Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The PLP Government is committed to enhancing our tourism product and attracting guests with plenty of disposable income to our island. To that end, the PLP Government announced that a mega yacht marina is coming to Dockyard.
The marina development is a public-private partnership designed to attract discerning visitors to our shores. The first class facility will feature around 200 slips designed to accommodate vessels of all sizes, including mega-yachts.
The mega yacht marina is part of the PLP Government's continued commitment to Platinum Period upgrades to our tourism product.
Is it just me or does the PLP seem to be living in some lovely fantasy land where Bermuda's tourism industry isn't going down the tube? I swear if I hear about our Platinum Period one more time I will write a strongly worded letter to our Government asking where my dividend got lost.
We as a country don't have the money right now to be spending on this kind of fanciful idea that may... or may not pay dividends far in the future. I would rather see healthcare provided to our seniors than money thrown into a project that I can see being yet another complete waste of public funds.
Perhaps our Government should concentrate on fixing our failing industry as it is rather than grasping at straws in the hope that something will save their record in the tourism department.
It seems like they, like me, are indulging in just a little bit too much,
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Knowing the bus schedule is no use though if buses leave when they please!!
Today I had a reasonably important appointment I needed to make in town so I arranged to be at the bus stop waiting 10 minutes early to ensure that I didn't miss it. Needless to say I was informed by a friend of mine that she had been on that bus and it was already in town by the time I got to the bus stop! Thankfully I managed to scrounge a ride off of another friend of mine but, the fact remains that such an occurrence is completely unacceptable. I understand variations in times due to traffic but, this bus I later found out left its starting point 15 minutes early. Leaving me stranded. I managed to get around it this time but, the schedule is the schedule and I for one need those buses.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Oh technicalities how our courts do love them so but, don't get me wrong I'm not here to criticize our court system. It is the prosecutors who deserve the blame for the latest in the comedy of errors that is our court system.
Bowen cleared in road death
It would seem to me that the issue revolves around the breathalyzer test that determined whether Bowen was in fact drunk or not. Somehow the prosecution managed to have their case thrown out because of some lack of paper work or some other legal technicality that would probably go straight over my head if explained to me.
I don't mean to suggest that the prosecutors don't have an extremely difficult but, we need to step up a bit here Bermuda. We can't leave these important cases in the hands of people who are making mistakes like this.
I am hoping that when further information becomes available this will become less of a shock to me and perhaps it will even become understandable but... You know about me and...
Monday, October 26, 2009
British group highlights homophobia in Bermuda
It's disgusting that Bermuda has a mindset that would be more appropriate in centuries past.
No where does this homophobia manifest itself more obviously than in the youth of today and it disgusts me. It seems so hard for so many to draw the connection between homophobia and gay-bashing to other equally as unacceptable forms of discrimination such as racism and sexism.
The first two have been recognized and we have seen a change in the way people view such forms of discrimination as well as seeing an implementation of legal safeguards to combat them, sadly Bermuda falls far behind in both legal action and even social mindset when it comes to homosexuality.
I'd like to think that by the time my life is over Bermuda will have changed but historically Bermuda has always been slow to move forward... So that may just be some more...
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'd say we're rather fond of it here in the West and personally I'd be a tad upset if we lost it. But, I think we need to recognize one of the greatest protectors of freedom of our time. An advocate of freedom of the press, of open and frank discussion and most of all government transparency.
Yes you've guessed it! It's Dr. The Honorable Ewart F. Brown Jr. JP. MP.!
He's attempted to gag the press
He's shouts down opposition with cries of racism and appeals for party unity
He has shown himself to have an autocratic style, keeping his cards close to his chest far from the sunshine of public scrutiny.
He's even responsible for the oh so famous "We had to deceive you" comment.
Now on the eve of his announcement of PATI legislation in his speech to the nation (which has now turned out to contain some major, potentially fatal flaws) he has again blessed us with a true insight into the way a democracy should work.
"But it is not over. I wish I could stand here tonight and tell you that the departure of the Mid-Ocean News — may it rest in peace — I wish I could tell you that — someone sent me an e-mail when the announcement was made about the Mid Ocean, and I can't remember who it was, but it said: 'One down, one to go.'"
