Award of Excellence
With the resounding success of the Louis Vuitton World Series Bermuda event last October to go on, we can only imagine the huge benefit to the island that the 2017 America’s Cup will be! The event was projected to deliver $1.7 million to our economy at a cost of $500,000, but when the numbers came in at a net cost of $635,000 (a 20% increase off the projection) and an $8.6 million total economic impact (a 406% increase!) even the staunchest of naysayers had to tip their hats to the impressive work of the organisers.
The event also brought in nearly 1,500 visitors who spent a total $6.1 million during their visit. Add to that the number of television viewers (8.1 million worldwide) who got a taste of what the island has to offer and we can only imagine the impact the 2017 America’s Cup event will have on our tiny island nation. Our judges felt that all those involved in bringing the America’s Cup here and those who continuously work to prepare the island for the biggest event we have ever hosted on a world stage are more than deserving of this accolade.
News Event of the Year
Pathways to Status strike
On March 11, all buses, ferries and garbage service ground to a halt after the People’s Campaign officially called for a withdrawal of labour to protest the OBA government’s Pathway to Status immigration legislation. The controversial issue caused several days of tense demonstrations around the Sessions House as MPs were literally blocked from debating the tabled bill. The withdrawal of labour continued until the afternoon of March 17 when the government agreed to remove the bill and take a staggered approach to the issue.
Call for a Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage
Numerous local human rights and LGBTQ organisations called Premier Dunkley’s announcement in February that the government will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage “bitterly disappointing.” The bill which was tabled in the House in March, states that the questions will include “Are you in favour of same-sex marriage in Bermuda?” And “Are you in favour of same-sex civil unions in Bermuda?” We have to wonder, what if the government of the day many years ago had held a referendum on slavery being abolished, schools being segregated, or women having the right to vote? Fundamental human rights for all humans we say.
Pit Bull Politician
The PLP’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Finance Minister E. David Burt is never one to back down from a fight say our judges. Whether it is his party’s reply to the budget, access to information on the airport development agreement or his opinions on the state of the country’s finances under the OBA government, the politician has proven his dogged determination to stand up for his party’s position on all important political matters.
Shadow Minister in the Limelight
Opposition Leader Marc Bean has always seemed rather comfortable in the limelight, as his leadership style, opinions on controversial subjects and personal choices often ruffle more than a few feathers. Chosen as one of Bermuda’s 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015, Bean admits his style is direct and unapologetically honest which can get him in hot water and his name in headlines over and over again.
Most Effective Politician
Never one for the limelight, Economic Development Minister Dr. Grant Gibbons has always quietly and diligently worked on the people’s business over the years, but it was his behind-the-scenes work on bringing the America’s Cup to Bermuda that garnered him the most kudos from our judges this year. While all other economic news seems to be bad these days, they felt that Gibbons is deserving of recognition for his role in the significant financial impact that the upcoming sailing event has already brought to our shores.
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda
Our judges were unanimous in declaring that no other person or event has come close to garnering as much positive international attention for our little island nation like hosting the hugely successful Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda race last October. The event brought approximately 1,500 visitors who spent $6.1 million during their visit, while 8.1 million television viewers worldwide were treated to spectacular views of the Great Sound. The total economic impact was estimated at $8.6 million, but the overall impact of showcasing Bermuda’s beauty and sublime hospitality was priceless.
Good Corporate Citizen
They are best known as the family that revitalised Bermuda’s grand dame of hotels, the Hamilton Princess, but the Green family have proven that they are as passionate about giving as they are about hotel redevelopment. Over the last year, they have selected 11 recipients for their own Green Family Scholarship, donated $15,000 towards this year’s Agricultural Show and contributed $5,000 towards the Eliza DoLittle Society’s Adopt a Senior Programme. Their continued investment in Bermuda and Bermudians make the Green Family the best corporate citizens in our books.
Booster for the Environment
Ban on Roundup
Last summer, local environmentalists cheered the Minister of Health, Seniors and the Environment Jeanne Atherden’s announcement of a temporary suspension on the importation of the weed spray Roundup following a scientific study carried out by a leading cancer agency. While the ministry stated it will once again permit the importation of ready-to-use glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) products earlier this year, the ban on concentrated forms of the “probably carcinogenic” glyphosate will continue. Currently the Department of Environmental Protection is testing the local effects of Roundup and identifying environmentally sensitive alternatives.
Our judges felt it was important to give some recognition to the men and women at the forefront of protecting Bermuda’s fragile reef system by culling the invasive, but thankfully delicious, lionfish. Involved groups include Bermuda Ocean Explorers, the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force, Groundswell, BZS, BIOS, BUEI and REEF, just to name a few, who all work towards educating the public on the dramatic effect such an invasive species can have on our environment, while also supporting events such as the recent Winter Lionfish Derby which saw more than 30 people participate in catching (and eating) nearly 200 lionfish.
Sea Glass Theft
Although it was technically not a crime, removing 3,000 pieces of sea glass from a Dockyard beach landed American jewellery maker Becky Fox from Erie, Pennsylvania, in major hot water after locals discovered her bragging about her massive haul of sea glass in a newspaper story. Infuriated that Fox was allowed to remove 70 pounds of the beach treasure for profit, locals began flooding her Facebook page with angry messages. The social media backlash culminated in the artist blocking Bermuda-based visitors from her Facebook page.
As executive director and founder of the Family Centre, Martha Dismont has been fighting for many years for the rights and dignities of Bermudian families that struggle to survive in the island’s challenging economic climate. The former social worker is currently the chairperson of the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families and co-chair of the Inter Agency Gang Task Force Community Response Team. A fearless leader herself, Dismont continuously calls for improved leadership from our politicians as she continues the fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.
The Family Centre, 25 Point Finger Road, Paget, 232-1116, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tfc.bm
Well-known community activist Tony Brannon has loudly and proudly spoken out for the rights of local artists and the improvement of our tourism product over the years. More recently the musician has been a vociferous supporter of same-sex marriage after starting a petition last summer and speaking at recent demonstrations. Our judges declared his love for the island and his consistent push for Bermuda to be a better place was worthy of recognition.
Weldon Wade founded Bermuda Ocean Explorers in 2011 with a mission to connect people and organisations to aid conservation, education and ocean research. The avid diver actively encourages locals to take up SCUBA diving, and through his involvement in marine cleanups like his “Shore Savers” programme he has recently been recognised by Bermuda National Trust and Keep Bermuda Beautiful with environmental awards for promoting ocean conservation. As stated on his website: “In the end we will conserve only what we love,” Wade’s mission is to get all Bermudians to love the ocean that surrounds us and protect it for all future generations.
When it comes to family and matrimonial law, no lawyer is more respected—and perhaps slightly feared—than Georgia Marshall. With over 25 years’ experience in divorce and custody battles, the director at Marshall Diel & Myers is known for her unparalleled tenacity in the courtroom as she fights tooth and nail for her client’s best interests. If your marriage vows have been broken, we recommend getting her on retainer, stat.
Marshall Diel & Myers, 31 Reid Street, Hamilton, 295-7105, email@example.com
Cultural Event of the Year
Bermuda Heroes Weekend
While many Bermudians have been attending various carnivals down the islands for years, 2015 was the first time Bermuda held its very own weekend of mass soca revelry. From soca shows and parties to J’Ouvert, the Parade of Bands and even a Kiddie Carnival, the Bermuda Heroes Weekend brought together Bermudians from all walks of life to participate in and enjoy a long weekend of fun and festivity. Judging by the success of the inaugural event, and the thousands who signed up to participate this year, we expect it to continue to become one of our greatest cultural events.
www.bermudaheroesweekend.com, 278-1525, firstname.lastname@example.org
Relay for Life
Now in its third year, the Relay for Life has already proven to be a powerful fund-raiser—raising over $1million in its first two years alone. The local chapter of this worldwide movement was founded by Ron Spencer in conjunction with the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre and the funds are going towards bringing radiation therapy to Bermuda. Due to be operational by the end of this year, this advancement will allow local cancer patients to get their life-saving treatment in Bermuda—an extremely worthwhile cause for a disease that continues to touch so many lives on the island.
