e4a Leslie Grant, the executive director of substance abuse intervention agency Focus Counselling Services (File photograph) Leslie Grant, the executive director of substance abuse intervention agency Focus Counselling Services (File photograph) Focus Counselling Services brochure.pdf Focus Counselling Services brochure.pdf The leader of an anti-substance abuse charity said it hoped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to help the organisation expand.

Leslie Grant, the executive director of Focus Counselling Services, added there were plans for building projects as well as additional staff.

He said that “ideally” the organisation would like to raise about $600,000 a year.

Mr Grant admitted the figure “may seem like quite a bit” but that the money was needed to maintain Focus programmes.

He added: “We have a few small capital projects that we are really looking at – one is a possible solar project on our supported residence building.

“The other project is to get the air conditioning replaced in that same building.

“One kind of services the other, so the solar project is to give us a break on the electricity that could possibly be generated by more usage.”

Mr Grant said that work to replace fencing at a site in St George’s, which caters for people who have completed a first step in their battle with addiction, was also on the cards to make the location more secure.

He revealed that two people were halfway through a separate pilot residential treatment programme, which was "going great so far”.

Mr Grant said: “A lot depends on funding in terms of expansion and growth of services … meaning the ability to be able to hire qualified staff to cover any potential gaps.”

He added: “We are looking at broadening our clientele for a number of reasons because it’s not just the street person that suffers from addiction.

“There are also persons that may be economically affluent who also suffer with addiction so we want to work towards becoming the agency of choice.”

Mr Grant said that Focus aimed to achieve certifications from the international Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities as well as the Bermuda National Standards Committee.

He added he also wanted people to understand what the charity did and who could benefit from its services.

Mr Grant said the drop-in centre on Union Street, Hamilton offered an “open door policy where anyone can receive help without an appointment”.

Services include meals, individual and group counselling and life skills training, as well as alcohol and drug testing.

Mr Grant said: “We have had to pivot slightly and do things a bit differently due to Covid, but some positive things have actually come out of that.

“It’s given us the ability to really focus on providing individualised treatment, more so than what could be perceived as a one-size-fits-all.”

He added that, like other non-profit organisations, Focus had to “trim the fat” as funding and donations dropped.

Mr Grant said he hoped that the stigma around substance abuse and seeking help for the problem could be reduced.

He added: “A lot of people are still viewing substance use disorder, also known as addiction, as a moral failing as opposed to … a brain illness.”

Mr Grant added: “Medicine realised that it was an illness 50-plus years ago.

“Because of some of the challenges that come with it, society still looks at it as a completely moral failing.”

He said: “Nobody sets out to become addicted … they may experiment, for some reason some people get hooked.

“Some people may use to escape or hide from whatever, some may use to celebrate and not everyone that uses becomes addicted, either.

“But the more they use, the more the risk increases of becoming addicted.”

Mr Grant added: “I guess from human nature’s standpoint we have different viewpoints on things we don’t understand or things that feel uncomfortable.”

? For more information about Focus Counselling Services, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

Focus client: 'I am so grateful today' Fiona McWhirter Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:31:00 GMT 88c971e1-d849-4b8d-9b6f-d48b5858e7a2 Focus Counselling Services offers programmes to help people tackle substance abuse (Image supplied) Focus Counselling Services offers programmes to help people tackle substance abuse (Image supplied) Focus clients' experiences.pdf Focus clients' experiences.pdf

Men who struggled with substance abuse problems have revealed how a charity had helped them make positive changes in their lives.

Clients of Focus Counselling Services said the organisation’s programmes supported their paths to recovery.

One, whose “drug of choice” was heroin, said: “I couldn’t tell you the last time I thought about getting high.”

He added: “I can remember when I used to get up at 5.30am, go running to the 24-hour gas station and start bumming change so I can get $20 and run around the street and get a $20 piece.

“That would help me to work and get the $50 piece that I really needed.

“I am so grateful today I can just wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, wash my face and go do what I have to do.

“I don’t need that $50 to make me smile.”

The man – in recovery for almost six years – said he went from smoking marijuana to cocaine use before heroin took a grip.

He added: “I hate using this term, but I was a functioning addict, always had a job … if the opportunity arose, I would take.

“I had a good life until rock bottom appeared.

“I always had a way and a means to get more.”

The man said: “For me, all money was drug money.

“I owned my own home, I ended up selling that, that turned into practically all drug money.

“I bought a boat and I lived on that for just over five years but all the while I was spending that money … when the money ran out I sold the boat.

“I figured I will find some place to sleep when the sun goes down – that’s how my drug of choice had me.”

He added: “I had a great life. I travelled, every year I went away two or three times … when that money ran out, that’s when I became homeless.

“I lived on the street for five years and that’s where I found my gratitude.”

Help came first from a woman who introduced him to her pastor and, with their support, the man went to a programme overseas where “the seed was planted” to turn his life around.

He has since worked with Focus, fellowship groups and Narcotics Anonymous to pay back.

The man said: “I do a meeting every day, now it’s mostly on Zoom.

“I just stick with the winners today.

“I found out that the drug itself was only 10 per cent of my problem – 90 per cent was my behaviour and that’s what I’m working on today.”

In 2019, Focus:

– served 13,000 meals

– counselled 504 individuals

– held 104 group meetings

– housed 20 people in supportive residency

– successfully referred ten people to residential treatment programmes

– transitioned five people to independent living

Another client said: “I’m doing classes with Focus based on life management, relapse prevention, coping skills and so forth … they’ve taught me how to use these tools to my recovery.”

The man, who in the past used cocaine, cannabis and alcohol, as well as prescription drugs, said he had been “clean” for about eight months.

He added: “Right now we are doing a life skills series.

“They’re showing us different core skills, healthy relationships and how to manage our money when it comes to us getting a job.

“They’re definitely doing some great things with us here.”

He said: “I no longer have the desire to use.”

The man added: “I don’t want my kids to grow up without a father. I don’t want them to have a father that’s struggling with drugs.

“Being homeless, having no place to stay made me realise I don’t want to go back to that lifestyle … I choose to do better.”

A client who had not used for about three months said: “I feel 100 per cent better.

“My next step is to get a job and take care of my mother.”

Another man said that in the past he “overindulged” in drugs and alcohol until he became “unmanageable and powerless”.

He added: “I was being evicted from my apartment – I managed to keep my job.

“I have learned some stuff … if I divert from the programme of recovery the cycle’s bound to start all over again.”

He said that Focus’s relapse prevention lessons have “kept me clean”.

The client, who has a steady job, added: “I’ve been putting 100 per cent in with the classes and the literature that they have given me, for some reason it has been very inspiring to my recovery.

“It has been inspiring to me to be encouraged to keep my self esteem and to respect others.”

He added: “My family loves me now, that was very important because I would disappear – that’s a character trait and I’m working on not disappearing any more.”

? To read more accounts of people who have benefited from Focus Counselling Services, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

Nurse, 90, a 'pioneer’ during segregation Jonathan Bell, Chief Obituary Writer Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:29:00 GMT 22b5ce9f-21db-4250-b995-f9d3e0b89dd3 Moira Cann, 1930-2021 (File photograph) Moira Cann, 1930-2021 (File photograph) A Black nurse who cared for civil rights activist, parliamentarian and doctor EF Gordon on his deathbed has died.

Moira Cann, 90, shielded Dr Gordon from the racist treatment she endured at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital during segregation until his death in 1955 because she did not want to upset him.

She was also one of the founding members of the Continental Society of Bermuda, a charity for disadvantaged young people created in 1962.

Cecille Snaith-Simmons, a former nurse and friend of Ms Cann, said she qualified as a State Registered Nurse, midwife and health visitor who started her training at the Cottage Hospital, Pembroke the island’s first civilian hospital.

Generations of Black nurses were trained there before it closed in 1956.

Ms Cann, aged just 19, travelled alone by ship to Britain in 1948 to further her training.

Ms Snaith-Simmons said: “When she got there, she was surprised to see women bus and train conductors and that the streets were lit by gas lights at night.”

Ms Cann trained at Walsall Manor Hospital near Birmingham, and as a midwife at Mortimer House, followed by Southmead Hospital, both in Bristol.

She got her health visitor qualification at one of Britain’s colleges of technology.

Ms Snaith-Simmons said: “When she returned to Bermuda in 1955, of course, no Black nurses were employed at King Edward Hospital, so she had no job. She took up private nursing.”

But Ms Cann was given special permission to care for Dr Gordon in the hospital, rotating the job with Dr Gordon’s daughter, Marjorie.

They were the first Black nurses allowed to work in KEMH.

The Trinidadian doctor, an early champion of Black nurses after his arrival in Bermuda in 1924, was concerned about Ms Cann’s treatment at the hospital.

She did not tell him that she had to eat her meals in the locker room.

After Dr Gordon died, Ms Cann moved to the United States for better work opportunities.

She was known as the “Belladonna of the Operating Room“ at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx area of New York.

Ms Cann returned to Bermuda after she married a Bermudian, the late Durward Cann, and worked for decades as a health visitor for the Department of Health.

The mother of two volunteered at the Packwood Home for seniors in Somerset, organising activities for the residents after she retired in the early 1990s.

Ms Snaith-Simmons said Ms Cann shared her nursing philosophy with author J. Randolph Williams, who wrote the book Care: 100 Years of Hospital Care in Bermuda.

She told him: “A good nurse is a person who cares about people, is a good listener, has empathy for people and can keep very confidential.”

Moira Valentine Turner Cann, a pioneering nurse during racial segregation in Bermuda, was born on February 14, 1930. She died in January 2021. Ms Cann was 90.

Wingate: electric vehicles the way forward for Bermuda Sekou Hendrickson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:24:00 GMT 95d4d05c-a37f-4f20-b55a-7ea17c4e5124 David Wingate (File photograph) David Wingate (File photograph) Fossil fuel-powered vehicles should be replaced by electric ones as early as 2030 to protect the environment, a conservationist has said.

David Wingate also recommended new the establishment of clean public transport on the Railway Trail to help slow the rate of climate change.

He said: “How we get there is another matter, but what we’re going to have to do within the next 10 to 20 years is replace gasoline-driven cars with electric cars and then equip Bermuda with the ability to charge electric cars.”

Dr Wingate added: “I’m not an expert on this, but it’s obvious every time we drive on the roads that we have a hell of a traffic problem and it’s mostly cars that you see, which produce a lot of carbon dioxide.

“Almost everybody in Bermuda has either a car or a gas-guzzling bike, which is also a big carbon dioxide producer.”

Dr Wingate said that carbon dioxide emissions were the world’s biggest environmental problem.

He added that there was a consensus among climatologists that the effects of climate change could become permanent by 2050 if current carbon dioxide emissions continued unchecked.

Dr Wingate said that, although major world powers such as the United States and China had crucial roles to play, Bermuda still had a large carbon footprint relative to its population and size.

He said: “Even though we’re a tiny dot on the planet’s surface, we probably have the highest carbon dioxide production of almost anywhere because we have a very high standard of living and everything has to be imported.

“In other words, everything’s expensive and everything we do produces and incredibly large amount of carbon dioxide.”

