Fri | Dec 3, 2021

Parliamentarians remember Johnson as a ‘great Jamaican’

Published:Thursday | May 6, 2021 | 12:05 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson

Prime Minister Andrew Holness led tributes to Ambassador Anthony Johnson at Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament, describing him as a gentleman of great intellect and integrity who has left a lasting legacy.

Johnson died last week at the age of 82.

“He was an outstanding individual,” Holness said in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Holness remembered how Johnson, by then a known Labourite, was acting in the capacity of a Citizens for Fair Election operative, in a by-election in St Andrew West Central seat, braved circumstances to observe in a strong People’s National Party enclave.

“I thought that he was very brave to have done this. Upon his discovery, he was almost mobbed, and he had to make a hasty retreat from the area – very quickly,” Holness shared as he remembers Johnson as a “strong supporter of the party”.

Johnson was a member of the Jamaica Labour Party since 1980.

At different times during his political career, Johnson had various portfolio responsibilities, including technology, education, industry, commerce, agriculture, mining and energy.

He was also the first Jamaican council member of Parliamentarians for Global Action.

Johnson, the diplomat, served as ambassador to the United States, high commissioner to the United Kingdom, non-resident ambassador to the Republic of Finland, the Kingdoms of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and Ireland, and permanent representative to the Organization of American States.

“He really believed in the principles and the philosophy of the party and what the party stood for. He made his contribution even when the party was down, he came out and he made his contribution,” Holness told Parliament.

Phillip Paulwell, the member of parliament for Kingston East and Port Royal, remembered Johnson as a “great Jamaican” who could speak on any subject matter.

Paulwell said Johnson was one of those who sought to guide him when he entered the Senate in the 1990s.

The Opposition member also said Johnson was loyal to the Jamaica Labour Party.

“He was a real and true Labourite,” Paulwell stressed.

Holness, in the meantime, said Johnson withdrew from public life after he became ill.

Paulwell said it was clear to him that he had support from his family as he expressed condolences to them, including Kamina Johnson Smith, the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade.