By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, Surrey, B.C., Fri. Oct. 24, 2014: A Barbadian-born immigrant is hoping to be the next mayor of Surrey, a city in the province of British Columbia, Canada.
John Edwards, who has lived in Surrey since 1994, says he’s hoping to increase regional, national and global opportunities for local businesses and create job opportunities in his city through the building of a convention centre by 2018 to attract more tourists and create new jobs
He would also like to see a “surge” in police presences and increased funding for programs like Block Watch, Surrey Crime Prevention Society and victims’ services.
Last year, Surrey had a record number of 25 homicides, including the high-profile death of Julie Paskall, a 53-year-old mother of three who was brutally beaten in what police called a robbery gone wrong outside a Newton hockey arena in December.
Edwards was born in St. Andrews, Barbados, attended the Alleyne High School and left the island in 1968 for England. There he studied nursing and became a registered nurse and psychiatric nurse.
He then moved to Canada in 1974 and worked for 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry.
Edwards has been president of the Rotary Club of Surrey and a member of the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society, the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.
It is not his first attempt at political office. In 1984, Edwards sought federal political office in Mission-Port Moody but was defeated by Gerry St. Germain.
He is hoping to set make history this time around for Caribbean immigrants in Surrey as its first Bajan mayor.
Edwards is also urging all Caribbean immigrants “to explore and access the broad range of opportunities available in higher education, job training and community engagement” and get more involved in “participation in political life at all levels of government.”
The race for mayor of B.C.’s fastest growing city could be the closest it’s seen in years. Edwards faces tough competition from former three-term mayor Doug McCallum, who lost to current Mayor Dianne Watts in 2005 and Surrey City Councillor Barinder Rasode and Linda Hepner.
Surrey’s municipal elections take place on November 15th. Current Mayor Watts is not seeking re-election.