Swan recalls Edness as devoted to community
A former leader of the United Bermuda Party has paid tribute to the late Quinton Edness, a longstanding minister under the UBP government.
Kim Swan, now the MP for St George’s West under the Progressive Labour Party, offered condolences to Mr Edness’ widow, Vicki, as well as his daughter, Stacey, along with family and friends.
Noting that both men had served as UBP MPs and senators, Mr Swan said they had occupied “different eras”.
He added: “My time in the legislature started in 1998, the same time his ended.”
Affectionately recalling his colleague as “QE”, Mr Swan said he had been “a very young political candidate in 1983”, when Mr Edness regained his Warwick West seat.
“I first remember ‘QE’ playing golf at Port Royal in the early 1970s when Walter King was the golf professional,” Mr Swan said.
“‘QE’ looked like a golf pro, talked like a golf pro, even walked like a golf pro, but his shots gave him away. ‘QE’ loved playing golf and at the conclusion of a round his recount of the game brought out the best of his oratory skills he developed as a celebrated broadcaster.”
The two often played at the Castle Harbour and St George’s golf clubs, and were joined by close friends John Harvey and Alti Roberts, he said.
Mr Swan recalled Mr Edness as “the consummate storyteller” and “the master of first impressions”, adding: “Once he travelled to Europe and ran into an old friend of mine, top European pro golfer Ronan Rafferty.
“Eventually word got back to me that ‘QE’ was in France holding court and Rafferty was left with a lasting impression of ‘QE’ as a larger than life figure.
“We later became connected through Government in the 1980s when I was the general manager of a government quango at St George’s Golf Club and ‘QE’ was my Minister of Works & Engineering. I appreciate that ‘QE’ respected my ability as a golf professional and was present and most proud when Keith Smith and I won the Americas Zone qualifying at Castle Harbour and went to the finals in Rome In 1984.
“From a community perspective, we started an annual golf tournament between Warwick Workmen’s Club and Somerset Bridge Recreation Club where golfers competed annually for the Edness Shield. Later, it was ‘QE’ who summoned me to his office as Minister of Works in the late 1980s to manage the transition of Ocean View Golf Course and amalgamate it into the government golf course quango network.”
Mr Swan said Mr Edness’ best political attribute was his empathy on social issues, describing him as “the epitome of being approachable, to the extent that people could say anything to him”.
“Once, I witnessed him in a heated exchange where he endured a verbal barrage in a crowded bar at Warwick Club, then proceed to give as good as he got back.
“Following that, the two of them continued on like nothing had happened. He later recounted that it was all part of representation. I learnt a valuable lesson in political humility that day.
Mr Swan added: “When ‘QE’ first lost his Warwick seat in 1980, he was appointed to the Legislative Council, now the Senate, where he took pride in piloting the Human Rights Bill into existence. As a politician I witnessed him advocate for the needs of the common man especially in housing, and I recall how important it was to “QE” in the early 1980s to have the Government build houses to meet the need of a housing crisis in the early 1980s.”
Mr Edness’ broadcasting experience helped to “catapult him into the political realm”, Mr Swan said — but he enjoyed the community connections that made “the bedrock of his support throughout the island”.
Mr Swan called him a “South Shore Warwick bie” with a long family legacy, saying people from the area before 1980 remembered his father’s daily strolls up South Road to take a swim.
Mr Edness’ death on January 11 at the age of 86 marked “the passing of an era, of a man whose political detractors would even refer to him as ‘loveable Quinton’”.
Mr Swan said: “‘QE’ participated in an era where Bermuda transitioned from an overtly segregated society to an integrated society. History is replete with many stories which paint varying pictures of persons connected with the UBP but I am here to attest to the caring human qualities that ‘QE’ brought to the political sphere.”
His political stance had been forged in the Warwick community that he was proud to come from, Mr Swan said.
“He cared deeply about social issues and history is filled with good examples of his contributions.”
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