Less stress, more happiness

One of my personal goals for 2015 is to conquer stress. Better health and more productive relationships will result from a more active and less stressful lifestyle. I've been able to achieve a little bit of this during my vacation in Barbados, and hopefully it'll carry over into the New Year.

Peace and prosperity to you all.


He who knows what's best for the opponent

A bit funny, perhaps, to see how an article suggesting the PLP reform or disband, generates all manner of feedback from the usual pro-OBA contributors.

What's even funnier is the likelihood that the contributors would believe that PLP members and higher-ups will agree or take to heart any of the suggestions.

Just another week of political prognostication in Bermuda, I suppose. Every time a poll is released, people jump to conclusions or assumptions of how the voting public views Party A vs Party B.


Only a matter of time until the next road fatality

Waiting in line at the traffic lights at the junction of Church and Par-la-ville.  Light turns green, car in front gets ready to go, then zoom, grey hatchback runs through their red light.

People here just don't care, because they know there's little risk of them getting into trouble. Other motorists and pedestrians have to take evasive action. Might is right. There may be cameras at the junction (who knows?) but there's no policy or presence for these scenarios.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport pledged to release new campaigns a few months ago. Whatever, Min. Trans. The 'Slow Down' campaign? Did that even get under way?

Road users don't care, and the powers that be don't care.

And meanwhile, we'll continue to lose people, families will get the dreaded phone calls and their lives forever negatively impacted. Carry on, folks.


Installing new pedestrian crossings

In the wake of the unfortunate death of Peter Woolcock, the Corporation of Hamilton speedily acted to move the pedestrian crossing away from the roundabout, in the efforts of pedestrian safety.

While it does appear to provide a safer viewing line for motorists and pedestrians alike, I feel they could have done more - not to say that they aren't already planning to do so in the near future.

For one, there's no signage at either the new crossing or the old, to indicate the presence of a crossing. Yes, many people here ignore signage anyway, but it would be good to have appropriate signage indicating a crosswalk is present, particularly when visibility is low (nighttime or foul weather conditions).

I also think that any new crossing should be well illuminated, via reflectors on the crossing or otherwise, again for similar reasons.

Finally, this wouldn't be a bad location for a raised crossing to further encourage motorists to approach slowly, particularly those who are coming off the roundabout and are otherwise accelerating from the junction.

Primarily the signage should be in place. It's ludicrous that we now have an overabundance of signs for the parking regulations, yet fewer and fewer signs for road traffic/safety purposes. We'll see how it all turns out.


Another other Bermuda online news site!

They're coming thick and fast, to use some Bajan lingo. Bermuda Real is the newest addition to the Bermuda news/content online offerings.

This site has a slightly different delivery method to the current crop of sites; video delivery seems to be the preferred method here, which provides a potentially exciting way to go. I imagine there will be an audience for this, primarily those who eschew traditional print/literary methods. Key will be distinguishing themselves and getting early quick promotion.

Again, with a limited population and uncertain overseas appeal, is there room in the landscape for another news media source? I don't know, but considering the persons behind each of the recent ventures (in this case, well known journalist Ceola Wilson), I wouldn't bet against them one single bit.


New alternative to Bernews?

Just heard about a new local news site, Today in Bermuda. Apparently the brainchild of popular personality Carla Zuill, we now have another online site providing news and press releases.

What I gather from this launch is that perhaps, there is still potential for growth in an industry once seen as diminishing with the demise of the Bermuda Sun, although this venture looks moreso a challenge to the likes of Bernews and Politica than the traditional print media.

Wishing them well.


Another ho hum day in Bermuda politics

Round 1 began not too long ago. With little to no confidence in the politicians even pretending to get along a tiny bit, we knew things were going to get silly. Just a matter of what event(s) would trigger it.


Bermuda Blue

Aside from the partisan cheerleaders, nobody can be thrilled with how things are going among the country's leadership.



Resuming our regular broadcast of political blah-de-blah

After a bit of respite due to Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricane Gonzalo, we will now resume the usual political to-and-fro, starting with the upcoming bye-election.

The OBA and PLP have revealed their candidates.

Let the island's residents retreat to their respective corners and have at it. Ding.


Pink and blue mean bus, according to my son

So we're on the bike heading into town today and I point out the MV Longtail party boat which is on the rocks (with another boat smashed in between), as a result of the fury of Hurricane Gonzalo.

MV Longtail, in more seaworthy times
Little guy: That's a ferry boat?
Me: No, it's a party boat.
Little guy: But it's pink and blue so it should be a bus or ferry.
Me: Yeah, but it can't be a ferry. There are no seats.
Little guy: It's a ferry boat.

There's no convincing my 4-year-old otherwise. His astute logic refuses to be challenged by my mere objections.


Maybe politically there is no alternative

So the former Opposition MP-turned Independent-wanted a third party, gave up.

And with it, comes another nail in the coffin of any chance of Bermuda moving past the us-vs-them good-vs-evil two party machinery that divides the island by race instead of idealogy.

Of the recent MPs that have resigned from one party to become Independent, nearly all of them eventually either joined the 'other' party, or returned to their party. Mr. Lister is the lone voice that, dissatisfied with both, chose neither option.

