COVID. It’s funny how this word is ingrained into our daily lives when merely a year ago, almost to this date, there was some mystery virus spreading ‘across the pond,’ and we were still going about our business. The CAOB were in protracted discussions with the government with regards to our grant and whether or not it was going to be given to us in the next fiscal year. April 1st was fast approaching, and we had an Executive Director whose family relied on his paycheck. The government was doing their usual dancing and pirouetting trying to figure out what they were getting for their buck, even though it had been explained to them countless times, with the ever-present specter of massive debt in the back of their minds. BEFORE lockdown… But more on that later.
As we exited the first quarter of 2020, we were informed of a two-week lockdown for the safety of our citizens that would start at the beginning of the 2nd quarter; life seemed like a scene from a movie. For those of us in the property market, and the services that go along with it, it was a scary time. It was made even more unbearable when we were informed on the nightly government update (that we so rabidly waited for) that we would have to endure yet another 2 weeks of being locked down. Government assistance went a fair way to assist those hit the hardest, but it is worth noting that the financial services and many other sectors of our community were conveniently still on full pay. Property services were the most noticeable victims – landscaping in particular – along with a viral post on the venerable MAJ’s List whereby a homeowner pleaded for assistance as to how to stop her pool going green!! A good question to be fair, as there is nothing worse than a large vessel of water that needs constant care and attention that can turn into a breeding ground for mosquitos and other filth if not taken care of.
This brought to the fore the services that the Island Property News highlights every year: the pool cleaners, landscapers, electricians, painters, plumbers, and all manner of services that real estate agents and property managers rely upon to keep clients properties looking spic and span. This year was a little different with the voting of the ‘Best in the Business’ as we turned, not to the real estate agents who have experienced great service from those providers, but rather from industry insiders that are not biased by a particular vendor. It’s the word of mouth method that helps us, and having a round table discussion with representatives from several industries such as: architectural, property management, construction, and interior design to name a few. What came out of these meetings were some fresh faces and new businesses that will hopefully provide continuous service to homeowners and real estate representatives.
But back to our grant…
Without fully trained service providers, there is a massive liability that can be incurred if procedures are not adhered to, or best practices are not followed. Proper training and apprenticeships are a key facet of any professional service and the CAOB has been the local sponsor representative for the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) for over 20 years. We provide the tools and training to get Bermudians certified in hundreds of trades and have given out hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships for Bermudians studying overseas to gain a professional qualification in a construction related field. We were never really officially denied our grant, but the funds never materialized despite numerous pleas and meetings with various individuals within the government. Rest assured we will find a way to provide the youth and individuals, keen to gain certification, the resources to take them on their journeys in the trades that are so clearly needed on our 21 square miles.