Residents of the constituency of North West Manchester have said 'thank you' to their former Member of Parliament (MP) Dean Peart in an appreciation ceremony held in Mandeville on Saturday.
Organised by Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips and his team, the event saw members of the People's National Party (PNP) top brass turning out to honour the long-serving MP who stepped down from active politics ahead of the last general election.
Those present included Robert Pickersgill, chairman of the PNP; Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies; Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips; Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson; Justice Minister Mark Golding; and Peart's older brother, Michael Peart, who is the speaker of the House of Representatives.
The event took the shape of a $5,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner, proceeds of which will go to the Dean Peart Trust Fund for education assistance to high school and tertiary-level students in North West Manchester.
Peart, a former mayor of Mandeville and five-times elected MP for his consituency, was lauded for his outstanding work in community development.
"When you talk about someone who is concerned about community development, you talk about Dean Alexander Peart," Mikael Phillips said. "He built more community centres than any other member of parliament, dead or alive. When I checked on them, we have 13 community centres in North West Manchester built by him."
Peart was also praised for the number of basic schools he had built in the constituency, a symbol of the emphasis he placed on education.
Dr Peter Phillips, in describing Peart, said: "He is a legend in his own time. Much has been said and properly so about his personal qualities - honesty, sincerity, simplicity, straight talking and hard work."
The son of Ernest Peart, another PNP stalwart who was also elected MP for the North West Manchester constituency for five terms, and Dorothy Peart, was humble in expressing his appreciation for being honoured.
"All of us have to make a contribution, man," Peart said. "Some of us think the politics is too dirty and corrupt but if we don't come in there and clean it up, who is going to clean it up."
He added: "The country has given us something and we have to give back."