How small is Bermuda?

It’s kind of funny how here in Bermuda, we often forget how tiny and unrecognizeable we really are.

All too often when trying to do business with companies from abroad, Bermuda is incorrectly categorized as part of Latin America.  Bermuda has nothing to do with Latin America however, we’re on a completely different time zone and very few of us are able to speak spanish.

This morning’s example is a great one.  I’m sitting on hold with Trend Micro trying to recieve some support on them recognizing Bermuda as actually existing.  See, my company purchased some products from a reseller of theirs and in order to register the product to recieve the activation code, you need to fill out an online form.  The issue, however, is that their online form doesn’t have “Bermuda” listed, and thus, we don’t exist.

I’ve now been transferred through 3 different people in the company who keep bouncing my call as nobody seems sure of what to do about it. 

If anything, it’s kind of amusing, but it does go to show how unrecognized Bermuda really is.  Trying to achieve reseller agreements for products can be incredibly pain as some companies won’t support or even distribute their products to our island.

Ah the joys of living on a 21 sq mile rock in the middle of the Atlantic.

So, the result of my support call to Trend?  Well after being transferred 3 times and spending nearly 20 minutes on hold…  they cut me off.  I suppose they’re really concerned about the loss of business from Bermuda, all whopping 60,000 of us.

I laugh at the prospect that some hold the false belief that we’re going to be able to survive on an international stage if we go independent.  If I can’t even manage to be recognized by a company I want to give my money to, how in the world are foreign countries beyond the US and Canada actually going to care if I have trouble trying to visit their country.  Somehow I suspect it’ll be much the same as trying to register a product.

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Posting from my Treo

So I reciently realized that Typepad, the company who hosts my blog, provides software so that I am able to make posts via my Treo.
This is my first test of the feature so I’m hoping it’ll work. If it does, it’ll mark one further step in terms of being able to make posting to my blog more accessable, and hopefully more frequent.

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So much for holding out

Today’s paper clearly identified that the likely 3rd horse in the race and favorite for many, our Minister of Finance, Paula Cox, won’t be entering.  I’d have to say, of the three seen as contenders, she certainly would have been my choice.  Her decision to stay on the sidelines and back Alex Scott is an interesting one.

I can’t say I’m a large fan of Alex Scott.  I don’t see him as a man of the people and more of a social recluse then anything.  I’ve seen more of him being driven around in his fancy car with the Bermudian flag at the front then I’ve seen him out amongst the people.  He’s been much to behind the scenes for my liking.  Beyond that, I cannot forgive him for placing Burch anywhere within cabinet, especially his recent appointment at the helm of tourism.

Today’s paper brings a new perspective, one that lends strength to alot of speculation that I’ve heard, that the PLP is a heavily divided party.  I’ve been hearing it for quite some time now, but never before have I heard it publically ratified.  Hearing that the PLP is heavily divided certainly helps explain their heavy failure to really accomplish much of anything over the past few years.  It’s quite disheartening really, for they could have done so much as they were considered to be a party of salvation for the Bermudian people and yet, the legacy they’ve left thus far is one of the same corruption, complacency and lack of putting Bermudians ahead of politicians that the UBP holds.

It’s disappointing to know that the PLP has spent more time fighting amongst themselves then actually trying to do whats in the best interests of Bermuda.  For that matter, my support is leaning towards the UBP because at least they seem to be, for lack of a better word, united while the PLP continually appears to be far from progressive.

The editorial in today’s Gazette outlines an interesting perspective.  Stating that

“To be sure, Bermuda’s politicians are nothing if not flexible, and it may be that the winner of the vote will be able to assemble majority of MPs in order to form a Government. If Mr. Scott wins, Ms Cox will be crucial in doing that, given her own strong reputation.
If Dr. Brown wins, it may be that a large minority of PLP stalwarts will wash their hands of the party.”

Having a “large minority of PLP stalwarts” walk out on the party would be my ideal scenario.  More then anything I would love to see a new party created which can pressure both the PLP and UBP into dissolving so that we can get beyond the constant Black vs. White bickering and actually forge ahead with what is best for all Bermudians, not just one group or the other.

Alas, I highly doubt that is a likely scenario, but I suppose one can in the least dream.

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Another level?

So tonight I found out my old roomie and friend since kindergarten will be moving in with his girlfriend in the new year.  All I could do was shame him for allowing things to go to “the next level”.  I mocked that it was bad enough that his twin had gotten married this summer and our other long time buddy got married last summer, now he’s allowing things to progress too?  I like harassing him that he’s next.  While he swears otherwise, I maintain that actions speak louder then words.

The topic came up in conversation with my present roomie and he mentioned to me something similar.  What is it with people and moving to the next level?  I’m at that stage in my life where friends are getting married, people are moving in together and relationships progress.  I’m just left wondering how it is that I’m being left behind. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly in no rush for change in my life.  I’ve gotten quite used to things the way they are, I love my sports, I love my freedom and I’m very happy to keep it that way.  I’m just a little sorry to keep losing my friends to couple-dom.  Maybe I’m selfish, but it seems to be getting harder to keep guys around that I can just chill with and I fear it’s gonna just get worse.  Sure I make new friends, but it seems to be a recurring cycle.  I’ve got friends that swear they’re not going anywhere, then they meet some girl and off they go, I see them less, I’ve gotta fight to get time just to hang out, and change, whether I like it or not, comes anyways.

I guess it’s just a part of transitioning from that age of being a child to being more of an adult.  Its a little disappointing to have to grow up so soon, even though, as much as you’d like to delay it, sometimes your friends are the ones that show you that realistically, change is inevitable, no matter how much you want to prevent it.

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What has our Premier been smoking?

Watching a short snippet of tonight’s news, I found myself going against my own traditional grain of thought by being in support of drug testing for our politicians, just so I could know what in the world it is that Alex Scott has been smoking. 

When speaking about the upcoming delegates conference, our Premier was on television suggesting that if he wins, it will showcase the PLP as “We are mature, we are democratic and we are transparent”.  I found myself shocked by this suggestion.  Forcing constituencies to vote as blocks doesn’t seem overly democratic.

It’s too bad I missed the early part of the broadcast, for I would have liked to have had more of a context in which to voice myself.  From everything I’ve seen in the past few years, the PLP, in regards to running our government, have been far from mature, such as having to rely on racial rhetoric to deflect the people away from the real issues.  The PLP have been far from democratic, such as when more of the electorate supported a referendum on independence then voted the PLP in in the first place, yet they “didn’t know what they were signing”. Finally, the PLP have been far from transparent, having allowed $800 million to go unaccounted for, only to turn around and disable the Auditor General’s office so that he can’t actually account for it.

I’m sorry Mr. Premier, but I have to say that if I had a vote in the upcoming delegates conference, my vote would not be for you.  Where in the world do you figure the PLP is mature, democratic and transparent?  Well sure, you’ve talked about it.  Just like you’ve ‘talked’ about every other issue.  But my dear Premier, actions speak louder then words.

By contrast, I’m not sure what to think of our Deputy Premier Dr. Brown.  I’ve heard many people make dire forecasts of him in a potential premiership, however, having met him in person, I have not seen true evidence of his “other side”, though I’ve seen very little of him.  I can’t say I’m pleased with his racially based comments, nor his failure to admit what he spent in Dubai.  Dr Brown, I wish you’d realize that I don’t care what you spend, as long as your open about it and in the end you produce results.  If so, go stay in ‘7 star’ hotels till your heart’s content.  Your racial rhetoric and lack of transparency is what makes me doubt you, not your taste for personalized monogrammed shirts and caviar.

What I have seen, is that our Premier has failed over the last 4 years.  He was to be the man who could unite the two camps within the PLP.  He has not been able to do so.  He was a man who would bring great change to our island, yet he has not done so.  He has, unfortunately, spent more time spouting rhetoric about how independence will solve all our problems as opposed to putting in the time and effort necessary to actually solve them.

Don’t mistake me as a fan of Dr. Brown, however.  I’m not sure what to expect of his leadership.  I can say that I do admire his action, though I disagree with his policies with regards to tourism.  I, like others, can admit that at least he’s doing something, and that’s a hell of a lot more then could be said about many of our politicians.  If anything, it seems our island is in need of some kind of action.  We cannot afford to sit idly by, coasting along like we have for some time now.  We, very simply, will not survive for much longer if we do.

Who do you think you’d vote for if you could?  I can’t say I’d vote for Dr. Brown, for I’m not yet decided on which stance to take, I just know I’m tired of Alex Scott.  With 3 days left before the delegates conference, it seems doubtful we’ll have another horse enter the race.  I’m ready to hold out my final opinion for one, but my hopes diminish with each day that it will appear.

I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t have a vote, for I’d probably choose to abstain anyway.

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Kitesurfing this week

I wanted to make a quick mention of kitesurfing activities this week.  Last nights outing at Elbow was quite enjoyable, the wind was up from the SW and a bunch of guys made it out after work.

It made for a few great runs, up until I spotted a school of 2-3 foot long fish jumping out of the water not far from where I was.  The instant thought in my mind?  Anything that makes a 3 foot fish jump sure as hell isn’t something I wanna be anywhere near.  I’ll have to admit, it’s one of the fastest I’ve ever boarded as I got out of the water about as quick as I could.

