Celebrating 33 years as a Member of Parliament, the current Speaker of the House of Assembly Dennis Lister is glad that he got elected when he did, because he had some older, more experienced politicians serving with him whom taught him everything they knew.
“ [Back in 1989], there were people who had been there since the PLP’s formation and had fought through the years of what it took to get us established as an organization and understood the real call of what the party stood for and what our principles were all about,” Mr. Lister said. “ I learned that [as an MP], my focus should always be on people whom I represent and who have put their trust in me to stand where I am and speak on their behalf.”
As the Speaker of the House, Mr. Lister has to be neutral on all political issues and agendas within the House. Despite this, his door is always open to younger politicians who want to hear a more mature and experienced perspective on things.
“ What’s most important for me is that the PLP stays in touch with the people who put us here,” he said. “ As long as we are in touch with that, the party is okay. Just as with any political party, once we lose touch with our base, we will be in trouble.”
For anyone looking to come into politics for any party, Mr. Lister advises them to enter with a willingness to learn and to not assume that they automatically have all the answers.
“ If you come in thinking that you are the be-all and end-all, you have already defeated yourself and the people who you are supposed to represent,” he said.
In 2017, Mr. Lister’s son Dennis Lister III followed in his father’s footsteps and became an MP himself, representing Constituency #28. Despite being his son, Mr. Lister has to treat him just as he would any other member when he is in the House.
“ My son spent his whole life growing up in a household of politics,” Mr. Lister said. “ He understands the commitments that were made prior to getting here, he saw the commitment that I had to put in, he saw the type of service that the community expects, and that helped to naturally shape him into the MP that he is today.”
He would like to thank his wife who has supported him since the very beginning of his political journey. He would not be where he is today without her.
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