MINISTER of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie Wednesday expressed surprise at the death of councillor of the Seaforth Division in St Thomas Joan Spencer.
She died Tuesday afternoon at home, shortly after she was released from hospital.
“I am totally shocked and devastated. This is a thunderbolt out of nowhere. I know that Councillor Spencer was not feeling well recently, and had spent the last few days in hospital. She was discharged from the hospital and had returned home. Shortly after that, she felt unwell and suddenly passed away there. Her departure was completely unexpected,” said McKenzie.
He hailed Spencer for her exceptional service and punctuality, describing her as “no ordinary councillor”. He said she had the best attendance rate at council meetings and always made her presence felt.
Member of Parliament for St Thomas Western James Robertson also expressed his appreciation for Spencer’s dedication to the people of St Thomas. He said there will be a void as residents of Seaforth have received 25 years of consistent service
“I have never seen anybody show the level of focus, consistency in the service of people. She was there for people in the time of floods in Seaforth on the Morant River when people were losing their homes. She has been there for people when they have had fires and when there has been water lock-offs, she would transport water in her personal vehicle,” Robertson said.
He assured the residents of Seaforth that in the future the same level of service will be provided by the incoming candidate and they will have to emulate her service in order to fill the void left.
Opposition spokesperson on local government and sports, Natalie Neita Garvey, also commended Spencer for her work, in release on Tuesday. She said Spencer’s service was significant and will be remembered by the people of St Thomas.
Spencer served in the division for 25 years and was the mayor of Morant Bay from 2003 to 2007. She is the second Jamaica Labour Party councillor and former mayor to have died within a year, after the death of former Mayor Lenworth Rawle last October.