Bermuda's National Heroes Day

The Premier has just announced that Bermuda will be having its own National Heroes Day to honour our most deserving citizens, with the late Dame Lois Browne-Evans being designated as the first of the heroes.

While I already declared my support for such a holiday being implemented as a way to bring recognition to great Bermudians of the past and present, I have a few concerns.

Firstly that this is not a new holiday, rather replacing Bermuda Day, also known as Heritage Day. While there are similarities in what both things represent, I don't think that it's quite right to simply rename Bermuda Day, because Bermuda Day recognises the contributions of many, as well as the history of the island and to instead put emphasis on (currently) just one individual instead is going to diminish the contributions of everyone else. They should have really instituted a brand new holiday for this. Perhaps the concerns of Big Business weighed heavily on that decision but Government should be about the people before the corporate folks.

Secondly, only declaring one National Hero at this time smacks of being a short-sighted gesture. If you're going to declare a National Heroes Day, why not designate more than one person? The Sports Hall of Fame declared ten people right off the bat and Bermuda ought to at least determine a good five persons for this. Government could have formed a committee of experienced historians and analysts to deliberate and produce a small group of great men and women to honour with the possibility of adding to the list over time (to make it an even ten or twelve, for example).

The whole thing seems rushed. I know that the public were solicited for suggestions over a good period of time after Dame Lois passed away but the sudden announcement of things came out of nowhere, with no lead-in whatsoever.

On the local blogosphere, I'm not too happy with the comments upon it right now. The focus seems to be more on some sort of semi-Caribbean-bashing saga but hopefully cooler heads will prevail.


Cell phone ban a non-starter

Some time ago it was raised for discussion the implementation of a ban on cell phone usage while driving on Bermuda's roads. While I'm not sure if the discussion ever reached Parliament, I'm quite convinced that it's a non-starter even if Police have records indicating that several traffic collisions were partly as a result of cell phone usage.

Here's why: some Government ministers do it and do it for an extended period. Today I was behind a GP car (for once I'm protecting the guilty) and saw the minister driving one-handed with phone cocked up to the ear. Why don't people get hands-free devices anyway? In any event, that lasted at least 5 minutes before I turned off.

So if you're looking to improve road safety, you're better off pushing for the forgotten speed camera thing...



Surprise, another reckless driver

I'm a heartless bum, I think.

Today was the first day of school for many kids on the island, and I probably should have expected to see something silly on the roads. It just so happened that I was standing at the intersection of Par-la-ville and Church Street waiting to cross to L'Oriental Express for a late lunch break when I witnessed the most predictable of so-called "accidents".

School had either just let out or there were a bunch of kids dismissed early from classes, but there were a fair number of fellas on bikes at the intersection, but anyway there is a car making a right-turn, her indicators clearly flashing, and some young kid decides to overtake her anyway, completely ignoring the signal. She makes her move and the rider is forced to quickly adjust his path. As the woman stops her car (good on her for her patience), the kid loses control just as I'm saying to myself, "look at this idiot kid". The bike falls and skids, he tumbles off and slides. Both rider and bike come to a stop right against the sidewalk, probably a foot away from me.

I don't even freaking blink. I really had no sympathy for the deck-out. I give the kid a brief glance, and then notice that the pedestrian walk light is active so I make my way across the road without even a word. Behind me I heard a man ask the kid if he was okay. I look to see if the car driver had stopped but she had long moved on.

All I could think of is, how are these people allowed to ride when they pay no attention to things around them. Don't they cover this in Project Ride and everything? I hope the kid learned a lesson, although neither he nor the bike took any damage in the fall and I wouldn't hold my breath on him riding more safely. Like I said earlier, if Dejon Simmons's story fell on deaf ears, there's no hope.


Left-hand drive

I've noticed that we have quite a fair number of left-hand drive cars in Bermuda. It's pretty strange. It's not like they are mainly Chryslers or something; these are VW Jettas or Suzuki Vitaras, and they definitely make right-hand drive versions of those.

It's just strange, why we have those cars in the island. Why would someone willingly bring in a car with left-hand drive when there are perfectly good right-hand equivalents to be bought locally? There's absolutely no advantage to having a left-hand drive car in Bermuda, is there?