AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
Bermuda Heroes Weekend
Suffice it to say Bermuda has taken the carnival world by storm. In only four short years, the Bermuda Heroes Weekend (BHW) has grown from a few hundred people in Dockyard to a full-fledged weekend of events, parties, performances by top international artists and DJs, and a parade so big they can barely keep up with the demand (and some couldn’t—sadly at press time two bands had pulled out of the 2018 parade).
The growth rate has been astronomical and our tiny island has never experienced anything like it before. With an increase in visitors alongside a growing local group of soca junkies, BHW is set to become a staple event on the soca scene both locally and for those that travel around the world to experience carnival. And with experienced soca veterans at the helm—like Jason “D’General” Sukdeo—we expect the party to continue its upward trajectory for years to come.
“They changed the game,” said one of our judges. “People are coming because it is so different.” Another judge noted: “I’ve never heard more soca in Bermuda, ever, since BHW started. And it is also opening up opportunities for local artists thanks to the Quest for the Best contest.”
For over 50 years, the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Bermuda has been inspiring local youths to challenge themselves in the areas of community service, skills, physical recreation and adventurous journeys. When he was only 23 years old, Kenneth Bartram embarked on his first DofE expedition. He loved it so much he has been involved ever since. He has spent the last few years serving as chairman as thousands of teens filtered through the programme—in fact, Bermuda has one of the highest DofE participation rates per capita anywhere in the world.
PIT BULL POLITICIAN
Once the CEO of Digicel Bermuda, a former captain in the Bermuda Regiment, a former Crown counsel at the Department of Public Prosecutions and the chief of staff for former Premier Dr Ewart Brown, he has never been one to shy away from the spotlight. PLP MP Wayne Caines is now the Minister for National Security and is certainly vocal on the issues he cares about— including, most recently, his 100 jobs initiative and raising awareness while examining regulatory requirements for blockchain technology.
GOOD CORPORATE CITIZEN
Let’s tally it up shall we: Since the beginning of this year alone, Argus has donated $15,000 to the Family Centre for their Zone Based Counselling programme; $50,000 for a new facility for the Bermuda Diabetes Association; $25,000 for the Piece of the Rock’s new community outreach programme; sponsored the opening race of the Bermuda Triple Challenge; sponsored the annual Argus Walk the Walk with the Centre on Philanthropy; donated $13,000 to the Sandys Secondary Middle School STEM programme; donated refillable water station to four public schools; sponsored the School Lunch Challenge; and donated $17,000 to scholarships charity Knowledge Quest. If that doesn’t succinctly sum up why they deserve this award then nothing will.
The Repeal of the Same Sex Marriage Act
In spite of a Supreme Court ruling in favour of same-sex marriage in May 2017, a bill re-introduced by PLP MP Wayne Furbert was passed last September to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships. The move was strongly criticised by human rights groups both locally and internationally and Bermuda officially became the first country to repeal same-sex marriage. #BoycottBermuda became a hashtag on social media and even Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: “Bermuda just banned marriage equality. I guess I’m cancelling my trip. Anybody else?” Since then, challenges against the law have been filed in the Supreme Court but it is yet to be seen whether too much damage has already been done.
MOST EFFECTIVE POLITICIAN
Premier David Burt
Bermuda’s youngest ever premier, Edward David Burt, also holds the title of Minister of Finance which shows the faith his party has in their captain. He ascended to the title after his party won the 2017 election amidst a turbulent time and a struggling economy, and while the ship still needs some righting, the seas have seemed calmer lately with him at the helm.
When it comes to tenacity, lawyer Mark Pettingill is the textbook definition of the word. Last year he famously represented Winston and Greg Godwin-DeRoche in their case which resulted in the Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage legal. Nine months later, the government passed a bill subsequently reversing the decision and replacing it with a domestic partnerships bill. But tenacious as he is, Pettingill has filed a legal motion to challenge the act’s constitutionality. Stay tuned as this fight is far from over.
SHADOW MINISTER IN THE LIMELIGHT
Some former premiers go quietly in the night after their term is done, but not so with One Bermuda Alliance’s MP Michael Dunkley. While he stepped down as leader after his party lost the 2017 election, he remained involved with the OBA and now serves as shadow government reform minister. Whether he is in Parliament, talking to reporters about the issues of the day or sharing his thoughts on social media, the “Milkman” never fails to deliver.