Dr Wingate said that countries would have to reach milestones as early as 2030 and suggested that the government should mandate that every car on the island be electrically-powered by a specific date.

He said that enough time would have to be given to set up charging stations for electric cars and allow for the phasing out process to start.

Dr Wingate added that electric cars have “vastly less carbon dioxide-producing potential” than gasoline or diesel-powered cars.

He said: “It can be done by simply saying ’when your gasoline car needs replacing you’re going to have to buy an electric car’.

“This gives the people who sell cars in Bermuda the motivation to seek out the best electric cars and get them to Bermuda quickly.”

Dr Wingate also suggested an electric railway on the Railway Trail, which would be fast and clean.

He admitted that there would be a lot of pushback against change because the Railway Trail was a popular walking route.

But he said: “Imagine if we could restore the railway system, which runs the entire length of the island – we would hardly need cars.”

Dr Wingate added: “It’s still possible to repair this damage, if we act immediately and act with a serious determination to meet the goals of carbon dioxide reduction in the time that climatologists say that we have.

“It’s literally a matter of life and death for the planet – if we fail to win that battle it’s extinction for everybody and almost everything.”

'Wholesale' review of Bermuda’s tax system to take place Gareth Finighan Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:23:00 GMT 8d9b5345-48fe-4ab6-9a46-2fe7e90dd729 Fair system for all: Government senator Arianna Hodgson (File photograph) Fair system for all: Government senator Arianna Hodgson (File photograph) A “wholesale review”of Bermuda’s tax system will be completed by the end of the year after legislation was passed in the Senate yesterday.

The Tax Reform Commission Amendment Act 2020 – which will enable the Minister of Finance to set up the commission – received unanimous support in the Upper House.

Arianna Hodgson, the Junior Minister for Finance, said that the new commission would be created “early this year” and have six months to complete a review of taxation and revenue collection before it made recommendations to the Government.

Ms Hodgson added: “In the Government’s 2020 Speech from the Throne, it was announced that Government would lay the foundation for the necessary change to our system of taxation that forces economic inequality while stifling much needed economic growth.”

She said that a commission was established in 2017, but was disbanded after it tabled its recommendations at the end of 2018.

Ms Hodgson added: “The inequity laid bare by the pandemic’s impact cannot be an accepted feature of the economy.

“Therefore the tax Reform Commission will be invited to update its recommendations made in 2018 in light of the new economic realities created by the pandemic.”

Ms Hodgson said that the Minister of Finance would pick members of the new commission once the bill was signed by the Governor.

She added: “As this government begins its second term of office, the proposed re- establishment of the Tax Reform Commission to provide recommendations to reform our tax system represents another step in our efforts to rebuild Bermuda with Bermudians at heart. This was a promise in our election platform.”

Marcus Jones, the Senate Opposition leader said that, it was vital that the Government found ways to increase revenue because of the economic problems of the country.

He added: “In a crisis period that we’re living in right now, where Government coffers are at an all-time low, we understand the challenge that the Government has.

“On the one hand, it cannot overburden its citizenry at a time when folks are losing jobs and businesses are stretched.

“At the same time, it recognises that revenues have decreased significantly.”

Senator Jones highlighted that many of the recommendations made by the commission in 2018 were never taken up – and appealed for the Government not to repeat the mistake.

He said “There were a number of different recommendations that were made from three years ago, and if you look at the full body of that 72-page report, very little of the recommendations that were submitted were actually implemented or acted on.

“We surely do encourage the Government, when they are putting this new commission together, that this will not just be an exercise in futility, trying to satisfy all the community that work is being done.”

Mr Jones also questioned why it was necessary to set up a commission now, when Government has already pledged that there will be no new taxes until the 2022 Budget.

He said: “This pandemic has changed the economic landscape on a week-to-week, month-to-month basis.

Mr Jones asked: “Is it a good decision, or sound judgment, to set up a commission now when their services will be far more relevant and important eight to ten months from now?”

Michelle Simmons, an independent senator, said she shared the Opposition’s concerns.

But she added: “I don’t think any of us believe that tax reform is something that will happen very swiftly.

“But the Government is on the right path in terms of trying to ensure that Bermuda has a system of tax and revenue collection that is fair.

“They want an equitable, effective, efficient, competitive, and transparent system.”

David Burt, the Premier, said last week that the island had “an unfair system of taxation”.

He told The Royal Gazette: “The most important thing is to recognise, if the country has to grow economically, the economic growth cannot only benefit those persons who have always benefited in the economy.

“I am relatively certain that by the next Budget cycle, we will have a consensus on the way forward on these issues.”

Gibbons Company seeks new CEO as Clarke retires Duncan Hall Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:01:00 GMT 1a473e41-a2e0-424b-9bc8-55fc1f0b45ac Stepping down: Paula Clarke, CEO of Gibbons Company, is to retire after more than two decades in the role Stepping down: Paula Clarke, CEO of Gibbons Company, is to retire after more than two decades in the role Retail industry veteran Paula Clarke is to step down as chief executive officer of Gibbons Company after more than two decades in the role.

Ms Clarke, who became CEO in 1998, said: “I plan to retire from Gibbons Company on July 1 this year, I will however remain on the board of directors of Gibbons Company and going forward work on special projects. Before I leave I will work in close association with my successor to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.”

She added: “All retail professionals worth their weight know and understand that retail is an all-consuming industry, six or seven days a week year-round is the norm. It requires a very high level of energy, creativity, innovation, vision, enthusiasm and drive.

“I have enjoyed a fabulous journey and have had the privilege to have worked with the very best people who I will miss interacting with on a daily basis. Gibbons Company as a multi-channel retailer is poised for growth, with exciting opportunities ahead.”

Ms Clarke joined Gibbons as CEO after more than 14 years on staff at Trimingham Brothers, where she was a fashion buyer and divisional merchandise manager.

The native of Galway, Ireland arrived in Bermuda in 1984 after spending more than five years working in London for high-end British retailer, Harvey Nichols.

Ms Clarke bought European collections and American collections and developed the private label fashion products under the HN Collections label.

She said the private label was sourced in London, Italy and Hong Kong.

Ms Clarke said she also provided the buying team with colour and fashion trend direction for the following year.

While she was based in London, Ms Clarke said she travelled extensively to Paris, Milan, Florence, Antwerp, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, New York and Hong Kong.

Prior to that, Ms Clarke worked as an assistant buyer, merchandise development for Argos Distributors in Edgware, Middlesex, England.

Ms Clarke is a former chair of the retail division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Bermuda chapters of the International Women’s Forum and the Institute of Directors.

Jonté Smith close to a deal with non-League Woking Colin Thompson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:01:00 GMT 17628731-1917-4f11-9004-0805a3aabfcd Former Cheltenham Town forward Jonté Smith Former Cheltenham Town forward Jonté Smith Jonté Smith is on the verge of signing for Woking and could be included in Alan Dowson’s squad for the FA Trophy fourth-round tie away to Bromley next week.

Dowson hopes to land the out-of-contract Bermuda striker as cover for Josh Davison, whose loan spell from Charlton Athletic has expired, in time for the cup-tie between the Vanarama National League rivals at Hayes Lane.

“I’m looking at bringing in Jonté Smith because he’s fit again and I’m in talks and hoping to tie that up this week,” Dowson told In Your Area Sports.

Woking and Bromley recorded home wins over Dover Athletic (2-1) and Hemel Hempstead (2-0) respectively in the previous round last month.

Next week’s cup tie was originally scheduled to be played tomorrow, but was switched after Woking had a positive case of Covid-19 in the camp.

Meanwhile, Dowson has revealed that Smith, the former Crawley Town and Cheltenham Town striker, had been on his radar for some time.

“Jonté was the main one I was going after at the start of the season,” he said. “He had an ankle problem but now he’s fit again. He hasn’t got a club, so would be ours.”

Dowson added: “He’s scored for fun in the past. I’m looking at others, too, but there’s not much I can do because I can’t meet a player. I can only talk to them on the phone, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Smith, 26, was released by Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham after his contract expired last June.

He was hurt in the first half of the play-off, semi-final second leg against Northampton Town, who overturned a three-goal, first-leg deficit to advance to the final at Wembley Stadium, where they beat Exeter City.

Woking are sitting a comfortable twelfth on 21 points in the National League, one place behind Justin Donawa’s Solihull Moors and two points outside the promotion play-off places.

Passionate student starts online campaign to pay for nursing school Heather Wood Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT be3fd818-0e60-4f5e-abea-db878ee78dcf Darien Jacobs has started a Go Fund Me page as a way of raising the tuition he needs for his nursing degree (Photograph supplied) Darien Jacobs has started a Go Fund Me page as a way of raising the tuition he needs for his nursing degree (Photograph supplied) Only a semester away from graduation last spring, Darien Jacobs realised he would not be able to raise the $27,000 he needed to complete his nursing studies in the US.

He “took a break” and focused on the full-time job he’d been simultaneously carrying.

It allowed him the invaluable experience of caring for patients hospitalised with Covid-19, but in order to move forward he needs the degree he was working towards in his hand.

The 24-year-old has until February 1 to pay his Virginia Commonwealth University tuition. Desperate, he started a Go Fund Me page this week.

“I’ve gotten to the point where the funds have run out. My parents are at the point where they just cannot do it. They have used their 401 (k)s, they’ve used their savings, they’re at the point where they’ve done all they can do,” said the Bermudian who was born while his mother, Donna Jacobs, was living in the US and plans on returning here to practice.

“I’ve tried my best. Trying to work full-time and be in school was very difficult to do because the nursing curriculum is very strenuous. There were just so many sacrifices made [by my] family. It’s just kind of at the point where there’s nothing left.”

A huge fan of science, anatomy, chemistry and biology, healthcare seemed a natural fit when it came time for Mr Jacobs to consider a career. He gained a bachelor’s in health sciences from VCU and is now enrolled in its accelerated nursing programme.

“I fell in love with nursing because I saw how nurses were able to take care of people in such vulnerable moments,” he said. “They were able to use critical thinking and compassion to take care of a patient holistically. I’ve always loved science and I have always been an empathetic person and I just found that this field was just the best fit for me.

“The field of nursing is so diverse. You have advanced practice nurses, you have nursing researchers … there are so many that are making so many contributions to medicine and to the evolution of patient care.”

Although asymptomatic, Mr Jacobs tested positive for Covid-19 last September and received his second vaccination against the virus on Wednesday. Also appealing to him is that he will be in a position to encourage Black people, in particular, “to be more comfortable with the medical system because of the historical distrust that we do have of medicine”.

Born in Maryland, he enrolled at Francis Patton Primary School in 2005 and spent two years in Bermuda. His mother is still on the island along with his grandparents, Sylvia and George Francis of Hamilton Parish.

“I moved back to the States but [usually] come to Bermuda once a year. I’m always talking to my grandparents about the hospital there and how they need more nurses because of the [global nursing shortage] and so I do eventually want to come back to Bermuda once I finish.

“I always remember my experiences in Bermuda, just that community feeling of family everywhere you go. I have never felt a community so strong, the support from everyone there. And at Francis Patton I loved it so much. I got so involved. That was the first time I got to experience lots of different things. I ended up playing the viola, I was singing in the choir. The exposure was amazing.”

