* mct photo.
At least now that Tiger Woods is not coming to the island business owners won’t lose their employees to ‘sick’ days, says Fred Barritt.
* mct photo. At least now that Tiger Woods is not coming to the island business owners won’t lose their employees to ‘sick’ days, says Fred Barritt.
I know I haven't expressed any opinions recently but it's not because I haven't had any - I always have an opinion. It's just that I've been off the Island a lot recently and am only now finding the time to put fingers to keyboard.

My wife and I, and a few of our closest friends, spent two weeks cruising to Scandinavia and Russia. And were we the only Bermudians on board? Of course not! You really can't go anywhere these days without meeting Onions. And while it's hardly surprising to find Bermudians in a place with lots of bars and a casino, three thousand miles from home I expected them to be a little less prevalent.

Of the seven countries we visited Estonia was perhaps the most interesting. They take great pride in the nickname "E-Stonia" as they have embraced the Digital Age with gusto. Two hundred per cent of the population has a SIM card.

For those of you still living in the Twentieth Century - that means there are two cellphones for each man, woman and child in the country. But what I found most interesting (aside from their ingenious use of attractive blonde women as street vendors) was that they can vote in their elections from anywhere in the world.

Eligible voters get a "smart card" which they can insert into a computer and thereby access, via the Internet, the election ballot. So, when an election is called, they don't have to disrupt their lives at all in order to ensure their vote is counted.

And they can change their vote at any time, and as often as they like until the polls are closed. They can even show up in person if they change their mind again and the "live" vote will override all previous electronic ones. Not bad for a country that fifteen years ago was part of the USSR and didn't get to vote on anything!

It's amazing what a truly "Progressive" Government can do when they actually want to expand the electorate rather than deliberately disenfranchise those they presume are unfavourably disposed towards them.

Shortly after returning from holiday, I had to go to a meeting in San Diego where the highlight turned out to be an early morning earthquake registering 3.7.

The earth moved

I felt the earth move while lying in bed, which is unusual when I'm alone. I'd left my wife with friends in Atlanta where she spent more money in two hours at Target than she did in two weeks in Europe. Apparently saving lots of money in the process.

So after four weeks, ten countries, eleven time zones, nine currencies and an earthquake I finally get back home and see that Dr. Brown's face is still smiling down beneficently on me in the Immigration Hall. All was still as I had left it.

Then I saw the news: Disaster! Tiger isn't coming! The local golf nuts are not the only ones who are disappointed. It's a real blow for everyone in Tourism. Not only will the hotels likely be hit by cancellations, but the television audience (and therefore the commensurate marketing exposure) will be cut in half. Except perhaps in Argentina and Ireland, but those are hardly big markets for us. But no matter how bad it looks, there are some benefits to the tournament being "Tiger-free".

Local businesses must be a little relieved. At least now they won't lose three days work from all the employees that would have skived off to watch the play. They would have known exactly where they all were, but would have been unable to contact them, as cellphones must be turned off while on the course.

Tiger's absence will also make course security a whole lot easier, as no one will be trying to sneak across country to get a glimpse of Angel, Padraig, Zack and Jim.

And now that Tiger's not coming, the Premier can call the Election any time. Previously, he would never have called it for before October 15, because if he lost there would be no way he'd get to play with Tiger in the pre-tournament Pro-Am. And he's not one to miss out on a perk.