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Gov't MPs shun Hibbert... Only Opposition pays tribute to former member

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2013 | 3:58 PM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Joseph Hibbert, the former state minister in the transport and works ministry who died on Saturday amid allegations of corruption has been described as a decent man by Opposition parliamentarians.

The comments were made at the start of today's sitting of the House of Representatives.

Aside from acting House Leader Natalie Neita Headley acknowledging the passing of Hibbert and inviting tributes from members, no other government MP rose to pay tribute to Hibbert.

Hibbert, who served as MP for East Rural St Andrew, died from a heart attack on Saturday night.

He served the constituency as MP from 2002 to 2011 and was a member of the Jamaica Labour Party, which is now in Opposition.

Opposition MP Derrick Smith, the man, who, as deputy leader of the Jamaica Labour Party introduced Hibbert to the party's leadership to be considered as candidate for East Rural St Andrew, said Hibbert was a man of integrity.

According to Smith, the allegations by Mabey and Johnson that Hibbert collected kickback ripped him to pieces.

"That was a heavy burden on this man for years. He never got over it," Smith said.

"He internalised all of this and I am sure it created some health problems for him down the road," Smith added.

Dr Horace Chang, MP for North West St James said the corruption allegations made Hibbert "a sad man".

Similarly, Audley Shaw, MP for North East Manchester said Hibbert has died with "a bit of a cloud over his considerably high reputation that he had developed."

"We hope that his absolution will come, not just a statement saying the investigation is over because he has died, but something that is more declarative as to his innocence," Shaw said.

Such innocence, North East St Andrew MP Delroy Chuck said would have been established had Hibbert got the chance.

He said that on Friday, while he was overseas, Hibbert telephone him to discuss a legal matter, but he postponed the discussions for Monday. But death intervened.

Like the other speakers, Chuck said Hibbert was a decent, hard-working Jamaican who dedicated his life to the advancement of the country.

Meanwhile, the House has offered condolences to North West St Ann MP Dr Dayton Campbell who lost his sister today.

Acting House Leader Natalie Neita-Headley said Campbell's sister died in child's birth after developing a heart attack.

She said doctors are currently trying to save the child's life.


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