Monday, September 1, 2014

Farewell Roger Clarke

The late Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke as he entertained friends in the Digicel booth at Denbigh with his good humour.

The late Roger Clarke was a likeable man and a hardworking politician.  We met him at a few events sponsored by clients and it was clear why PM Portia Simpson Miller valued him as a great fundraiser for the PNP.  He smiled and joked himself into the heart of corporate Jamaica – it would have been very difficult to refuse this jovial man

A great story I heard about him was on Sharon Hay-Webster’s programme on “Newstalk” last Friday.  Ambassador Derrick Heaven said the late talk show host Motty Perkins had been criticizing the sugar divestment programme being undertaken by the Government, and Roger Clarke volunteered to go on air with Motty.   The Ambassador said the Minister arrived with several sets of documents and told Motty he was willing to spend the entire programme with him to explain the raison d'ĂȘtre of his Government’s plan. Ambassador Heaven said that Roger Clarke had the special gift of being able to translate ‘legalese’ into layman’s language and by the end of Motty’s programme, he had won over the talk show host.

It was touching to see how moved Minister Clarke’s colleagues were at his passing, especially those in his constituency.  Members of the JLP were also generous in their praise of the late Minister. His sudden departure has brought into sharp focus the reality of our mortality, and the value of a life now lost.  Let us use these sad moments to deepen our compassion for our fellow Jamaicans, beyond superficial political divisions. Rest in peace, Roger Clarke.

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