With fast fugitives, SDO controversies and rocking beach festivals—here are the people and events that were voted best—and worst—of the last year.
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: BERNEWS.COM
Our judges awarded Bernews.com with the Award of Excellence for the exceptional job they do in providing news coverage of our island. Long before radio or TV or the internet was invented, Bermudians had a network along which information travelled, but what used to be the question du jour—’You know what so-and-so told me?’— has now become ‘Did you see what was on Bernews?’ Having only launched on March 1, 2010, Bernews receives thousands of hits per day and have over 7,500 people following them on Facebook. Bernews functions like a well-oiled machine, never slipping up or letting us down and breaking news before anyone else. Although the website is simple and the journalism lacks sensationalism, that’s exactly the point. Bernews’s only aim is to “bring the news to you as fast as possible.” Thank you, Bernews.com, for going above and beyond the call of duty and keeping all Bermudians in the loop!
NEWS EVENT OF THE YEAR
He may not be Bermuda’s brightest criminal, but he certainly is one of the fastest. Alvone Maybury’s brazen daylight escape from police custody in July 2010 following a court appearance may have been the talk of the island, but his Facebook postings—bragging how he was “free as a bird” and “just chilling playing PS3”—made international headlines. It took two weeks of searching before Maybury, dubbed the Facebook Fugitive, was discovered hiding in a garden shed. Needless to say, his subsequent court appearance had far tighter security.
Senator Kim Wilson ignited a firestorm of criticism back in January when she stated she expected a parking ticket she received on her GP car to be cancelled because she “understood Ministerial vehicles are exempt from fines.” The public was not impressed with the insinuation that government officials were exempt from the rules, and the flood of negative comments on local news sites and blogs kept coming until the Senator promptly paid the $50 fine in Magistrate’s Court two days later.
Controversial, effective, outspoken, offensive—Col. David Burch has been called it all and more. But whatever your opinion of the former senator, you must agree that no one in politics is as doggone tenacious as the Colonel.
MOST EFFECTIVE POLITICIAN
Parking-ticket controversies aside, Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry Kim Wilson is regarded as one of the most effective politicians by our judges. While she seemingly landed a hard blow on the landscaping, hospitality and housekeeping industries with a moratorium on work permits, she supported them by promoting and attending successful job fairs and lecturing the unemployed about improving their attitudes and resumes. Recently she has improved the overall court system, created Economic Empowerment Zones in St. George’s and Somerset and struck a positive balance in the public/private partnership in the KEMH reconstruction project.
SHADOW MINISTER IN THE LIMELIGHT
We’re guessing he’s a favourite of local reporters, because Shadow Finance Minister Bob Richards always seems available for comment on the current issues. Voicing his opinion on pensions, job losses, ministerial pay cuts, police funding and SDOs, Richards is often one of the first shadow ministers quoted in news articles—keeping him well in the limelight.
The BIU flexed its proverbial muscle when its members decided to strike following the firing of a veteran colleague who called in sick but turned up at another job the same day. Transport Minister Terry Lister first supported the firing, but the Department of Public Transport then had to do a 180 and defend his decision to give the fired bus worker back his job, stating “Avoiding a showdown with unions was in the best interests of the country.” And the heavyweight title remains with the BIU.
CULTURAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Promoting culture all year round is what Chewstick is all about, and for the past five years, thousands have flocked to their BeachFest Emancipation Celebration (www.beach-fest.com) on the Thursday of Cup Match at Horseshoe Bay. With live local entertainment all day and into the night, the free, family-friendly event is one of the biggest and best community celebrations around. See you there!
Left homeless after his life was destroyed by substance abuse, the “man with the golden voice,” Ted Williams, first became a YouTube sensation and then an international media darling once the press reported his amazing story. But his interview on NBC’s Today Show with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer earned him the Bermuda Booster Award for speaking so fondly of his visit to Bermuda with his beloved mother in the 1970s. It also earned him an invitation to visit from Tourism Minister Patrice Minors.
GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN
Bermudians are renowned for their generosity, and our businesses continue to give generously to the local community by sponsoring events, scholarships and projects—making it difficult for our judges to choose a winner. However, HSBC Bermuda (6 Front Street, Hamilton, 295-4000) edged out the long list of potential Best-of winners. Some of their impressive community support includes donations of over $1.1 million in 2010 alone to a multitude of worthy local charities.
BOOSTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
If any decision—especially those by the Government—affects the environment, you can be sure activist Stuart Hayward will have a statement. The vocal environmentalist has been a champion of our declining green space for many years, and we hope he’ll continue to educate Bermudians about protecting our precious land for many more years to come.
Just the mention of an SDO stirs up the ire of environmentalists, but none has had as much inflammatory power as the recent Tucker’s Point debacle. With over 2,000 signatures on an online petition objecting to the SDO and about as many people touring the proposed development, the flood of disapproving comments from objectors was enough to force an amendment to the SDO legislation. Score one for the environmentalists? Not quite.
Arguably the most vocal and active advocate for children in need, Sheelagh Cooper is rarely recognized for the tremendous work she does for the charity she founded in 1992, the Coalition for the Protection of Children (38 Mount Hill Road, Pembroke, 295-1150) While many of you may know the Coalition provides numerous services for struggling children and families—including a child-abuse hotline, financial assistance, conflict-resolution programmes, peer-meditation training and a new programme providing breakfast for underprivileged children—we are certain few realize that she has worked unpaid for the charity since its inception.
Sadly, it took the news of her recent passing for Dr. Barbara Ball to get the kind of recognition a legendary pioneer of union and civil rights in Bermuda deserves. Born here in 1924, she was the first female doctor to practice medicine in Bermuda and was publicly supportive of black Bermudians and the civil-rights movement of the time. Despite attacks, she persevered, eventually becoming the general secretary of the Bermuda Industrial Union and a PLP member of Parliament for two successive terms.
There is no shortage of lawyers in Bermuda, but when the big boys—like the Bermuda Police Force—need representation they call on Mello, Jones & Martin partner Alan Dunch (Thistle House, 4 Burnaby Street, Hamilton, 294-3628). Responsible for the firm’s litigation practice, Dunch has appeared regularly before the courts of Bermuda as well as the Privy Council over his 27-plus years of experience.
With over 2,400 participants, hundreds of volunteers, thousands of blisters and $335,000 raised for 10 local charities last year alone—the Catlin End-to-End (www.bermudaendtoend.bm) is one of the most supported and successful charity events in Bermuda. To date, they can brag that approximately $4 million has been distributed to numerous local charities!
NEW BERMUJAN VERD
Beast, as in “Ey, bye, that new bike of yurs is beast.”
Bermuda’s own Rebecca Faulkenberry has made it all the way to Broadway, appearing as Sherrie in the Tony Award-nominated Rock of Ages—and we expect her star to continue to rise! She’s recently appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Dancing with the Stars, leaving little doubt that there will be a red-carpet appearance in the near future. Rock on Rebecca!
You know you have made it as an artist when the National Gallery exhibits a retrospective of your work (especially if you are still alive when they do so!). Perhaps best known for his incredibly artistic window displays, artist Will Collieson has been creating found-object art for years, showing it locally and in galleries around the world. Lucky you—the retrospective of his work will continue at the Bermuda National Gallery until August 23, 2011.
With two albums to his credit (The Next Level and Buffet Style)and a significant amount of airplay on local radio stations, recording artist Big Snipes (www.bigsnipes.com) is on his way to being a big star. The gospel artist, born Wesley Hall, received two Underground Music Awards in 2010 for Best Collaboration and Best Gospel Song for his single “Clean Heart.” We expect more BIG things in the future!
Last year was spectacular for Bermudian equestrian Patrick Nisbett, and this year is shaping up to be even better! With a win in a Grand Prix Class during the Sunshine Tour in Spain this March—the best result ever by a Bermuda rider in equestrian show jumping—Nisbett has reached the standard to represent Bermuda at the Pan American Games in Mexico in October. What’s next? Why the 2012 Olympics, of course!
For years, national swim-team coach Ben Smith has been inspiring, supporting and coaching our talented local swimmers down the lanes of the biggest meets, including the recent Carifta Swimming Championships in Barbados. Considering our small population, the quality of our pool-bound athletes speaks volumes for his coaching skills, making him our judges’ choice for the best.
