- Hundreds of persons paid their final respects to late Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, during Saturday’s (September 13) Official Funeral Service held at St. George’s Anglican Church, in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
- In her tribute, Mrs. Simpson Miller hailed Mr. Clarke hailed as “the people’s friend and a one of a kind politician.....the farmer’s Minister... and exemplary son of the soil.”
- Mr. Patterson eulogized Mr. Clarke as one who proved to be even larger in death than life, based on the overwhelming outpouring of responses and sentiments expressed by well wishers
Hundreds of persons paid their final respects to late Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, during Saturday’s (September 13) Official Funeral Service held at St. George’s Anglican Church, in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.
Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who read the First Lesson; Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, who paid tribute to her former Cabinet colleague; and Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, who read the Second Lesson, headed persons from a wide cross-section of the society, and overseas, who attended, to lend support to the late Parliamentarian’s family, and bid farewell to one of Jamaica’s political stalwarts.
Others dignitaries attending included: former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, and Bruce Golding; Senate President, Hon. Floyd Morris; Government Ministers from Jamaica and overseas, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Thompson, headed the nine clergymen officiating at the service. They included Mr. Clarke’s former Cabinet colleague, current Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.
In her tribute, Mrs. Simpson Miller hailed Mr. Clarke hailed as “the people’s friend and a one of a kind politician…..the farmer’s Minister… and exemplary son of the soil.”
The Prime Minister recounted fond memories of the man whom she said had an embedded vision of a new Jamaica, and spent his years in public life doing all he could to assist in fulfilling that dream.
Mr. Patterson eulogized Mr. Clarke as one who proved to be even larger in death than life, based on the overwhelming outpouring of responses and sentiments expressed by well wishers.
“The Cabinet has lost the wisdom of one who fully understood the psyche of the common man. He is a fine example of the coherent, integrated life in which personal attributes, life history, skills, opportunity, and a decision to give political service have all come together to uplift the Jamaican people,” the former Prime Minister said.
In their tribute, Mr Clarke’s brother, Winston Clarke, and daughter-in-law, Helene Whitehorne-Clarke, reminisced on the late Minister’s love for family and country. They recalled his humorous canters, kindness, discipline, and his commitment to family.
Tributes were also paid by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry; Councillor Paul Wilson of the Westmoreland Parish Council; Mayor of Black River, St. Elizabeth, Councillor Everton Fisher; Opposition Member of Parliament, Karl Samuda; and Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, in his capacity as Chairman of the People’s National Party (PNP), of which Mr. Clarke was a member.
In his sermon, Pastor of the Gregory Park Baptist Church in St. Catherine, Rev Karl Henlin, encouraged Mr. Clarke’s family and the wider congregation to trust in God regardless of prevailing or impending uncertainties and challenges.
Mr. Clarke, who was 74 years old at the time of his passing, died on Thursday August 28 in the United States where he underwent successful back surgery.
He fell ill at Miami International Airport as he awaited a home-bound flight, and later died in a Florida hospital where he was admitted, from what medical personnel indicated was a heart attack.
Mr. Clarke, who also served as Mayor of Black River as well as Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth and Central Westmoreland, is the second government minister to die while in office during Jamaica’s post independent era, following Prime Minister Donald Sangster, in 1967.
Mr Clarke, who is survived by widow, Sonia; children, Andrew and Dollette, and four grandchildren, was laid to rest at the family plot at Glen Islay in his home district of Williamsfield, in Westmoreland.