Would-be director Charles Gosling will not miss the drama of being Mayor
Charles Gosling has had more than his fair share of drama on the political stage as Mayor of Hamilton, despite leaving dreams of becoming a theatre director long behind him at drama school in London.
Fighting for the Corporation’s continued existence, battling Premiers and taking stick in the Senate, Mr Gosling has had a tumultuous nine years in charge of the capital.
He has spent most of his time in his last term of office fighting to stop the Progressive Labour Party calling time on the municipalities and turning them into unelected quangos.
Mr Gosling’s life has been dominated by rum – and the punch of politics.
He said that one of the reasons he would not seek re-election was the personal nature of some of the political warfare.
But Mr Gosling told The Royal Gazette he never let it get to him.
He said: “The only time really has been when there has been debate in Parliament, and I just feel that some members of the House, or the Senate, have got a little bit carried away by the vibrancy of their cohort’s arguments.”
Mr Gosling insisted he wanted to stand down because he felt Hamilton needed a fresh face.
“I’m going to be 69 in June and I figure it’s time to pass it on. I think that it would be good to have somebody different in this position.
“It has been referred to in some regards as being very, very much my baby, or my action, and I don’t think it is. I am expressing the viewpoint of a lot of people throughout the island.
“Sometimes it’s just a lot easier to put the finger on an individual rather than recognising that that is somebody speaking on behalf of many.”
With the fate of the Corporation of Hamilton hanging in the balance in the Court of Appeal, Mr Gosling said he hoped the case did not end up before the Privy Council in London and that a deal could still be struck whoever won in Bermuda.
He added: “I really think there’s a wonderful opportunity – and, again, maybe by stepping aside and allowing someone to come in, somebody who hasn’t got the necessary history that I have with the Government – where we can actually just sit down and say we’ve been working with this Act which in two years will celebrate its hundredth anniversary.
“It has been butchered time and time again with various amendments and such, let’s get something which is actually going to get local government to be properly run, have accountability with government as well as accountability with the electorate.
“I would hope that there would be ‘let’s take a big deep breath’ - this is an opportunity to show that we are made of bigger stuff and we are able to work together for the betterment of the island rather than it, bluntly, being the takeover of a successful organisation.”
Mr Gosling, who has served as Mayor since 2009, except for three years from 2012, said the best Premier he had worked with was the PLP’s Paula Cox.
He explained: “I felt there was somebody that you could have a discussion with.”
Mr Gosling added, however, that the worst Premier he had to deal with was also from the PLP – Ewart Brown.
But he appeared to have relished their battle of wills.
“Dr Brown was certainly the one that instigated the original change of the municipalities.
“He is an extremely interesting gentleman to sit on the other side of the table with.
“He knows all the tools and he knows when to use them and whatever.
“Extremely intelligent man. But, unfortunately, his aims and mine were directly opposed.”
But Mr Gosling insisted: “At no time was there any shrieking or yelling at each other.“
Mr Gosling said that he had once tried to forge a career in theatre after he left drama school, but the fates were against him.
He explained: “I went back to the school once and took the second years through a production and I was going to be doing a production with the graduating class at the Edinburgh Festival, and the main guy that I was involved with, I went to meet with him one drizzly London morning in the early part of the winter and he had been arrested the previous night for doing grievous bodily harm on somebody.
“So, I basically packed up and came back home.”