Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Ken Baugh, is dead

Dr Ken Baugh at the United Nations.

Dr Ken Baugh at the United Nations.

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Ken Baugh, has died.

Baugh, christened Kenneth Lee O’Neil Baugh, who was also a former Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, passed away on Sunday.

The 78-year-old former West Central St Catherine Member of Parliament (MP), representing the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), ailed for quite some time, having done brain surgery some years ago.

A very well-respected politician, Baugh has been hailed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness as having left “a great void and a chasm of sadness” among Jamaicans.

Baugh retired from representational politics in 2015 due to ill-health, and underwent brain surgery later that year.

He passed away at 10:05 a.m. on Sunday, Holness said while paying tribute to his former colleague.

Baugh, who commanded respect from representatives on both sides of the political divide, also served the JLP as general secretary.

He was bestowed with the Order of Jamaica (OJ) for distinguished service to Parliament, public service, and for his contribution to medicine.

His West Central St Catherine seat is now held by the current Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.

“It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Ken Baugh at five minutes after 10 this morning.

“Ken Baugh exemplified dignity and integrity throughout his political life. Ken was universally respected; both sides of the political divide held him in high esteem, and the public could rely on him as (being) balanced and reasoned,” Holness said in his tribute.

“His conduct and posture gave him a stature elevated above politics. He was truly a statesman. He will be sadly missed,” Holness added while also expressing condolences to Baugh’s widow, Vilma, and his children.

Baugh briefly served as Opposition Leader in 2005, when Edward Seaga retired from politics and Bruce Golding, who succeeded him, did not yet have a seat in Parliament, having earlier left the JLP and launched the National Democratic Movement (NDM), which gradually fizzled, resulting in Golding’s return to the fold of the JLP.

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