Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has expressed great sadness at the passing today of Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson.
“This is a day of great loss and pain. At the level of the Cabinet, we are in deep mourning at the departure of a skilled and gifted Minister who carried her portfolio with a strong sense of organization, great dignity and compassion for the poor and otherwise vulnerable. I hail her not only as my Cabinet colleague but also as my Minister, as in July 2011 she was appointed Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Local Government, when I was Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew.
“Even through the constraints of COVID-19, we worked closely together in the ongoing effort to make life a more dignified experience for this category of Jamaican. When we decided to have a special tribute to the workers across the Poor Relief system as part of Local Government and Community Month in 2018, Minister Robinson was our very special guest. When we opened the St. Ann Drop-In Centre, she was there as Minister and Member of Parliament, active and involved in the lives of her constituents.
“Minister Robinson was also very close to me as a political colleague. We worked closely together before her epic victory in the by-election of March 8, 2001 that catapulted her to the House of Representatives, and we have worked together closely ever since. She was not only a protege of the late Most Hon. Edward Seaga, but became in her own right, a mentor to a range of young party members, some of whom are sitting today as Members of Parliament.
“Outside of all this, I am broken because I have lost my close friend, Shahine. She was my sister, someone who held my trust. Bold, articulate, forthright yet compassionate, Shahine Robinson was a rare political practitioner who was fiercely loyal to the Jamaica Labour Party, and converted and cemented North-Eastern St. Ann into a bastion of support for the party, while at the same time she maintained close relationships with opposing MPs and their supporters. Her love was given without reservation. From my Constituency of Western Kingston, to St. Ann and beyond, Jamaica is in mourning for Shahine Robinson.
“A bright light has been extinguished. A clear voice has been silenced. But I will forever be grateful that Shahine Elizabeth Fakhourie Robinson put her God-given talents to political service, so that the interests of the people of North-Eastern St. Ann, and the people of Jamaica could have been tangibly advanced.
“I can only say to her immediate family and friends, that while there is pain for us, there is no more pain for her. One day, we will be able to rejoice for that simple fact.