Award of Excellence: Jessica Lewis
Gold medalist and Paralympian Jessica Lewis is a trailblazer. Her hard work and dedication to the sport of wheelchair racing has taken her places where few dare to go, but it is her incredibly humble nature and campaigning efforts for differently-abled persons that make her a true standout in our books. “A world-class athlete with amazing ability,” our judges declared her perseverance and unbreakable spirit an inspiration to us all, while lamenting the challenges she faces off the track as the world fails to keep up with the needs of those with disabilities.
Determined from the start, Jessica was born two months premature with diastematomyelia, a rare congenital disorder that left her paralysed from the waist down. Getting her first wheelchair at 19-months old, she’s gone from strength-to-strength since discovering her love for track and field in 2009 and is an advocate for the sport and for others with this rare disability. Today the T53 wheelchair racer can look back at a strong season with three medals—a silver and two golds—from the Parapan American Games and fourth place in the women’s 100-metre T53 final at the World Championships in Dubai. While it was undoubtedly a blow that the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be delayed until 2021, next year will be Jessica’s third Paralympic Games where she hopes to win Bermuda’s first Paralympic gold medal.
News Event of the Year (Pre COVID-19): The Passing of Walton Brown Jr.
The unexpected passing of former minister and longstanding member of the Progressive Labour Party Walton Brown Jr. sent shockwaves across the island when he was found unresponsive in his home on October 8, 2019. The Honourable Premier David Burt shared that he was “totally devastated” by the news, a sentiment shared by Bermudians at home and abroad. As an activist, teacher and advocate for Bermuda’s sovereignty, Walton Brown spent his life working diligently towards a Bermuda he believed in whole-heartedly. Governor Rankin echoed the premier’s statement, saying, “As governor, I was pleased to engage with him both as a member of the House of Assembly and as a minister. I always found him to be the most thoughtful individual and I give thanks for his service to Bermuda.”
News Event of the Year: COVID-19 Pandemic
What started as a curious virus far from our shores has taken us beyond the realm of the ordinary, keeping us locked in our homes and wondering if anything will ever be the same again. With the entire world plunged into a dystopian reality, Bermuda’s geographic isolation has never been more in focus. “The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become not only the biggest story of the year but of our lifetimes,” said one of the judges of this life-altering event that has seen our close community physically distanced.
Political Blunder: Gun violence follows “a year without murder”
What felt like moments after Wayne Caines congratulated the island on a year without any gun murders and a decline in shootings, the minister of national security was forced to swallow a bitter pill. A smash-and-grab armed robbery at Gold Standard in the Washington Mall kicked off a week of gun violence as four shooting incidents followed in rapid succession. Multiple shootings, including a fatality, have given the minister plenty to wrangle with as he attempts to control the island’s movements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pit Bull Politician: Michael Dunkley
Despite stepping down as leader of the OBA following the party’s devastating 2017 general election loss, Dunkley continues to shout loudly from the wings. He maintains a consistent presence on social media and traditional news channels and remains the most vocal member of the opposition, challenging the PLP on policy through the news and piping up on David Burt’s Twitter threads. During the COVID-19 pandemic, though, he has been showcasing a softer, more humorous side—offering eggnog to the public out of season and orange juice to the premier for a swizzle.
Most Effective Politician: The Hon. Premier David Burt
One judge declared Premier Burt’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic to be “remarkable” and that he will “go down in our history books for his levelheaded leadership and decisive action to protect the country.” His thrice-weekly press conferences and regular Facebook live sessions, complemented by his engaging, accessible Twitter threads, have shown what open communication means. Bermuda’s youngest ever premier, he’s determined to champion Bermudian ability, tapping into local talent to lead testing efforts and develop apps for the fight against Covid-19. Simply put by one judge: “The premier is doing a phenomenal job!”
Shadow Minister in the Limelight: Nick Kempe
In the world of politics where questionable morals are the status quo, Nick Kempe stands out as the good guy. With a head focused on policy and a heart for community matters, he was a stabilising force for the opposition. It was a shock when he announced his departure from party politics—and the island. The silence that remains where his voice was once heard is deafening.
