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Giant of a cousin

As a young boy growing up, my mother always told me that I had a big, older cousin who worked for Cable & Wireless. Additionally, this cousin was supposed to be "somewhat" of a good footballer.

Twinning: dressed almost identically for parliamentary debate

You know, one of those legendary cousins that we all have, the ones that you always hear about but don't get to see.

I always used to ask my uncle, “Boo” Brown, when will I see my cousin. On the rare occasion, my mother used to tell me to look out the window, and there he would be, in my uncle’s driveway.

At that young age, I was still actually a bit intimidated to go and talk to this legendary cousin.

Family ties

As fate would have it, and as Bermuda is so interconnected, his son and I ended up in the same class at the Berkeley Institute. While we are the same age, his son and I were somewhat on different sides of the high school societal fence. He was always quite intelligent, class prefect, frequently on the honour roll, highly articulate and well dressed.

As they say, “no flies were on him”. Safe to say, he got that from his dad.

The other significant difference is that he was on the losing side athletically, as he was on Green House.

I finally got the courage to speak to my cousin one night at a Brian McKnight concert at Southampton Princess. He gave me his e-mail and told me to contact him anytime.

Over the past ten years, I have had countless opportunities to spend more time with my "big cousin”. What I have learnt thus far leads me to believe that he is not my big cousin after all.

He is my “giant of a cousin”.

Whether it be about civic organisations, national sports, family or politics, he has helped to lay the foundation for so many.

My mentor

Indeed, I owe him much for laying the groundwork throughout two General Elections in Devonshire East. I still recall him taking me out week after week to introduce me to the constituents as his successor — along the way instilling confidence in me that with enough hard work, we could win that seat.

Over the past four years, he has helped guide other newer MPs and myself in the following: proper dress code, behaviour and expectations of elected officials. I have to admit when the need arises, I do tend to deviate from his calm demeanour.

Ironically, a member of the Opposition gave him the nickname “Mr Silky”, as he is very persuasive when making presentations in Parliament.

A few weeks ago, he took me under his wing, once again to teach me how to be the chairman or presiding officer of the House of Assembly during Budget debates. This role includes the proper way to introduce the specific ministries and allowing for questions from the Opposition.

One particular day, as I showed up for that day’s debate, he was sitting in his chair like a dutiful teacher.

We looked at each other with amusement, as we had dressed identically: grey suits, blue shirts, blue and bluer ties because we both support St George’s, and matching brown shoes.

Outside of Parliament, we spend a lot of time together doing things in the community such as recently restoring the walls of Christ Church Devonshire.

In closing, I consider myself fortunate to have lived long enough to get to spend so much time with my "giant of a cousin”, Neville Tyrrell, a man who has spent his life helping anyone in need.

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

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Published April 23, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 22, 2021 at 7:15 pm)

Giant of a cousin

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