Branding Bermuda – An Addendum

In my previous post I intended to provide the relevant excepts of the various legislation that the America’s Cup Act 2014 exempts the America’s Cup (and its associated ‘corporate’ partners) from in Bermuda. Unfortunately, it was just getting to be a far too big an article, so I ended up just dealing with the most relevant one for that article.

And so, here, I provide the remaining advertising exemptions granted by the America’s Cup Act 2014.

Just as a reminder, this is the relevant section of the America’s Cup Act 2014 concerning advertising exemptions:

3 – In relation to advertising of and at the Bermuda Events, ACEA and its designated commercial partners, and the Teams and their designated commercial partners, shall be exempt from –

(a) sections 2, 3, 4 and 6(c) of the Advertisements Regulation Act 1911;

(b) section 14(4) of the Development and Planning Act 1974;

(c) the Motor Car (Control of Design, Colour and Advertising Matter) Regulations 1952; and

(d) sections 3 and 4 of the Alcohol Advertisement (Health Warning) Act 1993.

I addressed subsection (a) in my previous post. As the entire Motor Car (Control of Design, Colour and Advertising Matter) Regulations 1952 is exempted, I’m simply going to direct you to read the entire Act than reproduce it here… (opens as a pdf).

Development and Planning Act 1974

Section 14 (Development requiring planning permission) – Only subsection (4) of this section is exempted under the America’s Cup Act 2014.

Section 14(4)

Without prejudice to the Advertisements Regulation Act 1911 [title 20 item 9], the use for the display of advertisements of any external part of a building that is not normally used for that purpose shall be treated for the purposes of this section as involving a material change in the use of that part of the building.

Alcohol Advertisement (Health Warning) Act 1993 – Only sections 3 and 4 are exempted under the America’s Cup Act 2014.

Section 3 (Alcohol advertisement in printed publications; Schedule)

(1) No person shall print or publish an alcohol advertisement in a printed publication to which this section applies unless the advertisement bears the health warning as set out in the Schedule.

(2) This section applies to – 

(a) any newspaper with majority ownership by Bermudians printed or published in Bermuda;

(b) any periodical, magazine or other publication with majority ownership by Bermudians printed or published in Bermuda.

Section 4 (Health warning when alcohol advertisement displayed; Schedule)

No person shall – 

(a) display; or

(b) publish or distribute for the purpose of display,

an alcohol advertisement in writing or other permanent form or semi-permanent form unless the advertisement bears the health warning as set out in the Schedule.

Summary

Basically the America’s Cup Act 2014 exemptions here remove the need to include health warnings regarding alcohol and remove the need for planning permission (and all the related checks and balances that involves) for advertising on the outsides of buildings.

Although I haven’t included the Motor Car (Control of Design, Colour and Advertising Matter) Regulations 1952, it is a relatively short Act (six pages). Some of the key sections though are:

Section 4 (General Principles)

The superficial design and colour of restricted motor cars and trailers and of any advertising matter displayed thereon shall be regulated and controlled by order of the Minister –

(a) so as to conduce to road safety; and

(b) so as to preserve as far as possible the amenities of Bermuda, notwithstanding any consideration of private gain.

Other sections generally provide regulations for lettering, colour, designs, etc, mostly with regard to ensuring road safety. I encourage readers to read through it fully though. It is mostly an Act about advertising on vehicles, as is indicated by its name.

Thoughts?

Advertisements

Branding Bermuda

“As a private person, I have a passion for landscape, and I have never seen one improved by a billboard. Where every prospect pleases, man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard. When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon. How many juries will convict us when we are caught in these acts of beneficent citizenship? —David Ogilvy, founder of the Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, in Confessions of an Advertising Man, 1963”An excerpt from Naomi Klein’s No Logo.

There’s some questions on social media about the erection of various giant-sized corporate logos around the island, on various key landmarks. The first one I believe went up on Seon Place the other day, however most of the focus (and, I think it should be said, concern) is on Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.

From the America's Cup Twitter account.

From the America’s Cup Twitter account.

Quite a few people are pointing out the apparent hypocrisy between the Government recently clamping down on various breaches of the Advertising Regulations Act 1911 and this America’s Cup advertising campaign.

