Bermuda College students and Drugs

Wow. One quarter of students at Bermuda College identified as being current users of cannabis.

What a great message to send to employers that may be looking to take on Bermuda College grads. 

Regardless of what the community at large feels about how harmless the drug is, it's still freaking illegal to use it. Combine that with the high percentage of those claiming to drink alcohol, and I'd be wondering how productive these potential employees could be in a work environment, much less be focused in classes and excel in exams.

On top of that, there's the implication of date rape, as well as the usage of so-called designer drugs, at play here among these students.

I don't know if it would violate invasion of privacy policies, but perhaps Bermuda College should look into drug testing for students, especially since it's at least partially Government-funded (and thus taxpayer-funded) higher education.

As a side note, I wish however, that whoever created the actual report could proof their writing. Reading sentences like "There behaviour was self-reported" makes me cringe. This is supposed to be an official government document, for crying out loud.


Bermuda airport, arrivals and immigration

I know there were several locals who were delighted that the portraits of the (former) Premier and or Minister of Transport were removed from the Airport Arrivals Hall, but for me, all I see now is a wide, dank and empty space. A solitary portrait of the British monarch hangs above a disused fireplace in one corner of the area, and that's it.

Surely, that wall could be enhanced with some kind of Bermuda-themed accessories? Some flags, maybe maps, historical photos,... something?

On another note, it had been a long time since I had the opportunity to fly off and back to the island, and every time I do, I always have to do guesswork on those Customs/Immigration forms. Do I check the strange "claiming change of residence allowance" box or not? And, why don't we have to complete Immigration/Departure forms anymore? Are the airport computer systems setup to gather that information automatically by passport scans these days, or do they simply not bother?

Hate to say it, but this is one time that I wouldn't mind Gov't spending a few bucks on a TV ad promotional campaign to help us figure out the new system with its quirks and whatnots.


Heroes' Day revisited, again

A couple of years ago I addressed the farce that was the handling of the new National Heroes' Day holiday by the government.

I wasn't alone. The Gazette's then-editor weighed in on the craziness back in Setember 2010, and it was pretty clear that the thought that the selection panel was too heavily weighted with politicians (from a single party, even) was a shared one. Essentially, government owned the entire decision-making process instead of the people. Hell I *still* don't know what they meant by "it did not work" with regard to having people who weren't politicians involved with the selection process.

Anyway, we have four selected National Heroes already cemented, for better or worse. How I would go about enhancing/revamping/overhauling this:

Immediately break up whatever current committee exists and start fresh.
Appoint a seven-member group to handle the next nomination and selection process. No more than one active politician from either political party can be represented. It would be pretty awesome if both parties declined that particular invite, to be fair (albeit unlikely). The remaining 5 (or more) can be determined by mutual agreement of the Premier and Opposition Leader, the Governor on advice from said leaders or the Independent Senators.  As mentioned previously, we should have a collection of historians, scholars, researchers and others with knowledge of the historical accomplishments (which could include present-day activities, of course) in all fields of Bermuda. Therefore, you could have those with great accomplishments in literature, sports, the environment, science, education, all being considered at the same level as your typical politician-types.

I've been weighing up the pros and cons of a public vote on the finalists; I tend to lean against it only because I don't think the majority of Bermudians (myself most certainly included!) would have more than a passing interest or knowledge of the various candidates. Even if we did our homework (the excellent site bermudabiographies.com is a very good site to begin), I don't think we'd come close to having the hands-on knowledge of the nominees that the committee would certainly possess, potential biases aside. Rather, the public should be free to suggest, publicly or via written submission, the names of said persons, to the committee for review, and those should certainly be taken into account (for example, if there's overwhelming public support for say, Clyde Best, they should push his name through immediately).

After that, the committee can deliberate and debate amongst themselves. Eventually, they should be able to come up with SIX worthy candidates to add to the four already chosen by their predecessors, it can be announced late in the year. To interject quickly, the announcement can come from the committee itself. Not submitted to a government Minister for approval. Not run by Cabinet for tweaking. Committee has final say, period. The following year, National Heroes Day can be set up for special recognition of the ten chosen heroes. And that's it. No additional members should be considered until ten years have passed. This will allow adequate time for the current crop to get full recognition, signage, inclusion on murals, buildings, public parks, etc. After ten years, if Bermuda so wishes/needs, the committee can reconvene (with new members if needed) and we can go through the process for a next group of FIVE. We shouldn't have to go through this process every single year, it's a waste of time and money when it can be done thoroughly and efficiently once every ten years.

I don't know if the new Government has Heroes' Day on its immediate agenda, it's not as critical an issue as employment, the economy, education and crime, of course. But I'd be happy if they at least took some steps to get rid of the ad-hoc, amateurish setup of the current process, and put in place a process that is clean, professional and one that Bermudians can be happy about.


Free Burial Plots

Saw the below ad on a newspaper site the other day:
So morbid, it made me chuckle...


Polls, the Unscientific Study

Well, this is interesting. In the wake of what is uncreatively titled as 'JetGate' in Bermuda, the two newspapers put up similarly-themed polls on their website.

Admittedly, the questions aren't identical, and there may be subtle language in one or both of the questions to lead an independent respondent to favour one response or another, but I'm not an analyst. For all intensive purposes, the polls are similar in scope in my opinion to warrant the same kind of result, which they clearly do not (see below):

The Gazette:
RG Poll
The Bda Sun:
Bda Sun Poll
It's pretty amazing that the results of these polls don't match up at all with each other. It also enhances claims that Bermudians may also be divided on which newsmedia they support, and how it may corroborate also with political leanings of each site's viewers.


Gambling in Bermuda, again

One of the things that bugs me the most about our antiquated laws regarding gambling is how Bermuda seems to pick-and-choose which particular aspects of games of chance are deemed to be legal and perfectly acceptable.
  • Poker? Nope.
  • Bingo? Yes.
  • Roulette? Nope.
  • Roulette at a Fair? Yes.
  • Slot machines? Nope.
  • Raffle tickets? Yes.
  • National Lotteries? Nope.
  • Betting on overseas horse races at various establishments? Yes.
  • Crown And Anchor? Depends on the day of year, and the venue. Sheesh.
Why the government feels obligated to legislate 'morality' is both silly and hypocritical. Appease the church lobby and perceived huge voting block? Almost certainly. But it doesn't change the fact that the above contradictions exist.

Bermuda missed the boat on not only a national lottery with revenue being used for either sports, charities or the impoverished, but also the poker tournament craze. Either of these had the potential to be a revenue stream for Bermuda (the latter serving as a tourism-boosting product, of course). I'm neither here nor there about the casino option; if the hotels wanted it, fine, but what about those bars/restaurants that used to have slot machines that were later confiscated? Surely it would be hypocritical to allow hotels to do it but not regular bars/restaurants? Anyway, I digress.

So here we are, another decade later, and the government considering a referendum to allow (only) casino-style gambling establishments to be implemented.

And if the proposed bill is anything like the crazy crap that turned a simple cell phone use while driving law into a convoluted, legal hole-picking misconstruction of a 'policy', we're in for some more crazy crap, with accusations of collusion, favour-dealing and other chicanery ready at the launch.