Jamaicans from all walks of life gathered at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church in St. Elizabeth on Friday (January 21) for the official funeral of late former Councillor, Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, Donald Buchanan.
The church could not accommodate the hundreds, who gathered to pay their final respect, and many were accommodated under large tents on the church grounds where they were able to view the service on video screens provided.
Several Cabinet members were in attendance, led by Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, who represented Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding. Minister Holness read the first lesson.
The People’s National Party (PNP) representatives led by the Opposition Leader, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson were out in full force, so too were civic and business leaders, representatives of the South West St. Elizabeth constituency, family members, friends and associates, who all came out to honour a life that many say was well lived.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller, in her tribute, remembered Mr. Buchanan as one who stood by his beliefs. “He lived by his beliefs, and literally risked his life defending those principles. He was a social justice boy when he started his political career, and was a social justice man when he passed away. He was an empowering politician, and he kept no one in a benefactor-type relationship,” she said.
Mr. Patterson recalled that the late politician, who served in several ministerial portfolios, was always prepared, thorough and disciplined as he carried out his duties.
“He ensured a fusion between theoretical and practical results based on daily realities of life. His approach was always polite and yet firm, humble and yet tenacious, to secure the outcome he desired. He so respected boundaries that he often made it a point of telling his staff that he expected of them and required no more of them than for them to do their jobs. But he would go on, ‘make sure you do it well,” Mr. Patterson said.
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Senator Basil Waite, said that Mr. Buchanan’s contribution to educational institutions and students in his constituency was testament of his commitment to human development.
He stated that Mr. Buchanan championed many causes all in the interest of “people development” and while his causes were deeply personal, his disagreements never were. “His adversaries were never his enemies. He has given so much lessons and examples; he has inspired us to serve and to serve selflessly, he has shown us that you can serve in politics with your decency and humility remaining intact,” Senator Waite said.
Mr. Buchanan’s contribution to the country’s electoral system was remembered by Chairman of the Electoral Commission (ECJ), Professor the Hon. Errol Miller, who said that Jamaica has lost a public servant of exceptional qualities, who made a difference for the good and better in his time.
Former Junior Minister at the Ministry of Labour, Derrick Rochester, who served as President of the National Worker’s Union where Mr. Buchanan was an officer, cited his late colleague’s contribution to the Labour Relations and Disputes Act, the Maternity Leave with Pay Act, Notice Pay, Redundancy Pay and Minimum Wage acts.
“It was a privilege to listen to Danny’s advocacy at the Ministry of Labour – he would ensure that he acquainted himself with every detail of each particular case,” Mr. Rochester recalled.
Family members also remembered their loved one, with widow, Dorothy speaking with pride about her late husband’s love for his family and his selflessness in diverting funds from the family to take care of less fortunate persons in the constituency. Recording artiste Ernie Smith gave a special tribute in song during the viewing of the body.
After the service, Mr. Buchanan’s body was transported to his birthplace in Little Park for interment.
Mr. Buchanan died on January 10 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 68 years old.
CONTACT: GARFIELD L.ANGUS
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE