PLP supporters come together over victory
(Wise words: Gregory Smith says all parties must be held accountable (Photograph by Sarah Lagan))
The Devonshire Recreational Club was filled with an air of hope and positivity yesterday evening as supporters of the Progressive Labour Party came out to celebrate the government’s landslide victory. Families and friends gathered for an evening of entertainment at the club which has itself thrown its support behind political movements of the past and has long held affiliations with the PLP.
Following a prayer by the Reverend Nicholas Tweed, the party kicked off on the sports field with a full line up of home-grown music and entertainment from the likes of Last Call, Hind Sight and Live Wire as well as international soca artist Teddyson John.
Representing his party wearing the PLP’s new T-shirt emblazoned with “Landslide — 24/12”, PLP MP Zane DeSilva said he was at the event to celebrate with his “family”. He said: “This is all my family. It is the PLP family and I say that with sincerity.
“Since I have been a PLP member and, of course, been a Member of Parliament, this has become my family. I am excited, I think the people spoke and it gives me great joy and pride. We have a lot of work ahead. The team that we have is going to consult with people. All of the PLP will be leaning on our people for advice every week. We are not going to be able to please everybody all the time but our heart is in the right place.”
Reverend Tweed said he was there to celebrate a new era of hope in Bermuda. He told The Royal Gazette: “The people found their voice on July 18 and they demonstrated with their vote. They demanded that they had leadership that listens and represents their interests. They endured neglect, they endured being silenced by government, they endured being disenfranchised in their own country. So all of the efforts over the last several years have now been vindicated and we stand at this tremendous moment filled with potential and hope.
“It is a wonderful thing to see a country where the spirit of hope has been reborn. We are going to be committed to working in solidarity with our leaders and our brothers and sisters in government in order to help make Bermuda what it can become.”
Bermuda Industrial Union boss Chris Furbert added: “When the country came together and decided that the OBA was not representing the interests of the people, the people spoke volumes. PLP ended up with 24 seats and the OBA had 12 seats — it was a real clear majority.”
Wilbert Warner attended the festivities with his family and said that while the PLP had their work cut out for them, the country was better off in its hands. He said: “It has been a tough last four years. Most of the population were disappointed with the performance of the One Bermuda Alliance and how they related to the population, I think it was a clear choice.”
Asked whether he believed the PLP could bridge the gap between the “two Bermudas” the party centred its campaigning around, Mr Warner added: “We have a legacy of 400 years of settlement and it’s not going to happen in four years but some inroads can be made. One side can’t do it all — it has to come from both sides and hopefully we will see that. With the OBA in government there was no impetus or drive to challenge the concept of two Bermuda’s because they were comfortable. I am hopeful — it is 2017 — I have been around for quite a while, things are not how they were 30 or 40 years ago but hopefully it will be better in ten or 15 years for the country as a whole.”
Sharon Burgess, kitted out in full PLP-themed get up, said she felt the PLP was the party of the people. She said: “They are connected. It is a family and I think it is going to work. I really believe it. I’ve been a supporter all my life, my grandmother, may she rest in peace, she was the backbone. I have voted for PLP since I was 18. They believe in labour and the people — I really feel they are about the people. They are concerned about us and the country.”
Gregory “Bumphead” Smith said while he had faith in the future of the country under the party he has supported all his life, the people must continue to hold them to their promises.
He said: “They are going to bring people together, it is going to stop all of that racial divide. Their work is cut out for them but they have a good platform. We have got to give them a chance. Let’s move together as one. The main thing is that we have got to hold them accountable for what they promise but it is not all just on them, it is on us as individuals. It’s not about what the country can do for us, it’s what we can do for the country.
“We’re here to enjoy the festive occasion and see people we haven’t seen in a while and wish them well.”
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