Former Chairman of the West End Development Corporation Ray Charlton has been replaced by a new Chairman, who is Carlton Dill.

The new Chairman’s appointment was published with members of the new board last year.

According to Mr Charlton, he was asked “to offer” his resignation in October, by the new Minister of Public Works, Colonel David Burch.

Speaking live with Shirley Dill last Sunday, the former One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) candidate, who offered to tender his resignation just ahead of the America’s Cup, and prior to the last General Election.

But he said: “I rescinded because I was asked by the staff at Wedco and many others to stay on, until I was asked by Colonel Burch to offer my resignations as Chairman of Wedco in October.

“I also offered to stay on to work with him and the new PLP administration,” he added.

When contacted by Bermuda Real for a response, Public Works Minister Colonel David Burch stated in three words: “He is correct.”

As the outgoing Chairman who had a hand in the transformation of the Dockyard, in preparation for the 35th America’s Cup, hosted in Bermuda’s Great Sound, he said: “Dockyard never looked better.”

In addition to the land reclamation project that saw the creation of Cross Island, ‘Home of the America’s Cup Village’, he noted that the major upgrades to the apartments renovated at Prince Alfred Terrace, came in roughly “at a cost of $4 million” and that $1 million of that was just for “the roof and the asbestos abatement”.

There are 12 three bedroom units with one bathroom and one two-bedroom unit in the Prince Alfred Terrace apartment complex.

“I’ve heard that they’re being rented for the upcoming Moth World Race Sailing Series, when there will be hundreds of sailors and spectators here, and this will be a good introduction of those units onto the vacation rental market,” Mr Charlton said.

He also noted that the Cross Island Project was “the brainchild of the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) administration. 

“And for that we should be grateful for their foresight and vision,” he said. 

“The bridge that connects Cross Island was actually purchased by the previous PLP administration, just prior to the 2012 General Election. And both the PLP and the OBA governments thought this was a good idea.

“Instead of politicizing it, I would like to see us all work together for the success of Wedco, the West End and all of Bermuda.” 

After serving as Chairman for just over four years, he said: “I made a tremendous effort, I prayed every day that God would guide me on making decisions that were best for Bermuda. 

“And I think history will show that these past four years will leave a positive and indelible legacy in the Dockyard.”

As for politics, he said: “Never say never, but for now I think my political aspirations are finished. The voters sent me a clear message and I heard it loud and clear,” said Mr Charlton.

“Life goes on, I still am willing to work to make Bermuda a better place. Whenever I go to Dockyard, if I see things that are out of place, or in need of repair, I make sure I let the appropriate people know. And I always will.”

Mr Charlton was soundly defeated in the last General Election, by PLP incumbent Michael Scott, who retained his seat with 577 to 297 in Constituency 36 Sandys North, where there were 1,254 registered voters on July 18, 2017.

When voters went to the polls in 2012, the former OBA candidate lost by only

Mr Scott narrowly retained his seat by a mere eight votes. The final count, 399 votes to Mr Charlton’s 391. There were 1,198 registered voters in Sandys North in the 2012 General Election.

In April 2017, Mr Charlton announced his decision to step down as Chairman, stating that he was “tired of the constant negativity”.

Amid what was termed “the growing tide of politically driven divisive rhetoric”, he also warned that “political nastiness from supporters of both parties in the lead-up to a General Election threatened to destroy the social fabric of the country”.

“Unless we find a way to work together we are all doomed,” said Mr Charlton.

“It’s from both sides; supporters of the Progressive Labour Party and also the One Bermuda Alliance, and it is doing no one any good, least of all our country.”

Part of the “negativity” circled around the fact that the naval crests were painted over in Dockyard, based on decision made prior to Mr Charlton’s appointment as Chairman.

The move sparked a flurry of outrage online on the local social media circuit.