Bermuda Booster: Bermuda Cricket in the World Cup
To see Bermuda’s cricketers in the running for the Cricket World Cup was a huge boost for the local community. As one of the lowest-ranked teams in the qualifier, it was a dream to book their place after a last-day victory against the Cayman Islands.The squad played through qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates before taking part in the first series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Challenge League B. Hopes were dashed after a string of defeats, but the island’s cricket fans now felt one step closer to the Cup—a feeling that had evaded them since 2007.
Good Corporate Citizen: Ignite Bermuda
Driven by businessmen Neil Patterson and Don Mackenzie, with the help of UK-based Entrepreneurial Spark and executive director Sean Reel, Ignite Bermuda is an entrepreneurial accelerator programme designed to educate and guide start-ups whose mission is to create jobs and diversity in the Bermuda market, coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs and providing access to a network of investors. Our judges were inspired by the success stories that came out of the first six-month cycle and the high quality of new products and services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ignite have found a way to connect virtually with their entrepreneurs, demonstrating how to pivot, to offer the community their services in an ever-changing economic landscape. www.ignitebermuda.com
Booster for the Environment: Fridays for Future Bermuda
Bermuda’s students led passionate demonstrations through Hamilton last summer. Carrying placards, students marched from City Hall to the Cabinet Building asking policymakers to set renewable energy targets, switch from fossil-fuel use to renewable energy and ban all single-use plastics. Inspired by the Fridays For Future environmental demonstrations started in 2018 by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Bermuda High School students Katarina Rance and Salayah Stange led the charge calling for a change in policies, legislation and initiatives geared towards reversing the harmful effects of climate change. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecological Blunder: New BELCO stack instead of renewable energy
Our judges were gobsmacked by BELCO’s new towering chimney and 14 megawatt dual-fuel diesel engines taking shape while wind farms and solar panels remain scarce—although plans had been in the works since BELCO was granted permission in 2011. At the start of the year, complaints rolled in after plumes of smoke billowed from BELCO’s North Power Station. Now with lawsuits launched and properties devalued, this project is leaving more than just a trail of smoke in its wake.
Tenacious Lawyer: Rod S. Attride-Stirling
Rod S. Attride-Stirling is indeed a tenacious lawyer. He earned this award for his relentless pursuit of equality, representing LGBTQ+ rights organisation OutBermuda in the quest to legalise same-sex marriage in Bermuda. He successfully argued that the Domestic Partnership Act, which intended to ban same-sex marriage and replace it with domestic partnerships, infringed on the constitutional freedom of conscience and should be struck down. The fight isn’t over yet, however—the government’s appeal to the Privy Council will be heard later this year. But with the ruling due to set precedent in the UK’s Crown dependencies and overseas territories, as well as several of Britain’s former territories, there’s no doubt Attride-Stirling will give the final round his all. www.aswlaw.com
Community Activist: Pride Organisers
When Liz Christopher, Chen Foley, and David Northcott secured a date for Bermuda’s first Pride event, they anticipated a few hundred would join the parade. On August 31, 2019, more than 6,000 people marched through Hamilton in a mighty show of support for the LGBTQI+ community. Timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Stubbs Bill, which partially decriminalised homosexuality in 1994, the Pride organisers also acknowledged progress derived from the “Bermuda Bred” case, which granted non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians the same rights to live and work on the island as those in mixed-sex marriages. The Pride event—themed “We Belong”—produced a more meaningful impact in combatting homophobia, acknowledged all types of people in the queer community and made sure everybody felt accepted.
Cultural Event of the Year: Bermuda Day Parade
Long established as the official start of summer, the Bermuda Day Parade is possibly the warmest display of Bermudian culture, and on the 40th anniversary of the parade the crowd of thousands spanned all ages, proving that, in four decades, it hasn’t lost its significance. The theme was “Bermudian Excellence,” with national treasures The Progressive Group, Dr Eva Hodgson and Shiona Turini playing Grand Marshalls to the parade of Gombeys, majorettes, dancers and local characters. Among the floats was a stunning display by the Portuguese community, who celebrated an anniversary of their own—170 years since the first immigrants arrived in Bermuda. Our judges were particularly enthusiastic about the Bermemes video which immortalised the event, capturing the sentiments of parade-goers who applauded the Bermudian attitude and spoke of how this little island punches well above her weight.
