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Shock, sadness greet death of Portmore mayor

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2013 | 6:08 PM

Colleagues and contemporaries of the late Mayor of Portmore George Lee are this evening still reacting to news of his death.



Mayor Lee died at about 1:00 this morning in a Florida Hospital in the United States of America following a battle with bone cancer.



The Peoples' National Party (PNP) said news of his passing placed a damper on the spirits of comrades gathered at the Jamaica Grande for the first meeting of the NEC for the 2013-2014 Political Year.



According to the PNP, "Mayor Lee's contribution to nation building precedes his ascension to the post of Mayor. His work for the country was unbroken, even when he lived in the United States for many years."



Deputy Mayor and Councillor for the Hellshire division, Leon Thomas says the municipality is still in shock and is saddened following news of the mayor's death.



Thomas says Mayor Lee was in the process of completing several projects when he suddenly took ill on his return to the country from Germany where he had gone on the municipality's business.



He adds that Mayor Lee was also working on several projects to relocate vendors along the Mandela Highway to Portmore corridor and to establish a small business complex on 12 acres of land at 100-Man to facilitate entrepreneurs who were operating out of their homes and plying their trade on the roadside.



Shane Dalling, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party's Caucus in Portmore who was also close to Mayor Lee, expressed condolences on behalf of the Caucus.



Although he did not work under Lee's leadership, Dalling, a former councillor for the Westchester Division, worked with Mayor Lee on several boards and committees before he was elected the municipality's first mayor in 2003.



In 2003, George Lee was elected the first Mayor of Portmore and became the first mayor in Jamaica to be directly elected by the people.



He remained mayor until he was ousted by the Jamaica Labour Party's Keith Hinds in 2007.



Lee was returned as mayor last year as the People's National Party swept local government elections following a sweep of the general election a few months earlier.



Mayor Lee is survived by his widow, Anita.



Thomas will continue the duties of mayor until a bi-election is held.



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