I have many more thoughts but right now I kind of feel like "what's the point". Bermuda is what it is. Quo Fata Ferunt with a little Divide and Conquer thrown in.

Read Catch A Fire's thoughts on the situation, he brings up a number of points I agree with.


School's in, bottleneck traffic resumes

Warwick Academy started their school year today. This usually means that traffic in Warwick becomes mind-numbing, because the vast majority of the students are driven there by parents/guardians.

I'm taking the little guy to his aunt's house this morning. Here's the dialogue:

LG: Why are there all these cars?
Me: They're taking their kids to school.
LG: You Can Not be Serious...

Like I said a while back, children are freaking intelligent. And meanwhile, I'm going to be giving up an extra half hour of sleep in the mornings.


Dr. Brown front and centre, again?

It's probably just me, but I found it a bit unusual that the former Premier took the time at a Labour Day function to go into detail to his own personal/past endeavours while he was Premier of the country.

The tone of the speech did more to fuel the rumours that:

  • the former Premier is preparing to mobilise to re-enter Bermuda politics in some shape or form
  • the PLP and by association the BIU, could be planning to destabilise the ruling party led government by any means necessary.
Again, we still have a high number of Bermudians who feel frustrated and or left out of the possibility for success in this island, and need something to get behind or hope for. And there are no shortage of political movements out there willing to reel them on board.

Next year? Things are going to get heated in September and onwards, without a doubt.


Police blitzes are never for running stop lights

Still waiting to hear about Bermuda Police's big road safety project. Ho hum.

Meanwhile, the occasional traffic blitzes during morning rush hour continue. The usual checks for seatbelts and the like along slow-moving roadways when the volume of traffic is high and the speed seldom dangerous.

And once you get through that and into the city itself, you find yourself slowing down at a red light, only to find the car to your left speed up to get through, and the motorcycle *behind you* accelerate to pass you and zoom through after you've already stopped at the red light.

Yep. Bermuda traffic. Ho hum.


Advertising overkill

I'm sure this was just a one-time glitch, but it made me chuckle to see my Internet Banking screen look like this:
Advertising overkill: images
I suppose they were really, really trying to encourage me to click on one of the ads, that they displayed eight of them in a row above my Account Summary.

Oddly enough, that may actually be a good marketing strategy for a while. After all, people who are using Internet Banking are probably likely to be interested in other bank products. So why not throw the kitchen sink of opportunities at them? Heh.


The OBA and Gov TV

When the PLP-led Government created GovTV, UBP members were quick to claim that it was a waste of money. Frankly, I was in full agreement. Bermuda had three privately run TV stations, and if Government wanted to produce their own programmes for local consumption, using those avenues would have been cheaper than forming a brand new station. All this, without even going into their "only public station... if you're a cable subscriber" nonsense.

Several months into an OBA-led government administration, there hasn't been a peep on it. Rather, it would appear that the OBA are happy to let the station exist and do its thing. Which suggests to me one or more of the following:
  • The OBA(then UBP) claim that CITV was for government propaganda was a load of bollocks - and now that they're "in control", they own the propaganda medium if they wish, so no matter
  • CITV, rather than being a waste of money, is actually beneficial in that either it earns revenue or provides enough jobs to make it viable, in which case they should apologize to the PLP immediately
  • They, similar to what's happened with the public transport situation, haven't even given it a thought up to now.
The current Premier was one of the harshest critics of CITV on its formation. What says him now?

If CITV is a loss-maker for government, then it would make sense to try to farm out the infrastructure and development to FreshTV, the folks behind Channel 82, or the legacy broadcasters at VSB or Bermuda Broadcasting. But who knows.

Bermuda online commentating still abysmal

Online dialogue remains as vicious and nasty as ever, which isn't frankly that shocking. Go on popular articles on the Gazette or Bernews, and the comments section continues to be laced with personal attacks, stereotype labeling, claims of sheeple or kool-aid drinkers, self-centered attitudes and a complete lack of moderate dialogue or empathy.

It's like a boxing match except the combatants are wielding pitchforks and torches.

Despite clear and blatant missteps by *both* political parties in Bermuda, they retain a collection of (paid?) vociferous defenders and cheerleaders, who are adamant that the other side is the real evil and that only their side can lead the country out of the pitfalls currently being faced.

Reasoned discussion is looked upon with scorn unless it conveniently falls in line with the angle being argued over.

It takes thick skin to be a politician, yes, but it takes the hide of a rhino to put up with some of the nastiness online.

What will it take to have a place where people can respectfully discuss and debate without the usual flinging of crap? I'd have suggested a non-anonymous forum, but we've already seen on Facebook that people don't care how nasty they sound.

So, retreat to a safe haven, non-partisan reader or commentator. But prepare to be hounded nevertheless by those trying to win your vote, usually with a "don't let the other guy win, they're evil" message.


Long overdue, Carla Zuill

Carla Zuill's been doing this for years, with representation in the Gazette, the Sun and on TV, but it's only belatedly that I draw attention to her compiled works through this site.

Apparently she's also known locally as "The Oprah of Facebook", which has to be high praise indeed.

