I found myself confused so I put pen to paper as that can often allow me to work through things. I’m a bit of a news/information junkie. I follow the news here and overseas and appreciate that each culture colours events, reactions and reasons. I’m also an intellectual that tries very hard to divide emotion from arguments of race-, class-, socioeconomic- and all the other –isms you can think of. I think of myself as a modern mind, someone who is able to see both sides, who knows that racism goes both ways, that whilst a form of white privilege exists, it does so in a more institutionalised manner as opposed to active. I believe that people hurt each other but the inherent reasons quite often are bigger than their own heads. That in the nature versus nurture argument, it is often put aside as inconvenient the actual nurturer. We speak about teaching kids to hate as if that is the part at which this needs to be fixed but brush over who taught them and how many others are they teaching. (more…)
Guns are the new knives?? November 15, 2010
There has been a marked increase in violent crime in Bermuda, with the prevalence of gun crime being the most obvious increase. Gang “warfare” is the easiest example of this but in recent months the use of gun in commonplace crimes has increased exponentially. Not that any crime against another person should be considered commonplace but there are always degrees, init? Hearing stories of gang members shooting at each other is almost a non-event nowadays (which is an unfortunate statement in and of itself). But to hear of robberies and muggings where the assailant is armed with a gun as opposed to a knife? Yup, that’s still is a bit of a shocker. I mean, these categories of crimes are by definition crimes of chance. So that means we now have “random” people walking around with guns just in case. Which can also be taken to mean, that contrary to the official line, there are a helluva lot more guns on the streets than we originally thought. Yeah, I know, scary. Even scarier is realizing in a very real way that, unlike the gang fighting, this brings the gun scrounge to everyman Bermuda.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve had reports of women, young girls, taxi drivers and others being held up and robbed at gunpoint. Yes, “young girls” was not a typo. This is definitely a new Bermuda in ALL the completely wrong ways. This is progress? How is it that as the more the world around us gets smaller and more connected, we are actually getting less civilized? And how do we stem this tide of lawlessness? Is the answer a return to community values of old, changes to policing methods, changes to legislation, all of the above? If so, how much of the change we need is dependant on each part of the whole?
There is a saying I love. Not sure who it’s attributable to but it goes, “You must become the change you wish to see” or something like that. I think in that one line, we find an answer to these and many other issues on our small, insular island. The solutions are in each and every one of us.
Arbitration, myth or truth… August 17, 2010
Now, see, I kinda always thought that an Arbitration award is a standing legal agreement by two parties as a concession to not going completely through the court, and is as solid as a court of law judgement… Correct me if I’m wrong. Anyone? Anyone?
So why is it now being reported by the various news media on the island as well as backed up by the BPS themselves that the arbitration determination/award agreed to between the gov’t and the BPS, in like 2008 (!), is being reneged on STILL by the gov’t. Say who with the what now?? This is the same people we are asking to put their lives on the line in an exponentially increasingly dangerous job. And yeah, the non-payers to this award they themselves agreed to are those selfsame people that think that tourism jaunts to China are cost-effective…
I’ll give you cost-effective. Pay people what they deserve and stop penny-pinching on the important stuff while having a free-for-all anytime you want on things that aren’t as important. If you get confused, ask the average person on the street. I can bet you he’ll rate crime fighting and prevention way higher than the Love Festival.
Seriously, this is not cool. Not cool at all. There are certain civil positions that should be fairly compensated for. It’s just the right thing to do. This childish, “no, you’ll have to make me” crap… it’s wrong. Period.
Amazon’s Kindle March 4, 2010
*This is not an advertizement!!*
I mean, I do quite love my Kindle and the easy access to all manners of tras… I mean, erudite tomes. But I wanted to say, I happen to think that Amazon’s customer service is tops. So a month after getting my Kindle without a case, yes I know smart, I happen to be carrying it around in my bag and it just happens to get a crack in the screen. I was so not impressed and fearing the worse I called them. Explained the issue and then said… “We’ll send you another one to replace it”. As easy as that! No call to a manager, so smart talk about what is wrong with you that you broke it within a month. No sucking of the teeth or rolling of eyes. See where I’m going with this?