Nothing appeared to happen and there didn’t seem to be much risk.  I’ve never seen any sharks out at elbow, but considering it was dusk, hard to see and likely around feeding time, I wasn’t keen to take any chances.

Kitesurfing for this week?  Likely the rest of it will be up at Daniel’s Head in Somerset considering the tremendous wind.  Winter is finally here!



This afternoon In: 3-5ft Out: 8-12ft WNW  25-35 kts

This evening In: 3-5ft Out: 9-14ft WNW  25-35 kts



The rest of the week: 

Wednesday In: 3-4ft Out: 8-14ft WNW 20-30 kts

Thursday In: 2-3ft Out: 8-12ft NW 20-25 kts

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The Bermudian insurance plan

Ask yourself how secure you would feel if the following happened. Tomorrow you awoke to discover that you no longer have a job. Bermuda’s economy has collapsed, there are no jobs, any possessions you own that can’t be exported easily and are worthless, as is any Bermudian real estate you own. What would you do? Do you have enough savings to be able to relocate and start over off-island? Are you experienced and educated enough that foreign countries would welcome you with open arms, or would you become a refugee?

The recent poll in your paper concerning independence is disturbing and once again is likely to rehash the issue. As a young Bermudian, I strived to educate myself on the topic so that I could make an educated and informed decision if a referendum is ever held.

The reality of what I’ve learned of independence can be outlined in a very simple scenario. Let’s assume for a moment that our economy collapsed tomorrow. This assumption is being made based upon the chance that the United States or European Union (EU) decide to revise their tax or jurisdictional laws to make it no longer viable or attractive for companies to locate themselves in offshore jurisdictions. I will be very clear in stating that this assumption is void of cause from whether or not we go independent, nor speculation of who is elected in the next election.

Being that we heavily reliant on the reinsurance industry as a foundation of our economy, any such change could likely trigger a collapse of our economy and thus we could speculate the effects it would have on our island from two scenarios. The first being if we were an independent nation, the second being that we were a dependent territory of the UK, as we are today.

If tomorrow we were an independent nation and our economy collapsed, we would very quickly find ourselves in a situation where our island would no longer be able to sustain it’s people. All those with dual passports would be able to leave the island and all those with only Bermudian passports, limited education and transferable skills would effectively be trapped here. Our entire economy would collapse in on itself, real estate values would plummet and effectively all single passport Bermudians without the wealth to afford to relocate elsewhere would become imprisoned on this island. That includes every family who has limited savings and few investments in anything but real estate, especially the youth and the elderly.

If tomorrow we were still a dependent territory of the UK and our economy collapsed, every Bermudian would have the ability to relocate anywhere within the EU. Though many would never want to make this choice, in this scenario many very well may not have much of one. Having EU status, we have the right to live, work, and even collect welfare in many European countries. Just as our island has become a world center for insurance, we, as Bermudians, presently have our own insurance policy against catastrophes. Our EU status is much like our own insurance policy to defend against the potential of a catastrophic event impacting our local economy.

It matters very little what other arguments can be made in support of independence. In all reality, as a young Bermudian who doesn’t come from a rich family and has very little savings to fall back on, I would never want to make the gamble of throwing away my EU status. It does not matter how unlikely a collapse in our economy may be. The reality is, no matter what anyone says, there is always a risk of it happening and it could easily be completely out of our control.

The way I see it, our ancestors payed a tremendous price for us to have this insurance plan. I’m not about to throw it away, are you?

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Interesting comments on racism

Last week, Lynn Winfield, the president of the anti-racism organisation CURB (Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda)  gave an interesting speech in trying to ressurect the organization. 

One quote from the speech struck a chord with me that I thought I’d follow up on:

“Following the historic election in November 1998, attention to the issue of racism in Bermuda was put on the back burner. The prevailing attitude, it seemed, was that the problems associated with racism would go away following the election of a black government. Attempts by CURB to move forward with a raft of objectives received little support and unfortunately, the group eventually became inactive.”

It is very interesting to hear this example of the belief held that one event would solve all the racial problems of our island.  I find very similar correlations with the attitude held about racism following the 1998 election in comparison to the attitude held about how Independence would also solve all our racial problems.

Just as how the election of a black government and the two terms it has been in power has done little to actually resolve many of the racial issues plaguing our island, I fear that we would see the exact same thing if we were to go independent, at great sacrafice to our people to achieve it.

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Not a ‘playa’, but still in the game

The following article was published today in the Bermuda Sun

Is Bermuda’s dating scene truly so abysmal for young males, as was so eloquently outlined in the Sun’s recent series of articles? The articles did a good job outlining the problem, yet there were few explanations as to the cause, nor any true resolutions for males aspiring to meet nice women, rather then just aspiring to be playas.

While it may be true that the ratio of men outnumbers women at about 3 to 1, it isn’t the limiting factor as to why most men are unable to meet women on the rock. In order to understand Bermuda’s “scene”, one has to really view it from an alternative perspective.

Meeting decent women in Bermuda is a difficult task for your average male who isn’t a playa. The reality of those skewed male to female ratios, is that the odds of success for your average guy are so low, it drives him to desperation. Unfortunately, women aren’t attracted to desperation, instead, they like confidence, they want what they can’t have, what they can’t easily control and ultimately, they want a challenge.

The key to success comes when you distinguish between the approach men and women often take when they meet a potential mate. If you can manage to get a woman’s interest and attention, they often are thinking, “you’re interesting, I’d like to get to know you better and see where things go”. Many men, however, have a tendency to act like every girl is a potential wife, girlfriend or one-night stand. We get so interested in the girl, long before we actually know anything about them, that they get nervous. This nervousness creates a lot of tension and pressure, which ultimately makes the woman feel uncomfortable. Why? Because the man is acting uncomfortable.

Many women want someone who is confident enough in themselves that they can be relaxed and just have a good time. They want someone who doesn’t have an agenda, takes time to get to know them and doesn’t make them feel pressured. In order to really succeed with women, and believe me, it isn’t easy, you can’t be putting women up on a pedestal. If you do, you ultimately reduce yourself to doing whatever it takes to keep the women happy. This means means she can easily control you into doing whatever she wants. If a woman has too much control over you, she very quickly becomes bored. Women want what they can’t easily control, they want a confident man who is in control and is a challenge, not someone who is boring.

This lack of control is exactly what attracts women to men who are jerks rather then nice guys. Ultimately, a woman would rather a nice guy who is confident, relaxed, and is able to say no, but all too often these traits don’t go hand in hand. They don’t want a man who is too controlling, but neither do they want a man who is always bending to their will and giving them everything they want. All too often, however, these traits are stereotypical of jerks rather then nice guys, which is why jerks win and is the answer to that question “why is she with him??”.

Ultimately, going out to the night clubs to engulf yourself in a sea of males is hardly the ticket to meeting women. Instead, they can be found when you step out of the realm of just getting drunk and actually try out some fun, group based, activities that provide a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Sports are a great example, from tennis to rugby to volleyball, Bermuda has an abundance of sports year round that provide a relaxed atmosphere perfect for casually meeting girls. Girls are always telling me they want guys to go to salsa dancing lessons and in those kind of occasions, girls outnumber guys. Even if its something like church, volunteering or the like, activities aren’t just limited to just sports or dancing. Really, anything you can think of that can be relaxed, fun, and doesn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol are those that you’re likely to find more approachable women.

The dating scene in Bermuda isn’t nearly as abysmal as people make it out to be, you just have to be willing to think outside the box and act on something more then a drunken impulse, it’s the only way you’re bound to survive Bermy’s dating scene, playa, or otherwise.

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Another sustainable development comment – Taxi-buses

I’ve decided to make another suggestion to the Sustainable Development Blog.

What we have is a bus system that doesn’t travel the entire island, and at times can be inconvient. Most people avoid it because it is too rigid and inflexible

Then we have a taxi system that continues to be unreliable. There are often times that you cannot get one for an hour or so, or worse, they don’t show up at all. Even if you get a taxi, they can be very expensive.

What we need is to look towards the future and realise that public transport should combine the best of the two to create taxi-buses.

Take the best benefits of a bus – shared rides, and the best benefits of a taxi – door to door service without specific stops and combine each with computer technology, cellphones and GPS. (the ultimate sustainable development website) wrote a great article on the concept:

Imagine a taxi-bus that you called a service, and told them where you are, and where you are going. The operator then enters your departure and destination points into a computer. That computer’s software then compares your route with all the other travellers routes. Then, depending on where you’re going and where you’re coming from, the computer updates taxi-bus drivers via GPS to give them directions on their overall route for picking up multiple passengers going to similar destinations.

This allows people to share taxi-buses efficiently with the driver’s on-board systems being updated every 30 seconds or so with new optimized route information.

It’s not as rigid as the present bus system with set schedules and stops, and it’s not as expensive as riding in a taxi yourself. Essentially you split the costs amongst multiple riders by slightly increasing the distance that everyone has to travel rather then the direct route you’d have in a taxi.

Using technology, you could optimally recieve text messages to your cell phone on when the taxi-bus will arrive (via GPS calculations) and potentially even order it without the requirement of calling anyone, just enter the request into your phone.

Bermuda needs to start thinking outside the box to solve our problems.

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