Laughing, he continued: "I have no idea what that meant, but let me say this to you that every day the citizens of this country still awaken to something negative about either the leadership or something that's designed to be divisive about the party.
"And I want to thank you for having the intelligence and the fortitude to resist that and to make sure that the PLP remains the Government and forever the strongest political party in Bermuda."-From this Royal Gazette Article
At first I thought that perhaps the loss of a newspaper on this island, which doesn't have very many sources of information as it is, was a blow to democratic principles. But, our Premier has set me right yet again! The Mid-Ocean news through its reporting of stories that could potentially shine a negative light on our glorious leader and his government has committed an atrocity that should never be forgiven nor forgotten. The sunshine of public scrutiny causes sunburn and no one likes to be burnt. Especially not politicians. Therefore this is a great step forward! One down, one to go! Amen!
Now we just need to get rid of that pesky Bill Zuill and his meddling reporters and poor Dr. Brown will at last be free of those vicious factual attacks that are destroying our democracy! Until then we can only hope.
Hope and devote ourselves to that wonderful habit of...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bermuda has the ability to join the global leaders on this topic, taking an important step forward and righting a wrong that has existed for millennium or show itself to be no better than the Bermuda and the world of old.
In the words of HRC Chairman the lack of a solution to this issue "is a violation of all human rights laws and the right to human dignity."
Supported by the Amnesty International Bermuda;
Backed by the Bermuda Bar Council;
And with such political figures like Renee Webb and Dale Butler behind it;
This issue could be nothing other than the glaring absence from our Human Rights Act of what some activists have called simply two words and a comma. "Sexual Orientation,".
So what exactly does it mean that this two words and a comma is nowhere to be found within the legislation that outlines the legal basis for the Human Rights possessed by all people. Well put simply it means that those self evident truths, those unalienable. natural rights possessed by all men and women by birthright are curtailed for no reason other than archaic homophobic bigotry.
It is time we move beyond the ignorant ideas that the campaign against protection under the human rights act has based their arguments upon throughout the world. One cannot claim Homosexuality is a choice in a world where such a choice makes one vunerable to the worst kinds of vicious attacks, one cannot claim it is a hedonistic activity engaged in only by the immoral without exposing an argument based solely upon bias and hate and in this day and age one cannot claim it's illegality based on a verse in a religious text written two millennium ago which is almost completely disregarded in most other walks of life. It's time for this to end! We live in the time of secularism, of the rights of man, of freedom, of justice and of equality. Or do we?
That is the question that Bermuda will answer as the outcome of this struggle becomes apparent. We have some major legislation coming forward as parliament reconvenes the session, including the discussion and implementation of the crucial PATI legislation but, those two words and a comma; those simple symbols which mean so much; which can garuntee freedom, liberty and equality; which separate the modern from the archaic, the just from the unjust and open minded from the bigots cannot be allowed to fall by the wayside. The gauntlet has been dropped Bermuda. Assume your place as a leader on the world stage. Or prove to me that I am condemned forever to expect too much, to hope for what is not and to engage again and again in that age old curse of...
Unfortunately (I suppose its a failing of mine) I can't stay on the positive side for long. Our Premier posed quite a lovely picture to us when he spoke on the topic of International buisness. Reiterating Bermuda's status as a "sterling" option for business and stressing the fact that buisness has left us for Ireland and Switzerland not out of need for a stable political climate and not because they are running away from the policies of his government but, rather because of their predictable tax climate.
From TBS's announcement that they are moving to Ireland:
"Ireland offers a stable political and economic environment and sophisticated, well-developed corporate, legal and regulatory environment. "
Seems clear as day to me. Is it not the same for you?
I'm not claiming that the only reason that companies are leaving is because of our Government, the financial crisis has exacted a heavy toll upon many international companies and for a while the tax issue with America was a major issue. However once again Bermuda has emerged unscathed, its necessity to the insurance industry apparent and its hard work to get itself off the gray list rewarded but, the fact remains that at times our government's treatment of international business has bordered on antagonistic (at least publicly, what actually goes on we can't know. Especially considering we don't have PATI yet).