Stratton Hatfield & Nicola Muirhead
Our judges voted Stratton Hatfield and Nicola Muirhead as joint winners for the Best Visual Artist for their highly successful “We Are Now” mobile art installation. The innovative art piece featured over 4,500 images of 600-plus locals who were photographed by the duo in their mobile photobooth last year and combined into a slide show that was shown in their shipping container turned mobile art gallery. With a projector, screen, speakers and even air conditioning, the container travelled from Dockyard to City Hall and St. George’s giving as many people as possible the opportunity to view the temporary installation celebrating our diversity.
While recognising Bermuda has quite a list of talented singers to choose from, the 2016 Bermuda Idol winner Jesse Seymour was our judges’ choice for Best Vocal Artist primarily for his outstanding melodic voice and impressive stage presence. Alongside his band Fire & Ice, the charismatic vocalist can be heard at Bonefish Grill when he’s not singing at local concerts, Chewstick, weddings and even funerals.
Huddersfield Town’s leading goal scorer Nahki Wells has been steadily proving himself on the international football field as one of Bermuda’s best players of the beautiful game. The 26-year-old former Dandy Town Hornet signed a four-and-a-half year contract with Huddersfield in January 2014 and has continued to impress with his goal-scoring skills as a forward for the Championship League team. Through his strong work ethic, undeniable skills and humble persona, the talented athlete continues to lead the way for local youths to follow their dreams of playing professional football.
No one is as passionate about the beautiful game as Bermuda’s national coach Andrew Bascome. When injury dashed his dreams of a professional football career, he turned to coaching and founded the ABC Football School (now Foundation) and the Next Generation Valencia Development Programme to develop local youths. Beyond the rules and skills of the game, Bascome continues to teach his students the value of a good education, sportsmanship and skills on and off the pitch.
email@example.com, 295-6198, www.abcfootballfoundation.org
Spectator Sports Event
Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda
With approximately 5,000 spectators on the water and another 10,000-plus in the America’s Cup Village on Front Street, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda race held October 16–18 last year was unquestionably the best spectator sports event of the year. And considering over eight million watched the races on TV worldwide we can’t imagine another local event coming close to matching those numbers—until the 2017 America’s Cup that is!
Owain Johnston Barnes
Our judges had lots of love this year for thespian Owain Johnston Barnes for his numerous roles including Joey in the BMDS musical Sister Act, Colin Cassidy in the short play Nemesis (which Barnes also wrote as part of last year’s Famous for 15 Minutes), and a gangster in The Drowsy Chaperone. Barnes has also made regular appearances as Governor Bruer in the Haunted History walking tour in St. George’s. Don’t miss him this season as he takes up the position of storyteller for the popular tour.
We knew the day was going to come, but it didn’t make it any easier when our beloved Johnny Barnes decided to retire from his daily ritual of greeting local travellers on their way to work. The 92-year-old spent over 50 years greeting the island every morning from his dedicated post at the bottom of Trimingham Hill, eliciting smiles, waves and toots from passing motorists. Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Barnes! You sure have earned it.
Opened last November, The Playtrium was designed as an unstructured play place for toddlers to ten-year-olds to climb, dance and play while their caregivers relax with a cup of coffee or tea and open WiFi. With free parking and private parties an option, the bustling activity centre has quickly become a favourite spot for active kids to let loose—especially during the cold and wet winter months.
Shelly Bay Playground
When the weather improves and you want to take the kids outside to play, our judges recommend heading down to Shelly Bay. The popular playground has all the swings, climbing frames and more your children need to work off that boundless energy and when things heat up too much the very family friendly Shelly Bay beach is just a stone’s throw away (although we do not encourage stone throwing in any way).
North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish
Bermuda Fun Golf
When mom and dad want to get in on some play-time action as well, our judges recommend they pack the kids in the car and head up to Bermuda Fun Golf in Dockyard where the whole family can enjoy a round of minigolf. The course features 18 challenging holes situated on an acre of stunning oceanfront property and a Caddy Shack for a casual beverage after the game. And the fun continues after the sun sets with glow-in-the-dark night golf for those with older kids.
Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys Parish, 400-7888, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fungolf.bm
Place to Enjoy Nature
Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve
From turtle spotting to whale and bird watching, all nature lovers appreciate the incomparable beauty and tranquility of Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve. With its observation tower, secluded beaches and extensive walking paths, it is the perfect escape for those who want to get away from the hustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in one of the island’s best natural habitats.
