Speech by the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Statement in Parliament on the Passing of Dr. Ken Baugh

Mr Speaker, I got to know Ken Baugh when I was just about to leave high school because he established his medical practice in Spanish Town where I grew up and he became my doctor then; I went to him for my check-ups and medicals to go back to school and I try to engage him in political conversations at the time but obviously he had put politics down for a while and was deciding to focus on his medical professions and growing his practice.

When I came to Kingston after university, he continued to be my doctor and in fact by then had a practice in Kingston and I joked with him at that time to say when you were in Spanish Town you didn’t have any interest but now that you’ve come back to Kingston, you now have an interest and he pointed out that he was encouraged by friends and I suspect one of them would have been his good friend here, the now House leader, to come back into politics and he decided to take up the seat West Central St Catherine. He was not successful at that time in 1993; he was defeated by Alethia Barker.  Yes, you’re right, in 97 because Alethia barker would be in Parliament with us. Enid was the MP in 1993; you’re perfectly correct. In 1997 he decided to go back, and he was not successful, but he stuck with it and he became successful in 2002 to become the member of parliament.

Mr Speaker, that was entering into a difficult time for the Jamaica Labour Party, the then leader of the Opposition Most Honourable Edward Seaga was transitioning out of parliament and Bruce Golding was coming in. The question was during the interregnum who would be the leader of the opposition and by consensus all MPs at the time including myself agreed that we could entrust this position to Ken Baugh.

The media reports carry its own words because a reporter interviewed him and asked him “so wouldn’t you keep this position of leader of the opposition?”  and he said “no” and that is the mark of the man; he was not about power, he was about service and that is to me, the signal marker of his integrity.

Of course, the history is well documented, Bruce Golding would in a few months’ time go on to win West Kingston seat and Ken Baugh would resign and Bruce would then become the leader of the opposition.

Right throughout Ken’s life and reflected in the tributes that have been given here is that in Jamaican terms you would describe Ken as a ‘nice man’, a man of great honour, integrity, dignity and agreeing with the leader of the opposition he is a personality/ a character that we all could do well to emulate and indeed Mr Speaker, I have tried to emulate his life and work and I think Mr Speaker that Jamaica is better off having such a person representing us.

Deputy prime minister, minister of foreign affairs, leader of the opposition, minister of health, member of parliament; great Jamaican. May light perpetually shine on these souls that served with us in this noble House and may we extend to their family our sympathies and deepest respect. Thank you.