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Cheers to a devoted supporter of the Bermudian tradesman

Cheers to a great Devonshire resident: H. Charles Tatem

One of the best parts about being involved in politics is that you have a wide variety of persons within your constituency. Some male, some female, some who support you politically, some who do not, some who are for St George’s and some who are for that other team.

As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.

So. as an elected official, it is your duty to engage with every spectrum of this wide kaleidoscope of constituents.

Over the past year, I had the pleasure of having some time to talk with a particularly colourful gentleman on a variety of issues such as architecture, carpentry, different projects he had worked on over his life, community projects in Devonshire, Bermuda history and his beloved Bermuda Technical Institute.

Silly me, he also made sure to slip in conversations about Cup Match now and then.

As recent as a few months ago, he undertook a project to assist in the renovation project of an apartment that my family own.

He took the time to explain the different types of cabinets, door fronts and countertops. As a follow-up, he came by our home, picked up my mother and drove with her down to the job site in question.

I was not there during the site visit, but it is safe to say that his professionalism and personality won my mother over hands down. She came home and exclaimed that there was no one else who would be doing the job but this gentleman.

He and I subsequently spoke about viewing the different layouts he proposed. I asked about meeting over the weekend and he replied that his Sundays were tied up caring for his beloved stepmother, so we could only meet throughout the week.

During another conversation, he spoke fondly about a man who had a great impact on both of our lives. That would be legendary mathematician, educator and civil rights architect Clifford Maxwell.

As he put it, Dr Maxwell “helped to save my life”. I had to concur that Dr Maxwell was instrumental in my life as well. Safe to say this can be echoed for thousands of Bermudians.

He took great pride in saying that he was a “Tech Boy” and that great men were produced from his beloved alma mater, the Bermuda Technical Institute. We spoke at great length about the need for more Bermudians to get involved in all forms of technical trades.

If I recall correctly, he was extremely disappointed that, as a country, we have seen a move away from the various trades by Bermudians over the past few decades. He went on to speak about his recent efforts to help to train two young Bermudian women in the profession of kitchen and bathroom design.

He was proud to say that they had now branched out on their own, which spoke volumes about his passion to pass on invaluable skills from generation to generation.

I can elaborate further. However, I think by now you have a clear picture of the type of person this gentleman was.

One of the downsides of politics is this: sooner or later, some of your constituents are no longer around to chat with. In this instance, I deeply regret not having him as a resource to turn to in regards to many technical and historical issues.

Moral of the story: your first and last job as a politician is to keep in touch with your people, all of your people — even if they are for the wrong Cup Match team.

Please join me in saying cheers to a great Bermudian tradesman, sailor, proud Somerset Cup Match supporter and resident of Devonshire — Mr H. Charles Tatem. We will see you on the other side of the pitch, mate.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm