So now we find ourselves in 2012 and it's time to look forward. Actually scrap that, let's look back for one more post. After all, they say the lessons from the past hold the key to the future. Plus, it's been a tough first day back at the grindstone for most of us so no one wants to trawl through oceans of text, I'm going to let the motion of the numbers do the talking...
8 = The number of students expelled from a local Grammar School in January after delivering the "birthday punches" that landed a 14-year-old student in hospital with a fractured rib and minor concussion.
800 = The number of people that turned up for a hospitality job fair in February, where just 155 jobs were available.
90 = The age of the island's only general hospital, King Edward VII Memorial, when demolition began in March ahead of a much-needed $247 million redevelopment programme due for completion in 2014.
521 = The number of condos added to a list of Bermuda properties that can be bought by expats in April following amendments by Government to immigration law.
20 = The number of scantily-clad cheerleaders grab that arrived on the inaugural AirTran Airways flight from Atlanta to Bermuda in May as part of a promotional exercise for the vital new tourist feed. While the island's air links were strengthened, the cruise network suffered a series of blows in 2011 with news that Carnival Cruise Lines was slashing its visits from 16 in 2011 to 4 in 2012, similar cuts were announced by Princess Cruises and Holland America deciding to pull the plug on Bermuda stops in 2013.
$200 million = The size of a three-year bank loan negotiated by Bermuda Government in June to cover expected new borrowing and the refinancing of short-term debt.
47 = The age of political party, United Bermuda Party, when it officially closed its doors in July. The UBP ruled Bermuda for 30 years until 1998 and was replaced by the newly formed One Bermuda Alliance as the Official Opposition Government. Meanwhile, Bermuda’s retail sector continued to struggle. Car dealerships faced the worst slump for decades, with vehicle sales for July down 44.7% compared with July 2010.
$7.5 million = The size of the budget cut that led the Bermuda Police Service to declare it was running out of money in August, just four months into the fiscal year. Numerous Bermuda charities also felt the credit crunch in 2011, highlighted in August when the popular children's charity's, The Sunshine League, was forced to close the doors of its 92-year-old children's home.
2 = Bermuda's ranking for quality of living against other jurisdictions in the Caribbean/Central America region in a report released by the Financial Times’ fDi intelligence division in September. In the same report, Bermuda didn't even make the top 10 for business friendliness.
71,258 = The official population of Bermuda according to 2010 Census figures released in October. Since the last census in 2000, the number of Bermudians has grown by 4% (to 50,533) and the number of non-Bermudians by 2% (to 13,513). 8% described themselves of ‘mixed’ race and 55% as ‘black’ — a drop of 1%. The ‘white’ population fell from 34 to 31%.
76 = Where Miss Bermuda, 23-year-old Jana Outerbridge, was placed in 61st Miss World Beauty Pageant, which took place in London in November. Miss Venezuela took the crown and runners-up up were Miss Philippines and Miss Puerto Rico.
$1 billion = Bermuda's current net public debt according to figures released by Premier Paula Cox in December. She also announced that Government spent $129 million more than it raised in the last financial year.
As the year drew to a close the Premier made the following statement to outline her hopes and visions for the year ahead:
“We have to operate like a flock of geese flying in formation pushing forward and helping each other on the trail. When one gets tired the other takes the lead, but we arrive at our destination together. United, not all the same, but sharing a common goal. The only way to have change is to make it happen. 2012 will be no different from 2011 in terms of some of the real challenges we can expect to face as the global economy continues to sputter. However 2012 will require us to push ourselves further than we have before.”
“We must be far better, more productive, more creative, more welcoming than we have ever been. Remember that old slogan, ‘Bermuda is you, Bermuda is me?’ Well let’s start living it. Let’s make 2012 a year of revival. Let us build one another together.”
The official start of 2012 was traditionally marked on the island with the dropping of, not one, but two Bermuda onions in Hamilton and St. George's. You hear that NYC?! We take your ball and we raise you two onions!! Happy new year to my copious amounts of readers :-)