Give her offerings a whirl sometime, folks. Lots of varied subject material in her postings at CarlaZuill.com.


Bermuda post-Cup Match, let the storm rise

Bermuda's other de facto national holiday, Cup Match weekend, has concluded. The usual pontifications about coming together in unity, blah blah, have come and gone.

Meanwhile, the reality is that we still have significant national issues at hand and divisive ones at that. Our politicians by and large continue to fling mud at each other. Meanwhile, regular folk retain genuine concerns about employment and expenses.

Wouldn't be surprised to see August bring even more tempestuous situations for Bermuda. A hurricane could be only the mere appetizer for the chaos ahead.


The Bermuda Sun - farewell

It's extremely unfortunate that the Bermuda Sun newspaper is shutting down. My hearts go out to the staff there, from the editorial staff to the support folks to those at the printing presses and everyone in between.

They more than represented a key role in journalism in Bermuda but were often seen as a family paper, perhaps due to their community-focused sections and looks into items of interest not usually the focus of the daily, such as local sports, or faith-based articles.

With the economy in Bermuda still struggling, the prospect of future layoffs, redundancies and shutdowns in various areas remains a reality. I hope the fine staff are able to find new opportunities as soon as possible.

For me, I'm grateful to an organisation who not only provided a great outlet for news stories, but even allowed an inexperienced writer to contribute over a short period. You've been outstanding, Bermuda Sun.


I'm an unpaid blogger

To set the record straight...

I've been blogging on BeachLime for nearly 10 years, and have had a web journal of sorts for even longer.

I have not yet been paid by any political party, lobbyist, business local or foreign, spambot or Nigerian prince at any time.

If any of the above (except the prince) wish to now do so, feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your time and continued support.


The OBA and grassroot campaigns

Well, well.

Personally, I don't see how you can label a campaign as grassroots, if you're getting up to $350K from an overseas contributor (and who knows what else has been donated by other wealthy individuals or companies), but that's beside the point.

Interestingly enough, they've also admitted to having paid online commentators (why didn't they approach me, I could have used the cash, heh). That blows a huge hole in the arguments online that the PLP spearheaded the paid commentator movement (which has not to this day been proven in any sense).

Combine this with the chairman of the OBA resigning, and you now have a political party that will be further scrutinized by anybody that's not a (paid?) pure OBA supporter.


Casino gambling in Bermuda... zzz

The Min.Trans/Min.Tourism is already preparing Bermudians for a long wait to get the OBA's casino legislation in place.

As Jonathan Starling pointed out via twitter, we could have had a referendum on this, "ever since"!

I kind of wonder when the OBA started working on drafting the legislation. Was it the same time that they reneged on having the referendum and letting the people decide for themselves? Or was it earlier, when the strategy for killing the referendum was first mooted behind the scenes?

We'll likely never know, and meanwhile legal folks and consultants will earn good dollars for who knows how long.


Distrusting the Governor

So the hullabaloo that started when the Governor rejected a Parliament-approved request to open a Commission of Inquiry, turned into the Opposition walking out of the House, then a march on Government House, and finally into a request to dissolve Parliament and call for a fresh general election.

Talk about your political stunts.

Behind this call, which surely will be rejected (if not ignored outright), is a belief that there's some form of collusion taking place between the ruling political party and the current Governor.

Here's the thing. Without even a smidgen of evidence, this call is little more than scaremongering by the Opposition.

And somehow, the Opposition likely know this. There is an end-game in mind, but right now nobody not in the inner circle knows for certain what's going to happen next. That could be a cause for concern among the average politically-unaffiliated Bermudian resident.


Irritating moments: Grind My Gears Edition

Strange and stupid day, I think. First thing, I read two RG articles about gay marriage issues in Bermuda, and I hit the Comments section. Hoo boy. You already know what happens next.
Founding fathers of this tiny archipelago realized centuries ago to survive here you would need the protection and resources of God Almighty. Therefore the laws written were based on Biblical principles... ...Bermuda has been both blessed and protected. It has enjoyed prosperity, protection from natural disasters, and not having to explain to your children why 2 men are openly kissing in public. Or, worry about your children in school, because someone of the same sex can proposition them. These things are real. I'm not talking about Sodom and Gomorrah, I'm talking about your neighbors... ...You have been spared! Remember the story of the greatest tsunami ever written when God parted the Red Sea. It only takes one large wave to wipe this tiny archipelago out. God bless Bermuda!
A sad day indeed! Bermuda be cautious take your time on passing laws that 2yrs down the road may come back to bite you in the rear. You have been blessed and protected by God. Yes God! Do not be over hasty about any decisions that involve the well being and prosperity of this country, or the well being of those most vulnerable who live here. Bermuda you are being tested and tried right now. Pass the test! God bless Bermuda, and give wisdom to those who pass the laws in this territory.
That's right, we have one of those folks who equate God's blessings to protection from natural disasters and the like. It's the same stupid arguments used to validate the Hurricane Katrina tragedy by claiming New Orleans deserved it. We have too many wannabe prophets around the place, that much is a known fact. 

Second stupid thing. There's a big discussion about the Tucker's Town land grab of several decades ago. Then I see *this* gem in the comments.
...(You could even apply this theory to African-Bermudians in general - nowadays we condemn slavery unequivocally as we should. But are current-day Africans - undoubtedly related to living Bermudians - as well-off as the average Bermudian? There was a huge injustice in the past but it has certainly turned out very well for at least a few African-Bermudians.)
What the devil? Seeing such patronizing and border-line racist comments that imply that the descendants of black slaves ought to be grateful for what their ancestors suffered through? Just goes to show that you get twisted-minded people without an ounce of empathy, everywhere in the world.

The third thing wasn't anything I read, just something I experienced, which just added fuel to the proverbial bitchy fire I was surrounded by this morning. Went outside to get a snack, two young women approached. Instinctively, I held the door open. Women walked right through without even an acknowledgement.

I am not a freaking doorman.

Sure, I'm taking it personally. But the problem is that now I'm going to carry negative energy throughout the day from that gesture, only because people are too wrapped up in their lives to acknowledge each other. We're all in our bubbles and then wonder why some people lash out - because nobody can be bothered to give them a smile or encouragement or a helping hand. Politeness, good manners, attributes that used to be passed down from parent to child, have little value in today's society.

Okay, ramble over. Tomorrow will be better, right?


The 'I've been robbed, need cash fast' scam

This scam deals with someone pretending to be someone in your contacts list, trying to get you to wire them money... urgently.
Sorry for any inconvenience, but I'm in a terrible situation. I came down here to Manila,Philippines for a program, last night on my way back to my hotel room I was robbed at gunpoint, my wallet and other valuables were stolen off me, leaving my passport and life safe. My luggage is still in custody of the hotel management pending when I make payment on outstanding bills I owe. I contacted my bank (E-mail) for a wire transfer but it has proven almost Impossible to operate my account from here as they made me understand international transactions take 7 working days to be effective which i can't wait. I need you to help me with a loan to pay my hotel bills and get my self home. I will reimburse you soon as I get back Home. I will appreciate whatever you can assist me with. Let me know if you can be of help. All hopes on you.
Warm Regards,
Because the name and even the sender's email address appear legit, you're less likely to delete it than your standard 419 "send me money and you'll be better off" kind of scams.

However, it's still a full out scam. The first clue is that you're never addressed by name. Also, because there's an empty 'recipient' field, you should think that this was mass-mailed to a bunch of people. I know if *I* was robbed and desperate, I'd try to contact people individually and address them by name, and that's without even getting into the body of the email which is of the standard "no time to explain, just send money quick" variety.

Similar scams have been detailed here, here and here, and some of the advice relayed in those links should apply here.

Don't respond to the email (the scammers will likely then harvest your email address for future attacks or attempted phishing) if possible. If you can, contact the person whose email is being used, to inform them of the situation (by phone if you can, or an alternative email address). Perform your usual anti-virus and anti-malware checks to try to ensure you're not compromised yourself.


Bermuda's morning commute

Happiness is...

the morning commute when school's out for the summer.

Positively blissful compared to the alternative.


Price controls, a bad idea?

Bermuda Independent has outlined reasons why implementing price controls on grocery items may be a failure.

Are there alternatives that could make grocery shopping less of a hit to a struggling family's wallet? I don't know, but the discussion ought to start.


Wildcat strikes - Government's hem and haw

As long as the BIU can get what they want using wildcat strikes to inconvenience the public, they'll keep on doing it.

Government belatedly suggested legislation to ban wildcat strikes in the transportation sector, but put it aside after pressure by the BIU.

And shocking nobody who's not in Parliament, the BIU continues wildcat strike behaviour.

Ho, hum.


Tales of disgusting people

I'm mildly astonished by the fact that there are people among us who feel no way about littering or other disgusting activities.

Case in point, the other day I was in a fast food restaurant, this couple were sitting at an adjacent table. The man was packing away his trash and he knocked over an empty container which rolled underneath my table. Curious to see how this would develop, I showed no sign of noticing the event. The man took a look at where the box landed, then turned away and resumed packing up.

It was easier for that person to ignore the situation than to say 'excuse me' and collect his dropped item.

Case #2, airport lavatory. I already know that people are disgusting as heck with regard to hygiene and consideration of others, but I laughed at seeing the sign advising "Employees Must Wash Hands". Because, it's not a natural impulse to clean your hands after using a public restroom. Never mind the fact that we hear about new diseases passing around every week (not to mention common cold, or even the fact that people are in close proximity to urine and feces, period).

Both these situations happened in New York City over the past weekend, however this happens in Bermuda too, and certainly in other places across the globe (and notably, the so-called "developed world").

How can humans be so 'intelligent' yet so thoughtless, careless and disgusting?


The newest scam: Mailbox full

I think this one is a bit more clever, although it still carries too many red flags for someone to believe it's a legitimate warning message:
Dear Valued Customer,
Your mailbox quota utilization ([my email address]) has exceeded 85%. You may not be able to receive all new emails.
Please click here to avoid losing your files & Mail Service
You can now increase your mail service quota storage and/or number of accounts(s). 
Your Alternatives
If you're not ready to upgrade now, we recommend that you upgrade soon. 
You may access your current version, but we strongly encourage you to either upgrade to the newest version or review 
Thank You for Being A Loyal User
We hope you enjoy the newest version

David McDowell
Senior Director
Product Management
Remember folks, scammers are everywhere. Don't fall for their tricks.


