Hundreds Attended Memorial Service in the UK for Hugh Shearer


Hundreds of Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) turned out at the Church of St. Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square, London last Saturday (Sept. 18) for a memorial service for late former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer.
Among those in attendance were family members, trade union leaders and members of the diplomatic corps.Mr. Shearer, who died on July 4, was hailed as a man of honour, integrity and compassion.
In his remembrance, long time friend of the Shearer family, Arnold Foote traced Mr. Shearer’s life from his early days in Martha Brae, Trelawny, to his work with the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), his entry into politics as a member of the Legislative Council, to becoming the youngest head of government in the Commonwealth in 1967 at the age of 44.
“He took on this responsibility with dynamism and bold and creative leadership. He never sought a memorial to himself. This was a reflection of the humility of the man who never boasted of his work,” Mr. Foote said.
He added that Mr. Shearer had left behind a lasting legacy and all would miss him. “He was a man of humility, decency, compassion, a man of God. He was my friend,” he stated.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK, Maxine Roberts, said Mr. Shearer was a distinguished national leader who served his people and their causes well. “He responded to the social inequities and championed the cause of Jamaican workers through his work with the BITU. He was a man of the people, a person who could relate instinctively with every man, woman or child, regardless of their station in life or political affiliation,” she stated.
High Commissioner Roberts noted that Mr. Shearer was the first Foreign Minister she worked with and recalled that he respected and listened to the views of all officers, no matter how junior they were.
A tribute from the Chairman of National Commercial Bank (NCB), Michael Lee Chin, was read by the UK Manager of NCB, Dale Robinson.
In the tribute, Mr. Lee Chin spoke of the help he received from Mr. Shearer while he was a student in Canada. He said Mr. Shearer was noble in the eyes of many. He described the late former Prime Minister as a humanitarian who sought to bring ease to the lives of many. “Though gone from our sight, he will live on in our sense of responsibility to fulfill his vision for our beloved country Jamaica,” the tribute said in part.
Bishop Eric Brown in his sermon compared Mr. Shearer to Mordecai in the Bible. He said like Mordecai, Mr. Shearer worked for the good of his people, the welfare of the nation and spoke for peace.
He said Jamaica needed more men and women who were not selfish and who worked for the welfare of the whole nation. “We must do good. We must do all we can to fulfill our personal destiny but we must remember that we are members of a community and that we have a commitment of service to our communities and service to God,” he stated.
He said Mr. Shearer was a great Jamaican and a wonderful human being whose influence reached beyond Jamaica. He called on the congregation to be like Hugh Shearer and commit to speaking up for the poor and vulnerable.
The officiating clergy at the memorial service were Reverend Rose Hudson Wilkins; Archbishop Bancroft McCarty, and Bishop James Stapleton. Lessons were read by Chancellor of the University of Technology (UTech), Sir Bill Morris; former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Shridath Ramphal and Mr. Phillip Taylor of the Jamaica Labour Party UK.The Jamaican High Commission organized the memorial service with assistance from NCB.

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