THE woman who changed the tide of losses for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) with an upset in a People's National Party (PNP) stronghold in St Ann North Eastern in 2001, Shahine Robinson, died at her family home in Claremont, St Ann, around midday yesterday, after a long battle with lung cancer.
Prime Minister and JLP Leader Andrew Holness, in paying tribute to his late Cabinet minister, said he has lost a reliable, personal friend, and the JLP and the country have lost a stalwart who was careful to at all times put first the interest of her people.
Former Prime Minister P J Patterson, in his tribute, said: “Robinson was a political opponent — and I daresay a formidable one — but whilst we were on opposite sides of the political divide we certainly were not adversaries.
JLP Chairman Robert Montague said Robinson had a special place in the hearts of the JLP family, not only because of the special person she was, but her victory in St Ann North Eastern in 2001 was a decisive morale booster for the party, which had spent just over 18 years in the political wilderness.
Robinson, a protégé of late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, became a household name after pulling off the upset in the 2001 by-election in St Ann North Eastern, defeating the PNP's Carol Jackson by 473 votes to become the second Labourite to win the seat in 14 elections since adult suffrage came into effect in 1944.