About ganja tea

So the Opposition Leader has admitted to providing marijuana in the form of tea, to his daughter in the past.

Let the controversy and proverbial mud-slinging continue.

If and when the usual PLP sucks, UBP sucks, nuh-uh, uh-uh, dies down, there's an interesting and intelligent discussion that could take place over marijuana and potentially decriminalisation of the substance.

Our friends at Bermuda Blue have highlighted how this issue can be viewed by the outside world, and I suspect that at least a fair bit of how this will all play out will be influenced by larger-scale decisions made by Washington D.C.


Move Bermuda Day holiday

This petition has gathered steam extremely quickly. Basically, the suggestion is to change from the fixed date of 24th May, to a variable similar to US Memorial Day, Good Friday, etc.

I think it has merit, for one, it'll focus attention to the actual holiday vs just calling it "May 24th". I think that having it be the fourth Friday in May versus the last Friday would be preferable, mainly because it will give a bit more space between it and the June National Heroes Day holiday in situations where the last Friday is on the 28th or later.

Who'd have thunk, something that just *might* transcend politics, for once.


Bermuda's Premier resigns

After two meetings on Saturday and Sunday among the OBA MPs, it looked like things may have simmered politically for the time being.

But nope, instead we have the Premier of Bermuda resigning tonight, lending another chapter to the so-called 'Jetgate' event that's clouded Bermuda to some degree over recent months.

The storm isn't over by any means, however.


Digesting Jamahl Simmons's commentary

I think political mountains are being made of molehills when it comes to recent twitter statements from the (former) PR man for the PLP.

Recent tweets included:
If you are excluded from the society what do you care if society burns? You aint a part of it anyway. It might even be fun to watch it burn
What would happen if we stopped shooting each other and started putting bullets in the heads of those who hate us and won't hire us?
I think the inference from some quarters that he's inciting violence is misguided at best based on the above. Rather, he's pointed out a reality for at least a few Bermudians who may feel without hope in this economic and societal climate, and that for them, even if it's an illegal or immoral option, breaking the law via theft (or worse) becomes a realistic possibility.

These statements are the kinds of things that could be real sentiments of the out-of-work out-of-hope individuals, and should be taken into consideration by the powers that be when enacting policy. A country that has greater employment is one that is likely to have fewer instances of crime.

Government needs to ensure that they're trying to improve the jobs situation, through policy, education and dare I say it, better PR.

And all this, is without even going into the allegations laid out and commented on from Politica's inaugural report. That alone, is certain to invite deep discussion on the island for the next few days.

At least, until the "This too shall pass" moment comes around again.


Marketing 101: Use this phrase

Maybe it's just me, but I'm seeing tons of marketing campaigns, sometimes among rival companies, and often piggybacking off previously used-and-discarded ones, all using variations of the slogan "Get More".

It's extra-noteworthy for me when I see the two mobile phone companies each using that slogan this year. Maybe they share the same Marketing department?

The whole thing seems a bit unoriginal, but then again I'm not a Marketing guy. It's probably proven that people are responsive to ads telling people that buying their service or product will get them extra value for money. Just hit them with "more, more, more" and the dollars will roll in, heh.

Just a random observation for today.


The People's Manifesto

Appropriately, perhaps, a 'new' pressure group/labour movement marched on Parliament today and presented a document known as the "People's Manifesto" to Government.

A lot of people are frustrated with the lack of impetus on improving the job market by the current Government, despite efforts by Government MPs to suggest that progress is being made. I think it's still early enough in the OBA's tenure to say clearly if job prospects and opportunities have improved overall, as the economy still seems stagnant at best, and we're still faced with uncertainty with regards to tourism, casino gambling, the threats of industrial action, etc.

I've preemptively declared this group above as a labour movement based on the contents of their manifesto. This is mainly due to the suggested calls for a minimum wage, union membership for all, universal healthcare among others, in this document.

The request which will raise the most eyebrows (and red flags?), naturally, is the suggestion of income tax (point 2 in document). Bermuda's tax regime for so long has used a consumption model, so the thought of introducing income tax could provide grave concerns from most notably, the international business community.

Nothing definitively wrong with the suggestions in their entirety as presented of course, and pressure groups are more than entitled to declare their priorities.

I expect however, this combined with a fair number of the principals behind this movement to be strong PLP supporters (including a union chief), will lead to this being labelled an indirect offshoot of the Opposition party, and serving the effect of blasting the ruling Government from two sides, and potentially just leading to more of the same pettiness that we see in Bermuda politics... instead of a purely party-independent pressure organization with the potential to make each of the current political parties take notice and work harder to recognize and help solve the real concerns facing Bermuda.

Early days yet, still, of course.


The Belittlement Syndrome


No sympathy for private beaches

It's pretty hilarious that we now have a situation where a hotel with a private beach is objecting to a plan where an adjacent beach will have even more restrictive access in place.

