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Marico, Freddy didn’t raise no quitters

Pub on the Square’s controversial exhaust fan. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

I take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the “Exhaust on the Square” saga. Having served the Town of St George for nearly two decades — nearly 50 in tourism and public service — I believe I am fully qualified to speak on the subject matter.

As mayor, you are seldom called on to vote on matters arising during council meetings, only to break a tie. It is nearly 20 years since I wore the Mayoral Chain of Office and chose to allow the process of approval to find its way through the maze of committees and regulatory authorities.

First, there has been an exhaust fan on that building for as long as I can remember; it was just in a different location. Both could be seen standing in front of the Town Hall, on the King’s Square.

The Corporation of St George has wrestled over the years with both private and business submissions with regards to securing support for building “improvement and alterations”. Our town has a rich architectural heritage, worthy of world recognition.

When sharing historical references during frequent orations, I make it known that when the capital moved to Hamilton, the town became “stuck in time”. If we continued to remain as the capital, all the buildings in the city would be in our town and all of the existing structures would have long been demolished. During my tenure, in December 2000, we were honoured to be awarded Unesco World Heritage status, which occurred because the townsfolk had the vision to maintain Bermuda’s architectural heritage.

The town’s struggles have become more prominent since 1815 and a lack of new building providing no increased tax revenue. Structural improvements are often accompanied by long waits, hence the sensitivity that Marico Thomas finds himself being frustrated by, and the mandated building materials being more expensive to both purchase and maintain.

I will fight to preserve our town’s architectural heritage. I will also fight to ensure it has a heartbeat. I am reminded of Jamestown, the raison d’être for our historical status. The only thing that remains in Jamestown are the foundations of former buildings and the occasional remnants of Bermuda links, unearthed during architectural digs. There are some who already call us dead; indeed, half the town’s storefronts are shuttered. Quo Feta Ferunt — “whither the fates may lead us” — not even the fiercest storm shall cause our demise.

It has been noted in today’s Royal Gazette (February 10, 2023) the home affairs minister’s penned support of the approval of the offending exhaust fan. Thank you, Minister Roban. The headline also notes that the applicant, Mr Thomas, has abandoned the ship.

The great Freddy Thomas was a fighter and never gave up ... until his wife told him to do so. (Smile.) He then pushed her around the Sound in a wheelbarrow, perhaps as thanks for her rescuing him from further bruising encounters. Marico, your dad didn’t raise no quitters!

I take this opportunity to lend my public support. Please help our Town to retain a pulse. I will work for free, after you open, until the cost of the exhaust fan has been covered — if you can find something for a 70-plus old-timer. The cost of the fan, mind, not the $300,000 additional expense. (Smile.)

We have recently had a transfusion of new life with a few major financial investments in our fair town. On behalf of the residents and those who both find employment and visit, thank you. I am in contact with four major financial projects that are in the pipeline; they are looking at how the wind currently fills the sails.

Marico, we need your support, your vision — may I add temerity — in selecting our town for such a bold and expensive venture. I look forward to the grand opening.


St George’s

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Published February 11, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated February 13, 2023 at 4:43 pm)

Marico, Freddy didn’t raise no quitters

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