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Gosling: Why I am running for mayor

Team Gosling: John Harvey, left, Dennis Tucker, Charles Gosling and Carlton Johnson (Photo by Akil Simmons)

“Hamilton — Bermuda at its best.”

The rebranding for Bermuda’s capital city was the work of Charles Gosling during his term as Mayor of Hamilton between 2009 and 2012, along with then Corporation “Team Hamilton” members.

Mr Gosling said the slogan is a big part of the reason he is making another run for mayor.

“During my last term in office, we went through a rebranding of the Corporation with a logo of the Hamilton skyline and the caption ‘Hamilton — Bermuda at its best’,” he said. “That was our target and one we strove daily to match, a change from bureaucratic to caring, creating a vibrant city, a city for families, one we can take pride in, an international business centre, a city worthy to be our capital.

“While others despair, I know this is still within our reach. I like the challenge,” he said.

Parking is the No 1 priority for the candidate, and homeless people in the City is another top issue — “perfect examples (of problems) which have to be resolved.

“It should not be the norm for residents, businesses or visitors to have to deal with the impact of this lifestyle on the environmental and economic wellbeing of the city.

And, he said: “The city also needs a contract cruise ship.”

Asked about the existing mayor, Graeme Outerbridge and the Corporation of Hamilton, which has been mired in controversy with Par-la-Ville car park being placed in receivership after the default of an $18 million loan that the corporation had guaranteed, he said his view is “no more different than the majority of your readers”.

He added: “The call is made so many times for change — I am answering the call for positive change.

“To bring the City back from the brink, to bring back reason to the way we do business, to improve the way we serve our customer.”

However, developing a platform has been hampered by the uncertainty that surrounds the state of the City’s finances, he said.

“As with most people in the City, I do not know the financial wellbeing of the corporation. It is my plan within 90 days of taking office to report back to electors and ratepayers of the City to detail financially where the City is today, and what actions we can start undertaking.

“Governance is a key part of our platform, a commitment to codes of conduct, removing conflicts of interest, taking intimidation out of the workplace, making the organisation even more transparent in its policies, guidelines and criteria for making decisions, reforming the town hall meetings. Of course, re-establishing a working relationship with government ministries is key to getting the City back on its feet.

“All of this can be done with a minimal spend, and once we know where we stand financially, we can start with improvements to our neighbourhoods, parking, roads, lighting and community safety.

“This will be done openly, giving full disclosure on why certain roads are being picked for repaving or new sidewalks, getting more wires underground — and the public will help in setting these priorities.”

Mr Gosling said the main issues facing Hamilton include governance, credibility, partnering with government and exploiting the opportunities of the America’s Cup to the City’s advantage.

“The number of derelict houses has increased and needs to be addressed, as this devalues surrounding family properties and can provide a haven for illegal activity,” he said.

“There are a number of outstanding city ordinances which need to be corrected and retailed in the House. This can only be done through honest and open dialogue aimed at resolving common concerns.”

Mr Gosling said his voters are: “Everyone.”

He is running again with a team, as he has done in previous municipal elections. This time, “Team Hamilton” is Nicholas Swan, Lawrence Scott, John Harvey and Dennis Tucker, who have won by acclamation, as there are only four seats to fill to represent Hamilton business ratepayers. Running for municipal residents’ seats are Henry Ming and Carlton Johnson.

“When the ratepayer councillors were chosen by acclamation, even though these members were already elected, we made the decision to still canvass together,” Mr Gosling said. “We want everyone to know who we are and collectively what we stand for.

“Even though the format of nominating and electing the members creates an unnecessary confrontational environment of ‘ratepayer versus resident’, we want to show that there is no gap in our outlook, and we will be doing what is best for the City, the residents and the ratepayers.”

Why does Mr Gosling feel he is a better candidate than his opponent in this election, Carlton Simmons, who is a councillor in the existing corporation set-up? “If you are happy with the current state of today’s corporation and how the City’s operations are now perceived, you may want to reconsider voting for me,” he said.

“On the other hand, if you see the last three years as a timeframe never to be repeated and a time to place the City back in safe hands, your choice has to be a vote for me.

“Six years ago we saw our City as being ‘Hamilton, Bermuda at its best’. It is time to make that come true again.”

A new mayor, along with the municipal residents’ councillors, will be elected on Thursday. The polling station will be open from 8am to 8pm. It is located at the Seventh-day Adventist Church Hall on King Street in Hamilton.