I don't know if the legal framework will support the objection or not, but if they're looking for sympathy from the people who for stupid reasons can't get to the beach in the first place (i.e. a lot of residents), then yeah, good luck with that.

As always, when a beach access topic comes up, Mighty Gabby will have his say.


Scammers don't waste any time

Today the local newspapers reported on the name change of Capital G Bank.

Later this afternoon in my e-mail inbox:
Dear Clarien Client,

We are migrating clients to our new Clarien Server. We shall shutdown the previous server accordingly. Kindly activate your account on the new server below to avoid account being suspended.

Activate; [SCAMMY LINK removed]

Thank you.
Clarien Group
Scammers don't waste any time at all trying to prey on the public.


Remembering Boston and Hillsborough

15 April will be known for a long time as a day of tragedy in sports.

In 1989, 96 people died and hundreds more were injured during an FA Cup match in Sheffield. The inquests into the hows and whys of the affair have been re-raised, but that shouldn't take away from a tragedy that shook the soccer world.

In 2013, the Boston Marathon was affected by the detonation of bombs which resulted in three deaths and hundreds of injuries. Aside from being a more recent event than the former, this tragedy had the added impact of being deliberately created by men with evil intentions.

Today should be a day of reflection and remembrance for those no longer with us as a result of these tragic events.


Animal issues vs People issues

Anybody notice that whenever a story goes up in the local newspapers, if it's about pets or other animals, they tend to draw a lot of discussion, but if it's about people (either high achievers, sportsmen, etc.) they almost always draw zero to minimal comment?

Why is that?

Do people find animals fundamentally more discussion-worthy than other human beings and their accomplishments? Is this a sign of societal disconnect?


A Bermuda politics 'what if'

Browsing Bernews, another one of those articles that descends into tit-for-tat stuff in the discussion area, however this comment made me go a little "hm, what, huh, what if":
Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:
April 4, 2014 at 2:15 am
You speak as though you can prevent my future involvement in Bermuda politics. Stay tuned.
While such a speculative event may not necessarily mean that things will either 'start getting done' or that debates would be less farcical and more productive, it would bring a bit of interest to parliamentary debate, for starters.


We need a Road Rules Champion

I am glad that Bermuda Blue has contributed worthy topics related to road safety and the often-ignored fact that our fatality rate for road traffic-related incidents is still ridiculously high.

At current rate, we will have several more fatalities this year. That's several more phone calls to families, several more funerals. Maybe we the public need to think this way, to realize how proactive we ought to be with regard to road safety. I can do what I can to stay safe, but can I avoid being struck by someone who runs a red light, or who 'makes the nip' a bit too tightly?

For unknown reasons, road deaths get little more than the token acknowledgement by TPTB and the refrain of 'slow down', when what the country needs is a full-out change of tack, which needs to start from the top.

The Minister of Transport, or Public Works (and their Shadows), needs to champion the cause for improving the standard of driving on a daily basis. Get the Police, the Road Safety Council together, and dedicate real and ongoing resources to clamp down on atrocious driving habits and drive home the point that reckless driving behaviours would be punished. Drive home the point that driving under the influence of alcohol will be punished. Encourage road users who may be exhausted to not take the chance at falling asleep at the wheel. Improve street lighting and the quality of our road surfaces. Ensure our sidewalks and footpaths are clear for pedestrian traffic. Bring back signage to our pedestrian crossings and blind corners.

I put emphasis on 'ongoing' because bad habits in Bermuda are harder to get rid of than good ones. A two-week P.R. campaign+ traffic blitz isn't going to do it. Look at how many people still flout the law on mobile phone abuse, for example. We allowed it to become such an epidemic that once Government finally got around to legislation, it was pretty much a vain exercise at that point. A six-month campaign at the minimum needs to be put into place. There are enough creative minds in place here that can come up with cost-effective means to promote safe driving and pedestrian habits on a sustained basis.

Or will we be lamenting a half-dozen more deaths before year's end?


The BIU vs the OBA, part 3 (4? 5? no idea)

Nobody should be surprised that the BIU remain at loggerheads with Government. Now, after the OBA finally listened to the public's outcry over consistent public transportation disruptions caused by work stoppages (sometimes, totally unrelated to public transport itself), they've decided to push forward some amendments in the law to protect the public's interest.

Naturally, the BIU is objecting. And surprising nobody at all, they're calling a meeting for all membership during the middle of the day to discuss the ramifications to them.

The BIU head, showing a lack of genuine empathy for the public, referred to disrupted public transportation as a 'bit of an inconvenience', before pointing to a 1970s report to back up his belief that downing tools without notice is a fundamental right and without it, completely hinders workers' rights.

Hogwash, as they say.

What is so poisonous or abhorrent to the BIU about giving freaking (and legal) proper strike notice? Can anybody answer this?

On top of that, he's gone on to say that he's no longer interested in meeting with the government Minister of Home Affairs monthly, because he feels the Minister's pushing through legislation without previous consultation. Peachy. Just when the country needs more dialogue between decision-making bodies, we're getting a public spat (one-sided at the moment, mind you) instead.


