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Bermuda’s Anti-Fast Food Law Upheld

July 22, 1999

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) _ Bermuda won a legal battle Wednesday to keep McDonald’s out of the country, a relief to those who say the fast food giant’s arches are more gaudy than golden.

The British Privy Council rejected an appeal by Grape Bay Ltd. to strike down Bermuda’s Prohibited Restaurants Act, enacted in 1996.

The fast food opponents say such restaurants would harm the Old World image of the islands, where gambling is illegal and the top speed limit is 21 mph.

The Privy Council, the highest court for British territories and some former colonies, did not immediately release details of its ruling.

``It was a very long and bitter fight _ but it was done in the best interests of Bermuda,″ said former legislator Anne Cartwright DeCouto, who led opposition to the chain.

Some residents of Bermuda, 600 miles east of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean, had developed a taste for Big Mac hamburgers when a McDonald’s operated here on a U.S. military base that closed in 1995.

Grape Bay, owned by former Premier John Swan, was seeking to open a McDonald’s restaurant in Bermuda.

Grape Bay had argued that the anti-fast food law deprived it of property and a contract with McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Ill.

Plans to open Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outlets also were thwarted by the 1996 law.

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