I can’t even remember the last time I had service like this (if ever) in Bermuda. It wasn’t just that they served me politely or simply, it was that they understood that I CHOSE to spend my hard earned money with them and thusly they were “indebted” to me. I was valuable as a return customer. I was valuable as a customer period. Bermudian businesses as a rule tend to forget the two hallmarks of a winning model, good products and better service. There was a great letter to the Editor in the RG yesterday (03/03/10) that said it way more succintly than I ever could. Have a read and tell me if you don’t feel the same as him or have been in the exact same sitchs. Cause I have and that’s one main reason I dislike shopping in Bermuda.
But back to my Kindle, the baby is replaced and new. New books have been uploaded and Amazon is amazing. All is again right with the world… ish.
Budget Day 2010 February 27, 2010
Okay, I’ve always been taught that a budget is a tool that allows you to better know where your money is going to as well as allow you to figure out the best way to amp up your savings… REALLY wishing right now that my gov’t had been given the same lesson. Sigh.
Okay, if you’re at all a person who reads the blogs or any bermudian media online sites (and I’m guessing that’s how you stumbled across this mishmash of comedic musings), then you know that the 2010 budget was read out this morning by the Finance Minister, Paula Cog… um, sorry, Cox. Thanks “Lets”, I’m trying to be serious here. But anyhoo, back to what I was saying… which was… oh yes, WTF?
I haven’t read it completely word for word but I did read as much as I could in between bouts of calling my mom to see if I happened to have any rich relatives that were planning on going belly up and giving me some much needed money. “Are you sure? You’re not adopted and didn’t tell me? Cause you look like a Gates, I’ve always thought so, you know.” Okay, I’m done. But seriously. There were some good things about this budget and some meh things… and then some, what were you thinking things.
I’ll admit, the rise in car licensing fees while personally something I will abhor come birthday time is kinda understandable. Mind, most of the working class people are the ones with cars (just more of them by definition) but hey, this might make people choose to get smaller cars and that’s always a plus for the environment and congestion, ish. The payroll tax exemption for the taxi drivers is a great thing. They, as an industry, has been hit hard with the decrease of tourist dollars. And I don’t suspect too many fisherman will be showing up at the open mics to shout at the premier. And I’m really glad the cops got an increase in their budget. Rumours abounded that she was decreasing them but that would have royally irked me. In this current sitch we find ourselves in with the increase in criminal behaviour, namely gangs and shootings, we need to give as much support to the people willing to put theirs lives on the line to protect us – whether it be personal, community and/or monetarily.
Now the not so great. Firstly, how the (excuse my french) EFF are we decreasing the Education budget by 4%?? And to increase the MoTT (tourism and transport, not apple juice) / Cabinet office by 10%?? And to raise the payroll tax on us by 2%?? Man, I’m running out of question marks and I haven’t even gotten to the allowing of pension plans to be effectively looted (and no, that’s NOT the gov’t one… the personal one).I’d get upset about the raise in Foreign Currency Exchange Tax as that really only affects those who are paid in bermudian dollars, ie, bermudians… as most expats in IB can be paid in US dollars, but luckily for my blood pressure we weren’t informed by how much it will be increasing. I’ll save that blow up for later, shall I?
Education. SIGH. Okay, so we are having issues with graduation rates and it’s a widespread view that education is pretty much the social issue on this island that affects just about every negative and, yes positive, social issue. So, what do we do, we take money from them. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are probably quite a few areas we can cut back on in the MoE, like, I’da know, *cough* consultants. But your budget usually indicates level of support. And I’m sorry, cutting that budget when you’re increased the entire budget by 9% and some ministries by even more? Not very important to you or at least it seems that way.
