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GUEST COLUMN: Conference a success

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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DEAR LOVING People gathered between Friday and Sunday last in surprisingly large numbers, particularly on Friday evening and on Sunday.
On occasion it appeared to be standing room only.
I must be frank and honest and say that on Saturday there were too many empty chairs. Clearly, the majority if not all of the branches in our family fell down badly on delivering what they were capable of doing. We must commit ourselves to this not happening again. However, let me acknowledge that the contributions throughout that weekend were, in a number of cases, outstanding.
But above and beyond what happened at this year’s Annual Conference, the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood, the camaraderie, affection, support and love was overwhelming.
As I looked around I could sense the strong presence of stalwarts whose love and lifetime commitment to the Democratic Labour Party could clearly be seen. In the context of an overall evaluation, and while Saturday’s attendance could have been much better, the 2010 conference was a success.
There were clearly some glitches and I hope there is an evaluation session to deal with these once and for all. As always, the electioneering team was very well run and our colleague and friend Basil Forbes and his team must once again be congratulated.
Although I am not authorised to officially declare that the 2013 campaign has started, it was glaringly recognised that that campaign has started itself.
While over the years they have been of a good standard and quality, from time to time our annual conferences have risen to the highest heights and 2010 will long be remembered.
The Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister Acting, became acting president of our party by virtue of his election to the position of first vice-president.  And, as expected, his address last Sunday will rank with some of the finest speeches we have heard in the history of the DLP.
And while nothing that occurred on Friday or early Saturday morning should be considered as having an element of electioneering, had Stuart’s address been given on Friday evening or Saturday morning it would have been as relevant then as when he delivered it on Sunday.
Had that happened, we may have had a constitutional crisis and I suspect some of the electorate might have been tempted to put all four Xs for vice-presidents next to Freundel’s name.
All the activity took place during the period when our Prime Minister, The Honourable David Thompson, is in the process of recovering and I have no doubt he would have been exceptionally well pleased with the collaboration beyond expectations.
One omission from our annual conference, which I do not understand, was the fact that The Honourable David Estwick did not have an opportunity to make a presentation on his commitment to implement the Government’s pledge that 40 per cent of our spending would go to small and medium-sized businesses. That presentation must be heard. 
I am now recommending that next Friday’s address at the Errol Barrow Gallery accommodate Estwick and would further suggest that address be done in the auditorium as the gallery will be too small to accommodate the people who will want to attend.