Cooper’s Island Road, Southside, St. David’s
Scaur Hill Fort Park
At the opposite end of the island, Fort Scaur provides an exceptional location for families and friends to gather for a sunny afternoon picnic. With spectacular views overlooking the Great Sound on one side and Ely’s Harbour on the other, the 22 acres of parkland has picnic tables, benches and bathrooms on the premises of the historic fort. So grab a bottle of wine and some sandwiches and enjoy one of Bermuda’s best views with the people you love.
101 Somerset Road, Sandy’s, 234-0908
Town of St. George
Recently designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the old Town of St. George features classic architecture, quaint lanes and numerous historic sites that attract visitors from all over the world. Named after the legendary dragon slayer and patron saint of England, St. George’s has everything to explore from the beautiful Unfinished Church to Fort St. Catherine, Tucker’s House and so much more. So drag the kids away from Xbox this weekend and take them on a tour of history down in the old town.
Place to Play a Round of Golf
Port Royal Golf Course
Play like the champion you imagine you are on the challenging 18-hole Port Royal Golf Course (or hack away and have fun—we aren’t judging you!). With 6,842 manicured yards and breathtaking south shore views, Port Royal is our judges’ choice for best local golf course. It has also had international recognition—being ranked among the world’s best public courses by Golf Digest and named the island’s finest by the New York Times.
Place for Falling in Love
And by the beach, we mean any of the island’s pristine pink-sand and turquoise-water-lapped beaches your heart desires. If you are looking for the man or woman of your dreams, we recommend donning your best suit, grabbing a towel (and lots of sunscreen, please) and heading to your favourite beach to soak in some sun and frolic in the sea. True love is sure to find you!
Place to Dump a Lover
Don’t get us wrong, Cup Match is our favourite time of year, but if things just aren’t working out for you, a great spot to ditch your soon-to-be former lover is at Cup Match, due to be held this year at Somerset Cricket Club. With large crowds and copious amounts of liquor on hand, the two-day event is the ideal place to ditch and dash before things get ugly.
Place for a Discreet Rendezvous
Looking for a romantic restaurant to take a new date where there is a good chance you won’t run into all of your eager-to-embarrass-you-type friends? Or perhaps you need a meeting place to discuss sensitive business without all of Front Street finding out. Either way, our judges recommend The Point restaurant at Rosewood Tucker’s Point. And when discretion is of utmost importance, you can book their private Wine Room for the ultimate fine-dining experience in the most intimate atmosphere.
60 Tuckers Point Drive, Hamilton Parish, 298-4077, www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/tuckers-point-bermuda/dining/the-point
Place to Propose
Blue Sky Flights
If you are looking for a grand romantic gesture to ask the love of your life to marry you, our judges highly recommend taking to the air on your private Cessna 172 aircraft with Blue Sky Flights. The airline even has a proposal package whereby they arrange all the details for you: Pre-made letters that spell out “Will you marry me?” for the beach of your choice, photos and video on board and a champagne toast upon landing. Popping the question while you are literally floating on air—could it get any more perfect than that?
6 Southside Road, St.George’s, 516-3305, email@example.com, www.blueskyflights.bm
Wedding Reception Location
Now that you are engaged, it is time to plan your big day. Whatever your style—intimate and simple or big and bold—our judges say the best spot to host every aspect of your reception is the Lido Complex at Elbow Beach Hotel. Overlooking the picturesque Elbow Beach, the complex features an array of different spaces to have a party, including the outdoor Marina Terrace, the covered Gazebo, the indoor restaurant and the private St. George Room. And don’t forget The Deep for late night dancing!
60 South Shore Road, Paget, 279-2062, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lido.bm
With 36 acres of carefully manicured flowers, shrubs and trees, the beautiful Botanical Gardens is an oasis in the heart of the island, say our judges. The national park features formal gardens, native trees and plants, collections of orchids and cacti, a sensory garden designed specifically for the blind and an aviary. With plenty of areas to run, play and explore, the gardens are a favourite with local children and their parents, who also enjoy visiting Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art and Camden.
169 South Road, Paget, 236-4201
Attraction for Visitors
The dynamic team down at Tobacco Bay have certainly brought the beach to life over the last year with post-sunset bonfires, live music and the new bar and restaurant. The beach was always a draw for its family-friendly swimming and spectacular snorkeling, but now visitors and locals alike have a wider range of amenities and rentals to enjoy at one of the island’s most historical beaches (due to its involvement in the Gunpowder Plot of 1775). So the next time you encounter wayward tourists searching for some sun and fun, we recommend sending them to Tobacco Bay.
