Former Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament (MP), Donald Buchanan, was on January 18 remembered by the House of Representatives for his sterling contribution to politics and public life, as well as his witty personality, particularly displayed in Gordon House.
In a lengthy tribute, 14 Members of Parliament warmly recounted their memories of Mr. Buchanan, who died on January 11 from complications associated with colon cancer.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, said there was hardly anyone who had sat in the House, who was more colourful than Mr. Buchanan.
“In debates, he was at times humourous, at times provocative, and at times strident. Whenever (one) rose to speak, you had to not only ensure that you had a clear idea in your mind of the points you want to make and the points you would need to rebut, but you had to prepare yourself for the sotto voce remarks that you knew would come from Danny Buck…he had a memory like an elephant, he could recall things that you said many years ago,” Mr. Golding said.
He added that Mr. Buchanan was fervent in debates, because he was committed to the work and service of parliament. “He was passionate about his party he was passionate about his beliefs he was passionate about his country,” Mr. Golding said.
Leader of the Opposition, Portia Simpson Miller, said the late MP fought relentlessly to broaden the educational opportunities of all children and as a member of the National Workers Union, he persistently advocated for better working conditions and wages for the people he represented.
“As an equal rights and justice man, Danny stood firm and steadfast in his conviction that better must come and that he should put the people of Jamaica first,” she stated.
She added that Mr. Buchanan believed that nationhood was built on the strength and courage of the men and women, who possessed the precious gift of steadfast loyalty. “Danny Buchanan believed this and he never wavered from it. He was a dedicated public servant, and a committed patriot. His shall be a lasting example, who continues to serve the people, and those who will come after,” she said.
In his contribution, MP for South St. Andrew, Dr. Omar Davies, said
Mr. Buchanan would always be remembered. “Even as we mourn his passing, I celebrate the years that I had the opportunity to interface with Danny Buck,” he stated.
Meanwhile, MP for Eastern Hanover, Dr. D.K. Duncan, said the essence of
Mr. Buchanan’s life can be summed up in the word “courage”.
“That courage manifested itself in many different ways – he was intellectually courageous, ideologically courageous, he was morally courageous, he was spiritually courageous,” he said.
Minister of Health and MP for South East Clarendon, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, spoke of Mr. Buchanan’s contribution to the trade union movement. “He joined as an organiser in 1973 and became a senior negotiation officer in 1977…so successful was Danny in the mines of bauxite, or on the sugar plantation, that in 1982, he was seconded as general secretary to the People’s National Party.
“I have no doubt that his years in the labour movement contributed much to his success as a politician. One needs daring and discipline to succeed in the labour movement – Danny Buck had both,” Mr. Spencer asserted.
Other tributes came from MP for East Central St. Andrew, Dr. Peter Phillips; MP for Central Manchester, Peter Bunting; Minister of Agriculture and MP for South West St. Elizabeth, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton; Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce and MP for North Central St. Andrew, Hon. Karl Samuda; MP for Eastern
St. Thomas, Fenton Ferguson; Minister of Water and Housing and MP for North West St. James, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; MP for Western St. Andrew, Anthony Hylton; MP for South Manchester, Michael Peart; and MP for Eastern Westmoreland, Luther Buchanan.
The MPs also emphasised and lauded Mr. Buchanan’s commitment to his wife Dorothy, and their seven children, as well as his constituents. Mrs. Buchanan and other family members were present at the sitting.
Mr. Buchanan will receive an official funeral at St. Peter's Church, in Pedro Plains, on January 21, in his former constituency of South West St Elizabeth.
CONTACT: ALPHEA SAUNDERS