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Here’s some of the McDonald’s history I experienced first hand.  McDonalds made a foray into Bermuda in the 1980’s.  The first time, they sent out some reps to the Naval Air Station with the ingredient to make Big Macs in the base’s Rec Center, which was atop a hill adjacent to the Carter House.  A huge portion of people on based lined up.  My family was in that line — at the time, most fast food on military bases were operated by AAFES, so a Big Mac that day came with a huge dose of nostalgia for The States.   Not long after,  McDonalds opened a restaurant.  My sister worked there for a time.  It stood across the street from the air strip, with the Tradewinds further up the hill, and the bases movie theater like a couple of blocks away.  Once the base was closed, however, McDonalds had to go with it.

Bermuda has strict laws about signage and neon.  Well, a ten years ago, McDonalds tried to regain entrance to Bermuda.  After all, a significant chunk of the tourists that visit there are American.    The BBC further lays it out:

The idea of golden arches spanning Bermuda’s winding lanes was controversial enough to provoke uproar on the island – and provoke uproar it did.

In view of the fact that Sir John was the former leader of the ruling United Bermuda Party, the finance minister, Grant Gibbons, was forced to deny that anything improper had occurred.

But government backbenchers, intent on fighting to the bitter end, introduced the Prohibited Restaurant Act which, while not mentioning either Sir John Swann or McDonald’s by name, was clearly designed to block the plans.

The debate on the bill was bitter and contentious, causing deep divisions within the United Bermuda Party.

When the act was finally passed by the island’s legislature, an equally determined Sir John challenged the constitutionality of the law in the island’s Supreme Court.

Although the Supreme Court struck down the act, agreeing that the absence of compensation provisions conflicted with the island’s constitution, the three-judge court of appeal has now ruled that the Prohibited Restaurant Act is constitutional.


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