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April: Timeline

pril 1: The extent of Bermuda's economic slump is revealed when Government releases figures for the last quarter of 2009. Construction and hospitality are the worst hit, with the Island shown to be increasingly reliant on international business and financial services.

April 2: The Island is left shocked after Kimwandae Walker is gunned down on Good Friday while flying kites with his nine-year-old son and four-year-old daughter at Victor Scott Primary School in broad daylight. Two men on a bike drove onto the school field and open fire. Despite repeated appeals for witnesses to come forward, the third gun murder of 2010 remains unsolved.

April 4: The violent Easter weekend continues with an 18-year-old man shot and a 19-year-old stabbed during a brawl in the St George's Royal Artillery Association.

And two were hit by bullets when drive-by gunmen fired upon a party celebrating a football victory at Western Stars Sports Club — assistant coach Antoine Tuzo was wounded along with 17-year-old schoolgirl Michela Outerbridge.

April 6: A special meeting of Cabinet is called to discuss escalating violence in Bermuda. Attorney General Kim Wilson says that gun suspects may have their passports taken away to prevent them from fleeing the Island while under police bail.

April 8: Home Affairs Minister David Burch meets with a crowd of 350 Bermudians in international business to answer questions on a controversial new term limit policy. Non-Bermudians are banned from attending, and politicians Michael Dunkley and Michael Fahy back down on a threat to gatecrash the event. Senator Burch defends the limits, imposed in 2001, which allows most guest workers in Bermuda to stay for a maximum of six years.

April 9: Former Governor Sir Peter Ramsbotham dies aged 90. Shortly after his appointment in 1977, riots sparked by the hangings of Erskine “Buck” Burrows and Larry Tacklyn forced Sir Peter to call in British troops. The Governor ordered an inquiry, resulting in the Pitt Commission's investigation of racial inequalities in Bermuda.

April 14: Bermuda calls for overseas help against rising gun crime, with Home Affairs Minister David Burch and Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva announcing more than a dozen UK firearms specialists will be brought to the Island. Other measures include US Federal Bureau of Investigation training, and the hiring of a second assistant commissioner from overseas to tackle gangs.

Government Senator Walton Brown calls for a review of Bermuda's cannabis laws, saying: “We should not embrace decriminalisation. What we can look at is a policy so that people who are caught in possession of small amounts do not get a criminal record for that.”

Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown leads a team of 20 tourism representatives to the UK for a road show advertising the Island. The tour starts off by turning Cafe Paris in London Piccadilly bright pink.

April 15: Bermuda's Annual Exhibition, a popular family event, opens with metal detectors, security pat-downs and a high police presence in the Botanical Gardens. The Exhibit proceeds without incident.

April 16: Bermudians who are married to or living with foreigners are told they must get a licence for their homes.

Under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act, 2007, the Island's banks send letters of notification to mortgage customers. Costing $1,375, the licence is part of controversial legislation designed to limit the number of non-Bermudians owning land on the Island.

Meanwhile, an Icelandic volcanic eruption shuts down airports across Europe, forcing British Airways to cancel flights to and from Bermuda.

April 20: With most of Europe's air routes still closed by an ash plume from Iceland's volcano, about 300 visitors remain grounded in Bermuda. An additional 500 residents are forced to put their travel plans on hold.

April 21: Relief to those stranded by the Icelandic volcano arrives as British Airways is finally allowed to resume flights to and from the Island.

Among the inconvenienced are Dr Brown and his team of tourism representatives, whose UK roadshow coincided with the airline disruption. The group will eventually leave Europe via Spain on April 23.

Meanwhile, public reactions are mixed to the announcement that, as part of continuing “get tough” measures to combat rising crime, Bermuda police are now armed with the Taser electric shock weapon for assistance with violent offenders.

April 26: Coco Reef resort owner John Jefferis has his lease extended to 120 years in a deal with Bermuda College. Senator Brown, who chairs the College board of governors, reveals the new lease but stresses: “We retain the ownership of the land”. Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons is astonished to learn the original lease has left the College paying some of the hotel's insurance for the past seven years, and calls the extension “shameful”.

“This is public property and it has sold out public property for another four to five generations.”

April 27: A police detective reveals that witnesses to gang-related shootings have been sent overseas for protection. According to Acting Detective Chief Inspector Calvin Smith, there is “fear in the community” hampering investigations. Referring to the Good Friday killing of Kimwandae Walker, he says: “There were 100 people there and we just learned the colour of the bike last week.”

April 28: With the end-of-month deadline now looming for submissions on Government's green paper on gambling, the Island remains hotly divided on the topic. While Premier Ewart Brown extols casinos as “something that we must offer to attract more visitors to our shores”, a coalition of 80 church leaders declares its opposition. United for Change starts a petition against gaming which quickly garners 2,000 signatures. Meanwhile, according to the Cabinet Office, just five entries have been received commenting on the green paper.

April 30: Crime is revealed as the Bermuda public's number one concern, in an independent survey commissioned by The Royal Gazette. The poll indicates a third of people would like to see more police officers on the streets, but only four percent support the introduction of armed officers. Respondents also called for better X-ray equipment at Bermuda's docks to keep firearms out of the Island, with 14 percent in favour of bringing in SWAT teams to combat crime.

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Published December 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm (Updated December 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm)

April: Timeline

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