So, why is the America’s Cup advertising okay?

The answer to this lies in the exemptions, regarding advertising, granted in the America’s Cup Act 2014 (which Bernews pointed out). Specifically, the exemptions in question are in Part 2 of the Act ‘Concessions & Exemptions’:

Advertising

3 – In relation to advertising of and at the Bermuda Events, ACEA and its designated commercial partners, and the Teams and their designated commercial partners, shall be exempt from –

(a) sections 2, 3, 4 and 6(c) of the Advertisements Regulation Act 1911;

(b) section 14(4) of the Development and Planning Act 1974;

(c) the Motor Car (Control of Design, Colour and Advertising Matter) Regulations 1952; and

(d) sections 3 and 4 of the Alcohol Advertisement (Health Warning) Act 1993.

I won’t go into detail on (c) above, however I thought it might be educational for readers to understand what the other exemptions above are. So below, to save people the trouble of going through all the various Acts themselves, are the relevant sections relating to advertising that the America’s Cup Act 2014 allows.

Advertisements Regulation Act 1911

Section 2 (Restriction of exhibition of advertisements)

No person shall, except as otherwise provided by this Act, exhibit any advertisement, upon or over any land except – 

(a) advertisements upon any land relating solely to any entertainment, meeting, auction or sale to be held upon, or in relation to such land or to any property thereon; or

(b) announcements of the sale or letting of such land; or

(c) announcements or copies of any proclamation or official notice published by authority of the Governor, the Supreme Court, any Justice of the Peace, either branch of the Legislature, any Government Department, any Government Board, or any officer holding a commission in Her Majesty’s Forces; or

(d) announcements or notices duly published by proper authority of any meeting of freeholders or others for any parliamentary, municipal or parochial election, or other purpose; or

(e) advertisements or announcements upon any land, within either municipal area, being land duly licensed for the exhibition of advertisements by the respective municipal corporations : Provided that in all such excepted cases, the advertisements shall not contain letters, effigies, figures or other advertising emblems exceeding twelve inches in height; or

(f) advertisements or announcements exhibited inside a display window of an agent’s business premises of any business, entertainment or occurrence in respect of which such agent acts; or

(g) advertisements or announcements exhibited inside of any shop, store or place of business, other than any public vehicle or ferry boat; or

(h) advertisements relating to the sale of land at auction or otherwise; or

(i) advertisements relating to the arrival or departure of any ship belonging to or employed by any line or company the ships of which ordinarily ply between Bermuda and elsewhere; or

(j) advertisements published in any book, newspaper, magazine, calendar or periodical; or

(k) announcements, in letters not exceeding fifteen inches each in height or width, of the business name of the company, firm or person carrying on business on the premises and the general character of the business carried on therein.

Section 3 (Illuminated and other signs visible from street; sky-signs)

(1) No person shall – 

(a) erect upon, or fix to, or exhibit above, any land, any advertisement supported on or attached to, any post, pole, standard, framework or other support which, or any part of which, or the support of which, is visible against the sky from some point in any street or public way; or

(b) use or exhibit any kite, balloon, parachute or other similar device, employed wholly or in part for the purpose of any advertisement or announcement, over any land or street; or

(c) exhibit any flashing or illuminated sign which is visible to any person on any public street or public way.

(2) For the  purposes of subsection (1)(a), an advertisement, the uppermost part of which is no higher than the roof line of any building on the plot on which it is situate, shall not be deemed to contravene the provisions of that paragraph.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c), an “illuminated sign” means a sign used or intended to be used for the purpose of advertising the lettering or design of which is illuminated from within the components constituting the lettering or design. 

Section 4 (Vehicle exhibiting advertisements; sandwich man)

No person shall – 

(a) act, or employ any other person to act, as a sandwich man or for similar purposes to walk through any public street or highway, solely or chiefly for the purposes of exhibiting advertisements; (b) in any public street or highway draw, wheel, ride or drive any vehicle used solely or chiefly for the purpose of exhibiting advertisements.

