Shahine was like my sis­ter and friend, says PM

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ro­mario Scott/Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­

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.


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