Holness, Patterson lead tributes to 'much loved' Shahine Robinson
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and former Prime Minister PJ Patterson have led tributes to Shahine Robinson, the Minister of Labour and Social Security who died from cancer on Friday at the age of 66.
Holness, who visited the ailing minister earlier this week, described Robinson as "...a patriot, a servant of the people, a much loved political representative adored by her constituents, a humanitarian and great personal friend."
Robinson was first elected into the House of Representatives in 2001, when she snatched the North East St Ann seat for the Jamaica Labour Party. She held onto the seat until her death.
She served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for the Ministry of Transport and Works before being appointed Minister of Labour and Social Security in March 2016, following the JLP winning the general elections that were held a month before.
"An earnest and passionate member of the Jamaica Labour Party, Shahine never wavered in her love for her Party," Holness said in his tribute.
"She fought courageously against her illness; her passing has left us with a sense of deep sorrow and we shall miss her dearly," he added.
In a statement, Jamaica's longest-serving prime minister, PJ Patterson, said it was "with profound sadness" that he learned of the passing of Robinson.
"Shahine Robinson was a political opponent - and I daresay a formidable one - but whilst we were on opposite sides of the political divide, we certainly were not adversaries," Patterson said.
"In fact, during my own period of hospitalisation in 2019, she had been undergoing treatment at the same time and came over to me after being discharged to wish me a full recovery - a gesture that touched me to this day and is now rendered even more profound.
"I would like to express my sincerest condolences to her family, to her constituents and to all her colleagues," the former prime minister said, adding that "The nation mourns a committed, effective and personable professional who will long be remembered for her robust pursuit of the improvement in quality of life for all Jamaicans."
In the meantime, Shadow Minister of Labour and Social Security, Horace Dalley said he was personally saddened by the news of the death of Robinson.
Dalley, in a statement, said he knew Robinson long before her journey into representational politics and despite the sometimes sharp political rivalry, particularly in the halls of parliament, he and his siblings maintained a close relationship and friendship with her and her family.
He said he will always remember the fun times between both families, especially between his siblings and Shahine’s family.
Dalley said Robinson was a quiet warrior for her people and will be remembered for good and lasting deeds on behalf of those she represented in North East St Ann and throughout Jamaica.
Several of Robinson's other colleagues also expressed their condolences through their social media platforms as news of her death surfaced.
Government Senator, Kerensia Morrison described Robinson as an amazing person.
"She was an amazing person and Member of Parliament who loved her NE St. Ann constituents. This woman was a tower in politics; her mark is indelible. A beautiful soul, was the Hon Shahine Robinson. Rest in Peace. Heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones," Senator Morrison wrote on Facebook.
Member of Parliament for South East St Ann, Lisa Hanna said she and Robinson shared a friendship despite their being from opposite sides of the political aise.
"Our shared humanity, friendship and love for the people always prevailed our fierce political differences.
She was a formidable politician, friend, Minister of Gov and MP for North East St Ann," Hanna wrote on social media.
"Although we were political rivals in the same parish we shared a good relationship over the years because she lived in SESA and we respected each other. Shahine this is a day I never wanted to face I will miss you dearly," Hanna said.
Former G2K president Stephen Edwards said he was heartbroken that the minister had passed away.
"Totally heart-broken right now. Condolences to the family of MP Shahine Robinson . Rest Well our Champion," Edwards said.
For his part, Dennis Meadows, a former Government Senator, described Robinson as a quiet giant.
"You were a quiet giant and fighter for your people. Rest In Peace," he posted on Facebook.
North West St Ann MP, the PNP's Dr Dayton Campbell said: "Mrs Shahine Robinson was my friend. People were surprised when I invited her to judge my youth month activity, she was sure to attend and was early. Once we were in Barbados and the delegation could not believe we were for opposing sides based on our interaction. A true champion of the poor and working class. Rest In Peace."