Uncle Quinton’ was a true public servant
We lost a good man recently: Quinton Edness. The Honourable. The OBE. To me, “Uncle Quinton”, as he was a lifelong and very close friend of my parents.
One of the great gifts of my life has been the people my parents brought into our lives to challenge and shape us as we grew into something resembling an adult, and Quinton was a deeply meaningful part of that journey.
Quinton has always been a part of our family. “Your dad and me were friends before people thought that was acceptable,” he would say — because my dad is white. Their friendship has taught me that with a rooted love, honesty and hard work, friendships can last and enrich an entire life. And I got the benefit of this.
Quinton was a mentor and a friend. My conversations with him, particularly through my teenage years, shaped my views on everything from economics and how to structure a society, to race relations, to my clumsy attempts with girls.
Sometimes these were combative teenager-versus-uncle tussles and sometimes they were soliloquies from him on various topics — I took napkin after napkin of notes on his advice on dating and it served me very well indeed.
Quinton and other black mentors I had growing up profoundly impacted my view on race just by being part of the family because random stories about their past would include, by their nature, some horrific instances of prejudice and racism. These weren’t delivered with an agenda or subtext. And these were the experiences of someone I loved.
Above all, Quinton was a paragon of public service. He was a smart, hard-working and honest man who could have found fortune in business but instead spent the majority of his well-lived life trying to make this little island a better place.
He served as an MP for decades and as a successful Cabinet minister — revamping the airport, establishing the Tynes Bay Incinerator, among other things — and this is what he is largely and rightfully known for.
But I feel that sells him short. He was not just a politician, he was a true public servant. It was profoundly important to him that he give his energy and his capacity to doing what he felt would improve the lot of all Bermudians. He saw success in his life as how well he had served those less fortunate than himself. And that example has been his most enduring lesson.
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