Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Shahine was like my sister and friend, says PM

Published:Thursday | June 11, 2020 | 12:22 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

The House of Representatives yesterday paid tribute to two former ministers, two ex-councillors, and a former permanent secretary, but it was Shahine Robinson who was the centre of tearful tributes by parliamentarians mourning her passing.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness lauded the contribution of the former labour and social security minister to politics and national development.

Robinson, 66, died at her St Ann residence after battling cancer.

“She was not just a minister or a political representative. She was more than a political colleague; she was more like my sister and friend,” the prime minister said.

“But I am comforted that she is now in the arms of God and there is no more pain,” Holness added, noting that his visit to Robinson’s home to see her days before her death was emotional.

Robinson had sat just behind Holness in Parliament.

A portrait and flowers occupied her seat yesterday, with family members in the chamber to witness the tributes.

Holness said that Robinson, who was the member of parliament for St Ann North East, took her politics seriously, recalling how well she knew her constituents.

“She took constituency organisation and constituency representation seriously. Her mantra was, ‘If we are going to be good politicians, we have to know our people.’

“She lived her sage words and would often say, ‘If you don’t go into politics to serve, it doesn’t make any sense,’” the prime minister said.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips also heaped praise on Robinson, highlighting that she extended goodwill to all.

“It wasn’t restricted to people of her own political affiliation. ... Her political outreach in her community was driven by a sense of service to community,” said Phillips.

Fitz Jackson called on his parliamentary colleagues to emulate Robinson’s qualities and project them in their constituencies.

“That pleasantness of Shahine, that gentleness of Shahine; none of us who have shared with her can ever forget. Those are the legacies which we must try to preserve in this House and to reflect them in the communities that we represent.”

Robinson will be accorded an official funeral, but final arrangements are not yet in place.

Cabinet approved a period of mourning from Wednesday, June 10, to Tuesday, June 16.

There will be three days of public viewing of a closed coffin, in keeping with the wishes of the family.

These are tomorrow, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St Ann Parish Church in St Ann’s Bay; Friday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St John’s Anglican Church Hall in Ocho Rios; and Tuesday, June 16, at the Jamaica Labour Party headquarters on Belmont Road, New Kingston, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.