Mortgages and why I hate Bermuda banks

I'm not surprised by the reveal that many Bermudians are having difficulty with mortgages of late, what with the economy still struggling and many people currently being jobless.

We've collectively put ourselves in this position, but it's the individual persons who are now in a position of trouble; the local banks wield all the power. It's only expected that individuals are now getting frustrated at feeling that there's little to no way out of a tight situation - instead several of us are now made to feel like we're mere commodities, barn animals or otherwise totally subservient to the banks.

Savings accounts? Minimal interest. Sometimes we have to *pay THEM* for the privilege of holding our money. Loans, on the other hand? Ha ha ha.

True story: when I was completely without income not too long ago, we approached our mortgage lender with the hope of renegotiating our terms. We were still in decent enough financial position where we weren't in default. However, with minimal savings at the time, we were looking to be able to spread out payments a bit more.

The bank's line was essentially that we ought to almost literally go into poverty before they'd consider. We felt belittled and insulted by their stance. I think they weren't going to budge unless we were literally eating nothing but Vienna sausages and could show that we were on the brink of default, before they said, 'hm we won't get anything from these suckers, may as well relent a little bit'.

I think this is partially why the Finance Minister indicated that he wanted to investigate the lending practices of local banks recently - although I don't have any expectation that these for-profit businesses would be at all interested in adjusting their policies (and why would they? Ownership is now overseas-based, and if they feel threatened, they can shift out at any time).

Basically, I feel that many of us are simply and irrevocably screwed.


I'm rich! The text message says so!...

From a SMS message on my (dumb) phone:
your mobile number was randomly selected as a winner of 2,500.000.00 on FREE LOTTO with Draw number (#6149102) email officialottoffice@gmail.com for claims. UU
Yeah. Death, taxes, and people trying to scam you. Constants in life.

Poll shows PLP ahead of OBA

... surprising nobody besides OBA diehards, apparently.

Don't OBA supporters recognize that the actions of the ruling Government have been controversial to say the least? Look at the percentage of polled persons who aren't satisfied by either political party at the moment. That is real, and likely undervalued.

To be fair, I suspect the PLP would be even further ahead if they didn't make their own blunders, but as is the nature of Bermuda politics, some people just can't help themselves.

Fellow blogger Bermuda Independent outlines some very legit reasons for the poll results.


CURB and legalized gambling

CURB has joined the referendum-supporting people. The only problem I have with their approach is simple.

Their argument against having casino gambling is that it will be detrimental to the black community in Bermuda. Fine. A legit concern.

However, I have yet to read a statement outlining their objections to current licensed gambling facilities in Bermuda, including one recently opened on Court Street. It kind of takes away from their arguments, in my opinion.


A plot to do away with gambling referendums

So apparently the OBA wanted to consider pulling back the referendum on casino gambling all the way back to at least April of 2013, and commissioned a study to investigate how to do it.

It's a "typical politics" approach from a political party that from inception pledged "A Better Way" and ran a campaign based on transparency and being honest. That now, has clearly been blown out of the water.

While the PLP and its staunchest supporters may be in no position to claim the moral high ground when it comes to secret strategies designed to maneuver around (and attempt to manipulate!) the will of the public, Joe Public has every right to be at the very least disappointed in these tactics.

This released document also begs the question of if the events of last October where the Opposition leader was called into a private meeting, followed by the reveal of the referendum question followed by the scrapping of such, was all an orchestration where the OBA deliberately threw a loaded question, guaranteeing a PLP backlash and thus providing impetus to scrap the referendum altogether under the guise of "attempted sabotage (via boycott or otherwise) by the PLP"?

The other major question I have is that if this situation is true, why did Government pass the bill to allow cruise ships to open their casinos in port? Was that part of the overall strategy, of a truly tactical blunder on their part? Because, if you're planning to open casinos on-island, why discourage cruise ship visitors from partaking in the new on-shore product by allowing on-ship casinos to compete for the tourist dollars?

Finally, and this has been asked by several others in the past, is what happened to change the minds of several MPs who rejected similar gambling bills in 2009? Not one MP to my knowledge has divulged their feelings on that particular aspect matter, and that's disappointing again... which seems the be the recurrent theme when it comes to most politicians in Bermuda.


Is this why the PLP Blog was on hiatus?

...because the MPs or Senators who may ordinarily be worthy contributors to such a tool are instead focusing their energies on op-eds in overseas online publications?

This seems like a most strange and unusual practice from a major political party of *any* country, not just Bermuda.

Why would they choose an audience majorly not in Bermuda to promote their op-eds versus the various local online (or print) sources, including their very own public party website? It just baffles the mind, and I can't comprehend, regardless of the actual content within, why this route would have been taken by sitting MPs and Senators.


Another local bank scam

It took a while, but the scammers are now trying me for Butterfield Bank (the multiple CapG ones I suppose are old hat). Now I actually do have an account there (no, there's very little cash there and the sooner I get out of it the better), but the scam is still laughable:
Dear Customer !

Due to added security measures on our banking and transaction servers, your account has been disables and auto selected for verification. Your attention is required to reactivate your bank account immediately.