MoTT/Cabinet. Wow… just wow. I’m not sure I even know where to start. Well, the Cabinet. Not totally sure what they do besides release those YouTube videos (youtube/105frontstreet or something like that?) so meh. Maybe they really need the money. Transport. Again, besides having a car and enjoying the fumes of our buses whenever I’m stuck behind them in Hamilton, not really my thing. Tourism now, *grin*, I kinda got an opinion or two on that one. I’d like to quote myself and say, WTF? Okay, tourism is (supposedly) the second tier of our economy. I get that. But again, your budget shows support. So the mangling the tourism product has been given over that last couple of years is not only fully but increasingly supported by our “government”. Right. I’d love to work at a job that my client base decreased exponentially year over year, mostly regardless of outside influence, yet I was given raise over raise year after year. Can I buy THAT for a dollar? (A: not in Bermuda, not anymore anyway, unless you are on the F&F plan of course).
Payroll Tax. Yeah, this one pissed me right off. No, I know, it’s not all that much. I mean, it does mean my payroll tax has increased by 20% but that’s just moneyspeak. It doesn’t mean anything in real money… oh wait. The biggest issue I have with this is that the government is going on and on about the recession we’re in and they decide to raise taxes on us? Riiight. The ironic thing, the title of the Budget is Road to Recovery… Yeah, I just wanna know, whose. the governments or ours? Cause I can tell you, taking more money from us when things are already tight is certainly not going to make my recovery better or faster. It will, however, fill the governments coffers quite well. And apparently they need the money. There are so many things wrong with this picture. I won’t even get into how prohibitive payroll tax raises are on new incorporations of IB businesses. And I could get into the pension thing but even I’m bored of both the topic and me talking.
Face it, this wasn’t a horrible budget… had it not come at a time that everyone is desperately looking to the government for some clarity on how the year ahead should look/be handled. And the answer evidently is spend whether you’ve got it or not… and take candy from babies mouths. LOL
“Gambling” on a fix… February 19, 2010
Yep, it appears to be this time again. The Gaming Bill is apparently, with the eager help of the Premier, trying to rear its head again. The premier invited another foreign… expert (?), consultant (?)… down to explain how well gambling/casinos have done in their neck of the woods. Which is grand. Bully for them. However, this ain’t their neck of the woods. It’s ours. And what works for one jurisdiction cannot work the same for another. Different places, different hurdles, hell… different tourists! Face it, the same people that will choose to venture over to Nova Scotia to have a quick gamble are not the same ones who will fly to Bermuda.
Which leads me to a bit of side tangent… ASK US! This over-reliance on every other person on earth’s opinion as compared to taking the time out to ask the people most affected by issues in Bermuda is idiotic. You want to know what would make Bermuda a better destination or what we currently do that DOES keep people coming back, stop asking Joe Blow “Axpert” from Timbuktoo and start asking us. Us bermudians, us residents, us businessmen travellers, us current tourists. Listen to us… or at least pretend to care what we think. Seriously. Some of us are starting to get complexes. Occasionally I wonder if I’m actually a figment of my own imagination…
But anyhoo, back to regular programming. I’ve an idea. Let’s just table the gambling issue for a minute. Tourism is obviously in a bit of a jam. Some would like us to believe that we only have two options… we simply go back to what worked in the 60s (which won’t work) or we scrap it all and go for something completely new, and it appears, americanized. But there actually is a third. The british conservatism of our hey day modernized. We remember what made us great before, why people starting coming here and we make it even better. Focus on who we actually are and revel in that. Stop trying to make us more like “them”, be us and make them want to visit. Quiet, muted elegance. Focus on the businessmen who travel here anyway and ramp up big time our spa facilities for their wifes/significant others. Re-do front street as a walking area with high end bistros and boutiques. Focus on high end (and yes smaller) cruise ships for Hamilton and St. Georges. Pour some money into Dockyard and “touristize” that for the mega ships. Face it, 60% of those tourists don’t want to see anything but a beach… provided they don’t have to pay for anything… and a couple of souvenir stores so they can tell their mates at home they “saw” Bermuda. So give them what they want. And give our tourists that want to spend money our our economy what they want. Pour money into the historicalness of St Georges and open some more museums, some historical re-enactments. Hell, pump money into a world class film festival and stick it down there (… um, when there’s an actual hotel there, I guess). A little bit of British conservatism and European chicness in the middle of the atlantic. So many ideas on how to make us more us and they’d rather listen to EVERYONE ELSE. Sigh.