NEWS EVENT OF THE YEAR
The tragic death of 19-year-old visiting rugby player Mark Dombroski was a shocking and sad story that featured on international news around the world. He had been missing for over 24 hours, after spending time socialising with friends in town, when he was found at the base of a 35-foot drop at Fort Prospect. Many locals had taken part in the search. We at The Bermudian extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Dombroski.
Bermuda Heroes Weekend
Raise your rags, flags…jump up and wave! Carnival has exploded onto the Bermuda scene thanks to the men and women behind Bermuda Heroes Weekend. The multi-day party festival includes every kind of soca fete you can think of—sunrise parties, raft-ups, all-white parties, the messy fun of J’Ouvert, and finally the spectacular Parade of Bands. With international DJs and soca junkies from around the world coming to our island to soak up the fun, BHW has quickly become a staple on the world carnival circuit.
The Go-Ahead for ATVs
In a ministerial statement, Minister of Public Works Lt. Col. David Burch granted the approval for an ATV tour along the west end Railway Trail and National Parks despite the fact that during the public consultation he received 628 valid responses with only two of those in favour of the plan. He admitted that the largest objections were danger/traffic congestion and environmental impact. Their strong objections even led a number of Bermuda’s most well-respected environmental groups—such as the Bermuda National Trust, BEST, Bermuda Audubon Society, Greenrock and the Farmers Association, just to name a few—to form a coalition called “Protect Our Parks.” And despite the fact that even the Parks Department expressed opposition due to the increased burden it will place on their already strapped workforce, the proposal went through. On a “one year trial period.”
As Margaret Mead famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” And proving just one person can have a huge impact all on her own, Karen Plianthos has been keeping busy lately donating her time, services and even her hair to local charities. She raised over $8,000 shaving her head for St. Baldrick’s this past March, raised funds for numerous charities through auctions she holds, took part in the Bermuda Lionfish Winter Derby, and also works with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Jewish Community of Bermuda and George Washington University on separate fund-raising initiatives. Quietly doing her part to better her community and inspire others to give back makes her a star in our books!
Under the direction of drama teacher and actress Nishanthi Bailey, the Dellwood Middle School’s Stop the Violence campaign “When will enough be enough” resonated strongly throughout the island with their powerfully intense message. The team has been performing island-wide bringing audience members to tears.
A video can be seen at: www.vimeopro.com/ crimsonmultimedia/portfolio/ video/258017348.
He won Bermuda Idol in 2016, was selected for the America’s Cup band in 2017, was featured at the Made in Bermuda Festival last November and this year Jesse Seymour is set to headline as the lead vocalist in The Big Chill band. Each year seems to get better and better for the talented vocal artist who’s sweet voice will no doubt have guests swaying in their seats and dancing through the night all summer long.
Amazingly self-taught, lifestyle luxury photographer Nhuri Bashir is one of Bermuda’s top photographers boasting clients like the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Davidrose and Goslings, just to name a few. From portraits to landscapes, architecture to fashion, Bashir has a huge range of expertise that shines through in his impressive portfolio.
15 Front Street, Hamilton, 292-4071, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nhuribashir.com
Carlos Santana Dill-Trott
Taking the leap to be a full-time artist is a terrifying one, but it is paying off dividends for Carlos Santana. Showing his work at local galleries, the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, and even at the Essence Festival in New Orleans last year, the artist is a rising star on the local arts scene. While his work is a mix of graffiti art, abstract paintings, and pen and ink, he is best known for his detailed stippling pieces which consist of thousands of dots used to create images. He also hosts popular sip-and-paint classes for adults and adorable snack-and-paint ones for children.
707-1286, Instagram: @liveloveart_7
Another local athlete at the top of his game is none other than striker Nahki Wells who rose from Dandy Town Hornets senior team to Premier League club Burnley in a mere eight years. Only the fifth ever Bermudian to rise to the highest level of English football, the talented baller is a massive inspiration to hundreds of youngsters in the local leagues who have dreams of making it to the big leagues just like their idol.