[link removed]ACTIVATE NOW -:[/end link]

Thank you,

Bermuda - Butterfield Group
How nice. They even had an official-looking logo in the header portion of the message. However, they still fail the spelling/grammar test, the provide-enough-bank-jargon test, and make it all-too obvious it's a scam with the big "ACTIVATE NOW" link (which then fails the link-masking test too). Pretty desperate.

Try again, scammers.


The ICC's master plan closer to fruition

Not many in Bermuda are likely paying any notice to this, but international cricket is on the verge of turning on its head, thanks to the power brokers in India, Australia and England.

A proposal has been put forward which will essentially see all aspects of control of top flight cricket run through a bloc of the three most powerful (read: wealthy) nations. Monies ordinarily used to promote the game in the other Test-playing nations as well as the remaining 96 countries with national cricket boards, would divert back to the Big 3 instead.

What would this lead to?

  • The Big 3 playing full Tours amongst themselves; the remaining Full members would have to be content with scraps and handouts (India will throw enough bones at Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to retain their support, likewise Australia and New Zealand, most likely)
  • A two-tier Test structure, with the caveat that the Big 3 can never be relegated to the second tier (because of their financial clout)
  • The Associates, with even smaller pieces of the pie, would see themselves never being more than bit players at the table... Ireland, meet your glass ceiling... Zimbabwe watch out for the trap door
  • With more limited opportunities to play at the top level, the non-Big 3 nations would see their revenues and skill levels continue to diminish. The next Misbah-ul-Haq would have to ply his trade in the IPL, at best. The next Brian Lara may have to try to repatriate to England.
The whole thing is disgusting and disturbing for the game as a whole, and this Cricinfo article by J. Kimber covers much of why people who love the game should be concerned. I can only hope cooler heads can prevail and prevent a great sport from being defiled in such a manner.


Take care when you post on court/crime articles, Bermuda

Sometimes when I read the comments following local articles dealing with arrests or other crime/court related issues, I think that the situation's almost hilarious.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that some of them were satirical.

As it is, odds are that these are real people, exposing their real motives and potentially exposing themselves unnecessarily as either deluded or borderline crazy.

Much the same way that relatives of people injured in crashes or the like should be advised to avoid online news articles about said person, I think friends or relatives of people that are the subject of crime or court issues should do likewise. Even if you are supportive of the person involved, giving them an online 'shout-out' will only lead to negative consequences.


Look at the message not the messengers

Predictably, the announcement of the principals behind the motion to put the gambling referendum back into play has drawn undue criticism from some quarters.

Thing is that if the people were revealed to be random 'people in the street', they'd get criticised for being nobodies. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Look at the position paper put out. Agree with it, disagree with it, ignore it. Don't tear it down because you may or not favour the public figures who have put their names behind it.

Gambling referendum, keeping it on the front burner

In another display of 'people power', a group of individuals have officially called upon the ruling Government to change their plan to directly go ahead with legislation for casino gambling, instead putting the vote to the people via referendum (and thus returning to their original election pledge).

Let the parallels between this, the petition to keep the Lambe-Foggo clinic open, the Concerned Bermudians group that organised a march regarding the terms limit policy, and other groups that have served as a sort of pressure group, begin.

The group has launched their website and are ready to go.

Here's a summary of the government's dealings with regard to legislating casino-style gambling:

1. OBA election manifesto promises to put the issue of legalising gambling to a referendum vote.
2. OBA wins election.
3. A year passes, during which Govt ministers talk about gambling a bit, and are involved (both normally and controversially) with potential stakeholders in a gambling product.
4. Nearly 12 months later, word comes out that the OBA has suggested as a referendum question, a very suggestive and loaded one meant to encourage a 'yes' vote instead of being neutral in wording. Naturally, everybody expressed concern.
5. With the choice of rewording, revamping or even going full steam ahead with the referendum question before them, Government comes out with a "threat to disrupt" argument and decides to forego the referendum entirely, putting all blame on the PLP and ignoring the outcry from unaffiliated persons.

In a nutshell, the OBA took 12 months to come up with a referendum question, they were challenged on the wording of it, so they said screw it. That action has served to upset at least a decent portion of the voting community.

And thus, a collection of people are taking it upon themselves to try to lobby the government to honour their original promise to the people and call for a (fair) referendum on the issue of gambling (casino, but perhaps also other forms as well).

Will this particular incarnation cause the intended effect or will it become a "This too shall pass" moment? Shaping up to be an intriguing and critical January for Bermuda, I think.


The 'Get over it' crew, version 2.0

I wonder if the various pro-OBA commentators on the Gazette and Bernews realize how shrill they sound when they try to shout down anything that dares challenge the current ruling government's policies?

Case in point: the government's about-turn on a pre-election promise to plan a referendum on legislated gambling. A group of people are not happy with the choice, and want to petition against that move. Suddenly, they are being lambasted by a vociferous pro-OBA support base.

Haven't they learned anything from when a pro-PLP support base used to rake them over the coals for daring to talk bad about the previous government's policies? At all?

The issue is *not* about pro- or anti-gambling. It's about breaking election promises. It's about turning a biased referendum question into a "take our ball and go home" moment and not following through on pledges. It's about going an entire year of hemming and hawing and then going in a completely different direction, shocking the public.