Jamaicans residing in Washington and the metro areas of the United States (US) have been paying tribute to the late Lady Gladys Bustamante, by signing a Condolence Book, which was opened at the Jamaican Embassy, in Washington, on August 3.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Anthony Johnson, was the first to sign the book.
Reflecting on the life of Lady Bustamante, Ambassador Johnson said that, “the passing of Lady B is another milestone in the history of our young nation. Her voyage as a young Jamaican girl from the hills of Westmoreland to the city of Kingston is a text book on the Jamaican story. Blessed with a loving family and a strong character, she was able to become a faithful companion to the man who symbolised the Jamaican revolt of 1938.”
Ambassador Johnson pointed out that Lady Bustamante’s partnership with National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, “gave us the modern labour movement and the foundation of modern democratic politics.”
Michael Morgan, a Jamaican from the parish of St. Thomas, was the first member of the public to sign the condolence book in honour of Lady Bustamante, at the Embassy in Washington, on Monday, August 3.
“We are grateful to God for providing such a humble and beautiful soul to inspire us and succeeding generations. May her soul rest in peace,” the Ambassador added.
Jamaican journalist and international civil servant based in Washington, Ian Edwards, said that, “Lady Bustamante’s passing definitely marks the end of an important era in the history of modern Jamaica. Not only was she an original eyewitness, but she was also one of the players in the labour union movement that laid the foundation for Jamaica’s independence.”
He said that while many Jamaicans would remember Lady Bustamante as the wife of Sir Alexander Bustamante, she was also quite active in the workers’ movement. “She has left an important legacy as an important symbol of women’s empowerment in Jamaica,” he added.
The condolence book will remain open at the Embassy until Friday, August 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Ambassadors representing Caribbean countries in Washington, D.C., and representatives of Jamaican organisations have been invited to sign the condolence book.
Lady Bustamante died on July 25, at the age of 97. She will be given an official funeral on Saturday, August 8, after which she will be buried beside her husband in National Heroes Park.