With the passing of Roger Clarke, our nation has lost one of our most colourful political stalwarts who devoted so much of his own life to the service of his country and people. He belonged to a special breed of Jamaicans.
Even before he began his political career at the Parish Council level, we had worked together in the campaign trenches of North East St. Elizabeth. From those early days, until he rose to high positions in the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Cabinet, his commitment to Party and loyalty to Jamaica were unwavering.
He never once forgot his roots and brought a wealth of knowledge to his portfolio responsibilities. While he was always willing to take advice from the professional and technical staff in his Ministry, he never shied away from making bold decisions based on his own practical experience and innate common sense.
What made Roger Clarke special, was his deep connection with the people at the grass roots level and his enjoyment of hearing and trying to deal with real problems as related to him first hand. He was never too busy or tired to listen to and respect the ideas of his constituents and the stakeholders in his portfolio.
Self importance or arrogance was not in his DNA.
He enjoyed the cut and thrust of political exchange but even his fiercest opponent would succumb to his deserving sense of humour at their expense or even his own. He was devoid of rancour or vindictiveness.
He will be sadly missed.
I extend sincere condolences to his widow Sonia, his family, his bereaved colleagues and friends.
May his soul rest in peace.