His last visit was a surprise to see his mother two years ago. Since then he’s focused on work and school.

Mr Jacobs selected VCU for its “amazing nursing programme”. As an out of state student, he was charged $35,904 in tuition versus the $14,596 people born in Virginia had to pay.

“I was trying to follow my dream and just go there in the hopes that I could graduate because the curriculum is just amazing,” he said, adding that he always understood he was on rocky ground regarding his fees.

“I knew there was a possibility or a chance [I might not be able to pay] but honestly, I operate a lot on faith. Even with my first degree there were several times where I would hit a little bump in the road similar to this – although it wouldn’t be as drastic – and somehow it always worked out.”

The university “did a lot” to accommodate him until the pandemic hit and options became more limited.

“I am in the process right now, because I turned 24, [of registering as] an independent student. Since I’ve worked in Virginia for many years and paid income tax I’m going to finally be allowed to get my domicile residency approved for Virginia meaning I would then get in state tuition for my leftover semester. So that would cut my bill. It wouldn’t even touch $10,000.”

He has raised $5,820 on the fundraising platform so far. With so many people struggling financially because of Covid-19, Mr Jacobs set up his Go Fund Me page aware that his request for help was a big ask.

“I know these are hard times for people so I’m not expecting much but I do want to know that I did do all I could do and that, hopefully, someone feels inspired by my story: ‘I see the passion he has maybe I can try nursing.’ That’s what I want the message to be,” he said. “If I do get the help I am happy about it, if I don’t I’m still going to pursue nursing. It’s just going to take me in a different avenue than what I’d hoped for.

“[The Go Fund Me page came] only after so many different ways of trying different things: having different loans, different co-signers and just not getting approved. Finally it came to me to try it as a last resort, to see if there was a possibility that, if people hear my story, hopefully they might just feel the passion and maybe something can come from it.”

For more information visit:

Abundance just another word for nutrition in food terms Catherine Burns Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT b931694b-9510-4527-870a-7e2bfc3920db Catherine Burns’s abundance bowl is just a “salad bowl with a lot of incredibly nutritious things in it” Catherine Burns’s abundance bowl is just a “salad bowl with a lot of incredibly nutritious things in it” By the time you read this, I will have been the proud owner of a teen for approximately 24 hours.

Chloe turned 13 yesterday and I am having a serious issue with how fast the time has gone. She was the happiest little baby (so long as you were holding her) and spent most of her toddler years running around laughing, eating snails and dressing up.

She left a trail of paint and glitter wherever she went. She became absolutely besotted with our SPCA rescue cat. They’re still inseparable and when I pop my head round the bedroom door at night, they’re usually curled up together. That’s when she still looks little … when she’s sleeping. I absolutely love those moments.

These days, she’s still a bundle of positive energy and a force to be reckoned with. God help us all if she gets an idea in her head. She’s so busy with big ideas that she doesn’t actually have much time to be very teenage. All I’ve had is a moderate eye-roll so far. I know there’s still plenty of time. I’m hoping that so long as I keep feeding her and providing wi-fi that she’ll hold back on the drama. We will see!

At age three, Chloe very politely rejected a chocolate chip cookie in favour of a bowl of chickpeas. It was the proudest moment of my life. Of course it’s been a slippery slope since then. Once they are given birthday cake and lollipops, it’s hard for the healthy stuff to remain the favourite. She’s an amazing eater though and will happily eat a huge bowl of salad as long as I cover it in mango chicken and avocado. That’s the easiest dinner ever by the way – a bowl of leaves, mango chicken breast (Miles deli), avocado, cucumber, olives and a quick dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of maple.

Still, now she’s a teen, I’ll be upping the ante a little and getting more adventurous with our dishes. I have just converted her to kale and so I’m going to try this abundance bowl next. If you make double, it’s great for lunch the next day too. I am all about cooking once and eating twice!

Give this recipe a whirl yourself, I promise you it’s amazing. Tons of flavour and really easy to do. If you think ”abundance bowl” sounds pretentious, forgive me. It’s just that “salad bowl with a lot of incredibly nutritious things in it” would be a very long title. Have a great weekend, one and all.

Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Abundance Bowl

(serves 4)

1 cup dried Puy or brown lentils (use Eden organic tinned lentils, rinsed, as a shortcut)

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

Splash of light olive oil

1 large bunch kale, washed, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces.

1 pomegranate, seeded or ? cup prepped

? cup fresh mint leaves, torn

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted ideally

1/4 cup organic feta cheese

Lemon juice




1. If you have time, pre-soak the dried lentils for a few hours and rinse well. Not essential but more digestible.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash in light olive oil and bake for 25 minutes.

3. Add 2 cups of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, add lentils and a pinch of sea salt and reduce to a simmer. They should cook and soften but hold their shape and have a slight chew – about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, season with salt pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.

4. Once butternut squash has finished, put into a large frying pan on medium heat, add kale, another splash of olive oil, toss and let the leaves soften up a bit.

5. In a bowl, layer the lentils with the squash and kale. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, mint and feta. Works on its own or as a side.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details:, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Mountain bike series determined to fulfil complete race calendar Sam Murley Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT cd7535ce-467f-4575-9a64-db49ba4d598c Early advantage: Alexander Miller won the opening race of the One Communications MTB Race Series before it was forced to halt. The series is scheduled to return on January 31 (File photograph by Blaire Simmons) Early advantage: Alexander Miller won the opening race of the One Communications MTB Race Series before it was forced to halt. The series is scheduled to return on January 31 (File photograph by Blaire Simmons) Determined not to cancel any races completely this season, the One Communications MTB Race Series has amended its calendar.

Having started the season at the Arboretum last November, the series was halted because of government restrictions that limited gatherings to 20 people owing to a spike in Covid-19 cases on island.

As a result, the second race of the series, scheduled to be held at the old Casemates prison facility in Dockyard on December 13, was postponed.

Despite cycling remaining in phase one of sport’s return, guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health and restrictions remaining in place, the series has adjusted its calendar, including reinstating the previously postponed race.

That optimism means the series will host its full complement of seven races with a scheduled restart slated for January 31 at Southlands. Because of the adjustment, three races will be held in February, with two more in March, including the Casemates race.

“This will make for a busy February and March but contemplates keeping all seven events and locations in the race season,” said Peter Dunne, the president of the Bermuda Bicycle Association.

When racing resumes, Alexander Miller holds the early advantage in the Male Open 60-Minute category, having finished as clear winner in the series opener, with 13 laps completed in a time of 1hr 54sec.

However, he will remain wary of the threat of Alan Potts, who finished second, and close friend and main rival Liam Flannery, who was in contention for victory until a snapped chain on the twelfth lap resulted in him settling for third.

Nico Davis will be aiming to build on an impressive opening victory in the Open Male 30-Minute race, ahead of Alec Shepherd and Jonanthan Betts, while Jennifer Wilson seized the early initiative in the Female Open 30-Minute race, prevailing ahead of Caroline Wright and Christine Soutter.

Career development centre at Bermuda College approved Owain Johnston-Barnes Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT 6c1579d0-2de3-4a67-b376-a4e48d7b5e20 Designs for a new computer lab and home for the Pace programme at Bermuda College (Images supplied) Designs for a new computer lab and home for the Pace programme at Bermuda College (Images supplied) A proposal to create a career development programme at Bermuda College has been given the green light by the planning department.

The application proposed the construction of an additional floor on top of the Hallett Hall Testing Centre Annex.

The expansion was designed to house a computer lab and create a home for the Department of Professional and Career Education.

A report by a planning official said: “The development will provide space to accommodate 46 students with a supporting faculty of 13 people, not inclusive of seats for break out spaces in the classroom, computer lab/innovation lab and the adjacent room, which totals 17 seats.

“Outside the mentioned Pace administration, there will be seats for six visitors.”

The inspector’s report added that the expansion would not change the footprint of the building and the parking already available was sufficient.

The report said that the new rooms would not have large windows that overlooked nearby homes, ensuring that privacy was maintained.

The inspector supported the application, which she said was a matter of national interest.

She added: “The applicant’s needs have been fulfilled and potential issues which impacts the neighbouring properties have been factored in and as such, the expansion will have no adverse impact on the neighbouring properties or from any public vantage point.”

The project was approved by Victoria Pereira, the Director of Planning last Friday.

The new Career Development Centre was announced in October last year.

Athene Holding Ltd, its reinsurance subsidiary Athene Life Re, Athora Holding Ltd, Aspen Insurance Holdings and Catalina Holdings announced they would support the project with a $3.5 million donation.

Duranda Greene, the Bermuda College president, said the donation was a “historic investment” in the college and the country.

Dr Greene added: “Students and users of the centre will be immersed in vital business trends, such as fintech, the ’internet of things’, machine-learning activities and more, using cutting-edge technology.

“We are deeply grateful for the largesse of our donors and are especially indebted to the remarkable work of the Bermuda College Foundation on behalf of the college and its students.”

Construction is expected to begin early this year and is targeted to be completed in time for the autumn term.

Farewell to a strong Devonshire man Christopher Famous Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT dbe1c757-806c-4a35-97bb-64f86fe53f92 John and Marie Ming. A marriage of 68 years John and Marie Ming. A marriage of 68 years Father-and-son duet of Derek and Dion Ming, singing their version of It's so hard to say goodbye to their father and grandfather respectively Father-and-son duet of Derek and Dion Ming, singing their version of It's so hard to say goodbye to their father and grandfather respectively Michael Spencer. Without a doubt, one of Bermuda's best voices Michael Spencer. Without a doubt, one of Bermuda's best voices “Country roads take me home

To the place that I belong”

— John Denver

Devonshire bonds

Around the year 1900, my great-grandparents, Herman and Rosanna Charles, built their homestead on a very quiet patch of rural Devonshire. There they grew fruit and vegetables, raised livestock and raised their five children.

Literally a stone’s throw away from them — well, maybe two stone’s throws — was the homestead of another family. This family, like most others of that era, also grew fruit and vegetables, raised livestock — and raised their 16 children!

So, naturally, these children grew up together with the other children as one tight-knit community, tending to the fields, tending to the animals and bonding.

They bonded so tightly that eventually my grandmother's only brother, Thomas, fell in love with the cute girl next door and eventually married her. Pearl was both her name and nature.

Thus the Charles/Famous clan and the Ming clan became one.

Out of these two Devonshire clans, came the following figures on Bermuda’s landscape:

Dame Lois Browne-Evans, nana Peggy Burns, Reggie Ming, chef Fred Ming, Danette Ming PhD, Clerk of the Legislature Shernette Wolffe, Nandi Outerbridge, Jason Hayward and David Burt, the Premier.

Strongest hand

My aunt Pearl Ming-Charles’s youngest brother, John Ming, was a typical Devonshire boy: he loved to raise animals, loved tending to the farm, loved learning the construction trade and, most of all, loved his family.

For him, his family did not mean simply his wife of 68 years, Marie, or his four children — Derek, Sandra, Sharon and Steven — his six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

No, for him, family meant all that he was related to.

With a razor-like memory, he could cite the entire lineage of most families from Devonshire. Which was not a hard thing to do, as most of us are interconnected by blood or by marriage.

