Police appeal for video evidence in raft-up investigation
Police investigating an alleged breach of Covid-19 regulations at a raft-up organised by an upmarket US online fashion retailer have appealed for anyone with video of the event to provide it to them.
The investigation, which was yesterday backed by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, was launched after images on social media appeared to show boats tied together for the event, which featured international social media influencers and the singer Shaggy.
A police spokesman said the Bermuda Police Service is requesting that anyone who may have video recorded the event, to please get in contact with Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, Officer in charge, Police Tactical Support Division on 717-0828, the main police number 295-0011or, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The spokesman said the BPS is aware of the numerous video clips and photographs of the event being circulated on social media and while these may assist with the ongoing investigation into the matter, they cannot be submitted as evidence before a court of law.
Chief Inspector Cardwell said: “Obtaining original video recordings of what transpired on Tuesday, will be significant in our efforts to determine what charges, if any, are to be brought against those responsible and a file submitted to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a decision on anyone being brought before the courts in connection with this incident.”
Yesterday, Charles Jeffers II, the chief executive of the BTA, said the large group exemption application for the event held by Revolve did not include a raft-up.
Raft-ups are banned under Covid-19 safety regulations.
Mr Jeffers said: “The BTA shared full support for an investigation into the possible breach of Covid protocols at the yacht event on June 8.
“The BTA assisted local organisers’ administrative filings, including group exemption applications for a series of photo-shoots and on-site destination support for influencers’ social media activities.
“The applications did not include permission for a boat raft-up.”
Mr Jeffers said on-island organisers managed a series of events for Revolve, which brought about 70 social media influencers to the island as part of a marketing drive.
He added that the BTA team had provided support and helped to promote the island’s message that it is open to visitors.
Mr Jeffers said: “Unfortunately, there may have been a breach of approved protocols.
“We understand the Bermuda Police Service has launched an investigation into the circumstances and we await the outcome.”
Mr Jeffers said: “Our team is committed to ensuring that our processes and support are thoughtfully delivered with consideration for fairness, safety, and balanced growth for Bermuda.”
He added: “I am committed to being transparent and open with the community as we face challenges in the sector.
“Our role is to grow the tourism economy in a way that is balanced, authentic and sustainable.
“We market the island, leverage relationships and provide destination services to ensure that our visitors experience the best of Bermuda.
“Group business provides an essential source of revenue for tourism entrepreneurs, the local creative industry, and the hospitality sector.
“Group travel generates business for our hoteliers, DJs, performers, event planners and other tourism operators.”
Revolve posted on its Instagram account today that it had “taken all necessary measures to ensure the safest trip possible”, including vaccinations and coronavirus testing.
It added the company had been given “a thorough briefing” on the island’s pandemic rules.
It said that guests on the trip had to be vaccinated two weeks before and have a clear Covid-19 PCR test result before departure and on arrival.
Revolve added guests had to quarantine until they got a clear test result.
The firm said everyone involved had to submit travel authorisation forms and get approval by the Government.
Revolve, which visited Bermuda on a press trip in 2018, added: “After having the best experience in Bermuda three years ago, we’re so excited to be back partnering with the Bermuda Tourism Authority with approval from the Bermuda Government to promote safe travel and remind everyone what an incredible destination this is to visit.”