Late Homestead councillor laid to rest
Owen Andrew Palmer, late councillor for the Homestead division and minority leader for the Jamaica Labour Party caucus at the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, was laid to rest at the Meadowrest Memorial Park in St Catherine on Saturday after a thanksgiving celebration service for his life held at the Worship Centre on Old Harbour Road, Spanish Town.
Palmer died on March 4, when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed along Old Harbour Road. He was remembered for a life of service as a community leader, teacher, sports enthusiast and local-government practitioner who served the people of Homestead for most his life.
Leading the tribute, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said that Palmer gave of himself without seeking anything in return.
"Today, we honour the life of a local-government practitioner," said McKenzie, who announced the establishment of a scholarship fund to benefit one university student from the division each year, as well as the renaming of a road in Homestead, in honour of Palmer's dedicated service to local government.
MORE THAN A HERO
"If we don't blow the trumpet of our colleagues, no one will do it for us. He may never be awarded with a national honour [or] be called 'the most honourable', but if you ask the people whose lives he has touched, they will say he is more than a hero," the local government minister said.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who entered St Catherine High School, while Palmer was graduating in 1982, said that he came to know the late councillor as a genuine person who had an ability to connect with people in all spheres of live.
"This characteristic is what propelled him to become a councillor. He was not an average politician. He had a calm disposition; he knew how to bring down the temperature," said Holness, while invoking the promise of eternal life, suggesting that he will live again eternally by virtue of Jesus Christ, who died for us. The prime minister added that once the late Owen Palmer is kept in the memories of everyone, he will be alive.
St Catherine Municipal Corporation Chairman and Mayor of Spanish Town Norman Scott, who met the deceased councillor when he first joined the council in 2003, said that his passing has left a void that can never be filled.
"I have never made a decision without his input. All he wanted to see was the best outcome for the people of St Catherine. I have lost a friend," Scott disclosed.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Andrew Wheatley, under whose leadership of the council Palmer served as deputy mayor for seven years, said that it has been a very difficult period for the constituents since his passing.
"He embodied a true spirit of dedication, leaving good memories that will live in our lives forever," Wheatley said before playing voice notes he had kept that shows the evolution of the man whom he said was family.