SPORTS COACH/ INSTRUCTOR
Doing her not-so-small part to help those talented youth footballers reach their goals is coach Vinzie Zuill, the president of Footy Promotions, who recently became the first female Bermudian FA-registered agent. With a focus on player development, her futsal programme teaches kids from age 3 to 19. Now with this new designation she is able to assist local players with trials and contract negotiations and generally expand the opportunities for all those girls and boys who want to grow up to be just like Nahki.
SPECTATOR SPORTS EVENT
On a boat, in the village or even just at home watching on television, wherever you were during the 2017 America’s Cup the spectating was spectacular! With exciting action, top-shelf entertainment and all of Bermuda’s best on offer, the world-class event was a massive boost for the island and will certainly go down as one of the most successful events we have ever hosted.
BOOSTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Combatting the Lionfish /Lionfish Taskforce and Groundswell
We all know now the dangers of the invasive lionfish on the reef system as the voracious hunter with no natural predators continues to plague our waters. But thanks to environmental groups like the Lionfish Task Force and Groundswell, the public has been well educated about the issue, and efforts to combat the invasion have increased over the last few years. Because of them we can learn how to remove the poisonous spines so that the tasty fish can be eaten thanks to their tournaments and the “Eat ‘em to Beat ‘em” campaign. Anyone interested in doing their part can apply for a permit to become a lionfish hunter.
Her acting credentials go all the way back to impressive dramatic performances on the City Hall stage before hitting Broadway in Rock of Ages, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Groundhog Day. In 2019, thespian Rebecca Faulkenberry will star as Barbara Hoffa—the daughter of Jimmy Hoffa (played by none other than Al Pacino!) in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. With other cast mates consisting of Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Joe Pesci and Anna Paquin, it’s fair to say the Bermudian actress’s star is definitely on the rise!
Another legacy the America’s Cup left behind is the playground that was originally constructed for the AC Village in Dockyard. With its new home permanently on the western side of the gardens, children get to continue walking along the ropes and swaying on the boat with their bare feet in the sand. We also have to mention the incredible
Festival of Lights last year which turned the entire Botanical Gardens into an evening playground for kids of all ages to enjoy.
169 South Road, Paget, 236-4201
Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation
As Pablo Picasso famously said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” To keep your mini Picasso’s creativity shining for years to come, our judges recommend enrolling them in the Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation’s camp. From age four years to M2, budding artists get to explore all kinds of mediums and methods of creative expression—just don’t expect them to come home clean… as Picasso also said: “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”
27 Jubilee Road, Devonshire, 542-9000, www.kaf.bm
PLACE TO ENJOY NATURE
Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve
Until 1995 Cooper’s Island was a restricted area occupied by the US military and later used as a NASA tracking station. Today the 12-acre nature reserve is part of the Bermuda national park system and has been under active restoration since 2009. Enjoy nature any way you like: Relax on the remote beaches and watch for turtles, hike up the observation tower to search for whales, longtails and cahows or walk along the nature trails and the boardwalk over the restored pond. It’s all magical.
Both a beauty and a beast on the race course, the spectacular Flora Duffy is simply incomparable. Her resume is staggering: the three-time Olympian triathlete is the 2016 and 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion, the 2015 and 2016 ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion, and a four-time winner (2014-2017) of the XTERRA World Championships. And thanks in a huge part to her massive success, Bermuda hosted our first World Triathlon Series event here in April where Duffy dominated, winning the race with the second largest margin of victory ever!
CHARITY/ COMMUNITY SERVICE ORGANISATION
It’s a tie!
OUTBermuda is a registered charity with the aim of promoting and supporting the “wellbeing, health, dignity, security, safety and protection of the LGBTQ community in Bermuda by providing educational resources on issues of diversity, inclusiveness, awareness and acceptance as regards LGBTQ people, and seeks generally to advance human rights, conflict resolution and the promotion of equality and diversity relating to the LGBTQ community in Bermuda,” according to their website. With the current state of affairs, this is no easy task and we are grateful that there are passionate, smart and willing members to take it on.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an equally passionate group dedicated to helping children in need to realise their potential through highly successful mentoring programmes. Studies have shown that youth matched with a big brother or big sister are 52 percent more likely to stay in school, 46 percent less likely to use drugs and 32 percent less likely to engage in violence. With over 50 unmatched kids in their database, volunteer mentors—especially men—are desperately needed.
