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Message of unity at PLP Founders’ Day

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The survival of the Progressive Labour Party will depend on unity in its ranks, Christopher Famous told its Founders' Day lunch yesterday.

“As a party, as a people, we must be mature enough to discuss and sort out things between ourselves, both behind closed doors and in the open,” Mr Famous said.

“This will require co-operation and collaboration between Cabinet ministers, backbenchers, party executives, party members and Mr and Mrs Smith.”

Mr Famous added: “Our very survival depends upon it.”

He was speaking as he delivered the keynote speech at the annual Founders' Day and Drum Major Awards lunch at Willowbank Conference Centre in Sandys.

The last surviving founding member of the party, Eugene Woods, was a special guest.

Mr Famous said: “As a country, we have major challenges in front of us — providing social services, upgrading our education system, reforming government efficiencies, preparing for technological changes, preparing to be more self-sustainable with our food supplies, balancing our budget, balancing our economy and getting out and cutting cane grass.

“All of which are steps on a path towards self determination as a people.”

Mr Famous, MP for Devonshire East, honoured Albert Peter Smith, Wilfred “Mose” Allen, Austin Wilson, Edward DeJean, Dilton Cann, Eugene Woods, Walter Robinson and Hugh “Ryo” Richardson who founded the party in 1963 in Mr Richardson's garage.

Mr Famous said: “We had to be progressive. It is the first word in our party's name. Progressive enough to know that this party had to fight for universal adult suffrage to destroy the regressive party property vote.”

He added: “We had to work hand in hand with our union partners to ensure workers' rights.

“They paint us as the black people's party but this party has progressed things for everyone in this country.”

PLP members Mr Woods, Candice Burrows, Raymond Deshields and Lynell Furbert were honoured at the event's Drum Major Awards.

Mr Woods said: “I will accept this honour that you have bestowed on me on behalf of all the founding members of the PLP. I will always be eternally indebted and grateful to them who mentored me socially and politically.

“I reflect and look at our premier, a young man full of vigour, ideas and a good Budget. The honour today is beyond my expectation and I am extremely grateful.

David Burt, the Premier, added: “The faces around this room are the people who mentored me, the people who guided me, the people who supported me and who were always there.

“It is just very amazing that now I have the honour and distinct privilege to be here leading this group and it is not something that I take very lightly at all — it is something that I recognise and treasure.

“It is a special day when I get to share the stage with a founder of the PLP.”

Founders' Day: Progressive Labour Party MP Chris Famous gives the keynote speech
Prizegiving: Mistress of ceremonies Davida Morris, David Burt, the Premier, and the last surviving PLP founder Eugene Woods accepting his Drum Major award. (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

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Published February 19, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated February 18, 2018 at 10:35 pm)

Message of unity at PLP Founders’ Day

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