Award of Excellence: Flora Duffy
Arguably the best athlete Bermuda has ever produced without an Olympic medal (to date), Flora Duffy is highly deserving of an Award of Excellence. More than just a world-renowned medal winning triathlete now with an OBE from Prince Charles to boot, Duffy is an ambassador for Bermuda and as such was instrumental in bringing the World Triathlon Bermuda Series to our shores last year. The full impact is yet to be revealed, but 2018’s inaugural WTS Bermuda event—which she so impressively won—left viewers hungry for more and led us to the successful bid for the 2021 WTS final. The impact of this cannot be overstated. Beyond the tourism aspect, she has also had an enormous local impact as she inspires a whole new generation to love the triathlon, evidenced in the large number of children now involved in local programmes and participating in events like the RenaissanceRe Kids Duathlon. Being a positive role model and all-around amazing star athlete has earned her place in our hearts and our record books for years to come.
News Event of the Year: Same Sex Marriage
Last year Bermuda became known as the first national territory in the world to repeal its gay marriage legislation before having the ban overturned in the Supreme Court later in November—and the world took notice. Articles appeared on all the big international news sites including Reuters, NBC, The Independent, Washington Post, CNN, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, et al. We are sure this story is not yet over, however, as on December 13th the Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban announced that the government has applied for permission to appeal the ruling to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Stay tuned.
Political Blunder: Ti**y Milk
Minister of National Security Wayne Caines made a huge blunder last summer when he posted a shocking video on his Instagram page appearing to ask female workers in a cereal shop in England if they have t**ty milk along with the soy and almond milk on offer. Although his account is private, @hurricaines has almost 4,500 followers and the video went viral—with even the UK’s Evening Standard covering the story. The minister apologised calling it an “inappropriate joke,” the premier said publically that he was “disappointed” and the OBA called for his resignation but it appears this entire situation has been forgotten (except by us, of course). *Victoria Pereira abstained from voting in this category.
Pit Bull Politician: Colonel David Burch
Like him or hate him, no one can argue that Lieutenant Colonel David Burch is a pit bull politician—in fact, he’s won this category more than any other politician in recent times. As the current Minister of Public Works, he’s responsible for Works and Engineering, public property, the quangos and the Parks Department and he never ceases to speak his mind on any of them. *Victoria Pereira abstained from voting in this category.
Most Effective Politician: Premier David Burt
Our judges chose Premier Edward David Burt as the most effective politician once again this year because “he gets stuff done and he gets his ministers to get stuff done.” Bermuda’s youngest ever premier (he was 38 when he took office in 2017), Burt has a Master of Science in information systems, has served on numerous boards and has been the PLP spokesperson for finance and technology. Well-spoken and well liked throughout the community, the premier is certainly getting recognised for his part in moving Bermuda forward. *Victoria Pereira abstained from voting in this category.
Shadow Minister in the Limelight: Nick Kempe
Economics is a confusing and ever-changing subject that most of us fail to grasp at the best of times—until we are hit with massive tax increases and suddenly we can’t afford our favourite chocolate bars. As the current Shadow Minister of Finance and Opposition Senate Leader, Nick Kempe of the OBA uses both his government position and his master’s degree in business management and economics to help explain our complicated financial issues to the masses in local articles and opinion columns while simultaneously holding the PLP to account for the decisions they make on our behalf. *Victoria Pereira abstained from voting in this category.
Bermuda Booster: Marc Daniels
When his two-year-old daughter Isabella had an on-stage meltdown, lawyer-turned-father-of-the-year Marc Daniels stepped up, pointed his toes and pirouetted right along side her during a closed rehearsal for InMotion’s recital last summer. Nicknamed the “Daderina,” Daniels’s video went immediately viral—being viewed more than 15 million times after being posted by the show Right This Minute and the story being picked up by ABC News, Inside Edition, the Washington Post, the UK’s Independent and The Sun. Showing the world what a loving Bermudian father looks like makes him the best in our books!
