Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Enid Bennett passes

Published:Saturday | December 23, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Enid Bennett the late former member of parliament for Central St Catherine and later West Central St Catherine.
Enid Bennett in her younger years.
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A stream of tributes have poured in for Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) political stalwart Enid Bennett, who died yesterday, following a brief illness.

The unassuming, but respected, former veteran member of Parliament first represented the people of Central St Catherine, and later, West Central St Catherine, chalking up seven victories at the polls against many formidable opponents, including the People's National Party's Keith Cousins, Enoch Blake, and Dr Trevor Dewdney.

Bennett, who served as MP from 1967 to 1997, was 86 years old.

She held the record as the first female to be elected consecutively to the House of Representatives for three decades. She also has the enviable record of being the first female in any political party in independent Jamaica to be elected deputy leader.

In paying tribute to the former state minister during the Edward Seaga administration of the 1980s, Prime Minister Andrew Holness described Bennett as a stalwart in Jamaica's political history.

"She distinguished herself in service to our nation, becoming a voice for the less fortunate. She was a true servant of the people with her mantra 'I promise service'," said Holness.

"Though unassuming, Ms Bennett was a trailblazer. She was unrelenting in her work to represent the people. She was a life member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; represented the Jamaican Parliament on a number of occasions during visits to India, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Channel Islands, and several Caribbean islands. Enid Bennett gave great service to Jamaica. For that we are grateful," added the prime minister.

Bennett was awarded the country's fourth-highest honour, the Order of Jamaica, in 2012.

... Spent her life serving her country

From a branch representative to constituency secretary, to councillor and then member of Parliament, Enid Bennett has spent most of her life serving her country.

When The Gleaner interviewed her in 2012, she revealed that it was never her plan to be a politician, considering her quiet demeanour.

She said that her constituents loved her because she always found the time to visit them. "Jamaican people love to see their representatives, whether you have anything to give them or not, they want to see you, and I always make time to go."

General Secretary of the JLP Dr Horace Chang said that Bennett would be missed by many persons. He said that the JLP expressed its sincere condolences to her family, loved ones, and all the lives that had been touched by her giving and humble spirit.