12 Wesley Street, Hamilton, 232- 2802, www.bbbs.bm
The exciting 35th America’s Cup sailed on the Great Sound last June has inspired a tremendous new passion for sailing like never before. Created by the competition, the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme is a legacy left behind to give opportunities for hundreds of young students to learn to sail. With clubs at both the east and west ends, students across the island have had the opportunity to learn not just how to sail but have also been engaged in science, technology, engineering, art and math activities in the hands-on classrooms. By removing the barriers to accessing the expensive sport of sailing, perhaps the next Olympic sailor is on the horizon.
OUTDOOR CAMPING/FAMILY EVENT SPACE
While not listed as one of the Department of Parks designated campgrounds, Clearwater Beach is a perfect spot for family gatherings of all sorts. With plenty of open space for pop-up tents, newly upgraded toilet facilities and outdoor showers, a perfect beach for kids to safely swim, lifeguards on duty all summer and food and drink available at Gombeys, Clearwater is a standout for those summer beach parties we can’t wait to be invited to. (However, if you do hope to camp there, please contact the parks department for the required permissions.)
St. Peter’s Church
Granted the Royal designation “Their Majesties Chappell” in 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen herself, St. Peter’s Church in St. George is a beautiful old church—in fact, it’s the oldest Anglican church outside the British Isles and the oldest Protestant church in continuous use in the New World. Full of wonderfully carved Bermuda cedar from pew to ceiling, ancient candelabras, commemorative plaques on the walls, an organ dating back to the 1800s and a display of sacred silver with the earliest piece—a communion cup—dating back to 1625. The historic churchyard is also worth a visit for its fascinating array of grandiose vaults and inscribed headstones juxtaposed with weathered and unnamed gravestones.
33 Duke of York Street, St. George, 297-2459, www.stpeters.bm
PLACE FOR FALLING IN LOVE
You simply can’t beat the beauty of a Bermuda beach. Whether you are planning a picnic date, a sunset stroll or a moonlit rendezvous, there are so many romantic sandy spots to fall in love in that we couldn’t pick just one.
PLACE TO PLAY A ROUND OF GOLF
Bermuda Fun Golf
While we are aware it is not a traditional golf course, we’d like to argue that a great fun place to play a round is at Bermuda Fun Golf in Dockyard. With a total of 18 holes designed after famous ones in Bermuda, Scotland and the US, the challenging course overlooks the ocean and even has a fully licensed bar. While the golf might be miniature, the fun is not!
Royal Naval Dockyard, Sandys, 400-7888, www.fungolf.bm
PLACE TO DUMP A LOVER
The worst part of ending a relationship in Bermuda is the inevitability of running into your ex over… and over… and over again. So our judges suggest giving them a one-way ticket to anywhere to avoid all that future awkwardness.
PLACE FOR A DISCREET RENDEZVOUS
Pompano Beach Club
The location is remote, the views are breathtaking and the food is delicious, say our judges. And when you are seeking a bit of privacy, they recommend planning your rendezvous at Pompano. With multiple lounges, bars and restaurants available, plus a private beach, pool and Jacuzzis to relax in, whatever kind of “date” you are going for, Pompano Beach Club has it all.
36 Pompano Beach Road, Southampton, 234- 0222, www.pompanobeachclub.com
PLACE TO PROPOSE
OK, hear us out. We know this one isn’t for everyone, but for those with an adventurous side, a cleverly planned proposal while scuba diving along our stunning reefs will be a memorable one. Just throw in a rusty chest to “discover” the treasure (the engagement ring), along with some bottles of bubbly to celebrate with after!
ATTRACTION FOR VISITORS
Bermuda’s Reefs and Wrecks
We are widely recognised as the shipwreck capital of the Atlantic thanks to the treacherous reefs that protect our tiny island. With over 300 sunken ships dating from the 1600s to 1997 to explore in shallow, crystal-clear waters teaming with colourful fish, visiting divers are treated to spectacular sights during every dive. With hurricanes often unsettling the seabed, treasures are still being unearthed—like a 151-year-old bottle of wine discovered in 2015 on board the wreck of the Mary Celestia. We highly recommend adding a visit to one of our many fascinating wrecks via scuba diving, snorkeling or even a glass-bottom boat trip.
CULTURAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
After getting burnt to a crisp over Cup Match weekend, locals cool off by getting on anything that floats and enjoying the nautical nonsense during the annual Non-Mariners non-race held the Sunday after the cricket fest. Mangrove Bay gets jam-packed with boats, kayaks, paddleboards, floaties and noodles to watch several teams of boat “builders” construct some sort of floating creation (usually tongue-in-cheek and often political in nature) to “race” before sinking to the shallow depths. Maybe someone wins a prize if they don’t? We don’t really know…we are just there for the uniquely Bermudian party!
A quick Google search of her name reveals her name atop many of the big, headline stories over the past few years. With quality writing and in-depth re- porting, readers trust the words of Royal Gazette senior news reporter Sam Strangeways.
www.royalgazette.com (Nadia Hall abstained from voting.)
Kristin White (Kristin Dot Com)
She’s the cultural tourism manager for St. George’s/St. David’s, the owner of a bookstore, a writer and tour guide, and Kristin White is killing it as an outspoken advocate for all her many passions. Her blog on her website kristendotcom.com is poignant, always well-written and sprinkled with current memes and colourful language to highlight her salient points with well-placed humour and wit. Engaging and passionate, White is certainly one to follow.
Since launching in 2012, “Bermuda’s Energy Station” Vibe 103.3 FM has been dominating the airwaves with their mix of top hits, soca sessions, old school reggae Throwback Thursdays, top-notch entertaining local DJs and minimal talk time. It’s the perfect blend of everything you want in the best radio station.
(Leanna Lambert abstained from voting.)
Bermuda Triple Challenge
This year hundreds of participants tested their endurance at the Bermuda Triple Challenge (BTC) as they ran, jumped, climbed and crawled over, under and through three unique obstacle courses over three days. But more than just a race, BTC’s main goal is to support local charities as athletes can earn points relating to the amounts of money they raise. With 100 percent of every sponsorship dollar going to charity, this year six local charities benefited—including The Reading Clinic, SCARS, The Duke of Edinburgh’s
International Award, BFIS, Learning Disabilities Association of Bermuda and Windreach
WEDDING RECEPTION LOCATION
The spectacular view alone makes the historic Commissioner’s House in Dockyard a perfect location for a wedding reception, say our judges. Charming and rich in history, the building is a beautiful backdrop for a romantic candlelight dinner for guests either inside in a grand room or outside on the wraparound verandah. With cocktails on the lawn and dancing under the stars, it is a dream venue.
The National Museum of Bermuda, 1 The Keep, Sandys, 705-3061, email@example.com, www.nmb.bm
If you are anything like this writer, mornings are not your favourite time of day—from rushing to get out of the house on time to getting stuck in traffic on a rainy day, any- thing that can go wrong inevitably does. Our one saving grace? Marcus George, aka DJ Chubb. The engaging, funny, charming radio personality can immediately change a bad morning into a good one with his daily show on Vibe 103. Although please don’t blame him anymore when the vibes are so good you are late to work on Throwback Thursdays.
@djchubb103 (Leanna Lambert abstained from voting.)
DJ Rusty G
He’s clearly one of the busiest and best DJs in the business. With Vibe 103.3 radio shows, a regular gig at Snorkel Park’s Mad Mondays, numerous special event performances, BHW-affiliated party hosting and several hot mixes available for downloading, its no wonder that DJ Rusty G is receiving this award for the FOURTH year in a row!
SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTARS
It’s That Type of Party
They claim to be a comedy team, but the duo behind It’s That Type of Party (Trae Cannonier and Dwayne Robinson) have become better known for their social/political commentary that is certainly amusing but more importantly informed, refreshing and thought-provoking. With a mix of interviews, reviews and direct commentary on the issues of the day, their candid web videos reflect the views of their generation and encourage open dialogue, which is more important now than ever. Follow them on their YouTube channel to see all their videos.
Leanna Lambert • station manager, VIBE 103.3
Nadia Hall • reporter, The Royal Gazette
Winston Godwin-DeRoche • aquarist, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo
Terri Mello • freelance writer
Kyle James • assistant investment manager, Bermuda Tourism Authority
To see the winners of the other 2018 Best of Bermuda Award divisions, follow the links below: