Hundreds turn out for late Gov’t minister’s viewing at JLP HQ

HUNDREDS of Jamaicans, mainly supporters of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), flocked the party’s Belmont Road headquarters in St Andrew on Tuesday to say farewell to the late Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson.

Members of the Cabinet, junior ministers, councillors from municipal corporations across the island, trade union leaders, and public servants joined Labourites and other well-wishers to fill the yard, forcing gate attendants to put limits on entering the premises — an action that did not go down well with the crowd at the gate.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who had arrived prior to the 10:00 am scheduled start to the viewing, joined an all-female guard of honour formed by his wife, Juliet; Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams; Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith; Government Members of Parliament Ann Marie Vaz, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, and Juliet Cuthbert; Senators Saphire Longmore and Kerensia Morrison; and party stalwarts Dorothy Carter Bradford and Marigold Harding.

A team of Jamaica Constabulary Force officers took the flag-draped casket from the hearse past the guard of honour and into the building, where it was placed in the middle of the auditorium, still covered with the flag and surrounded by pall-bearers.

Viewers lined up outside the building, separating themselves in keeping with social distancing guidelines, and awaiting their turn to enter after a temperature check and sanitisation.

Holness, his wife and Grange were among the first viewers. In fact, it was noted that the culture minister was there from 8:30 am to oversee the arrangements for the viewing.

At one stage she had to assist a weeping Geraldine Mignott, the late minister’s personal assistant, to another room, as tears continued to pour from her eyes, where she was consoled on the shoulders of former G2K treasurer Naresha Jackson before regaining the strength to sign the condolence book.

Other mourners noted, included: Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke; Minister of National Security and party secretary Dr Horace Chang; minister of transport and mining and party chairman, Robert Montague; Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw; Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie; minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda; minister without portfolio Mike Henry; minister of state Everald Warmington; Speaker of the House Pearnel Charles and his Member of Parliament son Charles Jr; former MP Ruddy Spencer; retired trade unionist and former MP Clifton Stone; president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union Senator Kavan Gayle; and president of the National Workers Union, Granville Valentine.

— Balford Henry

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