WHAT'S THE true position? That is the way Seymour 'Foggy' Mullings usually greeted persons throughout his life, and last Tuesday, colleagues declared that the true position about him was decency, humility and a never-ending commitment to country.
Mullings, 82, died on October 9, and is to be accorded an official funeral.
Last week, legislators in the House of Representatives spent more than an hour paying tribute to the late former deputy prime minister, Cabinet minister, ambassador and member of parliament.
Mullings served in the lower house from 1969 to 2002 as the representative for South East St Ann, a stint which was broken only by the period 1983 to 1989 when the PNP stayed away from Parliament.
Here are excerpts from some of the tributes.
Seymour Mullings earned the reputation ... as a parliamentarian and a statesman of impeccable honesty, who cared for his people and his country. He has left us a legacy which we must take seriously if we want to build that Jamaica we all speak about and desire.
He is a role model for politicians, he was the epitome of civility. The House is better off for having him. He is a true son of Jamaica, of which we are all proud.
He said to me, the most important thing as a political representative is never to be afraid of losing. Just be yourself and work hard on behalf of the people. I cannot think of anyone who typifies that philosophy more than Seymour Mullings. He was the same person I met when I came here in 1980, and the same person when he became the ambassador to Washington, and the same person I met on so many occasion after he retired. He simply did not allow power and authority to change his personality.
There is probably no other Jamaican who has given as much of himself, unstintingly, without much fanfare, to the service of the country than Seymour St Edward 'Foggy' Mullings. ... We are living in a time when many find it convenient, it has become a pastime in some circles, to bash politicians and denigrate their contribution to national life. Perhaps the greatest response that one could give from the platform of politics is to to point them to the life and service of Foggy Mullings. He acquired no wealth, he sought no titles, just a Jamaican land surveyor called into the service of his country.
The fact that I was here from 1983 as a new parliamentarian then, I had a mindset of how politicians behave. But when I saw and was exposed to Foggy in 1989, it was obvious to me that he was different from the rest.
Foggy practised a type of politics: humility, calm, sincere, honest, all-embracing, pleasant, a type of practice that I like, and I do hope a type of politics that will eventually engulf Jamaica.
I have been to Christmas morning service with him, and he has this diary, dating back 20 years, and he wrote across, upside down, and he was taking orders for fertiliser and chicken feed after Christmas morning service, where he had just finished playing the organ.
It reflected a commitment to his constituents. Foggy was PNP through and through but he was more Claremont and South East St Ann, and he was committed to his constituency.
He was endowed with humility, patience and endurance. He was a man of integrity in every sense. He never cared about wealth or the trappings of political life.
If you see me driving myself, which I do most of the time, I got that from Foggy Mullings. He used to drive himself and he was happy doing that.
I remember stopping at a stop light one day when I was a junior member of parliament, and he, at that time, was the acting prime minister. And he was alone in his car driving, no security, there was no car before him, no car behind him, he was alone. I wound down the window and asked him, 'aren't you the acting prime minister' and he said 'yes, I am all right, it's all right'.
Those of us who aspire to be great politicians and great leaders would do well to take a page from his book and learn how to be calm in our disposition as we seek to deliver our messages.
He was the official organist at the St Matthew's Anglican Church in Claremont, and there was no member too lowly that he would not take time off to come and play at their funeral or their wedding. He was always there for the community and the constituency of St Ann North East.
It is probably the case that I was the last of that lot that he tutored, as after I served as his junior minister (foreign affairs and foreign trade) he was to leave and serve as ambassador.
He was someone who really encouraged young people. He wanted the best for them, he wanted the best from them. He gave you your space, he gave you direction, but he gave you the opportunity to work.
Ambassador Seymour Mullings was a find exemplar of selfless representation and high quality community and national service-centred representation.