D’ahwell. I don’t know why I’m worrying. We did get Beyonce after all…
Congratulations Mr Michael DeSilva November 12, 2009
Okay, okay, I know I’m a bit late on this one but sincere congratulations to Michael DeSilva on his upcoming appointment to Commissioner of Police upon the retirement of George Jackson. This will be another “homegrown” CoP (just been pointed out that Jonathan Smith was bermudian as well, my apologies) and I’m hopeful that this will translate into a new way of batttling crime in Bermuda, which is now the top concern of the average bermudian. There was a big write up in the RG so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. Needless to say, I think this was a great choice. Congrats again, Mr DeSilva.
Boy Scouts Motto is more than just a kid’s saying November 7, 2009
So, two days ago the BDA launched. No, Bermuda hasn’t created a method by which to propel our tiny island into the air, however cool that sounds. No, the “third party” option in Bermuda has come out, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance. They held a short but sweet press conference on the 5th of November on the steps of the Assembly. As the Throne Speech and the reconvening of Parliament was the 6th, I’m guessing they meant to make sure that they were considered a cohesive Party before they sent their three MPS back into the lions den, namely Mark Pettingill, Donte Hunt and Shawn Crockwell. Shawn was chosen to read out their carefully crafted statement – which some may take to lend credence to Laverne Furbert’s prediction, or more to the point deriding, of the as yet unnamed party at the time as the Crockwell Party. I say carefully crafted because to my uneducated (in this stuff) eye, it seemed to rely less on substance and facts and more on flowery statements. My own opinion. Judge for yourself on the RG website. Or on their facebook page (up to over 600 members at last count, an impressive showing to be sure) and/or their website http://www.thealliance.bm . They’ve manage to populate both places with more of the flowery statements and feel good catchphrases with no real tangibles, designed I’m guessing to cast the widest net, ie, focusing of electability more than having the courage to stand up and truly be counted on their own merits. Which I’m not sure what those are. The only mention of really anyone outside the ex-UBP Rebel 6 was in the newspaper article a DAY after their release. I like their logo, mind… it reminds me of something… or perhaps an amalgamation of two such somethings…lol.
(As an aside, can we in Bermuda politics, stop using “Obama-like” et al in phrases and rhetoric? I get what you mean, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the first Black president of a country that has that many harmful racial undercurrents by garnering a significant portion of the white vote and do it all by superficially, for the most part, pulling together people of all colours and creeds in the noble concept of change… Never mind if said change has yet to manifest itself in any real way, yet. It probably will happen. In time. But I obviously, and probably enjoyably only to me, digress.)
Their site has no platform, preliminary or no, no constitution (like seriously??) and nothing on any of the members. I’ll admit it, I was disappointed – I expected more from these guys. Let me rephrase, I had hoped for more. Whoda thunk it, something in Bermuda politics that disappoints me, lol. Then I actually got kinda pissed off. Now, this, as many things that happen in Bermuda and rightly so, led to a vigorous discussion on BIAW, a thread named after them. I’d like to say I was on the side of reason but I have met me and it is more likely I was simply being ornery. But anyway, I was on the side of demanding more from my “third option” than what they had thus far shown. A poster, whom is a member of the BDA, Full Fullish, was kind enough to engage us in trying to state the BDA’s case. What it comes down to is that they launched without a platform because they are want to be the Government that is shaped purely by the people. Emphasize on the word purely. Now this on the surface and in a idealistic way sounds amazing. Slightly socialist but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, all it has made me think (and judging from some comments even on their facebook page), okay cool but seriously, what do you stand for?
The PLP blog has already come out guns blazing and “defined” the party as “the old UBP in new sheep’s clothing”, an immature statement to be sure but not one that won’t manage to grab a following. Well, why wouldn’t they? If you fail to define yourself in any real and tangible way, you run the risk of having those who seek to undermine you, define you. Or as the old PLP chairman stated in the RG, define your enemy.
