Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Ocho Rios, St Ann:
Former deputy Prime Minister Seymour St Edward 'Foggy' Mullings was laid to rest yesterday on the grounds of the St Matthew's Anglican Church, in Claremont, St Ann, a community from which he emerged and served faithfully for decades before returning to its soil.
Mullings, who died on October 9 at age 82, was given an official funeral as a mark of respect for his decades of service to the nation.
The journey to his final resting place marked a full circle for a man many had grown to respect, irrespective of which side of the political fence they stood.
Indeed, the wide cross section of past and present parliamentarians - who were among mourners who crammed the church, sat under several tents and observed the ceremony on big screens, and even standing in the open sunshine - was testament to the stature of the man.
Claremont, clearly, had never seen anything like this.
In giving tribute, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, in whose Cabinet Mullings spent several years and was his deputy, said: "Seymour Mullings was truly one of a kind. His sound upbringing and kind temperament made him uniquely fitted for the time and space which he occupied in Jamaica's political history."
Patterson continued: "He entered the field of national representation, when partisan rivalry at the constituency and national levels had become highly charged, divisive, and potentially destructive of our earlier traditions. His personal approach, devoid of bombast, triumphalism or vindictiveness, set the stage for the early restoration of the civility and tranquillity which had been characteristic of South Eastern St Ann."
MEMORY WILL LIVE ON
Across from the church, a banner with his photograph and the words "Gone but will never be forgotten" hung at the side of the People's National Party's (PNP) constituency office, an office from which he served the people for decades. On the banner, his picture faced the church, as if observing his own funeral.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller read the first lesson, Isaiah 61: 1-3, and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness the second, 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Reverend Robert Thompson, who delivered the sermon, said Mullings reflected the kind of leadership Jamaica needs today, as his leadership in politics was never about entitlement.
"Today, we give thanks for his selfless service," Thompson said.