Tributes hailing the life and work of the late Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Shahine Robinson, continue to flow from friends, colleagues and associates.
Mrs. Robinson, who died on May 29 after prolonged illness, also served as Member of Parliament for North East St. Ann from 2001 until her passing.
Her steadfast commitment to serving the people earned her glowing accolades such as “the rarest of politicians” and “champion of the poor and vulnerable”.
Among those remembering the veteran parliamentarian as the “consummate public servant” and “change agent” who was gifted with the “Midas touch” are Cabinet colleagues – Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw; and Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague.
Mr. Shaw described her as a “unique and outstanding” Minister of Government and Member of Parliament, who was “a loyal and faithful servant of the people”.
“May her career serve as an inspiration to all who seek to be political representatives. May her soul rest in peace and may God give comfort to her family in this time of bereavement,” he said.
Minister Montague noted that Mrs. Robinson was a “much loved political representative [who] loved her constituents”, adding that she was “a dear friend of mine”.
“Condolences to the family and friends of our dear Shahine Robinson. May her soul Rest in Peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, a very somber Councillor for the Exchange Division in the constituency Mrs. Robinson represented, Ian Isaacs, noted that: “The servant of the people of North Eastern St. Ann has transitioned to be with her Lord”.
“Hon. Shahine Robinson served us well and with great dignity. She loved her people, dedicated her life to them and insisted [that] her Councillors give of their best,” he shared.
While acknowledging that she “will be replaced”, Mr. Isaacs said Mrs. Robinson’s “infectious personality, commitment to the people and years of sterling service will never be surpassed”, adding that “she was one of a kind… a God-given gift to us”.
“On behalf of the people of the Exchange Division and my family, we extend condolences to the family of our beloved, cherished and never ever to be forgotten late Member of Parliament, Shahine Robinson. We pray her soul rest in peace and everlasting light shine on her. Thank you Shahine Robinson. May God greet you with welcoming arms – thou good and faithful servant,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Michael Belnavis, contended that “in retrospect, Mrs. Robinson might have gotten the perfect Ministry to highlight her talent, which was her unwavering love for the little man, the disenfranchised and also the elderly”.
“I have watched her over the years… the way she interacted with her constituents… her personal touch… that rare political gift. Being Minister of Labour and Social Security allowed her to showcase that kind of empathy. It was truly a special gift… something you have to be born with,” said.
Mr. Belnavis further argued that it should not be lost on anyone that Mrs. Robinson entered the political arena in 2001 as “a political neophyte” and blossomed into one of “the great political minds of our time”.
For his part, Senior Director of the Royal Shop chain of duty free stores, Ravi Daswani, described Mrs. Robinson as a “personal friend” and one of the most accessible persons he has ever met.
“She was never too busy to return a phone call. That was what endeared her to a lot of people and made her such a popular figure until the very end,” he reminisced.
Mrs. Robinson came to national prominence in 2001 after successfully contesting the North East St. Ann constituency by-election for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
Her tenure as Member of Parliament saw her retaining the seat in every general election held since 2002.
Mrs. Robinson served as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government in 2007, and in 2011, was promoted to Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Local Government in the Ministry of Housing, Environment, Water and Local Government headed then by Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, the incumbent National Security Minister.
She was appointed Minister of Labour and Social Security in March 2016, following the JLP’s victory in the general election a month earlier.
Mrs. Robinson was born on July 4, 1953 to Peter and Kathleen Fakhourie, and raised in Claremont, St. Ann.
She is a graduate of Immaculate Conception High School and Miami Dade College in the United States, where she earned an Associate Degree in Marketing and a Diploma in Public Relations.