Left to right: Kirklyn Gilbert, Pandwe Gibson, and Mayor Oliver Gilbert hold the Bible as the younger Gilbert is sworn in as the Miami Dade County League of Cities incoming president. Photo courtesy of Felicia Robinson’s Facebook page.
By ISHEKA N. HARRISON
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – On Sunday, before a crowd of Miami’s crème de la crème, Miami Gardens’ Mayor Oliver Gilbert was sworn in as the incoming president for the Miami-Dade County League of Cities. Gilbert also announced his engagement to Pandwe Gibson, founder and CEO of EcoTech Visions.
“This is a room full of public servants; people who actually wake up every morning and try to make this community better. I am honored to be the president of the Miami Dade County League of Cities,” Gilbert said after taking the stage to the gospel song “Total Praise.”
He asked the crowd to take a moment of silence for law enforcement, specifically Trooper Carlos Rosario, Miami-Dade Officer Carlos Gomez and Miami Dade Major Ricky Carter – who were all involved in serious accidents recently.
He announced his engagement to Gibson after thanking his mother, Kirklyn Gilbert.
“Last but in no way least, I just would like to say thank you to my bride to be, Pandwe Gibson,” Gilbert said. “You’re amazing and I love you.”
As League president, Gilbert said he would ask residents, “How can we make our shared space better?” noting he expected the answers to vary.
Sea-level rise, art, education, job creation, affordable housing, mass transit, infrastructure, land use, economic development and more were raised by Gilbert as issues that needed to be addressed.
“We the residents of Miami Dade County need a county that works for us whether people visit or not,” Gilbert said. “We have to see the big issues that confront us as issues for all of us, not just some of us.”
During his speech, Gilbert also thanked Outgoing League of Cities president, Commissioner Francis X. Suarez, Pastor Arthur Jackson III, Florida Senator Oscar Braynon, and several others for their support and service.
Suarez called Gilbert a dear friend.
“I got a lot of friends and a lot of brothers but Oliver Gilbert … is a dear friend, someone who I love, who I admire, who I respect and I know that I leave the League in good hands,” Suarez said.
Miami Times Publisher Emeritus Garth Reeves Sr. was honored with the League’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It is always nice to be recognized, especially by politicians,” Reeves laughed. “I am happy to be here among a most distinguished group of Americans who labor in our cities to get things right. We do a good job, but we haven’t done quite enough, but with (an) incoming president like Oliver Gilbert, I’m sure we will do a hell of a lot more next year.”
Hosted by Jawan Strader, the evening’s program also included: a Presentation of Arms by the City of Miami Gardens Honor Guard, the Pledge of Allegiance by Jewel Mckinney, the national anthem by Sarah Grace Anderson and Luke Walker, the Negro National anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice & Sing” by Maryel Epps and entertainment by A. Randolph and The S.M.A.S.H Room Project.