Any and everyone whom he greeted, he looked them directly in the eye, held out his hand and embraced them with love. So much love that any male embracing him had to, in his words, “Come up, come up” in a test of who had the stronger hand grip.

Thus far, there has been no one who has ever claimed to have won this contest against him.

I suspect the strength in his 89-year-old hands came from growing up in rural Devonshire, having to tend to cows before the sun came up. Or, maybe, it came from building countless houses out of Bermuda stone.

As a master mason and contractor, he is responsible for some of the most beautiful homes that have stood the test of time. A visit to his home on Mingston Lane in Devonshire would show the meticulous craftsmanship that he invested into the houses and their well-maintained yards.

Uncle John did not only spend decades building homes here on Earth.

Gospel concert

As a proud Seventh-day Adventist, he spent countless time dedicated to all facets of growing the Church in every way.

As exemplified by the fine workmanship of the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist complex on King Street, elder John Ming was one of the stalwarts in the construction of most of the SDA buildings around the island.

Inside these sacred buildings, he devoted himself to being involved in Bible study groups, numerous choirs and the Beyond Tomorrow Quartet.

So, last Sunday, the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist building was transformed into a gospel hall tribute

Heavenly voices such as those of Tracey Richardson, Cathy Charles, Steven Holdipp, Michael Spencer and others sang praises to Elder Ming.

Without a doubt, one of the most notable performances was the father-and-son duet of Derek and Dion Ming, singing their version of It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to their father and grandfather respectively.

In between the musical tributes, different ministers spoke of the life work of elder John Ming, Carlyle Simmons, Kenneth Manders and pastor David Steede II.

I must say, the Steede guy was pretty good for a Liverpool supporter.

Country roads

After the concert, the procession drove to Christ Church Devonshire.

There, the pallbearers, including granddaughter Jamae Smith, all strong of hand, carried Uncle John up the steep hills of Devonshire to his final resting place. The very same steep hills that are home to the numerous clans of Devonshire.

There you will find headstones with the following surnames: Augustus, Boyles, Douglas, Charles, Lee, Ming, Phipps, Peniston, Webb, White, Woolridge and many others.

Uncle John is now resting two stone’s throws away from the very same place that he was born. Back to the place where he belongs.


? Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at

Kevin Maybury, January 15, 2021 Political Cartoons Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT 6d7519f7-fe74-4207-8eab-9e039fbd1453 Top UK doctor says trust profession over vaccinations Sekou Hendrickson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT 038a4ae7-5a01-4053-861d-68e6290117be Kieran Walsh, the clinical director of the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Best Practice (Photograph supplied) Kieran Walsh, the clinical director of the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Best Practice (Photograph supplied) Members of the public should trust medical experts over vaccinations, an author for one of the world’s top medical journals said yesterday.

Kieran Walsh, the clinical director of the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Best Practice, said that more effort should be made to build trust between the medical world and the public.

He added that information about how vaccines and viruses work must be easily available to help stop the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Dr Walsh said: “How we overcome vaccine hesitancy I think is one of the really key questions – and it’s overcome through knowledge and transferring knowledge and making knowledge available.

“But it’s not just knowledge – I think it’s also about trust and culture and finding out what the concerns might be in different countries or in different cultures or among different age groups and addressing them.”

Dr Walsh was speaking during a virtual panel discussion about the health of seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The discussion, held yesterday on the Bermuda Health Council’s Facebook page, tackled questions around people with a variety of health problems – also known as comorbidity – and scientific knowledge of Covid-19.

Dr Walsh said that vaccine hesitancy was not a new problem or a problem specific to the Covid-19 vaccine.

He added that the same attitude had emerged over many childhood and adult vaccines, including the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr Walsh said that the World Health Organisation had identified vaccine hesitancy as a major threat to global health in 2019.

He added that vaccines generally seemed to be “well-tolerated” around the world, but that it was still important to “drill down and ask ’what’s underneath trust?’”.

Dr Walsh said that his publication tried to ensure trust with the use of independent authors and transparency over sources.

He added: “It’s also about being transparent about how we produce the content and transparency about who the authors are.

“We ask authors whether or not they have any competing interests and then we ask them to declare then and we print any such competing interests alongside the resource.”

Dr Walsh appealed to the public to seek out peer-reviewed and verified information on the coronavirus and its vaccine and to rely on information that is updated as often as possible.

He added: “Stay informed and base all decision about healthcare on good evidence, which you can get through reliable resources.”

The panel discussion came just days after David Burt, the Premier, asked the public – and specifically Black Bermudians – to reject hesitancy around the Covid-19 vaccine just moments before he got one of the first jabs.

He said that resistance to getting the injection stemmed from “historic” and “legacy” problems, but appealed to people to research the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Mr Burt added: “There are rumours and conspiracy theories spreading, but it is important to separate fact from fiction and our job is to ensure that everyone has access to accurate information so that they can make their decisions based on facts.”

Lara Nash claims our first Fantasy League monthly prize Sam Murley Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT a3f10a19-4342-488f-885a-f4541ff4072e And the winner is: Lara Nash, right, was the RG Fantasy League monthly winner for October. She is pictured recieving her prize from Lauren Rothwell, the One Communications marketing co-ordinator, and Dexter Smith, Editor of The Royal Gazette (Photograph by Akil Simmons) And the winner is: Lara Nash, right, was the RG Fantasy League monthly winner for October. She is pictured recieving her prize from Lauren Rothwell, the One Communications marketing co-ordinator, and Dexter Smith, Editor of The Royal Gazette (Photograph by Akil Simmons) And the winner is: Lara Nash, right, was the RG Fantasy League monthly winner for October. She is pictured receiving her prize from Lauren Rothwell, the One communications marketing co-ordinator (Photograph by Akil Simmons) And the winner is: Lara Nash, right, was the RG Fantasy League monthly winner for October. She is pictured receiving her prize from Lauren Rothwell, the One communications marketing co-ordinator (Photograph by Akil Simmons) Hot under the collar: Steve Bruce's position as Newcastle United manager is under immense scrutiny Hot under the collar: Steve Bruce's position as Newcastle United manager is under immense scrutiny Impressive turnaround: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone from being under pressure to guiding his side to top of the table Impressive turnaround: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone from being under pressure to guiding his side to top of the table The wait is finally over!

We can now announce this season’s first Royal Gazette Fantasy League monthly prize winner...congratulations Lara Nash!

Lara’s intriguingly named team Hows the weather Dan’s impressive total of 288 points earned her the October monthly prize, provided by our title sponsor, One Communications.

Royal Gazette Fantasy League participants are encouraged to check their position in the table for the months of September and November with prize winners still outstanding.

Turning attention back to this week’s league action, and after a frantic festive period Manchester United find themselves on top of the table ... who would have thought it?!?

The resurgent Red Devils, who are unbeaten in 11 league games, find themselves with a three-point advantage over Liverpool ahead of a mouthwatering encounter between the teams at Anfield on Sunday.


Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Bromwich Albion


A Midlands derby kicks off proceedings this weekend with both sides desperate to claim all three points.

Wolves will be looking to reignite a stuttering season having earned just two points from their past five matches. They have also won only one of their last eight since talisman Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull.

New Baggies boss Sam Allardyce is still searching for his first win in charge, having drawn two and lost three of his five games at the helm.

However, one glimmer of hope is that Allardyce is unbeaten in all eight league matches as a manager against Wolves, winning six of those games.

Prediction: 2-0

Leeds United v Brighton & Hove Albion


Another team desperate for three points is relegation-threatened Brighton.

Ahead of a trip to Leeds, Graham Potter’s side find themselves just one place and two points above the drop zone after a run of nine games without a win.

Despite their inconsistencies, United are comfortably in twelfth place, with a victory tomorrow possible enough to push them into the top ten.

The hosts are set to be without Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Gaetano Berardi but still expect Marcelo Bielsa’s side to be too strong for the visitors.

Prediction: 2-1

West Ham United v Burnley


West Ham will be aiming to build on a three-match unbeaten run when they host steadily improving Burnley at the London Stadium.

Tenth-placed Hammers come into the match on the back of an encouraging victory away to Everton, while the visitors, who are two places and four points above the drop will be aiming to bounce back from a hard-fought 1-0 defeat at home to Man United.

Worryingly for the home side, they have not beaten Sean Dyche’s men in their last three attempts and are also without a win at home in their previous three games.

Prediction: 1-0

Fulham v Chelsea


Five successive draws have seen Fulham pull themselves within two points of climbing out of the drop zone ahead of a West London derby against misfiring Chelsea.

The latest, a 1-1 draw away to title-chasing Tottenham, would have given boss Scott Parker huge pleasure, not only as an unexpected point but the manner of the performance, which arguably could have seen them claim victory.

While Fulham have been making positive strides forward, Chelsea have been moving in the opposite direction, finding themselves in ninth, ten points adrift of the summit in the wake of a three-game winless run.

That has led to questions being raised over Frank Lampard’s position in charge. However, history suggests that this fixture could be just the tonic for the under-fire manager, with Fulham failing to beat the Blues in their past 18 attempts in the league.

Prediction: 1-3

Leicester City v Southampton


Leicester will be aiming to maintain their outside bid for the title when they host Southampton at the King Power Stadium.

A 2-0 win away to Newcastle in their previous outing stretched their unbeaten run to four, leaving Brendan Rodgers’s side in fourth, four points off the pace of the league leaders.

However, Southampton pose a difficult threat and have shown they can upset the big boys, as in their 1-0 victory over champions Liverpool in their previous outing.

The Saints can also take confidence from having not lost in their previous four visits to Leicester, nor in their past seven away games.

Prediction: 1-1


Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur


It finally happened...after 17 failed attempts Sheffield United picked up their first victory of the season, overcoming Newcastle 1-0, courtesy of a Billy Sharp spot-kick.

While the result was not enough to lift Chris Wilder’s side off the foot of the table, it does give the Blades a faint glimmer of hope of pulling what could be the greatest of all escapes.

Sunday sees them host Tottenham Hotspur, who themselves will be aiming to make amends for a disappointing draw at home to struggling Fulham last time out.

While, the home side will take to the field with renewed optimism, Spurs manager José Mourinho will no doubt expect nothing less than three points from his side, which could lift them from sixth to second.

Prediction: 0-2

Liverpool v Manchester United


The standout clash of the weekend is a top-of-the-table clash between fierce historic rivals.

Somewhat surprisingly it is United who are in the driving seat ahead a trip to Anfield, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going from having his job on the line to masterminding an 11-game unbeaten run to hold a three point advantage over the hosts.

Since hammering Crystal Palace 7-0 in mid-December, Liverpool’s form has slumped, with the defeat by Southampton last time out extending their winless run to three in the league.

However, Jürgen Klopp’s men can still look to an incredible statistic of remaining unbeaten in their last 67 league matches at home, while they have also not lost to United in their previous four meetings.

Prediction: 2-2

Manchester City v Crystal Palace


Manchester City remain lurking ominously in third place, having found form to reignite their previously stuttering campaign.

Ahead of hosting the Eagles, Pep Guardiola’s outfit have gone eight matches unbeaten to find themselves just four points adrift of their neighbours and crucially with a game in hand.

Roy Hodgson’s Palace travel to Manchester on the back of a positive run of their own, with a hard-fought stalemate away to resurgent Arsenal yesterday extending their unbeaten sequence to three matches.

