Monday 13 July, 2020

Shahine Robinson's niece thanks J'cans for prayers; tributes pour in

File photo: Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson

File photo: Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson

Gianna Fakhourie, a niece of the late Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, has thanked Jamaicans for their thoughts and prayers during Robinson’s last medical fight.

Robinson died on Friday afternoon at her St Ann home after battling cancer for some time. She was 66 years old.

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.

“And she (Shahine Robinson) will definitely be gone too long. Thank you for your messages, thoughts and prayers," Fakhourie posted on Facebook on Friday, adding that, "Thank you in advance for allowing us the time to grieve and for respecting our privacy.

"May my beloved Auntie Shahine rest in eternal peace ❤️," she concluded.

On Thursday Fakhourie had informed that while the veteran politician was not well, she was "fighting" and "very much alive".

Robinson, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for North East St Ann, fell ill in October of last year, and since that time she had been carrying out her duties sparingly.

She had briefly returned to Parliament in March, but has since been absent due to her illness.

Meanwhile, several tributes from individuals within the Government, Opposition and the garden parish of St Ann, have emerged, honouring Robinson's memory.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness he remembered Robinson as both an earnest and passionate member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

"An earnest and passionate member of the Jamaica Labour Party, Shahine never wavered in her love for her party. She fought courageously against her illness; her passing has left us with a sense of deep sorrow and we shall miss her dearly," Holness tweeted.

Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, described Robinson as "a hardworking politician and Cabinet minister who conducted the affairs of the ministry with dignity and decency.”

He further said "This, over the years, gained her the respect of her parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the political divide. On the political hustings, she was formidable and organised," he added.

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 posted on Facebook.

Stephen Edwards, a former president of the JLP's youth arm, Generation 2000 (G2K), said he was heartbroken that the minister had passed away.

"Totally heartbroken right now.  Condolences to the family of MP Shahine Robinson. Rest well our Champion," Stephen Edwards wrote on Facebook.

And Cabinet colleague, Mike Henry, remembered Robinson as being a genuine “people person” as a politician, noting in the process that he and Dr Neville Gallimore, a former Cabinet minister who died just a day before Robinson, were responsible for her entry into the arena of representational politics.

Henry said “I can recall the schoolroom talk that Dr Gallimore and I had with Shahine that led to her decision to enter representational politics, having been seen by the leadership of the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) as a solid prospect for representation at the national level.”

Henry lauded Robinson’s strength and dignity to the very end, and expressed condolences to her family, constituents and many other well-wishers.

From a St Ann perspective, the parish's Municipal Corporation also expressed condolences to Robinson's grieving family members and constituents.

"Rest well, Minster, a grateful nation salutes you! #MP #Minister #thepeopleschampion #wesaluteu," a post from the St Ann Municipal Corporation stated in part.

Member of Parliament for North West St Ann, Dr Dayton Campbell, remembered Robinson as a friend and a "true champion of the poor and working class".

Added Campbell: "Eternal rest grant to her Oh Lord. 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 from opposing (political) sides, based on our interaction. A true champion of the poor and working class. Rest Ii Peace," Dr Campbell wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, St Ann Justice of the Peace and prominent banker, Dr Ransford Davidson, used his Facebook post to reflect on the late parliamentarian's representation of her constituents.

"You represented the people of St. Ann and, by extension, Jamaica, with grace, poise, ingenuity, care, equality and a deep abiding love. An amazing, inspiring and genuine leader you were. Rest in Peace my dear friend. Our community will miss you, but your indelible mark will live on forever. I am praying for your family🙏," he posted.

Born Shahine Elizabeth Robinson in Claremont, St Ann, she attended Immaculate Conception High School in Kingston. She later went to the United States, where she studied Marketing and Public Relations at the Miami Dade College.

Before her successful foray into representational politics, Robinson worked in the banking and tourism fields.

She came to national prominence in 2001 after she snatched the North East St Ann seat for the JLP following the resignation of the People's National Party’s (PNP) then MP, Danny Melville, from Parliament. Since that time, Robinson has not lost the seat.

She previously served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (2007), with responsibility for Local Government added in July 2011; and Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for the Ministry of Transport and Works (2011).

Robinson was appointed as Minister of Labour and Social Security in March 2016, following the JLP winning the general elections that were held a month before.

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