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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Affectionately called ‘Mr. Portmore’, the late Mayor, Councillor George Lee, is described as a dedicated public servant.
  • Mr. Lee passed away on Sunday, September 29 after a short illness.
  • During his tenure as Mayor of Portmore, he advocated for city status.

Affectionately called ‘Mr. Portmore’, the late Mayor, Councillor George Lee, is described as a dedicated public servant, a strong innovative leader, and passionate about the work of the Portmore Municipal Council, and the vision for Portmore.

Mr. Lee passed away on Sunday, September 29 after a short illness. He is remembered as a true stalwart of the ruling People’s National Party (PNP), who was the first elected Mayor of the 10 year-old Municipality, winning in  2003, and again in 2012. He also served as Councillor for the Greater Portmore North Division, in the St Catherine Parish Council, from 1998 to 2002.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says that Jamaica has lost an effective and devoted leader, who was committed to good governance for the people of Portmore.

He adds that over the years, Mayor Lee also played a crucial role in the programmes and projects of the Social Development Commission (SDC), as well as twinning arrangements between the Municipality and local and international development partners, as well as building partnerships with public and private entities.

“He was a major proponent of issues related to citizen safety and security, having led the establishment of Portmore’s Parish Safety and Security Committee (PSSC), in partnership with the Ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),” Mr. Arscott tells JIS News.

Interestingly, Mayor Lee is also remembered for his outstanding contribution to the field of Journalism in the late 1960s, while working in the capacity of a Reporter at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC), and as a public relations specialist at the Agency for Public Information (API),in the 1970s, currently known as the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

Reflecting on the life of Mayor Lee, political affiliate and retired Social Worker, Merlene Deal Weathers, says he was an exemplary leader, driven with a purpose.

“He has gone down in Jamaica’s history, not only because of his political accolades, but for his involvement in media for which he made his mark. He was one of two young reporters at the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC) who orchestrated a strike, as a result of some discrepancies, that drew nationwide attention to the issue,” she discloses.

She tells JIS News that he was very instrumental in  the Council having sound background knowledge in local government operations.

“He conceptualized a lot of new initiatives that probably no one else would, such as the Portmore Municipal Development Committee (PMDC), a tax office, municipal complex, modern market,  beautification projects, and mosquito eradication programme in the entire municipality,” she adds.

During his tenure as Mayor of Portmore, he advocated for city status, which became a reality when Government declared Portmore a Municipality in 1998.  He also  advocated for a hospital to be built in Portmore.

“Mayor Lee’s legacy will forever live on, and he will be remembered for his unstinting service to local government. He was an indisputable champion, a great leader and negotiator who believed in integrity and transparency, while carrying out his duties within the municipality,” says close friend, Beverley Swaby.

She points out that Mayor Lee was an advocate for the transformation of local government, good governance, and a crusader for the sustainable development of Portmore.

“The citizens of Portmore, and the PMDC, in particular, have lost a key advocate for the positive transformation of our communities. The vision of Mayor Lee will definitely continue, especially the hospital…,” she adds.

In the meantime, Deputy Mayor, Leon Thomas and Councillor for the Hellshire Division, who has been acting in the position since, says that things are in place to follow through on the gains made by Mr. Lee.

Mayor Lee, who died at the age of 74, is survived by wife Anieta Lee, daughter Claudette Lee, and stepsons, Rojah and Andrew Teck.