About our road fatalities

Ever since my old buddy from my neighbourhood died in a road collision incident earlier this year, I've held back from my passionate stance on the state of Bermuda's drivers. I don't recall the last time I publically condemned someone on my blog for doing something insane like overtaking me on a corner (it's happened many times), dashing across pedestrian crossings (ditto) or other illegal driving activities tolerated in this country.

After reading that a seventh person has died on our roads this year, and oddly enough, in a place very close to where I live, and seeing the usual Road Safety Council spiel of "please slow down" speeches, I wasn't thinking about lamenting the state of the roads but rather my thoughts went to the family of this guy and also to the parents and family of my old buddy. I wish that the powers that be would actually take decisive action such as increasing the police presence on the roads, adding traffic cameras (not speedometers!), increasing the fines/penalties for violating the laws of the road, anything that's more threatening than a sign erection, but I seriously don't see it happening anytime this year.

On the forum at BermudaSucks there's a post that discusses why there are these road traffic fatalities, and I am of the opinion that each of the fatalities could have been avoided by better judgement of the riders including my buddy. Someone indicated that accidents happen, but I think there are only a few incidents that are unpreventable. Probably something along the level of a sudden lightning strike. If people are speeding, they can slow down. If people are drunk, they can stop right there. If people are sleepy, they can also stop and wait. If the road is slippery or in bad shape, again, slow down and be alert. If an animal darts across the road, you should be travelling slow enough to be aware of it in the first place.

Collectively we're all responsbile, but I don't think we're prepared to deal with it. I just fear that I'm going to be the guy on the other side of the street when a sliding out-of-control bike or car is headed straight at me.


Lois Browne-Evans passes away

Well, I was going to post about my getting splashed by some inconsiderate drivers this morning but I have to put it well aside for the time being; today Bermuda lost one of her grand women, Dame Lois Browne-Evans.

Dame Lois Browne-Evans is known to me mainly for being a long-serving member of the PLP party here, including serving for many years as its leader, and also becoming Bermuda's first Attorney General. She spent over 40 years as a member of Parliament, a feat unlikely to be matched. Her death has brought many tributes from every side of the political spectrum. She will also be known for her commitment to civil rights and equality for women. She will be given a deserved state funeral, and further tributes may be found here.

On a related note, I think it may very well be appropriate to consider renaming in her memory a landmark of choice in the near future so that her legacy will remain in a tangible manner. Also, I think that the time may have come to honour our living statesmen before they are no longer with us. Just a thought, borne possibly from my Barbados experiences.


Oh yes, a sign. That will work

There's been a few incidents involving dangerous speeding along a particular stretch of road, so the powers that be are rectifying the situation with the erection of some sign posts.

Pardon my yawning.

Firstly, there should have been signs around years ago. Secondly, that's not going to make motorists slow down when they know full well that they're not going to be caught by the cops. They're going to be confident in their abilities to avoid a potentail collision with a pedestrian crossing the intersection or other motorist.

But I suppose now the powers that be can say that they've done something. Look at the speedometers they've erected. I know that makes us slow down to admire how fast or slow we're going. Ooooh.


How Tech are we?

Not too long ago Bermuda has its first "Techweek", a series of events to showcase technology to residents and visitors and promote their services. I haven't heard yet how successful it was (for my part, I actually gave a pair of brief presentations on one of my employer's products which was attended mainly by senior citizens) but I suppose the initiative has good merit and hope it continues.

But for all the talk about how Bermuda is right on board in this realm, there are still some sectors which are seemingly lacking. Noticable to me is how few local retailers have an online presence, for one. I was online at Gorham's and was surprised to see that although they had an attractive website, there were no actual products actually available to view. The other big hardware/home improvement retailer, Masters Limited, doesn't even have a web site.

Department stores aren't much better. I have searched in vain for a Gibbons Company website. Again, not many big time retailers on the island and Phoenix, one of the other big name on the block, is somewhat limited. Trimingham's, for its part, before they went out of business, had a website (still referenced by some sites, oddly enough) but I don't know how valuable it was. A.S. Cooper's, which just completed its store relaunch, is online but they only provide info on tourist-geared products like Bermuda-labelled spices, china and photography books.

Of course in Bermuda there are still several merchants and individuals who aren't willing to embrace technology. Some merchants such as Bermuda Bowling Alley don't even accept credit cards and are a strict cash-and-ledger-pad organisation. Maybe that makes it easier for people to steal funds from the organisation.

I was going to put a rating for some of these retailers on ThumbsupBermuda.com, but guess what? The site's no longer around. Dang.


Bermuda bingo, and poker

I'm checking out the ZFB TV bingo right now and am not amused. For one, the telecast is dull as dishwater. You'd think that they'd have some music in the background or something and that the announcer would have some kind of charisma, however she's only pronouncing words.

Then she's frequently admonishing viewers to not call in early, which is very funny. And just now she made an incorrect computer entry and then had to give a caller a 'winning bingo' in the end.

It's a pretty dry show that could be improved with tons of implented ideas such as have the forms computer-generated in the first place so people don't necessarily have to call in to be a winner. Heck, this show could actually use some commercials!

