Jamaica has been robbed of an outstanding public servant in the person of Mrs Faith Innerarity, who lost her battle with cancer last Thursday while undergoing treatment in Florida. At the time of her death she was director general in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and served the nation's public service with faithfulness, probity and credibility for some three decades. We will undoubtedly be poorer for her passing.
For Mrs Innerarity not only understood that the Westminster model of governance bequeathed to us by the British behoves those holding public office to be professional at all times. Equally important, she knew professional probity and a keen observance of rules were critical in promoting fairness and integrity in the performance of public duties. She viewed these virtues as sacrosanct, even while the traditional civil service floundered under the weight of bureaucratic lethargy in a highly charged and inflammable polity such as Jamaica.
"Mrs Innie", as she was affectionately known by close colleagues and friends, was never swayed by the vicissitudes of change that have assaulted the civil service in the last two decades or more. And this enabled her to survive changes of government and to serve knowledgeably and wisely the duly elected government of the day.
She had an in-depth grasp of the link between evidence-based research, policy implementation and evaluation. Some say she was a "policy wonk". This may well be true. What other explanation accounts for her enormous impact beyond our shores, regionally and internationally, as the consummate policy-focused technocrat?
On a good day, Mrs Innerarity's sense of humour had the capability of sending her listeners into paroxysms of laughter - a characteristic hidden by her stately mannerism. She loved Jamaica and its people and received great satisfaction bringing about improvements in their lives. Above all, she loved the public service. She once said: "I see my service in the public service not just as service, not just a job, but a service to mankind."
As the public service she leaves behind retreats into reflective mode on her impact, I hope that her legacy will not be out of our minds because she is out of our sight.
This devout Christian departed from us with a smile. I read this to mean that all is well with her soul. She knew, after all, the value of her own empowerment.
Rest well, Faith, good and faithful servant.