Statement by the Hon. Derrick Kellier, CD, MP,
Minister of Labour, Social Security, Agriculture and Fisheries
On the passing of Mrs. Syringa Marshall-Burnett,
Former Chairman of the NCSC
The late Syringa Marshall-Burnett ranks amongst the truly phenomenal women whose contribution of service helped to shape the character of modern Jamaica in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Her strongest feature in all that she did for Jamaica was self-assertion without being boorish.
With her quiet demeanour that masked a determined spirit willing to succeed in the best interest of her country, she rendered to the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) – as an agency of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security – penetrating thoughts, sound judgements, a creative imagination, and a liberal leaning towards best practices in the welfare of senior citizens in her capacity as chairperson up to the time of her untimely passing.
She promoted healthy and active ageing among senior citizens in Jamaica with zeal, activism, and distinction. In consequence, the National Council for Senior Citizens succeeded in forging a symbiotic relationship with the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre and the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) in studying the health and social status of older persons in Jamaica and to identify their needs.
When she joined me in launching Senior Citizens’ Week 2014 on September 23, 2014, she expressed her eagerness to participate in the upcoming review of the 1997 National Policy for Senior Citizens which will seek to identify and develop contemporary and appropriate responses and strategies for addressing the current demands of the country’s elderly population.
Our national family has lost a truly wonderful public servant whose devotion to public service disregarded personal interests. Her strongest feature in her character was prudence and a willingness to act only after every circumstance and consideration was mutually weighed.
As a result, Mrs. Syringa Marshall-Burnett endeared herself to everyone she came in contact with, professionally and socially.
I am honoured to have known this outstanding Jamaican woman and thank her tremendously for her wise counsel. Her generosity of spirit was part of the shine that was on her.
May her husband Jasper, family and friends find comfort in the fact that through her work her legacy will endure the test of time, and may her soul rest in peace.
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