Section 6 (Corporation of Hamilton)

The Corporation of Hamilton may grant a licence in respect of any land within the municipal area of the City of Hamilton, for the purpose of posting, placing or exhibiting advertisements:

Provided that – 

(a) before any licence is granted in respect of any land not the property of the Corporation, the permission of the owner or occupier shall be first obtained;

(b) any such licence shall be subject to such terms, conditions and notice of discontinuance as the Corporation may deem expedient; and

(c) the space on any hoarding, or other structure used for advertising purposes, shall not exceed six feet in height.

I’ll post in a separate article what those other exemptions are, as I think this post is long enough as it is.

NB – Only subsection (c) of section 6 (Corporation of Hamilton) above is relevant as regards the America’s Cup Act 2014, however I felt it wouldn’t make sense without reading it in the context of the entire section.

So, what do you think? Are you happy with these big advertisements going up on our landmarks? Are you looking forward to the other exemptions relating to advertising still to come?

This post is essentially a public service announcement, an ‘educational’ article. Happy to hear people’s views on it all though.

If anyone wants to read Ms Klein’s excellent book ‘No Logo’, this link opens to a pdf version of it.

Becky’s Beach Glass Design – An Example of Irresponsible Tourism?

This is a news story that has developed over the last few days in local media.

Basically, a US tourist, who happens to be a jeweler specialising in incorporating sea glass into her works, came to Bermuda, scooped up about 70 pounds (about 32 kilograms) of sea glass from Bermudian waters, and took it to the USA where she’s made a handsome profit from it. By her own admission she came to Bermuda explicitly for this purpose, as part of her business.

Now, there’s a few problems with her actions here.

For one thing, that she came to Bermuda for this explicit purpose breaches our laws regarding work permits. She would have required at least a temporary work permit for this action – it was illegal for her to do what she did as a tourist.

More importantly, it is against Bermudian law to remove sea glass from the beach in the first place, and it’s also against the law to export this.

The relevant legislation in question can be found here…

Now, Ms Fox, the jeweler, has since compounded matters, by being quite frank in the US media about what she did, and then blocking, and deleting comments by, Bermudians and others who have been critical of her actions and pointed out how she broke the law and has been quite insulting to our people.

She’s also playing the victim here and telling folk she’s being bullied and people are making things up. As she’s deleting comments pointing out exactly how she broke the law and refusing people the right of reply, some of her readers are indeed believing that she is being bullied and has done nothing wrong.

Now, I don’t intend to get into a whole discussion about Ms Fox here.

Quite frankly, she broke the law, she’s acted very insultingly to Bermuda and Bermudians, and her behavior has been quite poor and disappointing. I think she could have defused the whole thing immediately after her wrong-doing was pointed out to her. She could have simply said something along the lines of:

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realise what I did was wrong and clearly misunderstood the laws of Bermuda. I am sorry to anyone that I have hurt and will be contacting the Bermudian authorities to work out how best to resolve this issue in an amicable way, and all the profits that from sale of Bermuda glass jewellery is being donated to these environmental charities in Bermuda. Lesson learned.”

That would have been enough I think.

Our people are largely forgiving, and an honest recognition of making a mistake and taking steps to make good would have been welcomed. Heck, we probably would have helped advertise her wares – it would raise money for our charities, boost awareness of our local artisans and be a good little tourism advertisement for Bermuda. Her refusal to even accept any wrong-doing and compounding it by insulting our people and trying to silence us, yeah, that’s left a rather sour taste and won’t be forgotten.

I for one hope that our Government will be taking steps to:

  • Seek compensation from Ms Fox;
  • Tighten up regulations concerning sea glass and other artifacts;
  • Boost local artisans;
  • Ramp up inspections.

Responsible Tourism

However, I digress. There’s really not much more that can be said on this story that hasn’t been said already in the media or by hordes of my righteously irate compatriots on various social media.

What I find most interesting about this incident, other than the imperialist mindset of a White American tourist in appropriating other peoples natural and cultural resources, is how this allows us to really focus on what kind of tourism we want for Bermuda, and what are the possible consequences/impacts of tourism in Bermuda?

The Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”.

