JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Thousands of residents of Westmoreland, including Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertell Moore and other members of the Westmoreland Parish Council, converged on the Mannings’ School grounds on September 12 to view the body of the late Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke.
  • Well before the scheduled 3:00 pm start of the viewing, hundreds of residents were already lined up in the school yard, waiting to pay their respects to the man, who was their Member of Parliament.
  • A number of schools dismissed classes early to allow their students the opportunity to view the body

Thousands of residents of Westmoreland, including Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertell Moore and other members of the Westmoreland Parish Council, converged on the Mannings’ School grounds on September 12 to view the body of the late Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke.

Well before the scheduled 3:00 pm start of the viewing, hundreds of residents were already lined up in the school yard, waiting to pay their respects to the man, who was their Member of Parliament, and whom many called a friend.

A number of schools dismissed classes early to allow their students the opportunity to view the body, which was lying in a casket draped with the Jamaican flag and guarded by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Viewers, both young and old, were in a somber mood, with some weeping uncontrollably and had to be consoled.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Councillor for the Cornwall Mountain Division, Bernard Vanriel, said the country has lost a great Jamaican.

“We have certainly lost a great Member of Parliament…one who got things done and did things in a very jovial style. We do not believe that anyone can replace him. He was well loved and will be missed by the people of the constituency…more so by the people of the Cornwall Mountain Division,” he said.

State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland, Hon. Luther Buchanan said Mr. Clarke was a father figure. “He was a friend politically and outside of politics. My fondest memory was Roger Clarke being Roger Clarke –a unique human being. There is no other like Roger Clarke…he was comfortable in his skin,” he said.

Meanwhile, friend and Attorney-at-Law, Michael Erskine, recalled working with Mr. Clarke on the campaign trail and seeing how he related with the people.

“I remember in 2007 when he came to Westmoreland (Central) one of the first things he did was to visit Russia, which is said to be a stronghold of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). There, Mr. Clarke built two houses; one for a JLP supporter and another for a People’s National Party (PNP) supporter. He was questioned as to why he built the house for the JLP supporter to which Mr. Clarke replied that the house was built for a person in need,” he recalled.

The late Minister Clarke, who was the sitting Member of Parliament for Central Westmoreland,  died in Miami in the United States on August 28  and will be laid to rest in his home town of Glen Islay in Williamsfield on September 13.