Harris actually informed his party members, while making his presentation at the 80th annual convention, held at the St. Kitts Marriott, on Sunday 20th May, 2012, that he decided to adopt the theme, or template, for his reflection, on the topic, “Choose Unity”.
The chairman told delegates that, “Today, we are at a crossroad between life and death, fatigue and flourishing, looking ahead, and old loyalties– Shall we tilt our dignified resolve to win again, into an all powerful trap of defeat?”
He continued, “Labour now, unlike 1932, (when the party was formed as the Workers League), must respond not with promise but with action.”
The long serving parliamentarian stated that the Conference on the occasion of the 80th Anniversary, must help to refashion and redirect the Party and government, to a truly people centered agenda, built on old values of service, with a new vision of action.
For Harris, he believes that the party is at a critical turning point. “We must exercise the faith, love, and hope in each other to transition from laudable achievements to heightened expectations, from solving old problems to exploiting new opportunities, from devotion to private needs to dedication to collective wellbeing and planned amputation to the imperative of unity.”
He however cautioned that Labour cannot be satisfied with simply doing well when the best is achievable. “We cannot be satisfied with our people eking out a living when they could be enjoying the abundant life. We cannot postpone doing what it takes to democratize procedures, systems, processes and policy makers within the party making it not just a long standing party but as the most flexible, effective and responsive Party to local trends, regional challenges and global transformations.”
He had another message for delegates however, when he admonished that they cannot silence the appeals for better governance, succession planning or for rekindling the comraderie within the party. “We must pay attention to voices that promote best practices, that inspire confidence, and that work toward a durable peace. Alas after 80 years, Labour must be prepared to make itself worthy of another 80. Labour must decide today between blessings and cures, between life and death, and between an unhealthy menu and a life-giving five course meal,” stated Harris.
For him though, he said that he held the view that Labourites must choose to make the conference, a time of renewal and a place of refreshment—a time of unifying the Party rather than splintering it into bits and pieces!
“You– my comrades and delegates have a date with destiny, you and I have an appointment with a brand new tomorrow, and our Party Leader, the right Honorable Dr. Denzil Douglas, after serving for 23 years as Party Leader and 17 years as the PM, has a calling to a glorious legacy.”
“Like Abraham Lincoln, I’d like to see us heal with malice toward none, with charity toward all. We can choose reconciliation and embrace, or we can choose selfish ambition and division! We must avoid danger zones. We must recharge ourselves into a welcoming haven!” He ended by urging that if like him, they want a revived, energized, and unified Labour Party, there are certain actions that are required of all members.
Henry Miller is right: “Our destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things!” I dare us to choose light! Before us are two futures: Division and Unity. I challenge you to choose unity. A choice for unity is a vote for courage…, “stated Harris.