IB is the only pillar of our economy now that tourism has been utterly wrecked by the combined actions of our glorious leader and the global recession. A worrying trend has become apparent in the way IB is going and our government seems completely unable to even recognize it, never mind fix it.
I have a lot of respect for someone who can admit they are wrong and then move forward to correct their mistakes but, clearly hoping for anything of that like in this day and age, under this government is
Yup, you guessed it
Friday, October 16, 2009
Then he began to discuss tourism.
He firstly told us that Bermuda is holding its own. (Which apparently therefore means holding our own is DOT talk for "we're falling far behind our competitors every time tourists make their vacation choices")
He stressed that 85% of our visitors come from the US and therefore it's understandable that arrivals are down what with the global financial crisis and all and ensured that he explained exactly why it wasn't his fault that tourism is pretty much on its way out as a pillar of Bermuda's economy (if it hasn't left already).
Dr. Brown also brought us some bad news:
- that recovery is likely to be slow
- that new hotel developments are likely to be iffy due to the lack of capital.
Worrying that I'd missed some great precious metal time span I immediately did a little research and the thing that first jumped right out at me is this:
Air Arrival's Spending Drops to 1980 Levels
Hmm... "Isn't that a good thing since the 1980's were still good tourism years?"
Well actually no, inflation decreases the value of money as time goes on and while the same amount of money may have been spent in 2008 as 1980 the actual purchasing power of that money has decreased huge amounts. Isn't that what defines a Platinum Period? The Amount of money that it brings to the economy? Or are we talking about something completely different?
Doesn't that actually suggest that we're in a slump if anything? Or does The Good Doctor know something I don't? Numbers are down, revenues are down and tourism is almost down and out. It's not a recent thing, the recession might offer a good short term excuse but, it takes only a short look at the numbers and we can see it's a trend that has been prevalent for a number of years now.
Expecting anything but, spin and rhetoric from our Tourism Minister about our failing industry seems everyday to look more and more like yet another example of
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Number of thoughts and ideas meaningful to all who care about Bermuda
A call to do what we do when we celebrate our personal birthdays
Where are we?
· Holding our own
· US 85% of our visitors
· When measure of tourism is lowest we should not be surprised
o At this time last year we knew it would suffer
§ We might experience lower arrivals, sale and occupancy
§ Matching performance of previous years impossible
§ Credit crises make it hard to secure funding for new construction
· We did not cause this economic downturn
o Did not cause or control effects
· Recovery expected to be slow
· Government continuing to implement strategies to attract visitors
· 3rd pga grand slap -> 300 million US homes and 100 countries
· Music festival -> Awesome talent
o Visitors can’t resist
· Boston red socks giving great exposure
o Should bring more visitors over next few years
· Pushing cause of low cost carrier from here to UK
o Replicate zoom
· Scarcity of capital resulted from credit crunch
o Believes that all projects will come to fruition
· We will experience delays
o Hope that we will have financing and break ground Park Hyatt -> Next few months
o Irresponsible to talk about which projects have problems
§ Would not help
o Soon return to platinum period
· Continues to value and nurture unique position
· Remarkable achievement of 16 TIAE agreement -> OECD white list
o OECD vice chair -> With Germany and China
§ Powerful illustration of Bermuda’s position in financial world
· Working hard to make sure Bermuda is best possible place
· Constantly attracting new businesses
o 600 new businesses in 2009
o Effective tried and tested regulation model
o Sterling reputation
· Correct falsehood concerning departures to Swiss and Ireland
o Motivated for need to more stable or Government running away
§ Actually they want a more predictable tax environment
· Swiss already has tax treaties and transparent tax system which cannot be changed by US congress unlike us and our competing Oversees Territories
· Companies choosing to take the chance for unchanging tax system
o Government understands and will continue efforts to fight tax legislation
§ Bermuda office
· Step up efforts -> Negative effects US would incur
§ Met with congressional law makers and Attorney General
· Government working on 2 initiatives
· Working with US coast guard -> Training and equipment for drug enforcement on sea
· Morgan’s point opening
· Working on relief for stop list
· Not just written for Bermuda
o We will work to stop people even getting on stop list
· Government commitment to fight crime