Good Corporate Citizen: Bank of Bermuda Foundation
Providing approximately $2.5 million in grants and $950,000 in scholarships and bursaries annually, the Bank of Bermuda Foundation has been supporting the community since the mid-1970s, giving in the region of $75 million over the years to support local projects and students. Last year alone, they helped to fund an enormous number of local programmes from art to education, sports, the environment, special needs and seniors aid including the Children’s Reading Festival, the Reading Clinic’s I-Play Programme, Greenrock’s Environmental Education Programme in public schools, Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s School Youth Voyage Programme, the Endeavour Middle School Programme, Kaleidoscope’s preschool enrichment programme—and the list goes on and on! www.bankofbermudafoundation.bm
Booster for the Environment: Natalie Dyrli
She runs marathons in crazy costumes, organises the annual You Go Girl relay and slays lionfish as part of the Sexy Reef Ambassadors. But the real reason our judges took note of this year’s Booster for the Environment winner Natalie Dyrli was for her video cleaning up the water at Shelly Bay Beach after last year’s BHW raft-up party. She collected three bags full of bottles, plastic cups and even shoes and the viral video even prompted BHW organiser Jason Sukdeo to respond promising to organise a better disposal plan and proper clean-up for future events.
Ecological Blunder: Colonel David Burch on ATVs
The pit bull politician Lieutenant Colonel David Burch took a strong stand backing a controversial quad bike commercial tour plan last year that outraged residents, farmers and environmental groups. He made the decision to grant the licence to operator Rudolph Hollis to run the ATV tours in March; however, as the proposed tour would be allowed on the Railway Trail, Scaur Hill Fort Park and Hog Bay Park, Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce took the matter to court stating the tours would breach several laws including some designed to protect the natural environment. Chief Justice Narinder Hargun agreed and overruled the decision, reminding the minister that assuming proper planning permission was not required is indeed a huge blunder.
Community Activist: Nishanthi Bailey
Along with her comedian brother Nadanja, Nishanthi Bailey is well known for her many acting performances as part of their N’tertainment organisation and the duo have been known to support aspiring arts students through scholarships and the like. But it was an incredible anti-violence campaign that the Dellwood theatre and drama teacher helped her students to create last year that got our judges’ attention. The students first created a video for their Stop the Violence Campaign “SOS: Save our Sons” and then went on to perform the powerful spoken word performance at several local events. The moving and powerful video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 9,000 times since it was published last spring.
Unsung Heroes: Bermuda Teachers
Research shows that teachers suffer more job-related stress than other professionals. Not only do they deal with unruly students and demanding (and occasionally absent) parents, meager budgets and ever-changing curriculum requirements worldwide, but in Bermuda they also deal with declining facilities and ongoing mould issues. Considering the multitude of challenges, there are so many that continue to strive day in and day out to reach our nation’s children and aid them along the path to success in education. And for that, we applaud you!
Tenacious Lawyer: Mark Pettingill
Now a director at Chancery Legal, lawyer Mark J. Pettingill is highly regarded as a fierce courtroom combatant in all areas of general civil and criminal litigation and has a plethora of high profile cases under his belt. The former attorney general represented Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche in their case for same-sex marriage rights in early 2018 which was ultimately overturned by the government last summer. But being tenacious as he is, he went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the government’s domestic partnership law that banned same-sex marriages and was ultimately victorious. His tenacity is “second to none,” said our judges. www.chancerylegal.bm
Cultural Event of the Year: Bermuda Heroes Weekend
Now in its fifth year, Bermuda Heroes Weekend (BHW) has evolved into the world’s fastest growing carnival! While there are a growing number of side-fetes going on for an entire week, the official BHW starts with 5-Star Friday, a raft-up on Saturday at Shelly Bay Beach, star-studded concerts, the epic J’Ouvert party in the wee hours of Monday morning and finishes with the highly anticipated Parade of Bands on Monday afternoon. Bermudians have loved soca since the beginning of forever (Byron Lee, anyone?) and now we can play mas and attract travelling carnival fans to our own beautiful shores, too. www.bermudaheroesweekend.com
Charity Event/Fundraiser: Bermuda Triple Challenge
The Bermuda Triple Challenge has been growing in popularity since it started in 2011. The three-race event not only challenges participants to push themselves to their physical limit but also to collect sponsorships beforehand raising funds for worthy local charities and gaining points to improve their standing in the process. This year they raised $37,647 for six local charities: Windreach, Raleigh Bermuda, Tomorrow’s Voices, The Reading Clinic, BFIS and the Centre Against Abuse. www.bdatriplechallenge.com
Visual Artist: April Branco