Charity Event/Fundraiser: Bahamas Relief
When Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, barrelling through the islands with winds of 200 mph—the strongest the Atlantic has seen—Bermuda’s residents, mobilised by Simone Smith-Bean and Wayne Caines and his ministry, rallied to raise money and send provisions. With the Royal Navy ship HMS Protector prepped to carry the goods directly from Bermuda’s docks to the Bahamas, residents congregated for three days at the Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church to pack up bottled water, canned goods, clothing, diapers, tools and building supplies, coming together as a singular force more powerful than the ferocious hurricane that brought them together.
World Famous Bermudian: Shiona Turini
As a stylist and fashion consultant, Shiona Turini was accustomed to rubbing shoulders with celebrity, but now she’s getting used to seeing her own name in lights. Her clients include Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Nike and Stuart Weitzman, but her work as a costume designer on acclaimed Universal Pictures flick Queen & Slim brought her to a wider audience. Behind Queen’s now-iconic zebra minidress and snakeskin boots is a consideration for the black-owned brands she chooses and the deeper issues that matter to her—that of bringing people of colour to the forefront. Her latest client, a little lady with mammoth impact, is none other than Barbie, whom Shiona outfitted in a variety of looks designed to appeal to little girls everywhere. Instagram: @shionat www.shionaturini.com
Visual Artist: Calix Smith
Some view him as controversial, others as contentious—but there’s no denying the impact of Calix Smith’s work. The artist, who now exhibits under the alias NOBODY, is not afraid to address taboo topics, including black culture, racism, sexuality and domestic violence. His mixed-media works bear his hallmark striking visuals, bold graphics and arresting message. He has exhibited at the Bermuda College gallery, Bermuda Society of Arts, Masterworks and this year, the Bermuda Biennial with “I-ANK-Forget,” a digital collage that subverts the classic beach scene. Instagram: @socrates_is_nobody
Photographer: Jayde Gibbons
Jayde Gibbons has had a big year, photographing campaigns for Cassine and Big Brothers Big Sisters, exhibiting in the Bermuda National Gallery Biennial and winning the coveted Charman Prize. “She is creative with her feet,” say our judges, “and finds things that others don’t see. She’s outside-the-box good. ” Her shooting title, Queendom Heights, has become a household name for capturing the Bermuda spirit—highlighting Bermudian culture from such events as Cup Match, Good Friday, county games, community giving, and now documenting the island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instagram: @queendom_heights
Vocal Artist: Last Call
Singers Adrian Jones and Tricray Astwood spout ministry and music, but their eclectic style crosses every genre and their first album, Ten Thousand, has a song for everyone. Named after the scripture Deuteronomy 32:30, it’s a blend of EDM, R&B, rock, Afro-beats and, naturally, anthems of praise and worship. Their uplifting vocals caught the ear of American songwriter and record producer Fred Jerkins, who featured the Bermudian vocalists on his spiritual hit “Victory,” which claimed the number-one spot on the Billboard Gospel Airplay Chart in April 2019. www.lastcallworship.com
Thespian: The Christopher Brothers
The sons of Hamilton’s town crier, Ed Christopher, have proved they have some impressive lungs of their own. Both Nicholas and Jonathan Christopher have careers on the stage, most notably in productions of the award-winning, hip-hop musical Hamilton. Nicholas opened the LA production and Jonathan is part of the ensemble cast in a touring production. Nicholas stepped in to replace Tony-nominated Christopher Jackson playing American icon George Washington before moving on to play Aaron Burr, one of the main antagonists, in the national tour. His resume includes Miss Saigon and Motown The Musical on Broadway, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier musical In the Heights.