o High levels have to stop
o Misdirection of young and drift towards gun crime biggest problems
o Deeply frustrated with current approach
§ Constitutionally we have no say in how fight is managed
· Tell UK government that people of Bermuda need control of BPS
o We need solutions now and we are going to find them
· Tonight we are delivering on our promise for PATI
o Draft PATI bill is in public domain
§ Fridays official gazette with provide more info
o Will be tabled when parliament reconvenes
o Government considers well being of people equally or more important than anything else
§ Free and subsidised healthcare delivered
§ Numerous enjoying future care
· Will continue to be refined
§ We unveiled Bermuda’s first 24 hours drug treatment facility
§ Committed to providing shelters for homeless -> And support they need to become productive again
§ Encourage entrepreneurial excellence
· Economic empowerment zones
§ More aggressive finding jobs
· Identify companies violating immigration laws and force them to stop
· Cease to be motivated by differences of opinion -> Common love of Bermuda
· Focused as one people for one Bermuda
o We only need to reflect for one minute to know that if not for the unity of those who first arrived we would not be here today
· Everyone looking forward to Royal Visit
· Summon strength of Bermudian character
o Help less fortunate
o Make prosperity available to all
o With god as out witness we will move toward uniting to become one people for one BermudaI shall hopefully find the time go through the speech a bit at a time over the next couple of days so check back soon for my particular opinions on the points presented.
The full speech has now been made availible on the RG website.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
There's no going back – UBP rebels
The specific area that caught my attention was this:
"We do not believe that the current political parties can do that. To be absolutely clear, none of the ex-UBPers will be returning to the fold of the UBP, no matter who becomes leader of the UBP and no matter what changes they say they can make."
To me this sounds like nothing more than a "You were mean to us so we're not playing with you anymore, we've got our own game now". It's nothing but, self serving, selfish rhetoric. The six have made their opinion clear regarding what their problems with the UBP that caused their split were. Turning around now and saying that regardless of what improvements the UBP can make they refuse to rejoin will help nothing at all.
It's commendable that the six recognise the baggage the UBP carries and how ineffective as an opposition it is but, if it can at least begin to make important step forwards then by remaining divided it will only weaken the ability to provide a strong opposition to the PLP government. Especially with the prospect of a possible snap election it would be absolutely ridiculous for the UBP and the new party to compete against each other. They share similar values, or they would have never joined the UBP in the first place and two parties representing the same ideals can only split the vote and result in the PLP coming out on top yet again.
Bermuda cannot deal with another 5 years under Dr. Brown and it cannot deal with much longer without a viable opposition. If the six are truly considered only with whats best for Bermuda then I expect them to do what is truly best even if that includes giving up the opportunity for personal glory and coming to a compromise with a duly reformed UBP. Obviously should the UBP fail to reform as it needs to then the six are the only hope for Bermuda politics unless another party is going to pop out of nowhere and I hope they hold their ground and make the changes that our entire system so dearly needs.
Of course even expecting that a reformed, united UBP could be successful in the racially charged climate that is Bermuda politics is probably just
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Come on Bermuda!!
Strikes (Perhaps there is a better word for it other than strikes?) are sometimes necessary, they are, during tough times, a vital tool to ensure workers are not exploited and are given fair consideration and treatment by their employers but, often in Bermuda I find myself completely dumbfounded by the reasoning behind some of the work stoppages.
Union meetings should happen on Union time, NOT on employer time. Is that really a belief that only I hold? Is it really so illogical? Or is it just that expecting such logic to be applied to actual reality is just
Monday, October 12, 2009
"He told The Independent: "The UK should offer to take more of those detainees... More could be done, as illustrated by the recent row over the US negotiations to transfer some to Bermuda. The Foreign Office was upset that the Americans negotiated directly with the Bermuda Government, bypassing the British.
"However, the real point is that if the Foreign Office and the British Government had been more helpful regarding detainee transfers then the US wouldn't have felt that it had to go direct to the Bermudans (sic).""
