Howard president asks young and old to talk
Members of the Progressive Labour Party were asked to learn from people of all ages as they celebrated Bermudian excellence at the weekend.
Wayne Frederick, the president of Howard University in Washington, highlighted the values of both younger and older generations and told a roomful of PLP supporters: “As you go all the way, please take love with you.”
He was the keynote speaker at the party’s 2019 gala at the Fairmont Southampton on Saturday night.
Dr Frederick asked older members of the audience not to be cynical of today’s youth and to “reach out” to younger members of the community.
He said: “I’m the father of a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter and I have to tell you, those two young people are two young people that I admire.
“When people ask me who I would like to have dinner with, dead or alive, when people ask me who do I admire the most, dead or alive, when people ask me who do I get the best advice from, dead or alive, my two children are at the top of that list.
“They are compassionate, they are concerned about the world around them and they are a force for good.”
The 48-year-old surgeon added: “For the young people in the room, we older people wear scars and wounds from battles that we have been in.”
He added that the younger PLP leadership should mix with those who have gone before them, as they would be well-advised by their elders.
Dr Frederick said: “As you grow your party and as you look for what must happen as you go forward, and what is in the best interests of Bermuda, I hope you will keep this in mind: that the purpose in life must be something that flattens the mountain of challenges that are in front of us.”
He added: “What must always underscore what we do is love, a simple thing like love.”
The Trinidadian-born academic, who started at Howard aged 16 and earned science and medical degrees by 22, told guests: “We are living in a very complex time, in which technology is bringing us to the fourth industrial revolution.
“What is different about this revolution is that it is touching every single thing, the physical world, the biological world, it is touching how we interact, it is transforming our digital enterprises.”
Dr Frederick added that the “pace of change” was a concern and deserved attention.
He said that technology came in many different forms and “for the most part” made lives better.
But he explained it was important to prioritise innovations that will benefit many people rather than just advance self interest.
Dr Frederick said: “I’ll give you an example, John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon, but it would be some 25 years later before we would put wheels on a suitcase.
“So when we talk about prioritising, how many of us will go to the moon?”
The gala’s theme of “Bermudian excellence” singled out 26 people including performers, business people and politicians, as well as the national football and cricket teams.
David Burt, the Premier and PLP leader, told guests: “It is an absolute honour to take this stage as the leader of this great Progressive Labour Party, a party that has riches over the years, which personify Bermudian excellence.”
He said: “It is the great future of technology that is going to change our world and that is going to transform Bermuda.
“But at the same point in time, as the world is changing, we have to make sure that we are ready to change with it.”
Mr Burt also singled out the late Walton Brown, the Pembroke Central PLP MP who died suddenly last month.
He said: “He was a gentle giant that fought for the people of this country and personified Bermudian excellence.”
The PLP leader added: “We, as a party, have a lot more work to do and I am not blind to the challenges of which we all face.”
He added that if members did not “remain united with each other” the party would be unable to accomplish its “ambitious agenda”.
The gala included a special tribute to Nelson Bascome, a former PLP health minister, which marked the tenth anniversary of his death, as well as entertainment, including Gombey performances, live music, singing and dancing.
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