Athlete: Jessica Lewis
Jessica Lewis once again made history for Bermuda when she claimed gold twice at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, last year. The wins (the T53 100-metre and 400-metre finals) were bittersweet for the athlete who lost her coach, Canadian Ken Thom, suddenly in 2017. The young Bermudian, who also won silver in the 800 metres, broke her previous record time of 17.67 seconds, set in Toronto four years ago, crossing the line in 17.36. Our judges were impressed by her resilience and grit, as well as by her advocacy for other differently-abled individuals.
Sports Coach/Instructor: Herbie Bascome
A sporting legend in Bermuda, former footballer and cricketer Herbie Bascome made international headlines when he led the Bermuda national cricket team through the league opener in a bid for the World Cup for the first time since 2007. Though crestfallen after a string of back-to-back defeats in Oman, the public vote was overwhelmingly in his favour—and our judges decided that someone who brings so much heart and soul to the game deserves recognition.
Spectator Sports Event: Gold Cup
Bermuda’s National Sports Centre was heaving for the Bermuda versus Mexico Concacaf Nations League Group B match in October. The stands were close to sold out with more than 4,000 local and visiting spectators. For the first 25 minutes our boys held their own against the football powerhouse, ranked 12 in the world by FIFA to Bermuda’s 167. Though the Gold Cup champions thrashed our Gombey Warriors 5 to 1, tiny Bermuda proved once again that she punches well above her weight.
Children’s Activity: Fryday’s Trampoline Park
It’s tough to beat FryDay’s Trampoline Park in Dockyard. The arcade features a giant jumping area, basketball nets and a foam pit, all housed in the historic former naval barracks. When their time on the trampoline is up, kids can enjoy arcade games and fill up on fast food. North Basin Building, Sail Loft Lane, Royal Naval Dockyard. 236-JUMP. www.frydaysfec.com
Kids Camp: Star Diving
It might be cruel to highlight this one: a summer camp so popular that it’s near impossible to get a spot. Run by Bermudian Katura Horton Perinchief, the first black woman to compete in diving at the Olympic Games (Athens 2004), and supported by several guest coaches including former top Swedish diver Martina Andrén, the programme was an instant success when it started six years ago at the National Sports Centre’s Aquatics Facility. Starting from springboards and working their way to the high dive, the camp provides a physical metaphor to challenge children to strive a little higher—and had our judges wishing they could be kids again. email@example.com
Place to Enjoy Nature: Crystal Cave & Fantasy Cave
Discovered in 1907 by two Bermudian teenagers searching for a cricket ball, this subterranean marvel is thought to be millions of years old. It is credited with inspiring the creators of Fraggle Rock, as well as writer Mark Twain, who reported in a letter: “The most beautiful cave in the world… splendid with shining stalactites, thousands and thousands of them as white as sugar…” 8 Crystal Caves Road, Hamilton Parish. 293-0640. www.caves.bm
Historic Tour: African Bermuda Dispersion Cultural Tour
It is said that history acts as both map and mirror, and Rashida Godwin has charted a course for reflection with the African Bermuda Dispersion Cultural Tour, an activity she created with husband Winston. Participants are taken on a “Sankofa Journey” that vividly recalls and honours Black Bermuda history. Borrowed from the Twi language of Ghana, sankofa means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Visiting sites include the Old Graveyard by the Rubber Tree in Warwick—a now disused memorial for enslaved and free blacks who were buried before Emancipation. Legends such as Sarah “Sally” Bassett and Mary Prince are brought back to life through the expert storytelling of the Godwins and their tour guides, Gina Davis, Ajala Omodele and Carlsen Phillip. Embracing history, participants leave the experience enlightened by what is truly a celebration of Black Bermuda. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Godwins have turned their tours into online talks. www.titantoursbermuda.com
Place to Play a Round of Golf: Turtle Hill Golf Club
With many beautiful courses to choose from, our judges were unanimous in awarding Turtle Hill Golf Club the title of Best of Bermuda. A three-time winner of Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play Golf” and host of the Dark ‘n Stormy World Par 3 Championships, this 2,684-yard par 3 course at the Fairmont Southampton offers dramatic terrain, beautiful ocean views and a coastal breeze that make the pleasure of the experience easily outweigh the challenge. 101 South Shore Road, Southampton. 238-8000. Golf.firstname.lastname@example.org
Place for Falling in Love: Fort Scaur, at sunset, overlooking Ely’s Harbour
Commitment issues aside, it’s worth the hike to this lofty vista where you can’t beat the views from the two-seater bench that faces Ely’s Harbour.
