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March: Timeline

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March 1: Crime fears open the month, with the Corporation of St George forming a Security Committee and Cabinet Minister Glenn Blakeney appealing for an end to tit-for-tat gun violence.March 2: In a move that outrages many of its shareholders, Butterfield Bank announces it has raised $550 million of new capital mainly through deals with Carlyle Group and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, each of which buy $150 million of shares. The troubled bank also declares a $213.4 million net loss for 2009, and replaces chief executive officer Alan Thompson with chief financial officer Bradford Kopp.March 3: Bermuda Democratic Alliance member Dueane Dill claims to have been taunted with racial slurs by Government race relations consultation Rolfe Commissiong.March 4: Mr Commissiong strongly denies Mr Dill’s accusation, but says the Alliance as receiving minimal support from the black Bermudian electorate.March 8: The House of Assembly, in a bitterly contested debate, approves increasing payroll tax from 14 to 16 percent. All Progressive Labour Party MPs present support the move, along with raising the salary cap from $350,000 to $750,000. All nine United Bermuda Party members vote against, as do two Alliance MPs. The Payroll Tax Amendments Act passes by a vote of 19 to 11.March 9: Association of Bermuda International Companies chair David Ezekiel reiterates the group’s criticism of the Act, charging that international business will bear the brunt of the tax hikes.March 10: During Parliamentary Answers, it is revealed that four Uighurs brought to Bermuda from the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay are earning $51,000 each at Port Royal Golf Course.March 11: Further objections to the payroll tax increase are published, this time from the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR). Excerpts of a letter sent to Government show ABIR members to be “surprised and disappointed” at both the proposed increases and the lack of consultation with them.March 12: After months of speculation, international hoteliers Four Seasons confirm their plans to redevelop the Coral Beach Club although a carefully-worded statement from the company does not commit to an exact starting date.March 13: Gun violence in Bermuda passes a grim new threshold when a 16-year-old becomes the Island’s youngest gunshot victim: the Warwick teen is injured on Bermuda College property, not far from a student party.March 16: Convicted of dangerous driving in November for causing the death of Winston (Yogi) Burrows, British expat Luke Armstrong is freed by the Court of Appeal.The verdict is overturned on the basis of the original trial judge’s directions to the jury, and the prosecutor later concedes that “there’s definitely a need for some clarity” in Bermuda’s legal definition of dangerous driving.March 17: At the end of his trial in Supreme Court, Kellan Lewis is convicted of manslaughter for the death of Kellon Hill, but acquitted of murder. Mr Hill, 18, was stabbed to death as he left a beach party in August, 2008. Daniel Hill, his father, comments: “There are no winners.”March 19: Former United Bermuda Party leader Wayne Furbert crosses the floor at the House of Assembly to join the Progressive Labour Party, telling his constituents he’s changed his flag but not his heart.That night, James “Junior” Lawes, a 26-year-old Jamaican, is killed in a drive-by shooting that injures two others outside a bar on Dundonald Street in Hamilton.March 23: Immigration Minister David Burch surprises many by suggesting in the Senate that ten-year work permits may be allowed though his statements fall short of a decisive green light.Shadow Immigration Minister Michael Dunkley, meanwhile, announces plans for an April Bermudians-only meeting on term limits “divisive and inflamatory”.March 25: Over 100 Parks Department workers walk off the job, after two staff say they were unfairly reprimanded by Environment Minister Glenn Blakeney. After striking for three days, they return to work.March 26: About 70 protesters gather outside Cabinet Office in support of Forum for Change, a group claiming that Bermuda is being badly run. A number of placard-carrying supporters of Premier Ewart Brown also attend the demonstration, which passes peacefully.March 27: Jakai Harford, 27, is shot on Mission Lane, Pembroke, and seriously injured.It is the second time Mr Harford has been shot, and just three months since his brother Kumi was shot dead in the same location. It is the 39th confirmed gun-related incident of 2010.A Bermudian sportsman, Ricardo “Ricky” Tucker, is shot dead at his 35th birthday celebrations in the Dominican Republic.March 29: The economic downturn takes a further toll, with Bermuda Telephone Company announcing plans to cut back its staff by roughly 25.HomeZone the electrical and appliances division of HWP Group declared its decision to close at the end of April.March 30: Cabinet approves ten-year work permits, but Sen David Burch confounds hopes by declaring that he does not want to issue any of them. Government also imposes new visa requirements for Dominican Republic, Panamanian and Philippines nationals, with Sen Burch charging abuses of Bermuda’s marriage laws.Sen Burch also says Immigration has received complaints of women brought from the Dominican Republic to Bermuda to work as prostitutes.

Standing tall; Former Leader of the United Bermuda Party Wayne Furbert pauses as he enters the House of Assembly prior to joining the Progressive Labour Party.