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Raymond Tannock (1946-2022): A man of ‘ability and empathy for the public good’

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Raymond Tannock, a former senator of the Progressive Labour Party (File photograph)

A former Progressive Labour Party senator was remembered as “the definition of the saying that if you want to get something done, give it to a busy man”.

Raymond Tannock, a businessman whose public service ranged from the Kiwanis Club to chairman of the Bermuda College board of governors, was recalled by former premier Alex Scott as a man of “ability and empathy for the public good”.

“I hope that at his passing, the younger generation will take a moment to learn of his contributions,” Mr Scott, a PLP premier from 2003 to 2006, said.

“Senator Tannock had a keen eye to be aware of the past, learn from it, and make sure the policies we tried to enact reflected a sympathy for what had gone before, as he addressed the challenges ahead.

“That type of person does not come along too often.”

A party stalwart, Mr Tannock threw his hat in the ring as the PLP’s candidate for Southampton East Central in the July 2003 General Election.

He lost the seat to David Dodwell of the United Bermuda Party by a slim margin of 20 votes, and was appointed to the Senate by Mr Scott that September.

Mr Tannock was also appointed Junior Minister of Housing in 2005.

He served in the Upper House until 2006, when he and three other PLP senators stood by Mr Scott and resigned after the party chose Ewart Brown as its new leader.

Mr Scott said Mr Tannock and his wife Deborah were entrepreneurs who stood out as “fundraisers extraordinaire” for the PLP.

“He was a regular at our central committee, which is where he caught my eye. Raymond was one of those folks who worked effectively behind the scene.

“I appointed him to the Senate because he had an ability and empathy for the public good. He was not a showboat.

“He was a businessman who didn’t need politics as part of his portfolio. But I can say with great ease that he will be very missed.”

Mr Scott added: “I use an old phrase ‘by their works they shall be known’. By his works, he came to my attention. He was a very good fit in the Senate.”

He said Mr Tannock reached across the aisle to other senators when “points needed to be addressed”.

Raymond Tannock as senator (File photograph)

The Tannocks were enterprising gas station owners, from the Crawl Hill Esso Service Station in Hamilton Parish from the mid-1980s to Esso City Tigermart in Hamilton from 1995.

The couple owned Warwick Esso Tigermarket on Middle Road until 2010.

After politics, Mr Tannock served as business development manager for the West End Development Corporation.

He was a past Kiwanis president and served on the board of governors at Mount Saint Agnes Academy.

Mr Tannock set out in business as a taxi owner and operator before working as a technical services manager for the investment firm Fidelity International.

In a 2003 interview, he told The Royal Gazette: “One’s political philosophy is ingrained as you grow up, in what you’ve been through.

“I come from a family with roots in Dominica who has worked hard and done well with the intent to do the best that we can for the community.

“My grandmother raised me to a large extent – my mother was young so I lived with my grandmother and my mother.”

Mr Tannock credited his upbringing for teaching him self-reliance and the ability to listen to others, adding: “My grandmother’s philosophy is you have to understand a person. In order to deal with a person you have to understand their viewpoint.

“Once you understand the viewpoint, then you can argue the viewpoint. If you don’t understand it, you can’t argue.”

Dawn Simmons, PLP chairwoman, offered the party’s condolences.

She said: “He was an active and vocal supporter and always could be counted on to provide advice and counsel.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss and extend our condolences to his family – daughter, Barbara, sons Raymond and Christopher and their respective families. We thank you for sharing your father with us.

“May the memories of your father carry you through this difficult time.”

· Raymond Eugene Adolphus Tannock, a businessman and Progressive Labour Party senator, was born on February 11, 1946. He died in July 2022, aged 76.

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Published August 04, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated August 04, 2022 at 7:57 am)

Raymond Tannock (1946-2022): A man of ‘ability and empathy for the public good’

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