America’s Cup vox pop: Central parishes
As soon as the official announcement was made yesterday afternoon that Bermuda would be hosting the Americaís Cup finals, The Royal Gazetteís reporting staff fanned out across the island to gauge reaction to the news. The event is predicted to spur an infusion of capital investment that Bermuda has not seen in decades ó as well as provide the breathtaking spectacle of huge state-of-the-art catamarans flying along and out of the water in their respective bids to win the coveted ornate silver trophy. In the west and to the east, and from every demographic sector, the response was one of delight and excitement. There are concerns ó accommodating potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors who would come to view the racing being the principal worry among Bermuda residents, but for now, it is time to celebrate.
Ashton Thomas, of Southampton, who is retired, said: ďI think itís a great idea. Bermuda needs something like this the way the economy is. Iím not a sailor, but I will be out there to watch it myself.Ē
David Thomas, Jamaican Grill manager/owner, Pembroke: ďItís needed, plenty of jobs, better of exposure for the islandís business and people.
ďThe more people here ó the more opportunity for us. Iím not into sailing but I admire them. Iíve absolutely not seen anything as big as this come to the Island and I was born here. Nothing of this magnitude Ė I hope they donít sink us.Ē
Vernal Davis, a nurse and tennis pro from Smithís, said: ďIt will be fantastic ó in terms of people coming here and I hope they fill our hotels right up. Iíve done a little sailing in the past, but not much latelyĒ
Mr Davis added that the event was an ideal springboard to attract other major sporting events, like major womenís golf tournaments, to replace the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Anita Simons, secretary, Sandys: ďI think its excitement and I look forward to being a part of the Americaís Cup I just hope we have the space and accommodation to accommodate all the spectators that we hope to receive. I have sailed but not racing but I love it.
ďI think its going to trickle down into the community and everyone will hopefully be able to be on the receiving end of so many people coming in.Ē
Professional fisherman Wyman Minks, from Hamilton Parish, said: ďI want to go and see it, anyway. Iíve never sailed but Iím a fisherman, so Iím always out on the water. I have no problems with them bringing the Americaís Cup here. Iíll be happy to see it.Ē
Union leader Chris Furbert said: ďIt could be good for the country and itís something that could galvanise the country.Ē
The BIU president added: ďIt needs to be handled in the right manner so that we can get jobs for Bermudians. This is a time for Bermuda to come together in the interests of the country.Ē
Nicola Ellis-Cole, a therapist at a Hamilton hair and beauty salon, said she had just heard the news from a colleague ó and admitted she thought it was a golf tournament.
But Ms Ellis-Cole, from Pembroke, said: ďIt will be great ó if it improves tourism, Iím all for it. And if it means more activity for local businesses, Iím all for that too.Ē
She admitted: ďI didnít even know what it was and I donít sail ó but Iíll certainly become interested.Ē
Steve Simons, managing director, Spinning Wheel, Pembroke: ďIf it lives up to the expectations then Bermuda will be in good standing. We look forward to hosting people from all over the world. I would say I am cautiously optimistic. I look forward to the excitement and hopefully it will benefit the Island.Ē
Gap year student Alex Joll, from Warwick, said: ďIím sure itís going to bring tourists to Bermuda ó and as long as the Americans donít win, Iíll be happy.
ďIt will bring a lot of money and you canít argue with that ó we all like money, so they are welcome. And maybe itíll help get us out of our debt and create more jobs.Ē
Emma Lockstone, hairdresser, Paget: ďI think itís a massive thing and itís really, really good. I canít wait for it to happen.
ďI just think even if they have no interest in it everyone is going to be overwhelmed by the whole thing. Everyone will have a new interest by the end of it.Ē
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