However, despite taking points on their past two visits to the Etihad Stadium, including a 3-2 win in December 2018, Palace are overwhelming underdogs against a side who are unbeaten at home in seven.

Prediction: 3-0


Arsenal v Newcastle United


While the 0-0 draw with Palace saw Arsenal’s three-match winning run brought to a halt, Gunners fans will still feel optimistic about their team’s recent upturn in fortune.

Ahead of a visit from struggling Newcastle United, Mikel Arteta appears to have finally turned the corner, after finding himself under immense pressure prior to the new year, with his side now moving towards the top half.

In contrast, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce’s position at the helm is becoming more questionable by the day, with a strong contingent of Geordies demanding his departure.

Despite sitting comfortably seven points above the drop zone, the final straw for some was the 1-0 defeat by previously winless Sheffield United with that result making it six without a victory.

While defeat away to Arsenal would not normally warrant a manager’s sacking, it could prove one loss too many for Bruce, with pressure mounting from the passionate Newcastle faithful.

Prediction: 2-0

Protests warning over school closure plans Sarah Lagan Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT a5a7fe93-92a2-41ae-8c6e-b38912eff6f4 Harry Matthie (File photograph) Harry Matthie (File photograph)

Government’s plan to close eight primaries could lead to protests at the House of Assembly, the president of a Parent Teacher Association at an under-threat school warned yesterday.

Harry Matthie, head of the PTA at high-performing St George’s Preparatory School, said there had to be more consultation before any large-scale changes to public schools were made.

Mr Matthie added that there was a high possibility that if the government did not listen to parents and teachers they would “take it up the hill”.

He said: “Needless to say we are totally aghast at this proposal to close a high performing school.”

Mr Matthie was speaking after the school’s PTA executive met to talk about the Government proposals.

He said: “We discussed alternatives to closing St George’s Prep and we want to get input from the parents and teachers.

“The sentiment is that we come up with an alternative and approach the government with it.

“We need a wider conversation with the parent/teacher body and then to put a presentation forward.”

Mr Matthie said a meeting of the full PTA at the school would be held next week.

The Government’s consultation document proposed that eight primary schools should be closed as Bermuda moved to a system of ten parish primary schools, one in each parish, except Pembroke, which would have two.

It is also proposed to abolish middle schools and replace them and secondary schools with signature schools.

A middle school would also be shut as a result of the changes.

Mr Matthie who was chairman of the now dormant Bermuda Parent Teacher Student Association, said he was not convinced by the Government’s “cookie cutter” approach to school closures.

He added high performing schools such as St George’s Prep could be used as models for how other schools should be structured.

Mr Matthie said the consultation process on public education changes had been flawed.

He added: “There are certain things that you must do in order for the process to be considered fair and adequate.

“The PTAs should have had the information they used to make the decisions.

“If they are saying PTAs have a voice, then they should give us all the information they have to make their decision – they didn’t come to us.”

Mr Matthie said that information released by the Ministry of Education was “misleading”.

He added it highlighted declining birth rates and lower public school pupil enrolment as a reason for closure of schools.

But he highlighted that no information was given as to how many parents sent their children to private school, home schooled or sent their children overseas because of a lack of confidence in the public school system.

Mr Matthie questioned how many pupils would return to the public sector if the Government was successful in improving public education and if there was a chance that some schools could become overwhelmed by enrolment applications.

He said: “If they are successful in changing the system to that of choice, you would expect some of the children to come back.

“With one school per parish how many would cause an overflow?”

But a spokeswoman for the education ministry said last night said it was running a “fair. vibrant and engaging consultation”.

She added the need for consultation was included in the consultation document on parish primary schools.

The spokeswoman emphasised that no decisions would be made until after the end of the three month consultation period on March 12.

She added: “We have published a consultation document, a shorter executive summary and will be announcing consultation meetings shortly.”

The spokeswoman said that all responses would be “considered and analysed as part of the consultation and decision-making process”.

She added: “The ministry understands that not everyone will agree.

“That is precisely the reason why a consultation period is so important to us – so that we can gather and understand a diversity of views and perspectives centred on transforming public education for all students.”

The spokeswoman said: “We welcome all Bermudians and residents to participate in the process.”

She added the consultation document could be found at

]]> Wild Hogge: a very special offer at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd Michael Robinson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT b2f07251-903c-4807-a548-9b3453c727ca

Huw Morris established Wild Hogge wine in 2005 with his wife Dale Huw Morris established Wild Hogge wine in 2005 with his wife Dale Although it took place over ten years ago, I remember well the afternoon that Huw Morris came to the hotel that my wife and I were staying at in Paso Robles to let us taste a sample of cabernet sauvignon.

He was apologetic as he felt that it was still too young to reveal its quality. I loved it and expressed interest in working with him and his wife Dale as they developed their idea of producing a wine that celebrated the many years that they had lived on our island.

We were told that the label would be uniquely Bermudian and, in honour of our first residents, it would be called Wild Hogge. Their website leads off with: “History has it that sailors would carry live pigs aboard the ships while crossing the Atlantic as a source of fresh meat. These ships would often wreck on the many reefs that surround Bermuda and the pigs would swim ashore. These Spanish feral hogs, similar to the domestic pig, were the first real Bermuda settlers.”

Over the ensuing years they have expanded their range and received excellent reviews; in fact one publication lamented that these very limited production wines were only available in Bermuda. Well of course times have changed with restaurant demand greatly reduced, as have the occasions to offer something “Bermudian” to our visitors both private and corporate.

Wild Hogge only produce a few hundred cases a year, but their stocks have built up and Burrows Lightbourn have agreed to co-operate with the Morris family to get their stock levels down to an acceptable level. Small production, high quality wines are never inexpensive and Wild Hogge has been priced in the mid-forties, but for the foreseeable future the very considerable stocks that Burrows Lightbourn and Discovery Wines now have will represent a sizeable savings for those that appreciate the exceptional.

Please pardon me for quoting from a Grape Expectations written on my birthday last November: “This is not just about thinking of good friends in wine, as their pinot noir, with the lovely Winslow Homer watercolour label of wild hogs on our South Shore, rated a fine 93/100 from Wine Enthusiast magazine. It is a blend of the French 115 clone and one of my favourite, the University of California at Davis clone 777. If you are unfamiliar with Davis, it is one of our world’s top seats of learning for oenology and viticulture. Potential winemakers worldwide travel there to study.

So many of us drink pinot noir in its youth as the velvety tannins and softness allow for this. I have Californian pinot noir from the early 1990s in our cellar and am a firm believer that a vast majority of red wine improves with age. As I am officially a year older today, I look forward to immediate and further vinous improvements. (I am allowed to tell that overused joke on my birthday!)“

Enjoy 2012 Wild Hogge Pinot Noir for a much reduced $32 (Stock #5966). If you buy a case and get the ten per cent discount, it goes down to $28.80 a bottle.

For me, the magic age to open a fine cabernet sauvignon is ten years as it still has some of the exuberance of youth, but it is now developing those aromas and flavours known as tertiary. For instance, ripe fresh fruit converts to stewed and dried components and tobacco and mushroom reveal themselves.

This is what the Wine Enthusiast originally wrote about 2011 Wild Hogge Cabernet Sauvignon: “A densely layered nose shows boysenberry, plum blossoms, mocha, coffee, kola nut and purple flowers. More cola shows on the palate with black cherry, plum-skin tartness and uplifting purple flowers, all presented on smooth tannins.” All the excitement of Paso Robles, in Southern California is here for you at $32, was $44.95 (Stock #5899).

If you were using the grape in Croatia you would call it tribidraq or crljenak kastelanski; in Italy the label would read primitivo and in California zinfandel. Huw and Dale Morris call their blend of 75 per cent zinfandel, 13 per cent syrah and 12 per cent cabernet franc 2012 Wild Hogge Moongate and we all know why they do that. They prefer to call the major grape primitivo.

Their website reads: “Primitivo, an Italian zinfandel, contributes a unique taste of rich ripe fruit. The cab franc adds a little black pepper, and the spicy syrah balances out the richness of the primitivo. Matured in American oak for two years and in the bottle for another two years, the wine exhibits a powerful aroma of earthiness and dark berry fruit. The palate has a rich texture and notes of blackberry jam. Will go well with any lamb dish or rich Italian meal. 177 cases were produced.” $32, was $44.95 (Stock #5967).

The one species of Bermudian wildlife that I find myself explaining more than any other to visiting friends – the ones who ask, “What the heck is that noise?” – is also one of our smallest. Here is how the Morris family describes their 2009 Wild Hogge Tree Frog.

“This unique blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon combines the best of Central Coast’s favourite varietals. The syrah grapes come from a vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles and resulted in the best syrah we have ever tasted! The grapes for the cabernet sauvignon come from two blocks of neighbouring vineyards; one high, west-facing and the other from the valley floor. Both were aged in 30 per cent new French oak barrels for 29 months before being blended. This dark, rich blend has an earthy quality balanced with a fruit forward nose. The syrah (70 per cent) contributes a clove spice with soft tannins complementing the cabernet which adds structure to the blend. 219 cases were produced.” Gold medal winner. $35 (Stock #5897).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit

Westminster system’s means of selecting a leader works well John Barritt Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT 2ce46669-b8e5-4aad-b8ac-c31828e4fa20 (Photograph by Luke McGregor/Bloomberg) (Photograph by Luke McGregor/Bloomberg) The Westminster system of government often comes in for its fair share of criticism in recent times — here and elsewhere. True, it is not perfect, and I have in my time been an advocate for reform and modification to refine and build on that which encourages collaboration and discourages unnecessary discord and division. Nonetheless, the Westminster model does present an interesting and instructive contrast to what is going on, er, down, in Washington these days.

Here, I have in mind the selection of leader — in our case, premier.

The Bermuda Constitution Order 1968 provides that our premier shall be appointed by the governor, who, acting in their discretion, appoints that Member of the House of Assembly who appears to the governor “best able to command the confidence of a majority of the Members of that House”.

No formal poll of Members has to be taken. This particular provision, like the Constitution Order, was predicated on party politics. This was the era that ushered in responsible government, and the days of independents were given the heave-ho.

What that has meant is that the leader of the party who wins a majority of seats in the House of Assembly in a General Election becomes premier.

Arguably, it matters not how that leader is or was chosen by that party — that is a matter for the parties and their members — but only so long as the elected members of that party support the leader, and the governor is convinced that is the case; and on that point a cautious governor might well ask for proof in the form of members’ signatures, particularly in a case where there has been a contentious change in leadership in between general elections.

The often-voiced criticism is that whoever is leader, and becomes premier, has not been elected by the voters and that there is therefore no direct relationship between leader and people.

But quite how that would manifest itself into an effective, working relationship is a matter with which other systems of government have to grapple. Washington, again, comes to mind.

The beauty of the Westminster system is that the leader is, as that well-known expression goes, simply the first among equals. While it is true that in many parliamentary jurisdictions, ours included, we have seen the office trend towards a more presidential style of operation, the constitutional fact is that this is essentially illusory.