9 Coot’s Pond Road, St. George’s, 297-2756, Info@tobaccobay.bm, www.tobaccobay.bm
People Watching Perch
Front Street Balconies
People watching is practically a national pastime in Bermuda and our judges say the best place to enjoy the view is along any of the balconies that line Front Street. From Pickled Onion to Flanagan’s, Café Cairo and all the way down to Rosa’s, there are plenty of places to grab a drink and check out who is wearing what and with whom.
Being a journalist is more that just collecting press releases and writing the news. It takes a certain amount of grit, determination and fearlessness mixed with humility and kindness to get to the heart of the story and encourage people to talk to you when they really don’t want to. That—and the ability to write an obscene number of words per minute—is what makes Royal Gazette senior reporter Simon Jones stand out amongst his peers.
With all the negativity out there, it is refreshing to read a light and humorous take on healthy living by columnist Catherine Burns of Natural Nutrition. Her regular column in the Royal Gazette is well written and both funny and poignant as she entertains her readers with stories about personal episodes of family life in a nutritionist-run household (where things regularly run amok). Amid the entertaining chaos of life with young children, Burns still manages to leave us with sound information on making healthier choices in our diets.
The Colonial Building, 9 Gorham Road, Hamilton, 236-7511, 505-4725, email@example.com, www.natural.bm
Bermuda’s best DJs are always spinning the latest tunes on Vibe 103—except on Throwback Thursday where they mix it up with everyone’s favourite classics. Engaging their audience with social media, call-ins and the new love-it-or-hate-it “One Gotta Go” segment, the Vibe team keep the station fresh week after week as they live up to their title of “Bermuda’s Energy Station.”
2 Whale Bay Road, Southampton, 232-0699, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vibe103.com
Based solely on the unbelievable number of devastated listeners who called, posted and tweeted their dismay that this popular DJ was leaving VIBE 103 on April 1 (thankfully it was just a cruel April Fools Day joke!), our judges knew that the best radio personality has to be DJ Chubb. His morning rush show is just the medicine morning commuters need to get them up and moving—even when they are slowly creeping along East Broadway. But don’t blame Chubb if you are late for work because the vibe is so good you can’t bear to get out of your car just yet. (Don’t worry, live streaming is available!)
DJ Rusty G
When “you ready for de road,” true soca fans know that DJ Rusty G is the one to truly get the party started. Also known as Russell Griffiths, the cofounder and head DJ of Immortal Vybes Sound and VIBE 103 DJ has been honing his craft since his college days in Toronto and now can be found at all major live music events from Soca vs Reggae to Bermuda Heroes Weekend and everything in between. If it’s a party you are seeking, just look for Rusty’s name on the flyer and you know it will be one for the record books!
Best Source of Local News and Information
If you are looking for the latest breaking news or a wrap-up of the weekend’s events, our judges say the best source to turn to is Bernews over and over again. With news reports so fast it seems they beat the police to the scene, the website serves to alert the public to everything from traffic accidents to court decisions, political happenings and new store openings. With an app to alert you to breaking news and a consistent social media presence, Bernews ensures that Bermudians have access to the latest news and information right when they want it—immediately.
Charity/Community Service Organization
Standing for Saving Children And Revealing Secrets, S.C.A.R.S. has a mission to create greater awareness of the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse—a sensitive topic rarely discussed by the general public. With the goal of raising public understanding of the issue and helping key decision-makers put policies and procedures in place to protect children, the charity puts on free prevention training programmes and distributes informational resources for healing. For their part in protecting our children and removing some of the stigma around the topic of childhood sexual abuse, our judges were proud to recognise the work of this worthy organisation.
email@example.com, 297-2277, www.scarsbermuda.com
For your daily dose of only-in-Bermuda humour and general proud-to-be-Bermudian love, follow Bermemes on your favourite social media platform. However, fair warning: if you aren’t up-to-date on the latest Bermudian slang, you may need to find a translator.
Check out the winners in the other 2016 Best of Bermuda Award divisions here: