JIS News

The House of Representatives paid tribute to the late Lady Gladys Bustamante, widow of National Hero, The Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, Wednesday (July 29).
Lady Bustamante died at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) on Saturday (July 25). She will be accorded an official funeral by the Government of Jamaica. The service will be at the Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Liguanea, Kingston on Saturday, August 8, which will also be observed as a National Day of Mourning for her passing.
Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, Hon. Olivia Grange, described her as “a pioneer, a visionary and tireless crusader for a better Jamaica.”
“(She) was a mother to all and a friend to all, and she carried herself with quiet dignity. Lady Bustamante dedicated her life to working for the poor and dispossessed. She was quite the unassuming lady, but she was unquestionably effective at all times,” Miss Grange said.
“She never sought the limelight, that wasn’t her style, but she sought to ensure, to the best of her ability, that the job was done and done well,” she added.
She noted that Lady Bustamante was involved with charities, did social work throughout Jamaica and helped to improve the lives of many persons, including port workers, sugar workers and their families.
She also credited her with being actively involved in the struggle for women’s rights, and for being instrumental in the critical revision of the Public Service Regulations which barred women from remaining in Government jobs after marriage, in colonial Jamaica.
Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, said Lady Bustamante started her contribution to national development when the role of working women was not fully appreciated.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said that she “blazed the trail for the outstanding Jamaican women who came after her.”
“She gave us the vision that we have a right to participate fully in the development of our country, and all of us, as women in this Parliament, are standing on her shoulders,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She described Lady Bustamante as a risk taker and a pioneer, who courageously took on the struggles of the working poor.
“Her contribution to the trade union movement, particularly the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), can never be forgotten. She has been described by her peers in the trade union movement as having had the ability to replace confrontation with consultation, and to convert opponents into partners,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
Minister of Health, the Hon. Rudyard Spencer, a former President of the BITU, also commended her contribution to the struggle for women’s rights.
“She served her innings very well, she stayed the course and she championed the cause of women. May the word, service, be the epitaph on her tombstone,” he said.

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