Don't be alarmed if you have to read that one a few times just to make sure that you're understanding what's being said correctly. It appears to be a common side effect along with repetitive head to desk contact and weeping.
Although hardly necessary in my opinion I shall now break down this little jewel for anyone who cares to read on.
"The UK should offer to take more of those detainees"
I am more than tired of hearing that any country other than the U.S. should be "accepting more of those detainees". It is absolutely disgraceful that the U.S. can get away with such incredibly hypocritical behavior. Obama seems to pander only to his American voters rather than to the global community as the so called "leader of the free world" should. In this way he is just as bad as his predecessor (although Bush couldn't even please his own people never mind the international community). Until the U.S. will accept responsibility at least part of a problem that THEY created they have no moral ground to stand on when they wish for others to accept these detainees. The U.S. can beat the humanitarian drum as loudly as they like and leaders like Dr. Brown can beat their people over their heads with it until the cows come home but, I for one am sick and tired of this hypocrisy and quite frankly childish behavior. It is unfortunate that these detainees are caught in the middle of this situation but, the U.S. can not be allowed to hold the rest of the world hostage. Two wrongs do not make a right and quite frankly no the ends do not justify the means so do it right and do it, at least partly, yourself.
"More could be done"
Step 1 - America accepts responsibility for at least some of the detainees
Step 2 - After a reasonable amount have been accepted into America further relocation efforts are pursued through the proper channels
Doesn't take a Law Lord to work that plan out.
"The Foreign Office was upset that the Americans negotiated directly with the Bermuda Government, bypassing the British."
Lets see if we can do a bit of word association here:
Law Lord -> Laws -> Constitution
Am I really so naive to think that a Law Lord should understand the importance of a constitution? I really hope that I'm not. Purely to preserve my sanity I'm just going to assume that this Lord Goldsmith spoke without researching the Bermudian constitution. For those of you that have forgotten the Bermuda constitution reserves the responsibility for external affairs for the Governor (presumably with the assistance of the British Foreign Office). Rather than some petty ego issue that Lord Goldsmith seems to suggest is the cause of the row it is in fact a breach of law, yes Law Lord Goldsmith, law! Surely someone involved so closely in Law should be aware of the severity of a breach of the constitution.
"However, the real point is that if the Foreign Office and the British Government had been more helpful regarding detainee transfers then the US wouldn't have felt that it had to go direct to the Bermudans (sic)."
Oh... So it's Britain's fault and there I was blaming Dr. Brown and his American contacts. How could I have been so silly? How could it be the American's fault that they conducted negotiations with someone they knew didn't legally have the right to do so, obviously they were forced to do so because Britain wasn't willing to lie down and let the American government walk all over them and force them to accept more detainees than they felt they should.
What a ridiculous world...
Law Lord used to be a title that carried a certain amount of respect to me much like the Premier in Bermuda. On both instances now I've been shown that to expect that someone who holds such titles to possess certain levels of maturity, reason and goodness is nothing but
Sunday, October 11, 2009
While some have criticized Cole Simmons decision to meet with the Chinese Ambassador to England I can't say that I believe such criticisms hold any water. He was not negotiating or deciding anything, he was asking questions. He was seeking information, information that until now the public had never received. I respect Mark Pettingill but, his accusations that the act was "constitutionally wrong and candidly not sensible" are quite frankly ridiculous. Cole Simmons says it well when he says "Would Mr. Pettingill not warn people in a building about a fire because he is not a fireman?".
Our government has shown a clear disregard for the constitution in the way they accepted the Uighers but, that situation and the current one are completely different. Perhaps the best way to describe the difference is the describe the first situation as an Act and the second as an Ask. Acting is a power reserved for the governor, Asking on the other hand is the democratic right of each and every Bermudian including our opposition and therefore Cole Simmons.
I wait eagerly for any government response on the issue and hope that it can be resolved without any ill effects on Bermuda's trade with China, thankfully I know that the Governor and the Foreign Office in England will be calling the shots on this one so hopefully it'll all end well. Although the extradition demand could be a problem if China sticks by its guns on that point. I hope that Dr. Brown's actions will soon pass into the history books without any adverse effects for Bermuda but, then again I have a habit for,