SPECTATOR SPORTS EVENT
Everyone who has ever laced up their sneakers for the May 24th Marathon Derby will tell you that the enormous support from the throngs of spectators all along the 13.1-mile course is what keeps them going.
Parking in Hamilton is anything but a pleasure these days, but for making it a bit easier with his electronic parking-meter system EasyPark, entrepreneur Norris Ebbin (www.easypark.bm) gets kudos from our judges. He also received recognition at the 2010 TechAwards, where he received the Ministry of Telecommunications and E-Commerce’s Innovation of the Year award. He gets bonus points for introducing the 2011 model, which you can top up online.
Our beloved Johnny Barnes greets commuters daily with a smile, wave and heartfelt “I love you,” rain or shine, from dawn until the rush-hour traffic has finished its slow crawl to work. His jovial demeanour and steadfast commitment to cheering up miserable morning drivers make him the Best Bermuda Character according to our judges.
Sitting mesmerized in front of the 140,000-gallon North Rock tank or wandering through the Caribbean Exhibit looking for the golden lion tamarins, children continue to be fascinated by the vast array of wildlife at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (40 North Shore Road, Flatts, 293-2727). We can’t wait for the Madagascar Exhibit to open!
Our judges had a hard time with this category, considering how much local playgrounds have improved over the past few years. So they chose to award the Shelly Bay Playground the Best in the East and Warwick Playground the Best in the West.
Bored on a Sunday afternoon? Pack up the kids, hop on a ferry to the Royal Naval Dockyard and spend the day wandering around the Maritime Museum, watching the dolphins frolic, swimming at Snorkel Park and, of course, capping off the afternoon with a Haagen-Dazs ice cream in the Clocktower Mall. Sure to make the whole family happy!
PLACE FOR FALLING IN LOVE
What could be more romantic than a sunset cruise on a calm evening in the Great Sound? Borrow a friend’s boat, rent one or hop on a booze cruise—whatever floats your boat—and fall in love.
Guaranteed—every time you think you have found the perfect secluded spot, you bump into just the frenemy you were trying to avoid. When you want to get away, we recommend Pompano Beach Club (36 Pompano Beach Road, Southampton, 234-0222) where you can plan a romantic dinner for two or a weekend retreat. But now the secret is out! Sorry.
PLACE TO DUMP A LOVER
Sounds a bit harsh, but when the love is gone, so is the lover if you take him for a drive through the narrow, winding roads deep into St. David’s. And leave him there.
PLACE TO PROPOSE
A romantic dinner followed by a stroll on the beach at sunset is a classic proposal scenario, but, seriously, it’s a bit of a snoozer for your new fiancée to tell over and over… and over. For something completely different and unpredictable, our judges voted for a proposal at Dolphin Quest (National Museum of Bermuda, 15 Maritime Lane, Sandys, 234-4464). They offer a personalized experience, with the dolphin bringing the ring box on his nose to the very surprised bride-to-be. Now that’s a story worth telling, over and over.
Now that you have the ring, finding the perfect reception location is among the long list of prenuptial to-dos. For those looking for old-world romance, our best advice for a reception location would be the historic and beautiful Tom Moore’s Tavern (7 Walsingham Lane, Harrington Sound, Hamilton Parish, 293-8020). They can host 300 for a cocktail party or 200 for dinner, and a beautiful outdoor terrace allows for dancing that first dance under the stars.
PLACE TO ENJOY NATURE
Full of history and Bermuda’s unique flora and fauna, Spittal Pond Nature Reserve (South Road, Smith’s) is sure transport you back to a time without concrete, cars or computers. Bermuda’s largest nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary, the 64 acres are loved by local residents, who wander through the lengthy trails, fish off the rocky coastline or bring a picnic and watch the many species of birds that visit the reserve.
With the redevelopment of the old formal gardens, the Botanical Gardens (169 South Road, Paget, 236-4201) has reinvented itself over the past three years with the Japanese Zen Garden, the seventeenth-century-style English Parterre Garden, the twelfth-century-style Persian Garden and the newest Tudor-style Children’s Maze Garden. An oasis of green space in the heart of a highly developed island, the Botanical Gardens will always be a favourite for young and old, visitors and locals alike.
