Videos: Sir John Swan Honoured At Luncheon

June 23, 2012

Yesterday [June 22] the Bermuda Health Foundation honoured former Premier Sir John Swan at the Foundation’s 10th Annual Salute to Service Award Luncheon held at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

In addition to serving as Premier of Bermuda for thirteen years, Sir John is the founder, CEO and Chairman of the Swan Group of Companies, which for over a decade built 40% of the homes in Bermuda. Sir John built the first condominium complex in the City of Hamilton together with other commercial buildings. He has received many local and international awards, and was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1990.

Sir John’s son Nicholas spoke at the event, saying: “My family’s motto is that in order to win, you must be prepared to lose. My father has always believed one should bet on oneself. In light of his many accomplishments, it might appear that success would have been a sure thing, or that his achievements came easily.”

“However perhaps no one was a longer shot than my father Sir John Swan. Born on July 3rd, 1935, in what is colloquially known as the back-of-town, in a Bermuda still burdened under the heavy yoke of segregation and limited economic and career opportunities for blacks, no one could have ever dreamed that my father would scale the heights of both business and politics.”

Sir John’s former political colleague Quinton Edness also spoke, saying: “Sir John, apart from being the most dynamic, charismatic person in this country is also the friendliest person you could ever meet.

“If you were standing on the corner of Burnaby and Reid Street, and wanted to go down Reid Street with Sir John it wll take you at least half an hour, due to all the people he has to stop and say hello to.”

Mr Edness — who amused the crowd by demonstrating Sir John’s wave — told a story about canvassing in Warwick years ago with Sir John. He said Sir John was out waving and speaking with the area residents in Cedar Hill, when a dog came around the corner and Sir John proceeded to wave at the dog.

“I stood there in amazement,” said Mr Edness. “As the dog was there wagging his tail acknowledging Sir John’s wave. I should have said to him ‘But Sir John he doesn’t have a vote.’ And I know exactly what he would have said…’I know he doesn’t have a vote – but his family does.’ That’s how friendly Sir John is.”

UBP MP Kim Swan was in attendance and said, “For me, as one who was a foot soldier for the United Bermuda Party since the 1970′s, I recall when Sir John became Premier, inheriting a socially fragmented Bermuda. Sir John told us following his ascension to Premier in 1982 that he “wanted to settle the country down …” and initially, he did achieve that objective as Sir John connected with the people across all spectrums of Bermuda in a very unique way.

“I am pleased that Sir John is being honored at this time whilst he can appreciate the accolades and take this opportunity to say, thank you Sir John Swan for your service and to the Bermuda Health Foundation for selecting another worthy honoree,” concluded Kim Swan.

When Sir John was called up to receive his award, the 77-year-old literally jumped onto the stage earning both laughter and applause, with Dr Brown telling the laughing crowd “Now you can see why we chose him.”

The Bermuda Health Foundation was founded ten years ago by brothers Philip Butterfield, Vincent Hollinsid and former Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, along with their friend, the late K. Murray Brown, for the purpose of honouring Bermudians who have provided outstanding public service.

The Foundation also provides scholarships for Bermudian students aspiring to careers in the medical field. Since its inception in 2002, the Bermuda Health Foundation has provided almost thirty scholarships to Bermudians of all ages who aspire to work in the medical field.

This year Asha Ratteray and Sergio Virgil were named the winners of the 2012 Bermuda Health Foundation Scholarship. Ms Ratteray, who has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from York University in Toronto, is currently in her second term at the University of West Indies, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery.

Mr Virgil has completed his pre-med studies at St George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, and is now enrolled at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine. While Ms Ratteray said she plans to specialise in internal medicine, Mr Virgil said he is interested in orthopaedic surgery.

Philip Butterfield speaking:

Sir John Swan speaking:

The scholarships are presented & speeches from Quinton Edness and Sjur Linberg:

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  1. Old Furberts kettle says:

    A real class act

  2. Bermudian@heart.. says:

    at the end of the day…….we are one People serving our Beautiful Bermuda….its ok to desagree and a matter of fact it is healthy to do so, but we must allways respect our differences..congratulations Mr.SWAN..

  3. all clogged up says:

    This man was the best thing to happen to Bermuda. He may be rich, but he also has a heart.