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…)
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.
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.
Pembroke Central By-Election August 20, 2009
As many know, I live in this constituency. In the last week, I have been canvassed by the PLP candidate, Mr. Weeks and his helpers (Jamahl Simmons, Dr. Brown and two others whose names I did not catch) and the UBP candidate, Mr Young (joined by Mrs. Atherden, Kim Swan and Tim, a reporter from the RG). I’ll admit it, I was kinda shocked as I was not seen by either camps in the 2007 election. Added to the fact that this is a self-proclaimed PLP stronghold, it was interesting the effort being taken. But how encouraging. It shows that neither side is taking this placement for granted. I think that has a lot to do with the current, shall we say, disillusionment many in Bermuda have for the Government, both the majority and Opposition. People are frustrated (yes, still). And frustrations lead to change. Well, they can. Bermudians are known for their ability to accept things with a rather laidback attitude and their penchant to totally ascribe to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. So it’s possible nothing will change, but I’m hoping it does. Whether it is through a change of Government or the current Government changing its ways or even, through a “New” party (this concept has been thrown around a lot online lately). But however it happens, it is well overdue. And if this is a sign of things to come, can I just say… Yay!
Sign of the times? June 29, 2009
“Stand-offs are situations of mutual and symmetrical threat, wherein the central parties face each other, literally and figuratively, across some key divide. Stand-offs engage committed adversaries in a frozen and exposed moment of interaction.” Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici
The above definition could be used to describe the “mexican standoff” that occurred for 6 hours yesterday in St. Georges, which ended peacefully, thank God, or it could quite easily describe the events of the last couple of weeks… an impasse between the premier and thousands of bermudians.
The events of yesterday. According to various reports, sometime around 1:30 yesterday afternoon, a young man held his girl at gunpoint (possibly) inside a house in St. George’s with the police outside. The whos, whys and hows have not as yet been released, but we do know that this stand-off lasted for approximately 6 hours, at which time the young man surrendered to the police. It can be reasonably assumed that it had something to do with drugs or gangs as it appears that the police were investigating “a serious ongoing investigation” which then led to this stand-off. I think it’s a sign of the times in Bermuda that something like this, which while surprising was not shocking… at least not to me. It seems to be a steady progression of increasingly violent and deviant behaviours on the island over the last year and a result, it’s almost numbing. Don’t get me wrong, people are still upset and horrified. But there is almost this sense of resigned anticipation – what is coming next?
I actually first heard of the events of yesterday on one of the online forums. It was confirmed but with no real details by someone’s police contact. At first the rumour was that two police officers had been shot, that the Causeway had been closed and that shots had been fired. Needless to say, none of this was actually true (*cough* tsunami) but it goes to show how information passes in Bermuda, quickly and without any regard for the truth most of the time, lol. So on to facebook I go, hoping for more information and what do I see? People calling for those selfsame people (of which I am proud to have been one) who marched the last couple of weeks to protest the premier’s autocratic method of governing, to march on Government House. The reasoning being that since the Governor has control over internal security then he’s to blame for the gangs, drugs on the island, deviant behaviour… oh, and I have it on good authority that he shot JFK, too. So my question is this:
“Ask govt house what? How come the police are trying to respond as best they can to what is a social problem? Or why even after they catch people the courts continuously offer suspended sentences or abbreviated sentences? Or why we as the community refuse to get up and take some responsibility for what’s happening in our island?”
Every single time something like this happens, the first thing the government says is how they have no control over these events because the Police Service is under the Governor’s remit. Does no one there understand that when the Police become involved in a situation it is because things have already “popped off”? The government refuses to take any responsibility for this occurrences but if we had the social programs or a good education system, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this place as often as we do nowadays. Alternatively, the courts system are where this seems to fall down the most. Recently, there has been a proliferation of suspended sentences on what should be jailable offences, or the what is the mandatory sentences for serious offences by law is cut for various reasons, or even worse, people being released on parole before the legally required served time – just in time for them to re-offend, as too many do. I once heard about a guy who who caught for GBH (grievous bodily harm), received the minimum five year sentence and was released in less than two years… six months later he was in custody for murder. The Police caught the man twice but it’s their fault that he did what he did? Or more to the point, that he had the chance to murder someone in less time than legally he should have even been allowed to apply for parole?? The government want the bermudian public to believe that they can only take credit for the good that happens in Bermuda but all the bad obviously is someone else’s fault. And the bermudian public are saying enough of the rhetoric.
It’s a sign of the times, a stand-off. The question is, who are the adversaries