The Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding, and members of the Cabinet were among mourners attending the funeral of former Minister of Health and Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr. Herbert Eledmire, in Montego Bay on Friday (May 28).
Dr. Eldemire died peacefully at his home in Reading on Thursday, May 20, after A brief illness, at age 79. He was buried in the family plot, Reading, St. James, after a Thanksgiving Service at the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Montego Bay, attended by a wide cross section of the society.
Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding (third left), consoles Ms. Jane Eldemire, daughter of the late Dr. Herbert Eldemire, former Minister of Health, during the official funeral service, at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Montego Bay, St. James, on May 28. At second left is son, Herbert Eldemire, Jnr. and at left is a family friend.
Presiding Ministers were The Most Rev Edgerton Clarke, Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston; The Most Rev Charles Dufour, Bishop of the Diocese of Montego Bay; and the Very Rev Monsignor Eremondo Mauvesi, Vicar General of the Diocese of Montego Bay.
In a tribute to Dr. Eldemire, Prime Minister Golding described his life as extensive and his persona as expansive. He added that he was a man of so many facets, that hours could be spent trying to discuss his good deeds.
He recalled some of his personal encounters with the late medical doctor, stating that Dr. Eldemire became, in short order, an iconic figure in the city of Montego Bay. “There are many things that I could recall, as the lasting contributions that he made in the early formative period of an independent Jamaica, when we were in a sense feeling our way as to how we could manage our own affairs,” the Prime Minister stated.
Dr. Denise Eldemire-Shearer (right) and her brother, Herbert Eldemire, Jnr., discuss the programme at the official funeral service for their father, the late Dr. Herbert Eldemire, former Minister of Health, which was held at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Montego Bay, St. James, on May 28.
He said that Dr. Eldemire did exceptionally well in the Health portfolio (1962-1972), including creating both the Cornwall Regional Hospital and the National Family Planning programme, which have had lasting impact on Jamaica’s development.
“I want to remember him also as the consummate politician”, the Prime Minister added, stating that Dr. Eldemire was one of the few people who made involvement in politics a fun thing.
Pointing out that Dr. Eldemire had been a personal friend, the Prime Minister lamented his passing adding, “I am going to miss that friendship and the warmth and the sincerity that exuded from him”.
In his sermon, Rt. Rev. Monsignor Herbert Panton, said that in trying to develop an acronym to describe Dr. Eldemire and he came up with DOSE- D for Determined, O for Optimistic, S for Single Minded and E for Expectant, all traits that he said Dr. Eldemire possessed.
Dr. Eldemire’s former colleague in the JLP, attorney-at-law Frank Phipps, in giving the remembrance, described him as a person who turned possibilities into realities for the benefit of others. Another colleague, Dr. Marco Brown, proposed that the name of the Cornwall Regional Hospital be changed to The Herbert Eldemire Regional Hospital.
Dr. Eldemire spent three terms in Parliament between 1962 and 1980, representing North West, Central and East Central St. James, respectively.
Cabinet Ministers present at the funeral service included: Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon Mike Henry; Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang; Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon Pearnel Charles; Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett; and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Christopher Tufton.