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Letters to the Editor, 29 December 2010

To insure promptitudeDecember 22, 2010Dear Sir,You’ve got to wonder about the local postal service (if that’s what you can call it). Have you noticed how much their deliveries have improved as we approach Christmas even though the mail may still be addressed incorrectly and would normally be returned to the sender with cryptic comments defacing the envelope. In my opinion, this is not a charitable gesture on their part or an excuse to clear the increased volume. It is a concerted effort to schmooze the public for a job that should be done automatically and with the same intensity year round. It’s a sad commentary when you have to leave a tip to get mail delivered.WHO’S KIDDING WHOWarwickBermudians left outDecember 23, 2010Dear Sir,I am disheartened at the recent political deception surrounding the contracting of a foreigner to create a statue of Dame Lois Browne Evans. Bermudian sculptor, Mr. Carlos Dowling, is one of the artists whose work is sold through our studio/gallery Bermuda Clayworks and promoted on our website and Facebook fan page as one of the Bermuda Clayworks artisans. His studio is very close to ours at the Royal Naval Dockyard so I have witnessed the progress of the bust throughout its creation.Government had been made well aware of Mr. Carlos Dowling’s creation in 2009 of a larger than life size bust of Dame Lois Browne-Evans. After his completion of the Sally Bassett statue, Mr. Dowling was inspired to continue sculpting and after the announcement of the Dame as the island’s first National Hero he felt it befitting to honour her in this manner. An article on Mr. Dowling and the sculpture of the Dame was written by Rene Hill of The Royal Gazette and published in your paper on August 27, 2009, including two beautiful photos of the work in progress. Photos of his work were posted on our website and facebook page shortly after.Mr. Dowling invited the appropriate persons in Government to come to his studio to see the bust in progress and approached them with photos in hand with the suggestion of it being purchased for the new Police and Court building that had been proposed to be named after Dame Lois. Mr. Dowling was also recently interviewed on CITV where again he talked of the bust as one of his social commentary works of art in relation to The Big Conversation. It was then, a year after Government had been offered the first option to purchase the sculpture, that an article appeared in The Royal Gazette announcing that a foreigner (whom I wonder based on his request for photos had ever even met or seen the Dame in person?) was creating a sculpture of the Dame.Your paper stated that “Government has not stated whether it commissioned the statue”. Artists choose their subject matter for different reasons: commercial endeavour, inspirational response, social or political statement or just simply the pursuit of a passion. For Mr. Dowling the creation of the Dame I feel could be for all of the above reasons. For American Mr. Zenos Frudakis, the intention is questionable. Why would an American, who may possibly have never met the Dame, know of her history? Or has he even been to Bermuda? Would he be interested (coincidentally at the same time that Mr. Dowling had come public) in creating a sculpture of a person on a little island just out of the blue?It seems pretty certain that someone contacted him unless he happens to have a Bermuda connection that we are unaware of and saw this as a commercial opportunity? I may be incorrect, but based on the Government notices posted in the papers, it appears that jobs being offered for tender by Government are publicly posted in all sectors.Why is this not the case for projects by artists/artisans? Unfortunately, because art is seen as a subjective purchase, Bermudian artists are not offered the same immigration protection as other employment sectors. Foreign artists are permitted to hold a primary work permit in another job and still create and sell art through galleries for a secondary income. Many Bermuda artists work hard and sacrifice much in an effort to keep their trade as their primary job. Neither Desmond Fountain nor Carlos Dowling were asked or approached to see if they were interested in the intended project... nor was anyone else for that matter in the form of a public notice to tender or to submit a portfolio. Perhaps we have on island the return of an unknown Bermudian talent that has been studying sculpture abroad?From a recent newspaper article, it was advised that Minister Derrick Burgess stated that Mr. Dowling’s bid was too high. It is my understanding that Mr Dowling never submitted a bid. Has government been quoted by Mr. Frudakis for just the cost of the piece? Have they considered the cost of shipping and insurance as well? The reason costs in Bermuda can be higher is often we have factored the shipping costs of materials, etc into our prices. Unfortunately in Bermuda I believe that there is also a misconception that Bermuda cannot produce quality work an insult to the tradespersons, artisans and crafts folk in industries such as carpentry, pottery, textile, jewellery-making and fine art. Customers are so surprised that all of our work in our gallery is Bermuda made because it is of a high calibre, is original and contemporary and because we have become so accustomed to most consumer products being imported from Asia.We have been pushing for many years to have Government acknowledge Bermud Made industries whether it be in the form of tax exemptions, Island wide Seal of Approval signage, Government sponsored full apprenticeship programmes or in the form of legislation to provide protection of trades competing with inexpensive imported products. By stating that Mr. Dowling’s work was too costly you could have jeopardised his career and reputation. Mr. Dowling apprenticed under Byllee Lang and studied abroad in the UK in