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Country Reports

Bermuda Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

As a UK Overseas Territory whose governance is overseen by the British government, a key area of focus for Bermuda’s authorities will be the impact of Brexit on Bermuda and, in particular, on its substantial offshore financial centre. In late 2018, Bermuda passed legislation clamping down on tax avoidance and financial crime via its offshore sector as a direct result of UK and EU pressure. Inclusion, or otherwise, on an EU tax blacklist will be a key indicator both of ongoing EU pressure for and Bermuda’s appetite for further reform. The territory’s economy remains heavily dependent on tourism earnings, which are likely to be severely curtailed during 2020 because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-virus outbreak. The health crisis has already had immediate negative effects as the territory has turned away international visitors and these effects are likely to continue even after travel restrictions have eased as a result of an anticipated global economic slowdown. This is likely to lead to small increases in crime and protest risks, but not seriously affect government stability. The UK withdrawal from the EU and ongoing negotiation of future EU-UK relations poses the risk of ‘hard borders’ between UK Overseas Territories and EU member states. In January 2019, Bermuda opened a new international office in Brussels to ensure Bermuda’s interests continue to be represented to EU institutions during the Brexit process and beyond.Operational risks are generally low, although some complications stem from the geographical isolation of the islands and the prospect of being hit by severe storms in the hurricane season between August and October. As elsewhere, restrictions on movement and trade in Bermuda are also likely over the three-month outlook as the government seeks to minimise the virus-related health crisis.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

International air links to Bermuda's LF Wade International Airport are good, as are local power and telecommunications networks. Labour costs are relatively high, but local bureaucracy is efficient and transparent. Disputes with unions are likely to remain highly infrequent in the one-year outlook, although an anticipated economic downturn during 2020 will likely increase risk of anti-government protests, but these would probably be peaceful and only small in scale. Corruption is not a major concern in Bermuda and the country introduced revised anti-bribery legislation in 2017. Bermuda remains vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricanes.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Low

There is no specific terrorist threat in Bermuda. No domestic or homegrown groups are known to target Western interests such as bars, nightclubs, shops, restaurants, or other places where expatriates and tourists may gather. This is unlikely to change during 2020. No militant independence movement exists that would challenge UK sovereignty through violent means.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

The primary risk to visitors remains petty crime, though the island is relatively safer than its Caribbean counterparts. Firearms incidents have steadily declined in recent years, with no murders in 2019 and serious assaults also trending down. An expected economic downturn is likely, however, to arrest that downturn in 2020, as previously occurred in Bermuda following the 2008 financial crisis.

Last update: June 17, 2020

War Risks

War risks in Bermuda will remain negligible through 2020. Bermuda is a British Overseas territory with no border disputes. British military capabilities will remain a strong incentive against hostile actions by other state actors. There is no militant independence movement in the territory willing to use force to challenge UK sovereignty.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

There is a very low risk of large-scale or violent protests. Unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action tend to be quickly resolved and do not pose property damage risks. In 2016, protesters repeatedly attempted to block access to the House of Assembly to prevent the approval of immigration and an airport redevelopment plan. During the immigration policy protest, public transport, dock operations, and refuse collection were disrupted. Government plans to introduce compulsory health insurance are likely to prompt occasional, small, and peaceful protests outside state buildings from mid-2020.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

The archipelago is regularly subjected to tropical storms that have the potential to cause significant material damage, flooding, power outages, and transportation disruptions. However, good storm response and warning systems along with well-developed infrastructure often mitigate storms' impacts. The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30. Information regarding current or forecast storms is available on the US National Hurricane Center's website. 

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

Potential visitors should also note that non-residents are forbidden from possessing, renting, or driving a four-wheeled vehicle (i.e. a car) while on the territory. Road accidents involving scooters - available to tourists - are common, in part due to road conditions (narrow, winding roads, traffic congestion).

Taxis, buses, and ferries are available and safe.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Bermuda's climate is subtropical and conditions are hot and humid from May until mid-November, particularly during the months of July and August. Hurricanes can strike the archipelago from June until November. Strong winds are common between December and April.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 441
Emergency Services: 911

Electricity

Voltage: 120 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019