By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
PINERIDGE MP Rev Frederick McAlpine held a luncheon for senior citizens in his constituency at the Foster Pestaina Auditorium on Wednesday, complete with live gospel entertainment.
Simeon Outten, Jay Mitchell, and the Police Pop Band performed, but the Cooling Waters Gospel Group got seniors up and out of their chairs and dancing. Will Stubbs provided comedic entertainment.
Rev McAlpine and his wife, Tracey, welcomed guests as they entered the hall. He said the luncheon was a nonpartisan event and all seniors from Pineridge were invited to fellowship, eat and drink.
He said that it is important to reach out and show appreciation to the "precious pearls" in the community. "I thank you for coming; you are the persons who allowed us to be where we are. I stand on your shoulders," he told guests gathered in the hall.
"You have contributed to The Bahamas and Grand Bahama by virtue of your children; the way you brought them up, sought educate for them and made sure they are productive citizens.
"I want to thank you all in Pineridge. I am here because of you…" he said. "I have the responsibility for Pineridge, and after May 10 as far as I am concerned there is no more FNM, PLP, DNA, or independent - it is only Pineridge."
Rev McAlpine said it was important to him to create an atmosphere where everyone can sit together without a political divide. "I am happy that they enjoyed themselves," he said.
Rev McAlpine also celebrated his birthday at the event. "They sang happy birthday to me, and I am honoured and I would not be here without them," he said.
Rev McAlpine said that constituents of Pineridge can expect more events, and hinted that a major event is planned before Christmas.
Pineridge resident Cherry Malone, said she enjoyed the luncheon and entertainment provided by her MP
Ivan Deveaux, said that he has resided in Pineridge for almost 30 years.
"[The luncheon] was awesome - and it is a good thing what the MP said that there is no PLP, FNM, or DNA, it is only Pineridge and that it is not about politics."
When asked about the establishment of the Pineridge Institute, the MP said that they are working towards getting classrooms ready for the next school term next year.
"We will want to be in compliance with the Ministry of Education and they are telling us that persons must take four BJCs in order to qualify to graduate.
"But I have since modified the plan, and we are also looking at a smart classroom online providing a curriculum to help persons get their GED," he said.