his field as a sculptor. He has worked overseas and locally creating work for some of which he has not received proper recognition. Who are you to put a value on his work? Why is it that people feel they can barter with an artist but they wouldn’t do that in the grocery store? Why is it acceptable to pay a plumber, electrician or mechanic $90+ per hour yet the same value is not given to a person in an artisan trade?Can we have the truth please Mr. Burgess? Did you just not like Mr. Dowling’s artistic interpretation? Was the decision based on economics or politics? Why would a foreigner be given a job not only able to be executed by a Bermudian but in fact, one that was already created and offered by a Bermudian? Does Mr. Frudakis have to have a work permit for doing a job that a Bermudian could be doing? I thought we were about protecting Bermudians and their jobs art is a job for many in Bermuda and we deserve equal rights and the same opportunities and job protection as other work sectors in our community. Thank you for your consideration of this appeal for equality and justice.SUNDEE FAULKNERBermuda Clayworks LtdHow to cut the road carnageDecember 23, 2010Dear Sir,There are no real solutions to absolutely ending the tragic deaths on the road. Each individual must say to themselves: “Do I want to follow Satan’s lifestyle,get drunk at a party,hop on a bike or jump into a car and drive home myself or do I want to follow God and realise drinking and driving only kills lives therefore, I won’t involve myself in that crazy activity?” The solutions people try to come up with won’t solve the problem.1. Metal Guardrails won’t work since some of those accidents ended up with the person going through a concrete wall (if that vehicle was strong enough to do that, what chance would a metal guardrail stand?).2. Bartenders stopping selling alcohol won’t work because, bartenders make money this way and to suddenly stop that is, against that code (this thing isn’t that serious to them because, they feel an individual would have sense to call a cab or they’ll just call one for them).3. Modifying a wall won’t work because, the wall would have to be made of the strongest metal you could find (in other words, unbreakable) which you won’t find in Bermuda.4. Hoping that the Ministry of Road Safety understands all the deaths and changes the roads anytime soon won’t work because if he or she is waiting for someone in their family to die on the roads before they decide to change anything you might end up waiting longer than you think.So basically, all you can do is pray the person is less likely to do a satanic act and follow a godly than to risk his life and be considered an injured idiot or a dead one.ONLY PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THEIR FATESDevonshireWhat’s the problem?December 24, 2010Dear Sir,With reference to the letter which appeared in this column today signed off by “The Captive Animals Protection Society’ in the UK entitled “Cancel The Tiger Show”. My first response to this letter is “Why”? I’m getting (and I’m sure many others as well) a bit fed up with these so called animal protectionists, who feel that their way of thinking as it relates to animals, is the right way, and that everyone else ought to think like them. Their position is that all animals come from the wild, therefore belong in the wild. Who makes the determination which animal is to be domesticated? Certainly not the animal societies of the world, because if they are of the belief that all animals come from, and or belong in the wild... then all pet owners etc., need to release them once again to the wild. I’m of the belief that if any animal is not out right is being ill treated, and is handled with care, and his needs are provided... then what really is the problem here? Let the Tiger show go on please.CIRCUS FANWarwickBoycott tiger showDecember 24, 2010Dear Sir,Shame on the Hamilton Rotary Club and the Fairmont Southampton Princess for hosting “The Ultimate Tiger Encounter and Show”! I thought mankind had evolved beyond the age of trying to domesticate wild animals and forcing them to endure lives they were not put on this earth to endure! It is sickening and frankly archaic to exploit wild animals for our amusement! Fellow Bermudians, it’s time to boycott such entertainment!M. C. PEREIRAHamilton ParishKudos to PoliceDecember 24, 2010Dear Sir,I would like to commend the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) on their turn around towards the latter of the year. In the first five to six months of the year 2010 I saw the BPS as a reactive service. They would react to shooting, thefts, and other crimes. However, as the statistics will show, towards the latter of the year the Bermuda Police Service started to become a proactive service. A service that sought to prevent things before they happened instead of react to them after they happened. Due to this large turnaround I would like to commend the Police on a job well done, and encourage them to continue in the right direction.ERON HILLBermuda InstituteAshes are lost from viewDecember 25, 2010Dear Sir,For me this was a sporting highlight of Christmas a Boxing Day test match. Yes, it’s England v Australia (the Ashes) and the series tied one to one with two tests to go. CableVision promises us the full day’s coverage 7.30pm to 3.30am Bermuda time. What happens after 90 minutes the coverage goes to extensive Premier League ads, some athletics highlights, then Pakistan v NZ.They were playing the Ashes in Australia but CableVision had dropped the coverage for a 20/20 game. It’s so useless, unprofessional and they are lucky we don’t have real choices as to our TV cable service provider. They charge a small fortune every month and this is what we get. To add insult Australia have slumped to 77 for 8 (followed on Cricketinfo) ….so Australia could be heading to one of the lowest ever scores in the Ashes cricket history.FED UP CRICKET SUPPORTERPaget