What I still do not know is where the money paid by the customers goes to. They don't mention it on the TV show and I'm sure that it's financing other persons or organisations, unlike the Bermuda Poker Tour and others who declare that it's strictly non-profit.

I ought to add proper TV bingo to the list of things they can learn from Barbados, as it completes in under ten minutes and bypasses the call-in portion.

I am reading the Poker In Bermuda forums (hey, they have a grammatical error in their banner ad... boo) to see what the organisation is planning to do regarding their game being banned. I think they have to get an MP to propose a law amendment of some sort.


Someone at TCD isn't thinking

Yes, you can have a Hummer in Bermuda, apparently.I already think there's too much insanity when it comes to vehicles here, like the flashing blue lights on the undercarriage of some cars (as far as I know it's against the Law), then I saw in person the Hummer H3 that Christian of Politics.bm spotted the other day.

Seriously. Someone said that this is qualified to be a "commercial vehicle"? What's next? Dodge Vipers as taxis?

Without getting into the issue about how egotistical Bermudians can be and the desire to be as cool as our American brethren, I have to wonder how this was allowed to come to pass, as this is by far the most ridiculous thing I have seen. The only practical purpose for something like this here may be to tow a motorboat, but there are plenty of legitimate small trucks or pickup trucks that can be used; this smacks of ego-stroking by the owner and someone at TCD blinded by the shine of the rims.


Things Bermuda can adopt from Barbados

As mentioned previously, I was in Barbados for rest, relaxation and good Cricket World Cup fun. Bermuda's Premier, Dr. Brown, was in Barbados briefly as well before I got there, and after spending some time in Barbados and doing some thoughful analysis of the country, wondered if perhaps the Premier was able to get some good ideas on how Bermuda could learn from a country which has made strides to be one of the leading small island developing countries in the world.

Some of the things that Barbados utilizes that Bermuda should also strongly consider:
  • Solar energy panels on houses - let's use our energy wisely
  • Guaranteed public access to all beaches
  • Encourage businesses to set up shop outside of the main city
  • Increase opportunities for training in mechanical, electrical and other technical fields
  • Naming of landmarks such as roundabouts and community playgrounds


Spoke too soon - bingo!

In relation to my post about bingo vs poker, it looks like TV Bingo will be returning after all, with cash prizes in a game of chance. It'll be broadcast on the ZFB TV station, according to the TV ad I just saw. No mention of who's organising it or where the funds are going to go. Let the debate continue...

Are we American, British or what?

There's a good letter in the Gazette today from a Jean Hannant inquiring as to why ZBM Evening News (yes that station without a website), the point of which is that they spell "centre" in the American method, i.e. "center".

Here's the thing. Bermuda is a British Dependent Territory. We should continue to spell words in the British fashion, even if our terminology is American. So we can still use words like "elevator", "sidewalk", etc., but we should still spell words correctly, i.e. "honour", "centre", etc.

Also, there's much confusion regarding date rendering. The Royal Gazette dates its articles in the American-style M-D-Y format. The hell?

Even more bizarre is that our Immigration forms ask us for M-D-Y yet our Customs forms are in the correct D-M-Y format. Where's the consistency, Bermuda?

Complaining too much about CWC gear

I complain way too much when it comes to getting CWC gear. To think, I made noise about not finding specific clothing articles in Barbados. At least they were only $30.00 (USD). I walk into Sports R Us, Bermuda's "official" CWC distributor. T-shirts are $44.75 and polos are over $55.00.

They didn't even have the ones I liked.

Talk about your disgusting markups. Unlike the retailers in Barbados, I don't expect Sports R Us to have a discount sale - the tourney may be over but heck.

Mind you, the official store seems to be clearing out all stock and not getting more new stuff in, go figure. Just a sad performance overall when you consider that the NFL shop, NBA store, Premiership, etc. never experience cases like this.


More office buildings

And here's another big office complex in the works. Again, no residential component. At least there's some parking this time around. What will it take for somebody to realize that we're missing opportunities to have housing/rental units available for less well-off people?


Back with a brief update

Well I finally made it back to the island. I was pretty ticked off yesterday thanks to the good folks working at Miami International Airport, and I may blog it later on.

First order of business for myself is getting that new web host ASAP. Much work needs to be done particularly as when my host blew up my site, they restored old versions of the home page (look, the Sustainable Development Blog! Gee...). Plus my own personal area needs a rewrite. May have to change from my hand-coded good stuff to a more elegant and maintainable open-source solution.

For example, I think that the old BermudaSucks forum works well (it looks smooth on a Blackberry by the way), I may lean in that direction. Looking at how other blogs operate I may get some ideas. Some are using WordPress, for example. I may take that route if I can still keep my other features like my photos, products, links, etc.

I'm still disappointed that on the ProgressiveMinds website, the posts generating the most interest are of the attack-the-UBP (472 reads) variety instead of let's discuss ideas (273) and isues. It remains to be seen if the PLP mainline and UBP blogs turn out in similar fashion. But perhaps it's just an aberration.

Cricket World Cup and Barbados v Bermuda posts to come soon, I promise...