Place to Dump a Lover: The dump
Ask yourself, does it spark joy? No? In that case, it’s time to say sayonara and make room for the things that do.
Place for a Discreet Rendezvous: Drew’s Bay
Descend the stone staircase to a beach built for two, perfect for a picnic or a midnight dip. Tiny, secluded and beautiful to behold, this recipe for romance lies just outside the Olde Towne on Barry Road.
Place to Propose: On a boat
A luxury yacht or a wooden rowboat, our judges weren’t fussy about the vessel but they wholeheartedly agreed that a proposal on the water was the way to do it. Whether you sail the Great Sound, cruise through Paradise Lakes or paddleboard through mangroves at Hungry Bay, Bermuda’s best asset is arguably offshore.
Wedding Reception Location: Fort Hamilton
Both central and remote, historic Fort Hamilton is a dreamy location to celebrate your nuptials, offering stunning views over Hamilton Harbour and surrounded by an overgrown moat, now a lush garden with creeping fig, giant bamboo and tropical palms. Built by the British in 1870, Fort Hamilton never saw battle, and the 18-ton artillery pieces never set off in defense. Add the old wooden bridge and mysterious underground passages and you can forget cupid’s bow—these cannons fire straight through the heart.
Beautiful Garden: Botanical Gardens
A community favourite, the Botanical Gardens has it all—towering palms, sinewy rubber trees and a fragrant rose garden. But when Hurricane Humberto hit three weeks before the Bermuda International Gombey Festival Showcase in October, the Parks Department had to fight tooth and nail to get it back in shape for the event. Our judges were impressed with the “deep, fast hustle” of the government workers, and ultimately with the result—a gorgeous setting for the signature event.
Attraction for Visitors: Bermuda Transport Museum
Vintage motorbikes, 1950s Mobylettes, Bermuda cedar buggies and classic cars will transport you back in time at the Royal Naval Dockyard’s Transport Museum. Vintage vehicle collector Paul Martins, who opened the museum in the Chicane Building in 2017 with business partner Luciano Alcardi, has even acquired a huge wing sail from Oracle Team USA’s foiling catamaran. Locals are slowly catching on to this special space after images circulated on social media when it was hired for a standout party. Instagram: @transmuseumbda
Journalist/News Source: Bermuda Twitter
Forget traditional media, residents have turned to local Twitter for the most important news stories. It allows the community to really engage with what is going on in the world, ask questions and find the resources they need. According to our judges, “Everyone is moving to this platform,” with even the premier staging events and conferences from the social podium. www.twitter.com
Blogger: Kristin M. F. White
With a soft heart and a razor-sharp tongue, Kristin White is not afraid to address the sticky issues of race, politics and gender equality, decorum be damned. With an original grasp on the English language and a gift for selecting the perfect meme to punctuate each paragraph, her thought-provoking passages provide a starting point for much-needed discussion. Her ability to articulate our innermost grievances with wit and charm, encourages those seeking social change. Follow her on Instagram for the unabridged, uncensored version: @itskristindotcom www.kristindotcom.com
Radio Station: Vibe 103
This one needs no introduction. Reigning champion Vibe 103 has dominated this category for years and for good reason. Listen in for the latest tunes, talks and on-air interviews by Bermuda’s best DJs and radio personalities. Tune in to 103.3 or listen online to a mix of Top 40, classics, soca, old-school reggae and, everyone’s favourite, the ever-nostalgic Throwback Thursdays. 232-0699. www.vibe103.com
Radio Personality: Sherri Simmons
Love her or love to hate her, our judges agreed that Sherri Simmons’s departure from talk radio is “certainly a miss.” Often controversial, always entertaining, the host of the politically charged Sherri Simmons Show, “the queen of talk radio,” stood down in December to focus on her career as a consultant to Kathy Lynn Simmons, the minister of legal affairs. Whether a fan or a foe, her influence was undeniable.
