Election time: end of an era for Francis
East End voters will choose a new mayor at the polls in the Town of St George today.
The race is down to Kenneth Bascome, a former mayor, and George Dowling III, a councillor, after Quinell Francis announced she was to stand down from the role. Hamilton's businesses will pick four representatives for its corporation out of the five contenders.
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, was unopposed, along with the four councillors elected by residents, and will be sworn in tomorrow at City Hall.
Ms Francis, who had headed the Corporation of St George for four years, said she was dedicated to the rejuvenation of the Olde Towne, and would “sit on any committee as a resident”.
She was elected in May 2015 after she was a councillor and alderman for the municipality, but decided against re-election to focus on her surveying business.
Ms Francis said last week that the highlight of her service had been getting more people from the Olde Towne involved in its revitalisation.
She added: “It has always historically been a different type of person involved in the corporation.
“When I came on board, so many people knew me or my family that they were eager to reach out and ask how they can help me and work with the corporation to bring new life into the town.”
But she admitted financial constraints had held her back from “a few projects I would have loved to have seen done”.
These included the renovation of the upper level of the Town Hall, improvements at Somers Gardens, and the resurfacing of streets.
Ms Francis said the Government had pledged to help with infrastructure problems to allow the corporation to concentrate on running the town.
But she added she was unsure about the municipality's future, in the wake of the Government's drive to change both Corporation of Hamilton and St George into unelected quangos.
Ms Francis said there should be more consultation on the plan.
She said: “St George's needs the assistance, and it needs change, but it needs to be a collaborative change.”
Ms Francis added the two municipalities were different and suggested the creation of separate Acts, which could help the Government get public buy-in for the change.
She also praised the corporation's relationship with the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
She added: “There are many organisations in the town and we should be working together.
“Everyone is working towards their own goal. We have started to come together more, but there is still more that we have to do.”
In Hamilton, five people put themselves forward for the business councillor contest: sitting councillors Larry Scott, Nicholas Swan, John Harvey and Dennis Tucker, businessman Michael Branco.
Business voters will choose four names out of the five to represent them on the city council.
Four resident councillors were uncontested on Nomination Day: sitting councillors George Scott, Henry Ming and RoseAnn Edwards and newcomer Jenefer Brimmer.
Polling stations will be open from 8am to 8pm at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on King Street, Hamilton, for the city elections and at Penno's Wharf in St George.
The count is scheduled to start as soon as the polls close and the results will be posted on the Parliamentary Registrar's site at www.elections.gov.bm.