Mayor of Black River Everton Fisher and other Councillors at the Parish Council are still in shock following news of the passing of agriculture minister and ruling People's National Party giant Roger Clarke.
"I am at a loss for words, I don't know what to say... I am devastated," a sobbing Mayor of Black River Everton Fisher said yesterday.
Fisher, who is the councillor for the Balaclava Division where Clarke served before his promotion to parliamentary politics in the early 1990s, described Clarke as his "political father". Clarke, he said, was the man who had taught him everything he knew about politics as he served the North East St Elizabeth constituency organisation as youth co-ordinator, as a personal assistant to Clarke and latterly as parish councillor.
A former mayor of Black River, Clarke was Member of Parliament for North East St Elizabeth between 1991 and 2007. At the time of his death, he was MP for Central Westmoreland. Clarke holds the distinction of never having lost an election.
He lived with his family in the Balaclava Division, and was a leading cane farmer in the Elim/Bogue area of North East St Elizabeth.
Like Fisher, Audie Myers — parish councillor for the Siloah Division — hailed Clarke as his teacher.
"Everything I know about politics, he taught me," said Myers. "He was also my friend and brother," said an emotional Myers.
Fisher and Myers spoke of Clarke's tendency to reach across political party lines — a characteristic highlighted by another former mayor of Black River, Jeremy Palmer (Jamaica Labour Party).
"He was a friendly and charming man," said Palmer. "Roger was someone with whom I had a wonderful relationship."