I want to know what this new party stands for, why I should believe in and thus lend my support to them, hell, who they actually and officially are! You don’t want to have a set in stone platform because you want to represent all Bermuda. Cool, that’s a noble cause. But unless you are planning on sitting down with every single bermudian as well as interviewing all expats (them’s people too!) – which would take much longer than even I have patience for and is entirely unproductive – you won’t represent all. Really, that’s not even the purpose of governments. Democracy entails the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Doing this I won’t show you mine, til you show me yours smacks too much of hedging your bets. That’s a little too mercenary for me.
Now, reading over my comments above I really need to qualify something. I’m not blasting them, per se. I do wish these guys all the luck. Being an ex-PLP member, I would love for them to be all that I and my Bermuda needs. And they very well may be. But I have no clue as yet because they refuse to define themselves, to stand up and be counted, to simply tell me what it is they believe in. I just require something more than what they have shown thus far. Sorry but cynicism caused by hours of poring over the internet in a political mind frame and spending too much time in forums arguing and quite failing to convince people of my POV has made me question everything. Well, not convince really, I just like to hear myself speak, truth be told. I know my opinion will not be popular but I am going out on a limb.
An open message to the BDA, show me what you stand for. Give me something that definitively states you are the better option, that the people that you pull together (like minded individuals) WILL actually represent me. I don’t know that yet cause I haven’t any idea what it is is y’all think. Please don’t expect that by simply being not PLP and not UBP, you automatically should get my support. You need time to solidify, cool, but please don’t take too long. My attention span is very short…
No Search and Rescue? August 28, 2009
There’s been a big fuss since Hurricane Bill over the Police boat, the MV Guardian. This $1.7m vessel, bought in 2006, has had a long history of criticism from all angles due to perceived issues of underuse, especially considering the price. Minister Burch even, last year, commented that he thought the money could have been better used and he had no input into the decision (as reported by the RG). The 54ft, four manned boat, was bought for large sea rescues but due to the size and the number of Officers needed to man it sufficiently, it is not practical to use for most day-to-day Marine Police business. Especially when you consider the many low shoal areas around our island.
The issue arose again recently when it was discovered that the vessel had been removed from the water during the recent Hurricane for safety reasons and furthur hindered by an RG report that another boat was in distress and was actually towed in by a civilian’s boat. The police countered that no actual distress call was put into the Marine Service and actually were only notified when the boat was on its way in, at which point they were informed that no furthur assistance was actually required. This has prompted people to question why we bought such an expensive Search and Rescue vessel if indeed it is not meant to be used for that purpose (to the point of actually dry-docking when it would be most useful). The fact of the matter is, while this is a larger boat than the rest of those in the Marine Service fleet, it is still not meant to be used during hurricanes for not the least of which is safety reasons.
In a press conference yesterday, the Deputy Commissioner commented: “Let’s be clear about what it was never meant to do. The MV Guardian was never meant as a routine patrol vessel because it would cost too much to run it daily. We have a number of other vessels that are available to do routine patrol. It is not expected to be deployed in adverse conditions.”
The Police Service get a lot of flak about many things without (and some within) their control – especially lately with rising violent crime. This one, however, appears to be more of a lack of education on what actually our Police are capable of and staffed/equipped enough to do. It would be a great idea to have our own version of the US Coast Guard (being an island and thusly surrounded by water) but we don’t. We have neither the manpower nor the equipment to be able to do the type of rescues that we see on tv. Much as in the case of our current Government, excessive criticism (in certain cases that it is actually unwarranted) serves no purpose but to waste time of those having to defend things unnecessarily. And furthur weakens the legs of warranted arguments.
Mr Weeks has handily won the Pembroke Central bye-election with approximately 89% of the vote. Voter turnout slumped to 39% from a usual of 65%. This often happens in bye-election when the result will have no bearing over the the actual leadership of the country. I voted myself, because I’m a firm believer of the idiom, “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”… and I love to complain 🙂
Good luck to Mr. Young. He actually seems like a good guy (I don’t mean to sound shocked but honestly that wasn’t the impression I got last election… hindered by the fact that the only time I saw him was when I went to vote). He appears to be taking this loss in stride and has vowed to run again.
But, congrats again to Mr Weeks. I look forward to seeing him in my area on a regular now. He seems like a good man and one who genuinely cares about his home so I’m looking forward to seeing changes in the Constituency PLP forgot.