St George’s Mayor Kenneth Bascome was announced as the OBA candidate for St George’s North on Thursday, running against Dame Jennifer Smith. *File photos
St George’s Mayor Kenneth Bascome was announced as the OBA candidate for St George’s North on Thursday, running against Dame Jennifer Smith. *File photos

FRIDAY, OCT. 12: PLP insiders yesterday brushed off a challenge from St George’s Mayor Kenneth Bascome, who was announced as the OBA candidate for the St George’s North seat held by former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith.

An insider said that Dame Jennifer —- who has three times defeated Mr Bascome, although by margins as small as eight votes — would retain her seat. He said: “It will be a wonderful heavyweight battle but I am certain it will end the way it has always ended.

“People can always talk — but there is no doubt Dame Jennifer has done a lot of good things.”

He was speaking after Mr Bascome — who as late as Tuesday denied he would be the candidate — was unveiled at the OBA Opposition’s Hamilton HQ.

Mr Bascome said his priorities included the restoration of a full-time police station and fire station in the Old Town and a new hotel, as well as a new approach to cruise ship visits, restricted because of the size of modern ships and the narrowness of the Town Cut entry into St George’s harbor.

He said: “There are many issues in the town of St George’s that I believe have been neglected over the years.”

Mr Bascome added the town’s UNESCO world heritage site status had not been properly used and he said he had met Carl Bazarian, who proposes to develop a Park Hyatt hotel in the town, on several occasions and offered his support and advice.

Mr Bascome added: “I don’t believe the Government-of-the-day has taken the initiative to sit down and talk to the developers who want to bring beds to Bermuda. The OBA has the expertise and energy to put Bermuda where it should be — number one.”

He added: “I have an integral understanding of what is required in the town of St George’s — I’ve operated businesses in St George’s and worked with young people through the clubs and the prisons.

“We need to take a new focus when it comes to dealing with our young people going astray. I believe in the team that the One Bermuda Alliance has put together, we have the experience and the passion to bring about a new focus for our young people.”

Mr Bascome lost the seat by just 25 votes as a UBP candidate in 2007. In 2003, he lost by just eight. He ran as an Independent in 1998 under the old two-seat constituency system and picked up just 3.9 per cent of the vote. Party leader Craig Cannonier said it appeared there was no legal barrier to Mr Bascome continuing as Mayor if he won the seat.