- Described as a gentle soul with a calming personality, the late former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, leaves a legacy of honesty, integrity and sincerity, in both his professional and political life.
- Dr. Baugh, who passed away on Sunday (September 1) at the age of 78, was highly revered by his colleagues, and all who interacted with him in his capacity as a medical doctor and public servant.
- During his more than 30 years of dedicated public service, Dr. Baugh was upstanding in executing his roles as Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator, and Member of Parliament.
Described as a gentle soul with a calming personality, the late former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, leaves a legacy of honesty, integrity and sincerity, in both his professional and political life.
Dr. Baugh, who passed away on Sunday (September 1) at the age of 78, was highly revered by his colleagues, and all who interacted with him in his capacity as a medical doctor and public servant.
During his more than 30 years of dedicated public service, Dr. Baugh was upstanding in executing his roles as Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator, and Member of Parliament.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in a tribute in Parliament on Tuesday (September 10), hailed Dr. Baugh as a person of high esteem.
Mr. Holness shared that he first got to know the late former Minister and Parliamentarian when he became Dr. Baugh’s patient shortly after leaving high school.
Prime Minister Holness described him as “a man of great honour, integrity, dignity and he had a character that we could all do well to emulate. Indeed, I have tried to emulate his life and work”.
“He was not about power; he was about service, and that is, to me, the signal marker of his integrity,” he added.
In a previous statement, Mr. Holness said Dr. Baugh could always be relied on to be a balanced and reasoned voice.
“His manner was always conciliatory and solution-oriented. He was an honest man, a sincere man, a decent man. His conduct gave him stature elevated above politics. He was a true statesman and we will miss his guidance and steady hand. The entire nation owes him a debt of gratitude,” the Prime Minister said.
Echoing similar sentiments in his tribute, Leader of Government Business in the Lower House and Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, said his “dear friend” of 40 years “was arguably the most honest, honourable, thoughtful, committed and caring person that one could ever have had the pleasure of knowing”.
“His life’s work stands as an example to all who seek to serve, whether through political involvement, medicine or social work,” he said, adding that Dr. Baugh was a deeply religious and caring family man “who cared, most of all, for the poor and the needy”.
For Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Dr. Baugh was like the “big brother I never had”.
A medical doctor himself, Dr. Chang said he had the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Baugh for many years, and described him as “a gentle man, a good father, a great advisor”.
“He worked with dignity, with competence and gave his time for the people of this country,” he said, noting that he maintained a gentle spirit even in his political life, serving “in his own quiet way”.
In the meantime, Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, said Dr. Baugh was a character whom “we would all do well to emulate”.
“He was a true patriot, committed to service and given to his own genteel way of conduct,” he said, adding that Dr. Baugh was also admired for his respect for all.
Dr. Phillips shared that in his personal experience with Dr. Baugh, he found that he was always open to giving advice and exchanging views privately.
“His reputation for decency and goodwill earned him the respect of all his colleagues within the house on all sides,” he said.
Dr. Baugh was also known for going above and beyond for the people he served, giving many hours of his time, even late into the night, and was always available as a medical practitioner. Over the years, constituents have benefited from back-to-school medicals, which he provided free of cost.
Senators also paid glowing tributes to Dr. Baugh during the sitting of the Upper House on Friday (September 16).
Leader of Government Business and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said Dr. Baugh “stood tall in the hearts and minds of those who knew him”.
“Dr. Baugh was a decent human being and a statesman. When he served, he did so with humility, grace and integrity. He is well remembered at the Foreign Ministry, both for his statesman-like management and his care for the well-being of the staff,” she said.
Opposition Senator, K.D. Knight, said Dr. Baugh was a dignified gentleman, whom he never heard raise his voice.
“He was a good man. A man of action. As Minister of Health, he made an impact in that role, and the health sector is much better for Dr. Baugh’s contribution,” Senator Knight said.
A Surgeon Specialist, Dr. Baugh was in 1976 appointed a Consultant in General Surgery at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, then Senior Medical Officer and Chairman of the Professional Committee of Doctors at that institution until 1980. Prior to these appointments, he was a Senior Registrar in General Surgery and Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHW1).
He was Member of Parliament for North West St. James from 1980 to 1987; Senator from 1989 to 1993; and Member of Parliament for West Central St. Catherine from 2002 until his retirement in 2016.
For his distinguished service to Parliament, public service and his contribution to medicine, Dr. Baugh was conferred with one of Jamaica’s highest honours, the Order of Jamaica in 2016.
He has been accorded an official funeral service by the Government of Jamaica, which will be held on Thursday (September 19) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Chapel, Mona, starting at 1:00 p.m.
Condolence books will be opened from Tuesday (September 17) to Thursday (September 19), at the Houses of Parliament and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.