Club/Party DJ: DJ Rusty G
Taking the prize for the fifth time, our judges agreed that, while many can throw a party, DJ Rusty G is a cut above the rest. Singled out for his versatility, Russell Griffith holds his own while sharing the stage with heavy hitters such as Machel Montano, Chronixx, Beres Hammond and Shaggy. Besides his usual sound of soca, reggae, hip hop and dancehall, he’s well versed in all genres and has made this role his life’s work—even taking to social media amid the corona virus lockdown to boost community spirits. www.djrustyg.com
Charity: Tomorrow’s Voices
Dreamt up by Thea Furbert when there was nowhere for her autistic son to receive the services he needed, Tomorrow’s Voices began by shining a light on Bermuda’s school system and its inability to meet the individual needs of children on the spectrum. Since starting the charity in 2007 with another mother, Tricia Simons, the pair have pushed to get more resources into schools, change legislation around disability and subsidise costs of high-quality medical services. Credited for making significant changes in Bermuda, Tomorrow’s Voices is working tirelessly to bring a better quality of life to affected families. 297-034 www.tomorrowsvoices.bm
Social Media Superstar: Shiona Turini
Sure, she looks phenomenal in every post, but there’s more to Shiona Turini than meets the eye. With 212,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 19,000 on Twitter, the fashion consultant and costume designer was an obvious choice for this category, having collaborated with industry giants La Mer, Tiffany & Co, Dior and now the biggest influencer of all, Mattel’s Barbie. As her impact grows, we’re certain her bold choices, intelligent commentary and issue-conscious message will secure her place in the world of superstardom. Instagram: @shionat www.shionaturini.com
Social Media Presence: Bermemes
In its infancy, Bermemes was a humorous portrait of all things Bermudian and instantly won the hearts of the community. Now all grown up, the content creator, headed by Dejon Simmons and Qian Dickinson, has become the go-to for event coverage, highlighting the island’s creatives and community. Our judges love their engaging content and affectionate take on Bermuda culture in their mini documentaries of the Bermuda Day Parade, the Cup Match Classic and the Bermuda Biennial. It’s no wonder they have become a leading source of information and a platform for genuine connection. www.bermemes.com
One to Watch: Aliana King
A petite beauty with a big personality, Aliana King has been making strides in the fashion industry with campaigns for Furla, Garnier, Aveda and Sephora under her belt. In her short career, she has graced the pages of Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Tatler and landed the cover of Elle Mexico. At the time of publication, she had 131,000 followers on Instagram but alongside images of her otherworldly beauty, her captions reveal wisdom and depth. Used to breaking convention, she’s not afraid to speak out about the issues that matter to her. With beauty, brains and a certain allure, our judges agree she is definitely one to watch. Instagram: @aliana.king
Road Race: Bermuda Half Marathon Derby
This 13.1-mile challenge is the people’s race. Open to everyone, at any fitness level, the spirit of the race is inclusion. From relay teams moving to raise money for their favourite charities to individuals hoping for their personal best, the whole island comes out to cheer on their friends, family and countrymen as they make their way to the finish line. The island’s longest-standing running race, our judges felt it deserved recognition for its impact on the whole community. www.bermudamarathon.bm
Museum: National Museum of Bermuda
With five centuries packed into a historic location, our judges chose the National Museum of Bermuda for its commitment to the preserving of Bermuda’s history and identity. Among the shipwrecked treasures, early maps and celebrated Graham Foster mural in the Hall of History, the first floor of the Commissioner’s House houses an exhibit devoted to 200 years of enslavement, from the early years of settlement through Emancipation. With free public lectures and a new education strategy that will bring the island’s history to schools, the efforts of this women-led team, including executive director Elena Strong, director of learning and engagement Lisa Howie, and advancement officer Katie Bennett, could not go unnoticed. Look out for United Together, a programme launched during the Covid-19 pandemic that will provide a living history and a record for future generations of what life is like now. www.nmb.bm