The artist was broken and fans of her vibrant gombey paintings were devastated when the Corporation of Hamilton deemed April Branco’s mural on the City Hall Car Park to have “strayed from the criteria” of its original intent and therefore removed it with a swift swipe of white paint last year. Controversy aside, the talented artist continues to celebrate the Bermuda culture and capture beautiful Bermudians in her stunning pastel portraits, many celebrating our unique gombey dancers which she is now famous for. We know the life of an artist is a challenging one, but we for one hope such talent never gives up! www.aprilbranco.com
Photographer: Meredith Andrews
Contemporary portrait, travel and lifestyle photographer, Meredith Andrews is well known for her unique perspective—be it in the way she captures the raw reality of a person in her intimate portraits, her love affair with doors all around the world or her clever 2018 “Adventgram” images created using ocean plastics. The latter even got recognised by CNN who did a story on her Adventgram and she also won a KBB certificate of appreciation for raising awareness of ocean plastic pollution though photography. www.meredithandrewsphotography.com
Vocal Artist: Canjelae Taylor
Bermudian singer-songwriter Canjelae Taylor has been wowing local crowds since a young teen appearing on the Bermuda Music Festival stage and opening for the likes of Beyonce, Lionel Richie and Yolanda Adams, before heading to the Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. Just last year she was featured on the soundtrack for the movie The Intent 2 with her song “Sum of Us” and this spring she released her first single entitled “Someone Else”—an empowering song about a woman standing up for herself. We are certain this star is on the rise so join her 14,000+ followers on Instagram to keep up. @canjelae
Thespian: Jordan Claire Robbins
Born and raised in Bermuda, 28-year-old actress Jordan Claire Robbins is another star on the rise landing a juicy role this year on the hit Netflix series The Umbrella Academy as Grace—the robot mom to seven adopted children with supernatural powers. Robbins had previously stared in the CW series Supernatural and iZombie, and she also landed a role opposite Clive Owen in the Netflix original movie Anon in 2018. The Umbrella Academy debuted in February of this year and has already been picked up for a second season so there will likely be lots more of this Bermudian talent to binge watch!
Athlete: Flora Duffy
Unfortunately a foot injury prevented her from defending her title this year but hometown hero Flora Duffy is still the best local athlete in our books! Although 2018 was tough for the talented triathlete, she fought through and earned gold at the Commonwealth Games and won WTS Yokohama on top of her scorching win at the first ever WTS Bermuda to the delight of the local crowd. And apparently, we aren’t the only ones to notice this female phenom… last November Duffy received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Prince Charles for her services to triathlon in Bermuda and the world.
Sports Coach/Instructor: Kyle Lightbourne
Bermuda’s national football team coach Kyle Lightbourne led our Concacaf team successfully through the qualifying rounds and on to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup for the very first time in our history—making him the best (and most loved!) coach around, according to our judges. The well-qualified coach has a wealth of experience to draw from considering his own international experience playing in the UK Premier League for Coventry City, as well as First and Second Division teams like Fulham and Stoke City. He scored a total of 126 goals in 462 appearances over his 17-year career before retiring in 2009 and has since managed PHC Zebras (2007-2011) and Robin Hood FC.
Spectator Sports Event: MS Amlin World Triathlon Series Bermuda
With or without Flora Duffy, the WTS Bermuda is still the most exciting spectator sports event Bermuda has ever seen, say our judges. From the Friday night RenaissanceRe Kids Duathlon, to the Age Group and relay events on Saturday morning right up to the impressive elite superstars racing to victory in the afternoon, the intense action on Front Street and around town is electric! It is not hard to get caught up in the excitement whether you are on the street, in the fan zones or even enjoying the event from the comfort of your couch. We can’t wait for next year! www.bermudatriathlon.org
Children’s Activity: Fryday’s Trampoline Park
Bored children can no longer complain there is nothing fun to do since the opening last summer of FryDay’s Trampoline Park in Dockyard. The first of its kind for Bermuda, FryDay’s offers a large jumping area, dodge ball, basketball nets, a foam pit, joust, arcade games and a mini bowling area to entertain the wee ones along with food for after they’ve jumped ‘til they are starving. There are even glow nights and fitness classes now available! North Basin Building, Sail Loft Lane, Royal Naval Dockyard. 236-JUMP. www.frydaysfec.com
Children’s Playground: Mullet Bay, St. George’s
Kids of all ages now have a great place to play at the Mullet Bay playground in St. George’s. After taking some damage during Hurricane Nicole’s visit to the island in 2016, the playground has been updated with kid-friendly play apparatus and more recently the addition of a set of outdoor CrossFit fitness equipment after the St. George’s Steppers won the government’s 50 Million Step Challenge held last summer. With a large field for kicking a ball and riding a bike, it is our judges’ choice for best local playground.