I think that’s a pretty decent definition, and should really be the ideal form of tourism that we want – and the kind of tourists we should be when we travel.

Now this definition is not simply ‘green’ tourism. One can build a resort with the latest green tech, or go on an explicitly nature vacation (hiking in a natural park, etc), without meeting this criteria. It also has to ensure economic benefit to ordinary people and not threaten or undermine the local economy and culture.

If one were to apply this concept to this particular incident, then not taking our sea glass was the responsible thing to do. Supporting local artisans was the responsible thing to do. Perhaps asking to work with some of our local sea glass artisans would have been the right things to do, and even arranging to help sell their products in the USA through her site would have been the responsible thing to do.

Doing all this would have ensured the sustainability of our sea glass beaches (certainly a lot more than carting away 70 pounds of it!) and boosted the local economy and artisans.

This principle can apply to tourism in general for Bermuda. It means making sure that the impact on our environment and infrastructure is sustainable, that it doesn’t destroy the very nature that attracts tourists here in the first place (and environment here means more than just beaches, clear blue waters and greenery – it extends to pollution, litter, energy use, waste management, food, water, traffic, etc).

And it also means that tourism should benefit ordinary people. I don’t mean the bank accounts of the elite, of the 1%. I mean ordinary people overall. We all recognise that there is some degree of trickle down from tourism, even if it’s just revenue collected by the government and used for public services.

However, I’m thinking more in terms or increasing local economic links and reducing leakage of the tourist dollar overseas (or into the bank accounts of the elite), and this means ensuring the tourist dollar is more equitable spread (through using local entertainers, boosting local artisans, using small businesses as much as possible, relying on local farmers as much as possible). Doing this – and shifting to renewable energy – all keeps the tourist dollar local and spreads it around more equitably, while also supporting local enterprise and culture.

Starting a Conversation?

There’s A LOT that can be written about responsible tourism and how it can be applied to the benefit of Bermuda.

I’ve already written a longer piece than I like writing – I just think that if some good is to come out of this incident it is that we might be able to start a conversation about tourism in Bermuda – what are it’s negative impacts, how do we address them, what kind of sustainable tourism do we want and how do we go about realising it? Just for starters…

 

Trash Problems in Bermuda – Bernews OpEd

Bermuda’s having some issues with trash collections, due to various reasons. Trash container

I can’t speak to the particular causes of the latest problems, but I thought the situation made for a useful segue to highlight some policies that I’ve put forward concerning residential trash, both in the 2012 General Election and in my submission to the SAGE Commission last year.

You can read over the policies in my OpEd over at Bernews.

Of course, they’re only an outline.

There’s only so much information (and words) one can fit in an OpEd without boring people with the minutiae of policy details and technical specs.  The aim is more to convey some ideas that can be developed.

All of the suggestions are already done elsewhere.  As much as I’d like to take credit for creating wholly new ideas, in this case I’ve looked at what works elsewhere and put forward those which I think would also work in Bermuda.

Quite frankly, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel, and we can learn from how these ideas work elsewhere.

I will note, after reviewing some of the comments on the Bernews OpEd, some points:

  • I would change the wording on the compost bit to simply ‘food waste’, as in including meat.  I don’t think it would make that big a problem, and it’s all compostable.
  • In addition to the curb-side composting, a focus should be on encouraging households to compost at home.  This isn’t going to be possible for everyone, but for many it will be.
  • Curb-side composting, yes, it has to be picked up pretty quickly otherwise it’ll stink.  However, it’ll no more stink than trash currently does containing food waste.
  • The ‘free’ container would already be paid for by the land tax.  Paying extra for extra trash space makes it so that those who produce more trash (or choose not to separate out recyclables, etc) pay more, helping to recuperate the added costs involved.  Right now, those who produce more, or don’t separate, increases the overall cost of trash collection for us all; the PAYT model seeks to remedy that.
  • Each container can be personally marked, including a serial number, for each residential unit involved, reducing the risk of theft to a degree.
  • These trash containers are used elsewhere; there’s risk of vandalism, but we can see from how they operate elsewhere how to deal with that.  I’d imagine their omnipresence, combined with fines, would be an effective way to minimise such risks.
  • In multi-unit complexes, a larger dumpster, with a 32-gallon container per capita equivalent can be introduced.
  • A bottle bill would work here (it works everywhere it’s in place, so no reason it wouldn’t work here), although the deposit value will have to be figured out to be effective in the Bermuda context.  I’d imagine that the 5 cent or 10 cent deposit value we see in the US would be too small for Bermuda; 25 cents is probably closer to what would work in Bermuda.  A policy analysis would be able to get the general figure, to be fine tuned as the policy is implemented and evaluated.

