House pays tribute to Ambassador Johnson

The House of Representatives yesterday paid glowing tributes to former Cabinet minister and diplomat Ambassador Anthony Johnson, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 82 after being unwell for some time.

Johnson became a member of the Jamaica Labour Party in 1980 before going on to be appointed to the Senate, after which he took on the role of Member of Parliament for St Catherine North Eastern.

At different times during his political career Ambassador Johnson had various portfolio responsibilities, including technology, education, industry, commerce, agriculture, mining and energy. He was also the first Jamaican council member of Parliamentarians for Global Action.

House Speaker Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert led the tributes hailing Johnson as “a man of many talents, a diplomat, an economist, an author, educator, husband, father, and friend”.
She said the six-term parliamentarian, who was committed to improving the lives of Jamaican people, was an extraordinary legislator.

“He was always prepared; he shared his knowledge with conviction and it was a joy to listen to him whenever he spoke,” she said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his tribute, said Johnson was “an exceptional son of Jamaica…a man of great intellect and great integrity”.

“Jamaica has indeed lost a servant, a political elder, a great mind a teacher, a hard worker, a true statesman. The Parliament mourns his loss,” Holness said.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding, said Johnson ,whom he met after his retirement from the Parliament, “was a gentleman… who brought to the politics a certain standing… a certain approach that was in the best traditions of our democracy”.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange, in her tribute, said “When I think of our dear friend and former colleague I think of the word decency. Ambassador Johnson was a decent man…who gave his all to every endeavour. He radiated a gentlemanly deportment, a sense of purpose and calm and yet he had a steely resolve. He left an indelible impression on the people whenever and wherever he went,” she said.

Opposition parliamentarian Phillip Paulwell, who said said he first met Johnson when he entered the Senate for the first time in 1995 as a young politician, classified him as “a great Jamaican who served his country well” and was “loyal to his party”.

“He was a real and true Labourite,” Paulwell said.

Johnson, father of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, was invested with the Order of Jamaica in 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the nation.

An economist, Johnson served as ambassador to the United States, high commissioner to the United Kingdom, non-resident ambassador to the Republic of Finland, the kingdoms of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

He also served as Jamaica’s permanent representative to the Organization of American States.

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