ROUND OF GOLF
There is only once place on the island where you can brag to your buddies that you played the same course as 2010 PGA Grand Slam winner Ernie Els or 2009 winner Lucas Glover: the picturesque, 18-hole, 6,842-yard-long Port Royal Golf Course (5 Middle Road, Southampton, 234-0974). With head pro Dwayne Pearman to guide even the least experienced golfers around the challenging course, everyone with clubs and shoes can enjoy a great round of golf.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Our judges felt compelled to give some love to the old town of St. George’s with its numerous historic sites. If you have not been recently, we highly recommend you get thee to the World Heritage Centre, St. Peter’s Church, Fort St. Catherine’s, the Unfinished Church and King’s Square, where they still do the hilarious nagging-wench dunking re-enactments.
ATTRACTIONS FOR VISITORS
Of course, most tourists come to relax on pink-sand beaches and frolic in crystal-clear waters, but what’s a visitor to do on a rainy or wintery day? Our choice would be Crystal and Fantasy Caves (8 Crystal Caves Road, Hamilton Parish, 293-0640), where guests can marvel at this uniquely Bermudian natural wonder.
There is no better place to enjoy a latte or a bit of lunch and watch the locals wandering about than the outdoor terrace at Café 4 (Windsor Place, Hamilton, 295-8444).
MOST CHARITABLE CHARITY
We were saddened to hear that next year might be the last for the popular Ross “Blackie” Talbot Charity Classic (www.rbtcharitygolf.org). Over the last 19 years, the golf tournament organized by Blackie’s son Clement has raised over $2.7 million for 65 local charities. Very charitable indeed.
He’s taken on all the movers, shakers and decision-makers, either in his role as reporter at ZBM news or the host of Let’s Talk, asking them the tough questions we all want to but can’t. This makes Gary Moreno the best in our books. (Patrice Moreno abstained from voting in this category.)
With his intelligent commentary on all aspects of Bermuda life, Bermuda Sun columnist Larry Burchall has a loyal following of readers who look forward to his insightful articles on issues concerning race, Government, tourism and, recently, even the Royal wedding.
RADIO D.J./TALK-SHOW HOST
Tune in to FM 89.1 in the early morning hours to hear popular talk-show host David Lopes interviewing any number of interesting guests from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The “milkman,” as he is known, will surely get your day started right—or at least give you something good to talk about for the rest of it.
BEST SOURCE OF LOCAL NEWS & INFORMATION
Considering it takes only minutes to post something on a website and seconds for a status update on Facebook, more and more people get their news from online sources. Steadily rising above all the other digital news sites is Bernews (www.bernews.com), run by the supersmart and highly efficient Patricia Burchall, who consistently breaks news before anyone else.
Wendy Madeiros, creative director, Total Marketing & Communication Ltd.
Patrice Moreno, primary one teacher, Bermuda High School
Gerri Saltus, creative director, Bermuda Sun
Jenni Rowntree, senior vice president, Guy Carpenter & Company LLC
People's Choice Awards
This year—for the first time ever—The Bermudian magazine opened up the Best of Bermuda Awards to you, the people, in our People’s Choice Awards. We were overwhelmed by the response and thank everyone who participated. Here are the results:
Best Artist: There were many artists to choose from in this category, but a vast majority selected contemporary artist Graham Foster over the rest. A wide variety of talented people was mentioned in the write-in responses—clearly demonstrating that art is alive and well in Bermuda!
Best Spectator Sports Event: With throngs of locals pulling out their lawn chairs early in the morning to cheer on the cyclists, in-line skaters and runners, it is no surprise that the People’s Choice for Best Spectator Sports Event by far is the May 24th Marathon Derby.
Best Place to Enjoy Nature: Bermuda may be small and arguably over-developed these days, but thankfully, there are still lots of places where we can enjoy nature. The People’s favourite was Spittal Pond, followed closely by the Bermuda Railway Trails and Tom Moore’s Jungle.
Best Cultural Event: Bermudians love the three Cs: cricket, crowds and Crown & Anchor! With twice the votes of the other choices in this category, it is clear that Cup Match is the hands-down favourite.
Best People Watching Perch: People watching is almost a national pastime, and your favourite perch from which to do so is Par-la-Ville Park. Other top choices included Port O’ Call, Miles Market and Flanagan’s.