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When Audey ‘bawled’

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Audley Shaw was driven to tears as he recalled the last post that he received from the late political historian Troy Caine.

Shaw, the minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, was relating the experience to the Jamaica Observer, weeping as he outlined how he was surprised last week Saturday when he received a post from Caine, the St Elizabeth-born man who was also known as a political commentator. The post to Shaw was headlined: “Happy New Year to you from the family, from Denise and I and the girls”.

Shaw told the Sunday Observer Friday night that he was surprised that, despite being isolated by diabetes and hypertension, Caine was able to put together the post, showing that as of this month he had overtaken Winston Jones’ 55-year record as the longest serving Member of Parliament (MP) in the parish of Manchester.

As Caine explained, Jones was the undefeated People’s National Party (PNP) MP for Southern, Eastern and Central Manchester for a total of 25 years and nine months, a record held for approximately 52 years, until it was broken this month by Shaw, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) MP who has been serving North Eastern Manchester unbroken for 25 years and 10 months.

Shaw, who said he received the post on Saturday, January 5 and shared it on Sunday, January 6, was thrilled by the news that he had finally overtaken Jones, who served from January 1955 to October 1980.

“Colleagues, sharing an interesting piece of history from political historian Troy Caine,” he added to the post before sharing it.

But Shaw appeared to have been even more surprised Thursday night, when he learnt that Caine had died. He paused several times during this interview to shed a tear for Caine, whom he described as “a humble, decent man”.

He said that he had known Caine for a number of years and always regarded him as “a good Jamaican citizen”.

“He had a tremendous love for his country, and the interesting thing is that he told the history factually, although he was a JLP supporter. I am particularly touched by the fact that despite his illness, he took the time to analyse this piece of political history of my political journey. I was touched by him recognising my service and really crushed that a few days later I would read that he was dead,” Shaw said.

“Interestingly, the post showed that he gave me regards from him, his wife and his family,” Shaw added.

Caine died on his way to the Medical Associates Hospital in St Andrew, after his health deteriorated on Thursday. He had been diabetic and hypertensive for some time.

The full text of Caine’s last post which was sent to Shaw read:

“Happy New Year to you and the family from Denise and I and the girls

“And heartiest congratulations! You’ll be pleased to learn that this month you have just attained the complete, undisputed title of the “Politician of the Parish of Manchester” with your 25 years & 10 months (March 1993-January 2019) of representation as the elected JLP Member of Parliament for North-East Manchester, having dethroned the previous Member, the PNP’s Winston V Jones who had represented South, East and Central Manchester for a total of 25 yrs & nine months (Jan 1955 – Oct 1980).

“The fact that the first two Manchester MHRs (Norman Sinclair & Lawton Bloomfield) each served for only two terms (Dec 1944-Jan 1955) meant that Jones who was undefeated, had actually held that title since about February 1966 or for some 52 years, which makes your achievement even more outstanding – especially in a parish largely dominated by PNP representation over the years.

“Furthermore, with you now as the “Politician of Manchester,” the JLP has also forged ahead as the leading party for that honour, with eight of the 14 parishes, namely: Kingston (Edward Seaga), St Andrew (Karl Samuda), Portland (Leopold Lynch), St Ann (Dr Neville Gallimore), St Elizabeth (J C Hutchinson), Clarendon (Mike Henry), St Catherine (Enid Bennett) and Manchester (Audley Shaw).

“Of the 22 MPs who have been elected to Parliament since 1944, 14 (63.6%) have been PNP and 8 (36.4%) have been JLP. The current Top Ten in longevity (at Jan 2019) are: (1) Audley Shaw (JLP) – 25 yrs & 10 mths, (2) Winston V Jones (PNP) – 25 yrs & 9 mths, (3) Michael Peart (PNP) – 23 yrs & 8 mths, (4) Dean Peart (PNP) – 22 yrs & 10 mths, (5) Ernest Peart (PNP) – 19 yrs & 2 mths, (6) John Junor (PNP) – 18 yrs & 7 mths, (7) Len Kirby (JLP) – 12 yrs & 2 mths, (8) Dr Glendon Logan (PNP) – 12 yrs & 1 mth, (9) Peter Bunting (PNP) – 11 yrs & 4 mths, (10) Arthur Williams, Snr (JLP) – 10 yrs & 11 mths.

“Of the grand total of 380 members who have been elected to Parliament since 1944, you currently rank 19th (jointly with Dr Fenton Ferguson), and among the present 63 Members of the Lower House, you both rank ninth in longevity and surpassed only by Mike Henry, Karl Samuda, Derrick Kellier, Robert Pickersgill, J C Hutchinson, Edmund Bartlett and Pearnel Charles, Snr.

“You are currently the 8th longest-serving elected Member in the County of Middlesex, after Mike Henry, Enid Bennett, Dr Neville Gallimore, Robert Pickersgill, Seymour Mullings, Edwin Allen, and Hugh Shearer. And you currently rank 13th in longevity on the all-time roster of JLP Members elected to Parliament since 1944, led by Edward Seaga, Mike Henry, Karl Samuda, Derrick Smith, Leopold Lynch, Enid Bennett, Dr Neville Gallimore, Hugh Shearer, J C Hutchinson, Ed Bartlett, Pearnel Charles, Snr and Edwin Allen.

“Enjoy your reign, my friend, and you can rest assured that no one else in Manchester is even remotely close to your position in the parish to mount any challenge before you retire from active politics. Appropriately, that will clearly be defined as an integral part of your political legacy.”

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