Sun | Jan 19, 2020

‘Beverley Lopez lived her life on principle’ - Private sector giant laid to rest

Published:Monday | December 16, 2019 | 12:23 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
The Most Reverend Kenneth Richards, Archbishop of Kingston, walks with the censer around the coffin bearing the body of Beverley Lopez during the funeral held at the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Saturday.
The Most Reverend Kenneth Richards, Archbishop of Kingston, walks with the censer around the coffin bearing the body of Beverley Lopez during the funeral held at the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on Saturday.

The late former president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Beverley Lopez, was hailed on Saturday as a woman of principle who loved her country.

Lopez, who was laid to rest on Saturday, died at her home on November 24. Scores of family, friends, and former private-sector colleagues turned out to pay their last respects at the Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church in St Andrew.

“I met her when there was the Outameni issue ... somewhere in that time. She and some others were standing in protest of the sale and at the time I did not know that,” Lloyd Gilling, who was present at the funeral, recalled. “So I see this little, short lady. At the time, she seemed most approachable and I asked, ‘What is the problem?’ She looked at me and said, ‘Come, we have a problem in the country. You don’t see they feel they can do what they feel like with taxpayers’ money without no accountability?’” he recounted.

He said that he remembered vividly Lopez saying, “No, man, we have to stand for something. It is all of us who are in this, and when the country suffer, it is we who ultimately suffer.”

This, Gilling said, summed up what Lopez represented as a “Jamaican patriot”.

“I will never forget her. Learning of her passing made me so sad,” he told The Gleaner.

The daughters of Lopez, Tayana Wong and Megan Wong, wept openly and consoled each other as speaker after speaker told of the strength and determination of their mother while she was alive.

As president of the PSOJ, in 2005, Lopez led the resounding call for politicians to publicly sever ties with criminal associates, and dismantle their garrisons, delivering a three-week ultimatum to political representatives that they faced the possibility of being voted out of office.

Lopez was a graduate of the Alpha Academy and was born in Montego Bay, St James.

Lopez headed the PSOJ from 2003 to 2006. In 2002, she was honoured with the Order of Distinction, Commander class, and was conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2006.