As I’ve said, these policies exist elsewhere.

Bottle bills exist in the Caribbean and North America (and elsewhere).

PAYT exists elsewhere, including North America and Europe.

Curbside composting exists throughout North America and Europe, including cities with roughly comparable climates to Bermuda, like San Francisco or north east Florida.

The trash containers I based the policy outline on is that I saw being used in Fife, Scotland, which now uses a four-bin waste collection system for trash, food and garden waste, paper and cardboard and plastics.

Quite frankly, these systems already exist elsewhere, and from all the evidence I’ve reviewed, it leads to a more efficient waste management system, including overall cost savings.

They exist, they work, and we can adapt them for the Bermuda context.

All it takes is the political will to actually act on them.

Prospects for a Green Party – A Postscript

What Happened?

Despite my draft notes on the prospects for a Green Party in Bermuda, as should be obvious, nothing came of it.  I approached a number of people who I thought would be partial to the idea, and, while there was some support, the general consensus was that now was not the time, and that the focus should be on working within the PLP.

The idea was that while it may be necessary in the future to set up a new party, the balance of forces was such that any move to do so at that time would be impractical and would doom future initiatives.  The emphasis instead should be on working within the PLP to defend what was left of its radical heritage and to seek to advance more leftist policies.

If the radical resurgence of the grassroots from within the PLP proved impossible, then at least any move towards a new party would have a better prospect only once it was demonstrated that an internal PLP approach had been exhausted.

Such was the approach I took.  I rejoined the PLP and did my best to advocate for socialism and green initiatives within the PLP.  I did this until 2008, at which point I felt the PLP, at that stage, was now a largely hopeless case in terms of recovering its radical heritage.  I decided to let my membership expire at that point (it expired in the summer of 2009).

A Liberal Option?

In 2009, in the wake of the June days of the Uighers, I became involved with a group who were disillusioned with the status-quo of the PLP and UBP.  This group consisted of disgruntled PLPers, some disgruntled UBPers and some non-affiliated individuals I considered simply as ‘liberals’.

The idea was to organise a new party, somewhat along the lines of the liberal option I outlined in what I’ve posted here as ‘Part Two’ of the 2004 notes.  It was hoped that this new organisation would force the ideological differentiation of the two established parties, as well as be able to take the liberal wings from both of those parties.  That is consisted of both PLPers and UBPers, as well as non-aligned individuals, was seen as an advantage in terms of legitimacy.

Unfortunately, around the same time as this group was finalising its policy platform and preparing for a formal – and public – launch, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance split from the UBP.

While this group, right up until the time it reunified with the UBP to form the OBA, never seemed to develop a coherent policy framework (although some defecting members of ‘our’ group taking aspects of our policies to them) compared to ourselves, it was felt that they had stolen the thunder of a new centrist political organisation.  It was felt that ‘our’ group was now largely unviable.

It wasn’t necessarily abandoned, but the group decided to give the BDA the benefit of time to see where they developed, and if they failed the group could always restart.  This period of observation however rendered our collective energies dormant, and the group never shook of this dormancy, even after the BDA project failed and the OBA was formed.

Such an option remains however.

People & Ecology Party

In the wake of the collapse of that liberal option, I, and a few others that were involved in that, along with some new individuals, considered the prospect of a new party.  While this never got off the ground either, it served as an updating of the 2004 Green Party idea.

While no platform was developed, a People & Ecology Party of Bermuda – Constitution was, with the idea being that it contained the outline of a vision on which a platform would be developed.

