THE House of Representatives yesterday spent hours paying tribute to former Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson, and former Education Minister Dr Neville Gallimore — both members of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) — who died late last month.
The long process of paying tributes lasted for several hours eating into the time for other Government business, including the review of the delayed supplementary estimates for 2020/21, which has been stalled for the past two weeks, and a possible debate on two bauxite/alumina ministerial orders which were scheduled to be taken, as well, by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke.
The prime minister recalled his visit to Robinson at her home in St Ann, days before her death, and told the House of their meeting in the late-1990s after the JLP had suffered a severe beating from the People's National Party (PNP) at the polls, and highlighted how she went on to win the St Ann North Eastern seat in a by-election, restoring confidence in the party's ability to win elections, laying the foundation for its return to power in 2007.
Holness noted it was a period of great frustration with the political system, generally, but the by-election in St Ann North Eastern, prompted by the sudden resignation of PNP MP and businessman Danny Melville, had opened the way for her to enter representational politics as the candidate for the JLP, eventually winning the seat which was only won once before in the JLP landslide of 1980
He attributed the victory to Robinson's “fresh and enduring personality”, noting that she had gone on to transform the constituency into a JLP stronghold, which has continued to vote “Labour” in every election since then.
In his presentation, Dr Philiips said that in much the same way that the name Gallimore had become synonymous with St Ann South Western through service to the community from Dr Gallimore and his father, G Abuttnot Gallimore, whom he succeeded, St Ann North Eastern had adopted Robinson because of her service and dedication to the people of the area although she was originally from St Ann South Eastern.