Kids’ Camp: Bermuda National Trust
How do you keep kids busy and entertained all summer long while—gasp! maybe even having them learn a little something? Our judges recommend the Bermuda National Trust. Offered for kids aged eight to 14, campers spend their time learning the basics of archaeology, exploring nature reserves, decoding hidden messages, learning the art of photography and more, all while making new friends. As one judge put it: “If you can get kids to learn and actually enjoy learning it’s a great thing—plus you are supporting a charity!”
Place to Enjoy Nature: Walsingham Nature Reserve
Better known as Tom Moore’s Jungle, the Walsingham Nature Reserve is a 12-acre private trust open to the public with a fascinating variety of nature to explore. Visitors can wander through dense woodland trails, explore the caves, look out for rare birds and dive in the Blue Hole natural swimming grotto. And, according to Psychology Today, “any form of immersion in the natural world heightens your overall well-being.” Therefore, a walk through the Walsingham Nature Reserve is your prescription for today! Blue Hole Park, Blue Hole Hill, Hamilton Parish.
Historic Site: Town of St. George
Founded in August 1612, the Town of St. George is the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, the old town maintains a wealth of history from original homes and churches dating back to the earliest settlers, replicas and statues from our founding days and museums and buildings where you can travel back in time to understand how our ancestors lived without modern conveniences. Its value as a historical site must be cherished for generations to come as teaching a child our history in a classroom has nothing on going and seeing it in action.
Place to Play a Round of Golf: Turtle Hill Golf Club
While there are many unique and beautiful courses on the island, our judges say that the Turtle Hill Golf Club at the Fairmont Southampton is simply the best. The 2,684-yard par 3 course is situated on the hill surrounding the hotel. With its dramatic elevation changes and strong coastal winds, the course is a challenging one with some of the most beautiful views around. And for a little extra fun, there is also an option to play footgolf on the course! (Footgolf is a fusion between football and golf, players kick a soccer ball into XXL golf cups over nine holes—perfect for anyone at any skill level.)
101 South Shore Road, Southampton. 238-8000. Golf.email@example.com
Place for a Discreet Rendezvous: Yours Truly
Designed to be discreet, Yours Truly is a unique bar/lounge space on Chancery Lane that if you didn’t know about, you’d walk right by. Patrons must ring a doorbell for entry, but once inside the romantic dim lighting, intimate atmosphere and handcrafted cocktails will delight your date—all but guaranteeing you another one.
2 Chancery Lane, Hamilton. 295-0429. www.yourstruly.bm
Place to Dump a Lover: Taxi on Front Street
Well, if that romantic date didn’t quite work out as planned, our judges suggest a walk down Front Street to the nearest taxi stand. The least you can do is make sure they get home safe, right?
Place to Propose: Breezes Restaurant at Cambridge Beaches
Every woman who has ever gotten engaged is requested to tell her engagement story a million times over—so, gentlemen, please make sure she has a good one! For the serious romantics, our judges suggested Breezes Restaurant at the Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa. The al fresco restaurant overlooks Long Bay Beach and features the most breathtaking sunset views around. To go the extra mile, they even offer a private candlelight dinner on the secluded Turtle Cove Beach with a private butler, champagne and a customised 5-course menu personally created by executive chef Keith DeShields. How’s that for a good story?
30 Kings Point Road, Sandys. 234-0331. www.Cambridgebeaches.com
Wedding Reception Location: Commissioner’s House
So the proposal was a success and she said yes… now it is time to plan the wedding day! Our judges suggest heading to Dockyard and checking out Commissioner’s House for your venue. The three-story Georgian building—with its wrap-around balconies, sweeping ocean views, five grand dining rooms filled with art and crystal chandeliers and large outdoor lawn area—makes for a surprisingly stunning location for a wedding reception. And with a capacity of up to 150 people for dinner or 225 for cocktails, they can accommodate all your most distant relatives (if you choose to invite them, that is!).
1 The Keep, Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys. 705-3061. www.nmb.bm
Beautiful Garden: Queen Elizabeth Park
We know most of you still call it Par la Ville Park, but the Queen Elizabeth Park was renamed in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And while it has always been an oasis in the heart of the busy city, the beautifully maintained garden has also become an outdoor museum in the past few years with the addition of the Bermuda National Gallery’s sculpture collection spread around the park. Open from 7:30 a.m. until sunset, it’s the perfect place to take a break, enjoy lunch, catch up with friends and allow the kids to run around.
Attraction for Visitors: Bermuda Railway Trail
Winding its way from the heart of St. George’s all the way to Dockyard, the Bermuda Railway Trail is the best place for adventurous visitors to view the breathtaking natural beauty of our island home. And now with new bridges connecting formerly separate areas of the trail (thanks to the work of the fantastic Friends of the Bermuda Railway Trail), the uninterrupted sections are even better for walking or biking. We can’t wait for the bridge over Flatts Inlet to be complete which will allow safe—and stunning—passage all the way from Shelly Bay to Barker’s Hill!
Journalist: Fiona McWhirter
The definition of a journalist is someone who “collects, writes or distributes news or other current information to the general public”—but only the best journalists can dig deeper than that and get to the truth of the story. Our judges choose Royal Gazette news reporter Fiona McWhirter as the best journalist for doing just that as she interviews local politicians, reports on the latest court cases and reveals community issues through her clear, professional reporting in story after story. Originally from Scotland, she has covered a lot of the major stories recently and impressed our judges with her “high morals and ethics.”
*Nadia Laws abstained from voting in this category.
Columnist/Blogger: Craig Simmons
Well-known economics senior lecturer, Craig Simmons has spent the last 30 years at the Bermuda College educating our youth on the production, consumption and transfer of wealth locally and worldwide. His expertise in this area makes him one of the best at breaking down the complicated and often confusing reality of our island’s financial status. And that expertise is always appreciated in his regular columns for the Royal Gazette. As one of our judges said: “Whenever I see an article written by him on the economy, I always read it. I really appreciate his opinion. ”
Radio Station: VIBE 103.3
This is the third year in a row that VIBE 103.3 has dominated in the best radio station category—once again winning hands down this year. Dubbed “Bermuda’s Only Energy Station,” VIBE consistently brings the latest tunes played by Bermuda’s best DJs and radio personalities (who have multiple Best of Bermuda Awards to prove it). With the addition of lively morning conversations, engaging on-air interviews and the people’s favourite Throw Back Thursdays, they just keep doing it right year after year. And we love that wherever you are in the world you can tune in and listen live from the website. 232-0699. www.vibe103.com
Radio Personality: DJ Chubb
He’s got his own impressive collection of Best of Bermuda Awards now, previously winning for best Radio Personality in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018—and once again Marcus George, aka DJ Chubb is taking home the personality prize in 2019. He just makes the day brighter during his weekday Morning Rush programme by bantering back and forth with DJ Genie, interviewing on-air guests and spinning some of the latest tunes—except on Thursdays when he makes us all late to work by playing such good old-school reggae tunes that we just can’t get out of the car on time. @djchubb103. www.vibe103.com
Club/Party DJ: Korie Minors
Describing himself as “Bermuda born and internationally raised,” Korie Minors (aka DJ Ko) has recently been taking the music scene by storm. While he currently performs at loads of local events as well as holding down a residency at Marcus’ restaurant at the Hamilton Princess, DJ Ko also performs with DJ Felix Tod as part of MilknMoney at venues islandwide, including Horseshoe Bay’s Rum Bum Beach Bar, The Terrace on Front Street, Island Kaddy and Bulli Social. With the summer season heating up we are sure this rising star’s flame is going to keep burning brighter! @kominors. www.djkorieminors.com
Charity/Community Service Organisation: SCARS
The statistics on child sexual abuse are terrifying: 88 percent of abuse is never reported, only 5 percent of offenders are strangers, and one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. With a mission to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse by raising public awareness and speaking to key decision makers to put policies and procedures in place to protect Bermuda’s children, SCARS (Saving Children and Revealing Secrets) has made an enormous impact in our community since its formation in 2011. As of April this year they have certified 8,763 people through their free Darkness to Light Stewards of Children and SAFE training programmes and provided the community with a wealth of essential information and resources to protect our most vulnerable assets—our children. 297-2277. scarsbermuda.com
Social Media Superstar: Shiona Turini
These days being instafamous is a real thing, and, in case that term is new to you, it’s basically someone who has become well-known on Instagram because they have amassed thousands of followers. Certainly no one is more instafamous locally than stylist, consultant, designer, model and all-around social media influencer Shiona Turini. She boasts 177,000+ followers on Instagram and engages thousands of them with each carefully chosen post. She’s a Bermudian girl doing big things in the big wide world and we love watching her continue to rise! @shionat. www.shionaturini.com