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Gosling reflects and looks ahead

Facing challenges: Charles Gosling

He was out of office for three years, but Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling told The Royal Gazette: “In some ways, it’s like I never left.”

Mr Gosling who was elected as Mayor in May, previously served in the position from 2009 to 2012 — and he said many items on his agenda remain the same today.

“There are still issues that have not only gone back from when I left office, to when I took office the first time. It just shows how slowly the wheels of Government can turn,” said Mr Gosling.

“I have had a very positive response from staff. I have made it very clear to staff that the council is here to set policy, and the executive is here to enact that policy, and we are not going to be involved in the nitty-gritty day to day operations of the Corporation.

“That’s what the executive and staff are here.

“They should be left to handle it properly, and I think they appreciate the micro management being taken away from them.”

Mr Gosling was first elected mayor in 2009, winning 158 votes out of 374 votes to defeat Sonia Grant and Kathryn Gibbons. However in 2010 legislative changes were enacted to prevent residential ratepayers, property owners and business owners from voting multiple times, depending on the number of properties they possessed. Instead, the Municipalities Reform Act allowed one vote per registered resident.

In the following municipal election in 2012, Mr Gosling and most of his team lost to “Team Bermuda”, headed by Graeme Outerbridge. Mr Outerbridge won 109 votes, to Mr Gosling’s 88.

Asked about what he took from his loss, Mr Gosling said: “If you want something, you have got to work for it.

“With the election I lost, walking around the city canvassing there were literally only two houses where I walked away thinking I didn’t have their vote. Everywhere else it was: ‘Don’t worry about it. We’ve got your back. We’ll take care of you.’

“I didn’t win that election. Nor did anyone else on my team except one councillor. This time when it came to election day we had our phone trees, we called and we insisted that people turned up and we got it.

“This time there was also a lot less focus on the potential of capital projects because I just really felt that the city was going to be incapable of doing much just because of the lack of revenue and lack of resources.”

He said taking over from the often controversial previous administration has created some challenges when it comes to the reputation of the Corporation.

“There has been enough nonsense going on and there will be enough that is coming into the public light,” he said. “It’s odd when you have a council elected entirely by the residents of the city that there was still a them-and-us argument.

“We’re going to have to fight this for a long time, but in the end it’s going to be about results. Hopefully if anything it’s going to empower us to actually do more rather than just throw up our hands and walk away.”