Dowling: I’m here for the people of St George
George Dowling III has promised fresh ideas to revitalise the town and community of St George if elected as mayor.
Mr Dowling, who will go head-to-head with Kenneth Bascome in a municipal election on May 9, said that even if the Government replaced the municipalities with quangos, the residents deserved strong leadership.
Mr Dowling, 41, said: “Short-lived or not, we are required to be good trustees of our town.
“Until that time comes, if it comes, someone has to do the job and I will do the job.”
He added that St George could benefit from changes, but that the majority of residents wanted to be able to elect their own councillors and mayor.
He said: “At least 95 per cent are in agreement that they want to elect their town officials.
“That being said, I'm here to reflect the will of the people.”
Mr Dowling has a long association with St George and the family business, Dowling Marine, is based on the waterfront.
He said he first ran for election as a councillor because he wanted to do something to give back to St George.
Mr Dowling said: “A vacancy emerged, I was asked to run and I gave it a shot.
“It has been an amazing experience acting as a councillor. Seeing where you can actually make a difference, sometimes convincing your colleagues that something will make a difference and pushing them in that direction.
“I'm particularly proud of overseeing the work we have done with the docks. At Hunter's Wharf there was originally a plan not to put parking back there, but we fought over it and were able to put it back in.”
Mr Dowling added that it was up to the Government to move the long-proposed St George's Marina project forward.
He said: “It would be great if we got it, but it's not necessarily the magic bullet that's going to fix everything in the town. We need to be realistic about that.”
He said his platform focused on five main points designed to lay the groundwork for the town's future, starting with a new town plan.
Mr Dowling said: “The second thing we want to tackle is to support the Unesco World Heritage Site management plan with an end goal of taking complete responsibility for the management of the World Heritage Site, with legislative teeth to protect our historic town and funding for the same.”
Other objectives in his platform include a bid to reinvigorate the town with residents investing in the town, finding revenue-raising opportunities and improving communication.
Mr Dowling said: “A lot of people don't have awareness about the things that are going on in our town. We can communicate better.
“There are issues like pipes breaking, and a lot of our water is piped, so when a pipe is down people don't want to find out when they go to flush the toilet. These are things that we can communicate better.”
He added: “Once we get these core things in place, than everything else will be possible.”
Mr Dowling said he would like to see a return of regular cruise ships to St George, but in the meanwhile the corporation and the Government could find ways to encourage more visitors to the East End.
He said: “Right now we have the Spirit of St George's, the Norwegian Cruise Line tender, bringing 55,000 to 60,000 people to St George each summer, along with the government ferries bringing their allotment.
“Of course, it would be ideal if we could have two cruise ships in St George. When I came back to Bermuda in 2004, there were two cruise ships, and they were there Monday to Thursday. Everywhere was vibrant, the nightlife was vibrant.
“We could bring that back if we caught the right ship. I don't know if increasing the size of the channel is the right way to go or not, but there are ways to increase the number of visitors coming to St George.”