Why Desmond McKenzie wept
It was a crack in the voice that hushed thousands of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters packed inside the National Arena yesterday.
Desmond McKenzie, the conference chairman, broke down and cried as he led a remembrance for JLP stalwarts who have passed this year.
McKenzie highlighted Dr Ken Baugh, former deputy prime minister and minister of health and foreign affairs and foreign trade, who passed on September 1. He also mentioned Douglas Vaz, a former minister of industry and commerce, who died on November 9.
There was a video presentation on both gentlemen, and Labourites looking on cheered and blew vuvuzelas in a show of appreciation.
But it was at the moment that McKenzie was naming Edward Phillip George Seaga, former prime minister and West Kingston member of parliament, that the powerful voice of McKenzie started to crack.
McKenzie, a mentee of Seaga’s since his boyhood days, eventually broke down in tears.
For a moment, the Arena was quiet, and some in the audience openly wept at the mention of Seaga, who died on his birthday, May 28.
Chairman of the JLP, Robert Montague, rushed to McKenzie’s side and offered support until he regained his composure.
The tearful McKenzie then told supporters that there would be two minutes of silence in tribute to the men.