Party members and supporters turned out in full force last night for the Progressive Labour Party’s 2017 Gala at the Fairmont Southampton Resort.
Premier David Burt noted during his address that he had no idea the party would sell 800 tickets for the event that saw a full night of entertainment, a silent auction, and a keynote address by a guest speaker.
Tributes were made throughout the night to the PLP founding members who have passed on, and party members, including the late Marita Thompson, who the Premier said would have loved to have been there for the Gala, and the late Maynard Dill, who was Party Chairman.
“We are here because we stand on the shoulders of giants,” said Premier Burt, who also acknowledged a number of members for their support in the lead up to the July 18th General Election.
One of the highlights of the night was the big round of applause and a standing ovation when MP Chris Famous was awarded for ousting former Finance Minister ET Bob Richards at the polls.
“There is no doubt who is most deserving of the Leader’s Cup,” said Premier Burt.
“He has worked hard, canvassed up and down the country. I’m wondering about his wife, who must be wondering why he’s missing so often. And so there is no doubt that we wouldn’t be standing here today if it were no for this one man,” he added.
The keynote speaker, Michael Lee-Chin, the Chairman of Portland Holdings, who is widely regarded as “a visionary entrepreneur”, opened with the poem ‘Our Deepest Fear’ by Marianne Williamson. He told the packed audience that “strategy is one percent of success and execution is 99 percent”.
“Countries cannot become long term sustainable businesses unless they build strong indigenous businesses that make profits stay home, which means your best and brightest will stay home,” he said.
Premier Burt, in his address, reminded the audience of the PLPs landslide victory at the polls that resulted in the final count of 24 – 12.
“We are the Government and we will change the law to make sure that the people govern,” he said.
“We need to get the big things right but we also need to stay connected to the people. And we are going to be even more connected over the next year.”
And in a surprise announcement, the Premier said: “Our government is sure that there will be a bank soon to invest and reinvest in our country.
“Our victory means that as a country we now have control of our country. We’re not perfect and we will make mistakes, but it’s about as much as we might disagree, we all want to arrive at the same destination, instead of turning to guns and violence.”
He also acknowledged sponsors in attendance who will enable the PLP to “retire” the party’s debt.
And he closed out his address with a special thank you to his wife, his mother and father, sisters and brothers, party caucus and ministerial colleagues, the party’s executive team, volunteers, MPs and Senators.