Today I feel duty bound to offer a tribute on the life of former politician Quinton Edness.
It is with a profound sense of sadness that I offer condolences to his widow Vicki, the family and friends of Quinton Edness, lovingly dubbed ‘QE’.
While we were both United Bermuda Party (UBP) MPs and Senators, our tenures were in different eras; my time in the Legislature started in 1998, the same year his ended. Albeit, that I was a political candidate in 1983 when QE regained his Warwick West seat in 1983.
I first remember QE playing golf at Port Royal in the early 70’s when Walter King was the golf professional. QE looked like a golf pro, talked like a golf pro, he even walked like a golf pro; but his shots gave him away. QE loved playing golf and at the conclusion of a round his recount of the game brought out the best of his oratory skills he developed as a celebrated broadcaster.
QE and I enjoyed many rounds of golf together, mostly at Castle Harbour and St George’s Golf Clubs, many times with John Harvey and Alti Roberts.
QE was the consummate storyteller and was the master of first impressions. Once he travelled to Europe and ran into an old friend of mine, top European pro golfer Ronan Rafferty, word got back to me that QE was in France holding court and Rafferty was left with a lasting impression of QE as a larger than life figure.
We later became connected through government in the 1980’s when I was the General Manager of Government Quango at St George’s Golf Club and QE was my Minister of Works and Engineering. QE respected my ability as a golf professional and was present and most proud when Keith Smith and I won and qualified for the World Cup of Golf at Castle Harbour in 1984.
From a community perspective, we started an annual golf tournament between Warwick Workmen’s Club and Somerset Bridge Recreation Club where golfers competed annually for the Edness Shield. Later, it was QE who summoned me to his office as Minister of Works in the late 80’s to manage the transition of Ocean View Golf Course and amalgamate it into the government golf course quango network.
QE’s best political attribute was his empathy for social issues and that he was the epitome of being approachable, to the extent that people could say anything to him. Once I witnessed him in a heated exchange where he endured a verbal barrage in a crowded bar at Warwick Club, then proceed to give as good as he got back, following that, the two of them continued on like nothing had happened. He later recounted that that was all part of representation. I learned a valuable lesson in political humility that day.
When QE first lost Warwick seat in 1980 he was appointed to the Legislative Council (now the Senate), where he took pride in piloting the Human Rights Bill into existence. As a politician I witnessed him advocate for the needs of the common man, especially in housing. And I recall how important it was to QE in the early 1980’s to have government build houses to meet the need of a housing crisis.
Obviously, QE’s broadcasting experience helped to catapult him into the political realm. But he enjoyed community connections that was the bedrock of his support throughout the island. He was a ‘South Shore Warwick Bie’ connected to a family legacy. Anyone from South Shore, Warwick with pre-1980 connections will recall QE’s father strolling up South Shore Road daily to take a swim.
In the words of QE, full with expression: “Now let me tell you…”
QE’s passing marks the passing of an era of a man whose political detractors would refer to him as ‘lovable Quinton’. QE participated in an era where Bermuda transitioned from an overly segregated society to an integrated society. History is replete with many memories which paint varying pictures of persons connected with the UBP. But I am here to attest to the caring human qualities that QE brought to the political sphere.
QE politics was formed and connected to the Warwick community he was proud to be a part of. He cared deeply about social issues and history is filled with good examples of his contributions.
May He Rest In Peace.