Today the Finance Minister revealed the planned budget for this year. I'm no big detailed analyst kind of guy and only took first-year Econ at university so don't ask me anything, k? Vexed has his early take on the budget. Bermuda Sun has stripped it to a highlights package here.
Two weeks ago I had thought that we need to hear about the renovation/reconstruction of our only hospital, that should be the primary must-have as far as this budget was concerned. Then it was announced that a private-public partnership was to be implemented. I don't know how that works out in terms of delivering a successful product on time, or if it's a concept that is borrowed from the U.S. Surprised it hasn't generated much discussion, actually. The Budget itself did mention financing of the hospital, but no dollar amount was mentioned in the statement. Have to read the report, I suppose.
The import duty has been dramatically reduced for boats, which is very interesting. The rate had been previously been hiked from 33.5% to 55%, which angered a lot of mariners. So the change here is likely to be well-welcomed by those who boat, fish and sail on the island.
As expected, sports looked to have taken a hit. Doesn't look good for that swim complex (or enhancements to the cricket pavillion). Again, to be expected.
There's too much to go through at this time, but I gotta add that I like the idea of a Cultural Legacy fund. It comes to mind every time I see and hear people playing old folk songs at the airport arrivals hall or at SaltRock Grill.
Anyway, the PLP can probably choose to ignore or sue the Gazette if they feel that the Gazette is trying to subvert the Government, but for some reason haven't seemed to consider it. Either way, whether it be through legal action or hiring all kinds of PR lackeys to paint pretty pictures on things, taxpayer money is spent.
And while I do believe that some of what the Gazette produces is questionable at best, I'm tired of them being labelled a scapegoat for everything that's gone awry in Bermuda over the past forty years.
Whatever. When did Bermuda qualify for the last World Cup and gain ODI status? Now that Bermuda is on the verge of losing it, the powers-that-be want to suddenly push for getting the facility prepped?
Bermuda had optimal opportunities to push ahead with this years ago and become a pioneer in this. Ireland, Holland and Canada have lapped us many times. While having the cricket pitch brought up to standard turned out to be a tough task, it wouldn't have been a problem to at least go and improve the pavilion, media area and other infrastructure areas in the meantime. Instead, nada. Bermuda couldn't even host another international side in any format until late last year. So many lost opportunities; particularly when enthusiasm was much higher, sponsorship dollars were more likely to be available and the economy was in great shape.
Now? Please. Can you see a team like India passing through here before touring the West Indies? We don't have an Allan Stanford type here who will throw five million dollars into a tournament capable of attracting a top Test nation here, subsequently getting more visitors to the island and buzz for Bermuda world wide.
The future of Bermuda cricket at the international level hangs on the edge of a knife. The ICC and CricInfo staff are focused on consolidating and increasing revenue in the big money, big population zones of India and Pakistan. They are hoping that the little speck of Bermuda can get banished quickly. All the gesturing by local politicians on what they'll do with the NSC in the face of a potentially reduced Budget doesn't mean much of anything at this time.
Aside from a brief period when mandatory seatbelts became law and there was a bit of a clampdown to ensure everybody buckled up (which I have to say was somewhat effective; most Bermudians now buckle up with regularity, I believe), efforts have gone to pointing radar guns down straight roads every now and then. That's where you see them. Not monitoring intersections, roundabouts, places where there are stop signs or traffic lights. Every Christmas they're hanging outside the public library chatting with people.
So, after watching this clown riding 867AI overtake me a little too close for comfort, skylark up Palmetto Road (I passed him), zoom past me on the inside before zooming past the typical big-ass Honda FR-V (which is a truly ugly-looking and seemingly-inappropriate kind of car for our roads, but that's another matter) - again on the inside - and forcing the driver to slow down and get out of the way, I think policing the roads perhaps should be taken out of the hands of the police and into the hands of drivers.
By that I mean, and I'm not being as tongue-in-cheek as you may think, stop giving way to the fools who do dangerous crap like overtake on the inside. Hold your position, hell inch a little to the left if you want. Either the idiot gets frustrated and tries to do some other crap or they take a good wallop when they deck out or crash into your vehicle.
Yes, I know, there's a hit to your insurance. But hell, it's because of these idiot drivers that your insurance is skyrocketing as it is. And since there's uncontrolled anarchy on the roads that the powers-that-be can only spurt press statements about and hope the problem goes away, it may as well be the driving public that does its part in taking bad drivers off the road.
Some may say that it's just another committee to rubber stamp whatever the Government wants to accomplish, a la the Independence Commission, but I'm a little interested to see if the ol' poker clubs that got shut down some time ago will emerge from the proverbial ashes to lend input. Not that anybody would expect the focus to be on what forms of gambling are legal or anything.
Mind you, I still find the ZBM Monday Gambling Night a bore and waste of time. Lord, that 'show' is so dry and uninspiring. I suppose it counts as 'local programming', however.
Then yesterday, simply wow. From Heinz Ward making crucial plays, the Cardinals coaches making correct challenges in critical situations, the amazing interception and run back by LB James Harrison, Kurt Warner being awesome in the face of a daunting blitz engine, Larry Fitzgerald doing everything receiving-wise, throw in some bad penalties (and Harrison's punch of a player later was low and dirty), and then the final drive where Santonio Holmes simply made all the plays, caught everything thrown his way and made a great endzone catch to put the Steelers back in front. All kinds of drama leading to Pittsburgh getting their franchise-leading sixth Sueprbowl title.
Now many will argue on what the biggest single-day sporting event is; some would argue for the FIFA World Cup but despite the Superbowl and NFL generally being a sport that's limited in popularity globally compared to soccer, as far as a spectacle with the potential to be a jaw-dropping event that's talked about for months and years later, there's no contest in my opinion.
Without a doubt, Rolfe Commissiong is one of the public figures most discussed in Bermuda because of his views on race in Bermuda. By 'most discussed', I probably mean 'most polarising', particularly when it comes to the reactions that his statements evoke from whites here.
Friday's Bermuda Sun commentary contributed by him caught my interest more than usual, though. It's this particular statement:
They refuse to acknowledge the fact that black Bermudians have never practiced racism, institutionally or otherwise
where 'they' means white Bermudians. My interpretation is that he believes that (a) black Bermudians cannot and have not practiced racism (more on that soon) and (b) white Bermudians strongly disagree with it, to the point of the proverbial "being at loggerheads" with blacks when it comes to further discussing race.
The phrase "practicing racism".
What defines a racist, then?
Black people here may, for example, say, "I don't like white people," is that an example of racism?
I think this is the kind of question that gets those completely different answers in Bermuda.
As I, perhaps the last of the local bloggers to discuss race, contemplates what this all means (and I'd sure love to hear your views, if you stumble upon this post), there's this feeling in my head that solving this and getting whatever issues of semantics out of the way (i.e. racism vs. prejudice vs. discrimination vs. bigotry) is the key to ending the perennial "talking at" that goes on here and actually coming together, forgiving past hurts, getting sincere repentance where applicable and moving Bermuda forward.
In the meantime, more established blogs are out there for me to digest and try to appreciate, for example: