Vanessa James
Vanessa James

James becomes island’s ice queen

Figure skater Vanessa James, a former Mount Saint Agnes student, created a stir when she and Yannick Bonheur became the first black pairs skaters in Olympic history. James, who competed for France, once had dreams of representing Bermuda in the Olympics, but her grandfather Carlton-James said sponsors turned their backs on her and “that’s one of the reasons why she left Bermuda”. James left the island and would later become Britain’s first black skating champion in 2005, while her sister Melyssa went on to win a national solo ice dance competition.

Her grandparents Carlton and Ethlyn James, of Devonshire, watched with pride as did the rest of the island. She inspired cousin and rising tennis star Tyler Smith, who said; “I am very happy for Vanessa because I always wanted to be really big and successful. Hopefully, I can follow in her footsteps.”


Island rocked by huge storm

Hurricane force winds wreaked havoc across Bermuda on February 11. The winds sunk boats, forced flights and ferries to be cancelled and left homes without power. The Causeway was shut for about eight hours, stranding people in St. George’s and St. David’s as 70-knot gusts blew across Bermuda. One of the casualties was the MV Longtail which broke free from its mooring at White’s Island and ran aground. It had to be towed to Hamilton.


Air arrivals plunge to new low

Bermuda’s air arrivals for 2009 dropped 11 per cent to 235,860 — 35,000 less than 2008. The figures were the lowest number since the PLP came to power in 1998. Visitor spending was also down about $75 per person according to figures released by the Department of Tourism.


From Bollywood to Bermuda

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown signed an agreement with Indian movie studio Whistling Woods. The link would allow Bermudians to intern in India while offering an incentive to Bollywood filmmakers to make their movies on the island. Dr. Brown said any movies made on the island would have a positive marketing effect for Bermuda.

Filmmakers later came to scout locations for a movie but as of date, no films are scheduled for production here.


Unemployment hits 4.5% with 1,700-plus seeking jobs

The 2009 Labour Force Survey revealed that more than 1,700 people are looking for work every week in Bermuda.

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown said the figures were “sobering” but suggested the workforce was still basically the same as it was in 2000, though there were fewer people who now had two or more jobs.


Police get Tasers in arsenal

Police officers were given Tasers as one of a series of measures to help them tackle escalating gang violence.

Frontline police officers welcomed the move as a confidence booster in dealing with anti-social behaviour.

But they were not confident it would have any impact on the spate of gun crimes.


SPCA calls for tethering ban

The SPCA said it had witnessed firsthand the neglect, fear, isolation and sadness that “some dogs face, sentenced to a live on the end of a chain”. It said these dogs often don’t have adequate water, food and protection.