Why? Because a leader’s tenure under the 1968 Order ultimately and finally depends on the votes of a majority of their elected members. A term in office can be brought to an end not just by a vote, in or out of the House, but by the mere threat of a vote. It therefore also serves a deterrent to excesses in office.

This is not just theory.

We have seen the option employed effectively here in Bermuda and it has led to changes in premiers – and certainly, and arguably, without the demonstrative drama that we see in other places. A bit of an understatement, I know, when considering, say, the process of impeachment.

Incidentally, the very same considerations apply to the person chosen as Leader of the Opposition, again appointed by the governor and chosen on the basis that they enjoy the confidence of a majority of members on the opposition benches; although obviously without the same implication and impact to the body politic as premier.

As I wrote at the outset, the Westminster model may not be perfect, but in some respects it works pretty well. The selection and deselection of leader may be one of those instances.

A final thought. As we reflect on events in Washington, one proverb keeps coming to mind:

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

For those who don’t know, it is taken from the Old Testament (Hosea 8:7).

So it’s true: there really is nothing new under the sun.

Charles ?Skeets’ Fubler (1948-2021) Colin Thompson Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT 96d9c3f0-caee-4838-a44b-86b5b2da12b3 Charles “Skeets” Fubler receives the Western Counties trophy Charles “Skeets” Fubler receives the Western Counties trophy Charles “Skeets” Fubler left behind a legacy as an outstanding leader and a “determined fighter” who refused to throw in the towel throughout a remarkable cricket career.

The former Willow Cuts and Somerset Cup Match all-rounder passed away on Monday at age 72.

Fubler played his entire league cricket career at Cuts, the majority of the time as captain.

“He is the best captain that I have ever played under,” nephew Dexter Basden, the former Willow Cuts and Somerset Cup Match captain, said. “He was an excellent skipper.”

Basden succeeded his uncle as the captain of Cuts, who helped to groom the leadership qualities he would go on to exemplify.

“He got me started with my trade as far as being a leader,” Basden added. “When I started out at 12, my brother [Richard] and I played under him. He basically set the tone for us, meaning the standard when you’re coming to training.

“We used to carry the mat out [for the concrete playing surface] and take it back it in — that was our role. And when they were short, we slotted in.”

Describing his uncle’s superb all-round skills, Basden said: “He was left-hander and a really good bat. And obviously he also bowled, so he was a good all-rounder.

“He was also an excellent fielder in the covers. One thing that really sticks out is that he loved to field. “Every time he won a toss, he always wanted to field out first. He always wanted to field and I don’t think we ever had a chance to bat.

“He always wanted to field because he said we had a team good enough to chase down runs, and most of the times we got the runs that were needed.”

Arguably the pinnacle of Fubler’s career was representing Somerset in the annual midsummer classic at Somerset in the late 1960s, playing under captain Randy Horton.

“Skeets was a very reliable middle-order batsman and also a very good left-arm orthodox bowler,” Horton said.

Fubler also featured in the Western Counties competition, which he had the honour of winning with his beloved Cuts.

“Skeets was a consistent player,” said El James, the former Warwick, Somerset Cup Match and Bermuda fast bowler. “He was always the same — a good spinner, a good bat that could make runs.

“He came from a family that had a proud legacy, so they were all proud and I think he was the oldest of them all.

“He was the leader normally for Willow Cuts and he was determined and a fighter that never gave up.”

Ricky Brangman, the former Southampton Rangers captain and present coach of St David’s County Cricket Club added: “I played my first Western Counties game for Rangers against him. He was captain of Willow Cuts and was a good all-rounder.

“He gave me some nice encouragement and told me to hang in there and we were good friends from there. In those days, those older guys always gave you good advice coming up.

“Very sad to hear he has passed and my condolences go out to his family and friends.”

O'Neil Virgil, the former Somerset Bridge opening batsman, had the pleasure of playing cricket and football alongside Fubler at the White Hill club.

“He was a great left-arm spinner, a very tidy bowler, and middle-order batsman,” Virgil said.

“I also played football at Somerset Eagles with him. He was a hard-tackling midfielder and was also my captain.”

Dale Eve’s journey from Bermy to The Brewery Jack Franks, Spennymoor Town FC Media Fri, 15 Jan 2021 12:00:00 GMT d6768712-b339-4e94-a9a2-95775ecb7c70 Happy days: Dale Eve has found a new home in professional football at Spennymoor Town in the North of England Happy days: Dale Eve has found a new home in professional football at Spennymoor Town in the North of England International stage: Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, in action against Mexico in Toluca International stage: Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, in action against Mexico in Toluca Mixed fortunes: Dale Eve endured ups and downs during his time with Stoke City early in his career Mixed fortunes: Dale Eve endured ups and downs during his time with Stoke City early in his career Dale Eve gets a fine welcome home from the Gold Cup by Evan Andrade, 7 (Photograph by Akil Simmons) Dale Eve gets a fine welcome home from the Gold Cup by Evan Andrade, 7 (Photograph by Akil Simmons) Gold standard: graphic designer Terrina Nolan presents Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, with a copy of her poster ahead of an exhibition of her works showcasing the national team's performance at the Gold Cup, at the Bermuda Society of Arts Gold standard: graphic designer Terrina Nolan presents Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, with a copy of her poster ahead of an exhibition of her works showcasing the national team's performance at the Gold Cup, at the Bermuda Society of Arts Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, in action against El Salvador at home Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons) Dale Eve, the Bermuda goalkeeper, in action against El Salvador at home Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons) Pretty in pink: the Bermuda team that carved a fresh piece of history after a 3-1 victory over the Dominican Republic yesterday that qualified the country for a maiden appearance in the Gold Cup. Standing, from left: Jaylon Bather, Roger Lee, Dale Eve, Danté Leverock, Reggie Lambe, Nahki Wells. Front row: Calon Minors, Wille Clemons, Lejaun Simmons, Donte Brangman and Zeiko Lewis Pretty in pink: the Bermuda team that carved a fresh piece of history after a 3-1 victory over the Dominican Republic yesterday that qualified the country for a maiden appearance in the Gold Cup. Standing, from left: Jaylon Bather, Roger Lee, Dale Eve, Danté Leverock, Reggie Lambe, Nahki Wells. Front row: Calon Minors, Wille Clemons, Lejaun Simmons, Donte Brangman and Zeiko Lewis The wind and rain is swirling around The Pure Stadium as the last remaining glimpse of daylight seeps away into the winter sky above Southport.

David Morgan, who has yet to fail from 12 yards for Southport, has the chance to haul his side back into contention after a faultless first-half performance from Spennymoor Town.

Goals from Adam Blakeman and Glen Taylor, both inside the opening 20 minutes, have Jason Ainsley’s side in command and on course for a first clean sheet of the season. It’s a big moment in the game, with a successful spot-kick reigniting a previously inevitable conclusion.

Three points could suddenly become one. Aside from the obvious bigger picture, it was also a huge moment for the man Morgan would be facing.

The season was seven games old for Moors, and, despite an FA Cup exit at the hands of Chester, the outlook in the league was positive after a strong start. The only thing that was missing was a clean sheet; the holy grail for goalkeepers. The holy grail for Dale Eve.

The journey to The Pure Stadium at that moment has been a long one for Moors’ No 1. One that began 3,385 miles away on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. There is more than meets the eye with Bermuda, with 181 islands and nine parishes piecing together a country that has the unfortunate trait of lying in “Hurricane Alley”. Those prior-mentioned nine parishes — counties, cities, towns and villages — consist of Sandys, Southampton, Warwick, Paget, Devonshire, Smith’s, Hamilton, St George’s and, finally, Pembroke, where Eve’s story begins.

With a population of about 11,000, Pembroke Parish is dwarfed even by Spennymoor’s modest 20,000 total. Covering just 2.3 square miles, it surrounds Bermuda’s capital city, Hamilton, which is home to about 900 people — a staggeringly low total and one of the smallest in the world.

To say Eve grew up in a small community would be an understatement, but the country does have natural beauty with its golden beaches, picturesque palm trees and camera-worthy sunsets. At least, that is the perception from the outside looking in.

Eve recalls a very different place: “Growing up in Bermuda was a ‘war of paradise’. Obviously, it is natural to think of sunny beaches in a pretty paradise when you try to imagine what Bermuda looks like. But, for a local such as myself, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. I was brought up in the ‘back of town’ as we would describe it — or for the lack of better words.

“Deepdale was a family-orientated neighbourhood where neighbours were also considered family. With Bermuda being such a small island, you find that young people tend to grow up really fast. I was a quiet kid with a love for sport like no other. I couldn’t see myself in any other walk of life.”

Football and cricket dominate the sporting landscape in Bermuda, which is largely in part owing to the British influence on the island. Cricket even has its own holiday Cup Match over two days when east and west go head-to-head. From the east, St George’s Cricket Club in pale and dark blue, and from the west, Somerset Cricket Club donning red and navy.

The tradition began in the 1902, with the unique event offering much more than just the sporting action. Camping, boating and swimming make it a festival of fun, which holds a deeper and historically significant meaning. In 1999, Cup Match was renamed Emancipation Day and continued the tradition of remembering the end of slavery. It’s a day that symbolises one of the most significant moments in Bermuda’s history in regards to the abolishment of slavery, and marks a time when the island community come together to reflect, rejoice and plan for the future.

The highest level of football in Bermuda was founded in 1963, with the Premier Division consisting of ten teams from various corners of the island. Four originate in Pembroke — Boulevard Blazers, North Village Rams, Robin Hood and Dandy Town Hornets.

The latter played a big part in Eve’s early development as a player: “Growing up back then, sport wasn’t viewed as a way out, so to speak. If you were good, you were just good. Because we were groomed in the Americanised way of life, the vision for parents was always to finish high school, go off to college to get a degree then return home to work. If you were awarded a scholarship through football, that was just a bonus. To me, that always meant there was a sheer love for the game at heart and us islanders took pride over their local side.

“My first memories of football were with my home-grown team, Dandy Town Hornets. I wasn’t always a goalkeeper, believe it or not; I sprung up at an early age being over 6ft at just 9 years old. That meant my position was pretty much set in stone by all of my coaches. For me, being on one of the top teams on the island, playing in goal was only fun at the end of training when everyone wanted to do shooting practice!”

Dandy Town are indeed one of the best teams on the island of Bermuda, with eight league titles to their name, the last of which came in the 2015-16 season, aided by 15 goals from striker Angelo Simmons. Before that, the Hornets traded top spot with North Village Community Club, Devonshire Cougars and Somerset Trojans; however, the most successful side in the history of the league are PHC Zebras.

They boast 11 titles along with 11 FA Cup victories: “It’s a very small country so we all pretty much grew together in football being rivals of either school, club or neighbourhood teams. I mixed it up, playing in and out of goal up until I was about 15, before I made the move to the UK.

“It wasn’t a football-related choice. I had begun hanging out in the streets a lot and getting into trouble for this and that, as I grew up in Pembroke. During my first year of high school, one of my best mates and his family decided they were going to move away to the UK to start over. My mother jumped on the opportunity to get me away from the company I was keeping, and the next thing I knew, I was off to a country I had never been to before with my mate, his two sisters and their mother.”