PEP_Bda_Cover

Creating a party constitution and manifesto, along with a general circle of members is, however, relatively easy.  Building an actual party organisation from those is a whole other story however.  It was not possible to commit the resources required to develop such a party in time for the 2012 election.

While I ran as an Independent, it was my hope that the manifesto I ran on would influence our overall political discourse, as well as lay the foundation for further political development.  I knew the chances of my winning were slim without a party machinery to support me, but I felt the potential for affecting long-term political change made it worthwhile.

I continue to believe this to be the case – and I feel that my platform did, indeed, influence both the OBA and the PLP, with the OBA having since at least spoken favourably on some policies outlined in it.

Future Political Developments

I have also since been asked to help form a new party based on my platform.

Quite frankly, I do not have the time or resources to do so, but I have welcomed those interested to do so and they may freely use my platform for that purpose.  I remain non-aligned.

It is my hope, however, that if those who do have the resources also have the will-power to persevere, they may benefit in some small way from the notes I made on this issue.  If they find the draft constitution for the People & Ecology Party or my 2012 election platform to be useful in setting up a new party, I wish them well, and will offer constructive criticism of their work.

If nothing develops, well, so be it.

Notes on Prospects for a Green Party – 2004 – Part Three

As noted in the immediately previous posts, these notes were drafted in 2004.  I was exploring options for political strategy, particularly the prospects for a Green Party in Bermuda.

A Green Party – Pros & Cons in the Bermudian Context

If the option of setting up a Green Party for Bermuda is taken, being seen as more viable than a Socialist Party or a Liberal Party, what are the pros and cons of this option?

Pros:

A Green Party benefits from an established international Green Party movement.  This leads to:

– Direct assistance from sister parties for organisational issues and help with policy/platform development;

– Indirect benefits through shared ‘branding’ in popular consciousness;

– This will strengthen as international Green Parties continue to advance.

Environmental issues are coming increasingly to the fore in politics, local and global.  This provides the Green Party with a unique niche and foundation to advance on.

From a Green Party perspective, all issues can be addressed.  They are not simply ‘single-issue’ focused solely on the popular concept of ‘Green’ as purely environmental.  There is an inherent connection between the environment, the economy, society (race, class and sex) and wider issues, such as imperialism.

There exists an established (though small) environmental activist core in Bermuda, which could serve as a core cadre.

Cons:

The biggest challenge would be overcoming the conception of a Green Party as being one-sided, of being solely an environmentalist party in the crude perception of being about trees, reefs and nature generally, rather than having relevance on race, class, sexism and wider socio-economic issues.

The above is further compounded by what can also be a pro – the already existing environmentalist movement in Bermuda.  Too often the environmentalism already present is seen as inherently conservative and White.  Environmentalism is seen to protect the environment solely from an elite perspective, and is seen to ignore the wider socio-economic implications that a true environmental perspective (which a Green Party would have to be) would address.

It is possible that there will be two wings to any Green Party in Bermuda.  One inherently radical, connecting environmental issues to wider socio-economic ones, including racial, class and sexism issues.  The other wing would be inherently conservative, focused on conservation and preservation rather than radical restructuring of society to an environmentally conscious society.  Conceivably there would be a third wing, of eco-capitalism.   So, an eco-socialist wing, an eco-capitalist wing and an elite environmentalism.

These three are, ultimately, untenable as a single party, and should be seen more as a temporary alliance.  Even as a temporary alliance though, a coherent and unified Green Party might be sufficient to radically change the landscape of Bermuda’s political discourse.  These three tendencies will contest for dominance.  Ultimately it will come down to the eco-socialist faction against the eco-capitalist faction.

One big obstacle to overcome is the perception of environmental issues as a White issue.  For a Green Party to be viable it must have a strong focus on social justice.  A purely eco-capitalist and elite environmentalism focused Green Party would be unviable, and would be readily absorbed by the UBP.  Only a social-justice (eco-socialist) perspective renders the Green Party initially viable.

From a purely branding issue, the colour ‘green’ is already branded with the PLP.  Indeed, adding to the confusion, the colour green is so identified with the PLP that a ‘Green Party’ in name may readily be misunderstood as referring to the PLP.