Tue | Oct 23, 2018

A servant of the people - Enid Bennett hailed for being trailblazer in politics

Published:Monday | January 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The coffin with the remains of the late Member of Parliament for St Catherine West Central Enid Maude Bennett enters the St Helen's Catholic Church in Linstead during the official funeral held on Saturday.
Bridget Orette, niece of late former Minister of State and Member of Parliament for West Central St Catherine, Enid Maude Bennett, places a Bible on the coffin bearing Bennett’s body at the official funeral held on January 20 at the St Helen’s Catholic Church in Linstead. Looking on (from right) are Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet Holness; former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller; and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

Late former State Minister Enid Maude Bennett was eulogised by several of the nation's leaders on Saturday as a true champion of the people who dedicated her life to the service of others.

One after the other, at St Helen's Catholic Church in Linstead, where the official funeral was held, the leaders voiced their admiration and respect for the trailblazing politician, who served as member of parliament for 30 continuous years until her retirement in 1997, setting a record as a female legislator in the House of Representatives.


committed TO THE PEOPLE


They recalled her commitment to the people of Central St Catherine, and later, St Catherine West Central, which she represented, and hailed the foundation Bennett laid for females to enter politics, as well as the wise counsel she provided.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his tribute, said Bennett did the very best for as many people as she could.

"Hers was a life of true and remarkable service. In fact, I recall that her campaign slogan was always, 'I promise to serve'. Her stellar work, particularly as one of Jamaica's pioneering female politicians in representational politics, in legislative affairs and as a minister, all embodied her commitment to public service," he said.

He noted that while Bennett was short in stature, she had a big heart for people as well as for principles, and was loyal and courageous.

Minister of health and current member of parliament for West Central St Catherine,

Dr Christopher Tufton, spoke of Bennett's love for her constituents, whom she described as "most beautiful, peaceful and hard-working".

He said she was a "quiet giant" and someone "not easily dispatched" in the face of formidable challenges.


... Bennett shattered glass ceiling in politics


National Security Minister Robert Montague remembered State Minister Enid Maude Bennett as "stern, sweet and tender", while Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister Olivia Grange hailed her for paving the way for more women to enter politics, thereby shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.

"It says to young women that Jamaica will see a brighter future when you get involved," she said.

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Bennett was a "noble lady, beautiful inside as she was outside ... giving so much of her life to improving the lives of others."

In her tribute, former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said she had great admiration for the dignity and fortitude of Bennett, who was a "voice for the voiceless".

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, in a tribute read by Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott, remembered Bennett as committed and dedicated to people.