Cardwell keen to get stuck in
Serving as the commodore of the Bermuda Power Boat Association is a challenge that Robert Cardwell could not refuse.
The Bermuda Police Service tactical firearms commander took over the reins after Kim McCallan stepped down at last week's Annual General Meeting.
He assumes the leadership role on a wave of support from those that were keen to break from the status quo and convinced that he is the right candidate for the job.
“For a while various members of the Bermuda Power Boat Association have been encouraging me to take on the commodore role,” Cardwell said.
“The challenges of the past have been that the entire executive, including the commodore, have been made up of members who are also competitors. This has created problems with perceived fairness in dealing with issues that need to be addressed at the executive level and also challenges for the members of the executive trying to strike a balance between their race aspirations, the competitive nature of the sport and the commitment required to be on the executive. As I am not a racer or a race team member, I bring some much needed independence to the role.
“I have an established reputation for being firm but fair and I very much look forward to bringing my leadership qualities to the role.
“I have been inspired to take on the role by other members of the BPBA and I enjoy a challenge so this seemed like a good fit.”
Cardwell acknowledges that his early days in the post will be a “steep learning curve”. But he finds “much comfort” knowing that he is surrounded by “good sensible people with lots of experience” who he looks forward to learning all the “in's and out's from”.
“Most of the members of the BPBA are competitors,” he said. “All they want is sound communication, organisation and preparations to be in place so that the races can happen seamlessly and smoothly.
“I have committed to taking on this role from a concept of inclusion rather than exclusion. I think this will be the right formula to both sustain and grow this sport and to meet all the expectations of the BPBA membership.”
High on Cardwell's agenda is youth development to ensure the sport's longevity.
“The BPBA in general recognise that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and by extension the BPBA competitors of tomorrow,” he said.
“The BPBA want to play a role in the development of our youth, but there is a gap within the BPBA at this time. As such, we will start putting together plans to develop a youth race development and mentor programme.
“We will identify the boats for this programme but they are expected to be similar to the old Bermuda-built hydro plane many of the youngsters used to run around in years ago. Hopefully we can identify something similar factory built.
“I think that an established youth programme will make the BPBA much more rounded and will create opportunity for the youngsters and we will have something to be proud of.
“To do this we will need the support of our current sponsors. But it will be necessary to get new sponsors so that we can pull together the required funds to launch this initiative.”