Eve’s destination was Nottingham, where he began a new chapter of his life. Soon, he would meet David Jervis, managing director of Premier Football UK. Jervis’s business aimed to create opportunities for players across the globe between the ages of 7 and 21. A quick search on Premier Football’s site leads to a small text on Eve when he was a 20-year-old success story: “Dale came to England with no prior goalkeeping coaching at 15 years old. He also didn’t know what position he was. Within six months he was offered a two-year scholarship at Stoke City and is now a professional and the youngest-ever full international in the club’s history.”

Eve added: “Before we actually settled into Nottingham and started school, we’d be so bored on days off that we’d go on runs and just kick a ball around. One of our good friends we knew from back home met David [Jervis], whose business was taking young kids around to different clubs for trials.

“For us it was something completely new. We were literally fresh into the country and now we were off with a strange man into football clubs of all levels being offered scholarships. We travelled long days and nights going from team to team until we settled on Derby County. There was an offer to train there for six weeks, and, although I never fully understood it, I loved it! To us it was just more training and we didn’t see it as an avenue which would lead to the chance of a lifetime. We simply loved playing football.

“Once the six weeks were up, I had a decision to make. Around the same time, Stoke came and knocked on the door. At the time they were a Premier League side, so it was a pretty easy choice. Pen hit paper and the lifestyle of a footballer began.”

Eve’s journey to that point had been rapid, going from a raw talent who didn’t know his best position, to signing a professional contract with a Premier League club within a year of moving to the UK. Soon after signing for the Potters, Eve found out that the life of a pro is much more than how to apply yourself on the pitch.

“My time at Stoke was a mix of ups and downs. On the pitch, it was the best time of my life. Stoke were an established top-flight team, so the facilities and training ground were amazing. There were players in the squad such as Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ricardo Fuller and Robert Huth, who I would see leave the building on a daily basis.

“Once a football is at my feet, life makes sense to me and I have no worries or pressures. When I signed my contract, the expectation was that I would make it to the first team. Going out on loan was a great way for me to gain some experience, get some games and build a profile for myself.”

Three years of loan spells soon followed. Eve spent time at five different clubs: Fleetwood Town, where he didn’t make an appearance; Nuneaton Town, where he played twice; three games for Northern Premier League Division One East side Newcastle Town; and ten displays for Congleton Town before a fruitless spell with Forest Green Rovers.

It proved to be a difficult time in Eve’s footballing and personal life.

“The biggest thing for me was figuring out what it meant to be a footballer player off the pitch. I feel I had always struggled with grasping precisely what the whole footballer lifestyle was or was meant to be. For us, we could play football in our sleep. It’s all we knew. It took me far too long to actually understand that it’s a lot more to it than going out on the pitch.

“Being in a foreign country and living with just my sister at the time was extremely challenging. We were always homesick. It wasn’t just a case of missing our parents or the small things. The cultural differences between life back in Bermuda and the UK were drastic. We had to learn in what felt like a different world for us. Our dad passed away in 2013 and we took that really hard. The worst part of the whole thing was only being given two weeks to go home, grieve and be back for training. I was only 18 at the time and I was never really right after it happened. After my sister finished university, she moved back home, and it was me on my own.”

After the initial whirlwind of excitement upon his arrival to the UK as an eager and wide-eyed 15-year-old, the harsh reality of the game away from the field had gripped Eve shortly after returning to Stoke City from his loan stint at Forest Green Rovers.

“The trouble began for me soon after my sister returned to Bermuda. I couldn’t really cope with being on my own, so I was always going to see friends in other cities, which led to me always being out. To cut a long story short, I had just finished my loan spell with Forest Green Rovers and went back to Stoke. After a night out with another player, I was silly enough to drive back home after drinking. I was pulled over and arrested. The news got back to the people at Stoke and we mutually agreed to end my contract. I was beyond disappointed and had really let myself down.”

Eve’s first journey in the UK ended, as he returned to Bermuda soon after leaving Stoke City. It was a chance to hit the restart button as he signed for his boyhood club, Dandy Town, but, the goalkeeper was always aware that he needed to return to fulfil his ambitions and evident potential.

“I knew living at home wasn’t going to help me do what I loved. I was always looking for the next agent or club to kick-start my career again. I participated in trials in America and Canada, but the football world in those countries is totally different to what I was used to. I was now made to play in the UK.”

After several unsuccessful spells and trials at a number of lower-league clubs, a golden chance was about to present itself to Eve after Bermuda created history by qualifying for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. It made the island nation the smallest outside of Oceania to ever compete in a senior men’s confederation championship. With a population less than one fifth of Iceland and a surface area smaller than Manhattan, the odds were firmly stacked against coach Kyle Lightbourne’s team.

As well as being a landmark moment in the nation’s footballing history, it was a chance for Eve, along with his team-mates, to catapult themselves on to the global stage and attract the interest of clubs from far and wide.

Bermuda benefited from the expansion of the Gold Cup schedule, with an increase of four teams from 12 to 16, sealing their spot in group B along with Haiti, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Bermuda came in as the lowest-ranked side of the four and the odds were firmly stacked against them. However, they led in their opening clash with Haiti, courtesy of a Danté Leverock goal in first-half stoppage time.

Two second-half goals from Frantzdy Pierrot turned the game around, but, with Eve in goal, the signs were positive despite their undeniable underdogs tag. Next up were 2014 World Cup quarter-Finalists Costa Rica in Texas, led by established names such as Joel Campbell, Bryan Oviedo and Christian Gamboa. A second-half penalty from Bristol City striker Nahki Wells wasn’t enough to claim a point in a 2-1 defeat, meaning Bermuda’s final group game with Nicaragua was a dead rubber.

Goals from Lejuan Simmons and Wells at the Red Bull Arena four days later marked the country’s first-ever Gold Cup win, sparking an emotional press conference from Lightbourne after the game.

“The emotion is real right now. It was important for us to get the win and get that off our backs. We performed in every game. We will go back to Bermuda in a different light as a team and as a unit. I now have to go back to work on Thursday!”

Eve’s performances in all three group games caught the eye, with his distribution and host of stunning saves showcasing why Premier League clubs were once interested in his early days in the UK. He single-handedly kept Bermuda in the lead against Haiti during a second-half blitz of his goal, before pulling off a stunning one-handed save from a Celso Borges free kick in the next game against Costa Rica.

“The Gold Cup and Nations League were good platforms for me to be seen by more people and build a strong CV to grab the right attention. I found an agent I could trust and it made sense given my previous amazing relationship with him, and he took me on board in November 2019 after Bermuda’s game with Mexico.

“By December, I was back in England and trialling with clubs. I loved it. John Woolnough, someone who once lived in Bermuda and knew Spennymoor were on the lookout for a new goalkeeper, alerted me of the possibility and the four-hour drive north began.

“It immediately felt like home. It’s a lovely area of the country. The lads were all very welcoming and Jason [Ainsley, the manager] is a great guy who looks after everyone the best he can. All of these factors made the move here extremely comfortable for me. I’m slowly getting to know all of the lads here and I’m looking forward to the future at the club.”

After a short trial period, Eve signed for the club in February 2020. However, because of the performances of previous No 1 Matt Gould, he had to wait until March 14 for his full league debut. Eve kept a clean sheet in a dominant 4-0 win over Hereford at The Brewery Field, providing fans with an early glimpse of his ability.

Of course, that date now holds greater significance given it was the final game before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but, for Eve, it was an important moment in his career. After Gould’s departure over the summer, Jason Ainsley awarded the Bermudian the No 1 shirt — or No 13 in Eve’s case.

Back at The Pure Stadium, the referee is about to blow his whistle as Eve faces Morgan’s penalty. After a short run-up, the Southport midfielder opts for power, with his shot taking a slight leftward trajectory. This is read by the Moors goalkeeper, who gets his body behind the shot, preventing a way back into the game for the home side, and, in the process, securing a first shutout of the season.

Eve’s journey to Spennymoor Town was far from straightforward, but, despite numerous setbacks and false dawns, the goalkeeper is now settled and looking ahead to life as No 1 at the club. With his career at a low after his exit at Stoke, the 25-year-old has bounced back and continues to represent his country, along with Moors.

? This edited version of the article that first featured on the Spennymoor Town website on January 11 has been reproduced with the kind permission of Spennymoor Town FC

Butterfield shares climb 1.5% on BSX Business Staff Thu, 14 Jan 2021 22:29:00 GMT 2188a363-81bd-4954-9f95-e592bfbaeca3 BSX daily trade BSX daily trade Shares of Butterfield Bank climbed 1.5 per cent in Bermuda Stock Exchange trading.

The bank gained 50 cents to close on $34.75 as 1,850 shares changed hands.

Butterfield’s US-listed shares also gained ground, advancing 46 cents, or 1.32 per cent, to close on $35.19.

The bank was the lone stock to trade as The Royal Gazette/BSX Index gained 24.73 points, or 1.12 per cent, to close on 2,237.3.

The BSX Insurance Index fell 13.62 points, or 0.83 per cent, to lose on 1,631.19.

Meanwhile, in a filing with the BSX, One Communications Ltd advised of an error in the reporting of its share repurchases last month.

The company clarified that on December 11, it repurchased 37,134 of its own shares at an average price of $4.10, and not 38,234 shares at an average price of $4.10 as One reported in a BSX filing on December 14.

Jeffrey Borges promoted to the top job at St John Ambulance Fiona McWhirter Thu, 14 Jan 2021 18:13:00 GMT 6231243d-6ceb-4a95-9edc-8e1fa7c672a1 Jeffrey M. Borges, Commissioner of St John Ambulance Bermuda (Photograph supplied) Jeffrey M. Borges, Commissioner of St John Ambulance Bermuda (Photograph supplied) An “influential asset” to the growth of St John Ambulance Bermuda has been promoted to the position of Commissioner.

Jeffrey Borges was Deputy Commissioner at the charity before his latest appointment.

A spokeswoman said: “Mr Borges joined St John Ambulance in September, 2008 and has held several positions since then for over the past ten years.

“He has seen the organisation grow since he joined and has been a very influential asset to its success.”

The spokeswoman said Mr Borges, a Bermudian, graduated from Acadia University in Nova Scotia with a degree in Business Administration.

He has completed courses in First Aid and CPR as well as Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technician and Mass Casualty Incident Command training.

St John Ambulance has helped with the first aid needs of people in Bermuda since 1894.

The charity’s website explained: “We teach valuable life-saving skills through our training programmes and provide an ambulance service designed to provide medical coverage at public events.”

It added: “We also offer a patient transfer service, working closely with the hospital and nursing homes across the island to make the transfer process as simple and efficient as possible."

Charitable donations going to the union Robin Tucker Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:57:00 GMT 8b3d2252-d110-4f67-817d-3a36777087b0 Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance member of the Senate, is the Shadow Minister for Social Development and Seniors Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance member of the Senate, is the Shadow Minister for Social Development and Seniors The Senate reconvenes tomorrow for the first time after the Christmas and new year festivities to debate several pieces of legislation that if passed, will become law. Among the changes is the redistribution of funds from charity to the union.

At present, workers who do not wish to join the union must have the equivalent amount of union dues deducted from their pay each week. Non-unionised workers donate 100 per cent of those funds to charity. The proposed legislation will require non-union employees to pay 50 per cent of the deduction to the union, leaving the remaining 50 per cent for charity.

This legislative move requiring half of the deduction to be paid to the union is deeply concerning, especially coming from a government that espouses concern for all its people. It is difficult to comprehend how forcing non-unionised workers to redirect monies that help support persons within our community that are in need is fair or just.

Our charities play a crucial role in this island, ensuring that our most vulnerable and all persons in need receive help. As of April 2020, there were more than 300 charitable organisations registered in Bermuda. We have not experienced a time of need greater than in this pandemic, which has seen a constricting economy and numerous job losses, and for persons fortunate enough to still be employed, many are seeing their paycheques reduced.

Pre-Covid, many people in Bermuda were finding it difficult to make ends meet, but we read the reports in the news and heard the stories of people who have never been a client of a charity that are now having to become one. Charities, and some other Third Sector organisations, provide food, shelter, medical assistance, counselling and other vital services required in this community to anyone with a need. Assistance is not given dependent on whether the needy person is non-unionised, unionised or unemployed.

It is the charities that people in need were able to turn to in March 2020 when the Bermuda Industrial Union recommended to its members that they sign up for government unemployment benefits, since the union “benefits package and plan for union members was never designed for that [purpose].”

Aren’t we our brother’s keeper in more than in name only? Shouldn’t we be our brother in action also? Why then be a member and pay dues to an organisation that cannot give appropriate help to a brother in a global crisis? Of course, the union is not a charity, but it is a brotherhood. Right?

Our charities rely heavily on donations in order to provide critical support and services to those most needy in our society, so it is shocking that the Government would promote such a move to redirect funds from charities to the union, particularly since the pandemic has exposed how great the needs are in the community and also how challenging it is for charities to secure funding.

On December 9, 2020, The Royal Gazette interviewed Jennifer Burland Adams, chief executive of WaveCrest, a charity advisory group, and she stated, “non-profits remained at similar levels to pre-Covid with 65 per cent having six months or less of operating funds available. Surprisingly, the larger non-profits — those with more than $1 million in revenue — were most likely to have six months or less. Those in the human services subsector were least likely to have cash reserves with 79 per cent having six months or less. This is particularly concerning, as this group has been funded the most during the pandemic and is most likely to have expanded its services or the population it is serving as a result of other implications of the pandemic”.

Funding for charities will be negatively impacted by the legislative changes by sending half of non-unionised worker donations to the unions.

The BIU website indicates that it has “some 22 collective agreements covering its full membership and includes approximately 60 employers and government. Some of these agreements are multiemployer agreements”. All persons working in those unionised workplaces must pay to the union a $3 joining fee and agree to $14 deductions per week in dues.

As stated previously, under the existing legislation, workers that do not wish to become union members and pay union dues may opt for 100 per cent of their “dues” to be sent to a charity of their choosing. When the law changes it will mean that only 50% of those funds will be going to charity. Although, unable to determine exactly how much of a financial impact redirecting 50 per cent of funds away from charity to the union would be, for context I offer a basic example — initially using a single employee:

? An employee pays $14 per week in dues

? $14 as a weekly contribution multiplied by 52 weeks in a year equals $728 per year in annual dues that are payable to the union or donated to a charity

? So, 50 per cent of $728 would be $364 per worker that would be diverted away from charity to the union annually, so if we assume that there are:

? Fifty workers having 50 per cent of their union dues sent to the union, that would be $18,200 per year more going to the union and $18,200 less donated to charity

? Five hundred workers having 50 per cent of union dues sent to the union would be $182,000 per year more going to the union and $182,000 less donated to charity

If there are 1,000 workers who do not pay dues directly to the union at present, then $364,000 more in funds would be going to the union, and would mean $364,000 less funds donated to charity per year.

My comments are not intended to be a slight against the unions as I think they play an important role in fighting for workers’ rights on this island. It is time to consider whether workers that do not want to become union members should pay a nominal fee of far less than 50 per cent of dues, as one could fairly argue that non-unionised workers receive benefit from the union’s representation, but one could equally argue that unionised workers that do not contribute a dime to charity still receive 100 per cent of benefits if they need them.

Should we allow this amendment and bite the hand that literally feeds and services this community? I think not. I am dismayed by the amendment as set out in Section 64 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 2020 and I hope that you are, too.

In sum, at a time when many people are tightening their wallets, and instead of giving to charity are relying on services themselves, the Government is taking away critical funds from the charities and is instead giving the money to the union. This is unacceptable.

? Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance member of the Senate, is the Shadow Minister for Social Development and Seniors

UPDATE: this op-ed has been amended to include a sentence from Jennifer Burland Adams’s quote that was inadvertently omitted by the author

Planning website to be unavailable during upgrade Owain Johnston-Barnes Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:36:00 GMT 18c86e97-a23c-4329-b11f-4855a3c58fe8 The Department of Planning’s Customer Self-Service website will be unavailable tomorrow while the department carries out an upgrade of its online management system.

The upgrade is part of a plan to enable people to submit planning applications online.

The updated Energov system will allow planning submissions to be made directly through the Department’s customer self-service website.

Victoria Pereira, the Director of Planning, said. “Energov has provided the Department with a platform to streamline many of our services and provide user-friendly options for customers.

"The CSS is a user-friendly platform, allowing for the search of all public planning records, estimation of fees, submission of applications and the request for inspections.

“As improvements continue and additional features are implemented, we hope the CSS will be a much-valued resource for Bermuda's planning needs.”

Ms Pereira said the system update will take place tomorrow, which will make both the Energov website and the CSS site unavailable for the day.

However the Department of Planning offices will remain open and submissions can be made by e-mail to

Requests for inspection on active construction projects can be made by phone at 297-7828, and all submissions or requests received today will be processed on Monday.

Ms Pereira apologised for any inconvenience caused by the “necessary interruption of online services”.

More bus routes cancelled News Staff Thu, 14 Jan 2021 13:26:00 GMT a3b61c41-295b-4f77-ae3f-473ee6e88fe4 Twenty-eight bus routes were cancelled this morning so the vehicles could be used to take students to school. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) Twenty-eight bus routes were cancelled this morning so the vehicles could be used to take students to school. (File photograph by Akil Simmons) A further 28 bus routes have been cancelled this afternoon because the buses were needed for school runs.

Thirty bus routes were cancelled this morning.

The cancellations occurred because the Department of Public Transportation and Bermuda’s minibus operators cannot agree on a price to hire minibuses for school runs.

To see the cancelled routes, click here.

US Consul General to end tenure when Biden is inaugurated Fiona McWhirter Thu, 14 Jan 2021 13:01:00 GMT 6d3c85b7-58d4-40d0-9b97-d8ce47c87e48 Lee Rizzuto, the US Consul General to Bermuda (Photograph supplied) Lee Rizzuto, the US Consul General to Bermuda (Photograph supplied) The US Consul General will leave his post in Bermuda after just six months, he said yesterday.

Lee Rizzuto’s appointment will end when the new Democratic administration in the United States is sworn in next week.

Joe Biden will take over as President from Donald Trump, who chose Mr Rizzuto for the Bermuda role last year.

His Vice President will be Kamala Harris.

Mr Rizzuto said yesterday: “The United States Congress has certified the election and on January 20, we will welcome a new administration.

“I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their achievements and stand ready to provide any assistance that may be required to facilitate the transition and pay tribute to the special US-Bermuda relationship.

“Our democracy will emerge stronger with an orderly transition of power.”

He added: “Serving as the US Consul General to Bermuda has been a privilege and a great honour.

“I am grateful to President Trump for selecting me to serve my country in this role.

“As the new administration is sworn in next week, my service in Bermuda will come to an end.

“Although my time in this beautiful country was somewhat brief, it was very significant.”

In a statement last month, Mr Rizzuto pointed out that he had helped to get Bermuda moved to a lower travel advisory in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that he helped to bring back US mail after American Airlines suspended flights to the island, also because of the pandemic.

Mr Rizzuto said yesterday he has had the opportunity to "work on many projects and contribute to the bilateral relations of the United States and Bermuda“.

He added: “It has also been most enjoyable to build relationships, strengthen ties between both countries and to have met so many dynamic people.

“My wife Denise and I will continue to cherish the memories we have made here and extend our well wishes to everyone.

“Bermuda has found a special place in our hearts.

“During our time here, we also had the opportunity to visit 103 houses of worship – a true gem of Bermuda and reflection of the people.”

The Bermuda Government thanked Mr Rizzuto “for his service” to the island.

A spokeswoman added: “We wish him and his wife all the best as they return home.

“The working relationship with Mr Rizutto on behalf of the United States has been constructive and we look forward to building and strengthening that relationship and working with the incoming administration.”

A Government House spokeswoman said yesterday: “We understand that it is normal for heads of US missions to change with the change in an administration.

“We thank Mr Rizzuto for his service to Bermuda and wish him well in his next endeavour.”

In a tweet last Friday, the US Consul General posted on Twitter: “Freedom of speech is a critical component of a vibrant, functioning democracy and this freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

“This past year we witnessed unfortunate actions around the country that goes beyond peaceful protesting.”

He added: “We must set the examples of character and integrity and move forward with hope, peace and unity as our democracy continues to show strength and resilience.

“Let us also give recognition and support to those empowered to protect us for their untiring efforts and bravery.”

His comments came after rioters stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC.

The UK's MailOnline reported last year that Mr Rizzuto contributed $449,000 to Mr Trump's presidential campaign political action committee in 2016.

Mr Rizzuto, who has a business background in Conair, his family’s personal care products company, was nominated by the President two years later for the ambassador's post in Barbados, but Mr Trump failed to secure Senate confirmation.

CNN said in an article about Mr Rizzuto published online in 2018: “President Donald Trump's nominee to be the ambassador to Barbados and several other Caribbean countries spread fringe conspiracy theories and unfounded attacks about Trump's political opponents on Twitter, including ones about senator Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, during the 2016 presidential election.”

Protesters campaigned outside the US Consulate in Devonshire last June after Mr Rizzuto’s appointment on the island was revealed.

A petition with more than 93,000 signatories was later presented to John Rankin, then the Governor, by Social Justice Bermuda.

The campaign group asked Mr Rankin to reject the appointment of Mr Rizzuto and declare him “persona non grata” on the island.

In a letter to the Governor, SJB highlighted the “controversial tweets” and claimed that Mr Rizzuto was “unacceptable and unfit for a diplomatic post”.

Mr Rankin said on Facebook at the time: “Under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the appointment of a Consul General is for the sending state to make. So the decision to appoint Mr Rizzuto as US Consul General is one that is made by the United States Government.”

He added: “ … I think it is important that we have an effective relationship with whomever represents the United States in this country and my job as Governor will be to achieve that effective relationship.”

Mr Rizzuto declined to comment yesterday on the protests, which took place about six weeks before he assumed his role as US Consul General last July.

SJB said they had opposed Mr Rizzuto’s appointment, and welcomed his departure from the island.

The group added: “We wish our American cousins the best of luck in their ongoing challenges with rightwing populism, especially in light of the recent Trump-led coup attempt.

“Advancing the cause of social justice is key to the USA resolving their core issues.

“In Bermuda we remain committed to working for social justice here as well.”