PNP toasts Pickersgill's 25th anniversary
PNP chairman Robert Pickersgill (third right) cuts his cake with family members
Few men, in their lifetime, get the chance to bask in the glow of adoration of their peers and colleagues, as they recount his accomplishments and drink to his successes but politician Robert Pickersgill can now count himself one of those lucky few.
On Sunday, his colleagues, including former Prime Minister PJ Patterson gathered to celebrate the life and influence of a man they affectionately called "Bobby".
"It has been made clear that this wasn't a send off but a celebration of 25 years of Bobby and his great movement. With him being the current longest serving chairman, we appreciate that he is a true comrade, loyal for many years and I look forward to a similar honour in Region Three. You have been a great friend and, on behalf of all the leadership we wish you well," Phillip Paulwell intoned to an audience of seasoned politicians during the 25th anniversary awards banquet for the chairman of the People's National Party, the esteemed Robert Pickersgill.
The function, which was held at the recently opened Hard Rock Cafe in Freeport, Montego Bay on Sunday, April 29, was flooded with a sea of orange.
"Comrades mean something and it means we are together in good and bad, especially in bad times. If we follow this trend, then it will lessen the hostility and violence that is caused in all natural life. As this is a celebration and not a farewell and with Bobby serving as the longest chairman except for others who are on the other side. So let's not wait until we reach the other side before we commemorate and celebrate the historic value of our member," Patterson said.
Robert Pickersgill 25th Anniversary
The venue - which holds approximately 160 persons seated on the inside and 140 on the outside - was packed to capacity.
Loop News observed Members of Parliament Anthony Hylton, Denise Daley, Lisa Hanna, Natalie Neita-Headley, Wykeham McNeil, Fitz Jackson, Colin Fagan, Ian Hayles and Richard Azan, and former MPs KD Knight, John Junor and Karl Blythe.
Opposition spokesman for National Security Peter Bunting told the gathering "one cannot know the true contribution of Bobby unless you have served with him. And I am glad I did as a general secretary. Bobby is the most reliable sheet anchor and whenever in danger Bobby is always the one that kept us on shore so I say, One Love Bobby".
The same sentiments of duty, honour and service were expressed during numerous speeches, and eloquently by MPs Julian Robinson and Fenton Ferguson.
Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips provided the emotional spark of the evening with accompaniment of the entertainment band, which moved the crowd to erupt into loud cheers when Sizzla's "Can't Keep a good man down" pelted the grounds.
In his speech, 'Bobby', who serves as the 5th chairman of the PNP, responded while unabashed tears of joy streamed down his face.
"Forgive me if I'm crying, but my happy bag buss. I remain humble because gratitude is the mother of all virtues and it was Paul who said in Thessalonians, in everything good give thanks. I love my party and dedicated over 50 years, so don't watch my youth".
In attendance also were the Chairman of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, Mayor Norman Scott and his deputy Ralston Wilson. Andrew Swaby, Hugh Graham, Sydney Rose, Enos Lawrence, Claude Hamilton, Patrick Roberts, Patricia Harris, Beverley Jobson-Grant, and Imani Duncan were also present.
Loop News observed the newly elected head of the party's Youth Initiative Raymond Pryce - a position that was received just a few hours before at the NEC meeting, and Basil Waite, deputy general secretary with special attention to the western end of Jamaica. Former director of tourism Fae Pickersgill, and union head Granville Valentine were also in attendance.