Grange pays tribute to Enid Bennett

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange has paid tribute to Enid Bennett — the former Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government — who died this morning after a brief illness.

 

Minister Grange said that Miss Bennett who held the record as the longest continuously serving female MP "enjoyed the love and devotion of her constituents who kept returning her to power in election after election in times of party ascendancy and against national swings."

 

Minister Grange said:

"Miss Bennet would always remark that although the resources available to her were not enough to meet the needs of her constituents whether she was in government or opposition, they continued to support her because she always had an open door to receive them whether for material help, advice or human sympathy.  She strongly believed that it was of the greatest importance that representatives keep close to the people they represent.

 

"I remember Miss Bennett saying she was inspired to involve herself in political representation by the example of Iris Collins, the first female Member of Parliament who was elected to the North West St. James seat in 1944 and who succeeded in a field dominated by men. 

 

"Miss Bennett lived so closely to her people and served them so well that in a highly symbolic act in the 30th year of her service former Senator and Ambassador Anthony Johnson married her to her constituency by putting a ring on her finger in a public meeting. Miss Bennet later remarked that when she retired she got many letters from disappointed constituents asking her how she could give up political representation after she had been married to West Central St. Catherine. 

 

But she never left the people. After her retirement she still kept an open door to her people who would still come to see her as if nothing had changed and she was still their representative."

 

Minister Grange said that Miss Bennett had been "one of the rocks" on which the Jamaica Labour Party rested, recalling how she mentored many aspiring representatives. Enid Bennett stood out again in 1978 when she became the first female deputy leader in our political system. She was also patron of the JLP Women's Movement and in her retirement still took an interest in attending meetings of the Standing Committee of the party. Miss Bennett was also asked to serve as a trustee of the party. 

 

Minister Grange said she relied on the wise council of Miss Bennett in the conduct of the Gender Affairs portfolio.

 

"Enid Bennet was part of a long tradition of great women who have given service to national politics. Miss Bennett and others have demonstrated that women can succeed in any field and that today's women need not regard any field as reserved for men. Miss Bennett set a great example of how one should lead and represent the interests of the people."

 

 

-END-

MCGES

We place people at the heart of everything we do.

We believe that culture is the great equaliser and transformer that makes ordinary men and women great.

We believe that gender equality is essential in a modern society.

We believe that an entertained person is a happy person and happy persons make happy societies.

We believe that physical activity enhances lives and sport is the medicine that heals and corrects.

Olivia Grange

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