THE Senate yesterday said goodbye to its president, Rev Stanley Redwood, only 16 months after he took over the chair with the change of government in January 2102.
As soon as the Senate completed debating the 2013/14 Appropriations Bill, Senator Redwood, in a brief statement, informed the members of his immediate resignation and his decision to move to Canada with his family on May 20.
His resignation letter to Parliament, which was read by the Clerk Heather Cooke, stated that as a consequence of his decision to emigrate with his family to Canada, he was resigning with immediate effect.
“I count it as a privilege to have served this nation in that position of honour over the past 16 months. This privilege has been accentuated by the support I have received from all the honourable members of the Senate. I am supremely confident that the shared goal that this will be remembered as the most productive Senate since independence will be realised,” Redwood's resignation letter said.
“My confidence is anchored in the statesmanship and patriotic commitment I have encountered among the members. There is also a particular camaraderie often reflected in the spontaneous, good-natured humour across the aisle, which also augurs well for the success of the Senate.
“I am deeply grateful for the warmth and cordiality that was shown to me by everyone of you. Kindly accept the assurances of my highest regard,” the letter added.
On behalf of the Senate, the Leader of Government Business Senator A J Nicholson acknowledged the letter, which immediately came into effect in accordance with the Jamaican Constitution. After it was read, Senator Redwood left the chair. Veteran member, Senator Navel Clarke then temporarily took charge of the sitting.
Senator Nicholson expressed the thanks and appreciation of the Government members to Senator Redwood for his service and credited him with laying the foundation for the current Senate to become “the best Senate ever”.
“You were clearly guided by a sense of fairness, a sense of justice, a sense of giving every man his due. These are some of the hallmarks of a good judge, and by extension, of a good president of the Senate,” Nicholson said.
“I have been commissioned by Senator KD Knight to say the following: ‘You contributed immensely to laying the foundation of this Senate, achieving the position of being the best Senate ever. In that sense you are more than a part of the history of this Upper House… We owe you a debt of gratitude. I am personally sorry that you are leaving’,” Senator Nicholson said.
Leader of Opposition Business Senator Arthur Williams said that he shared the view that Senator Redwood acquitted himself as someone with experience in the chair soon after his selection.
He said that Redwood led the Senate with humility, and that he was confident that there has been no occasion that anyone on either side of the Senate could accuse him of being unfair.
“May I say to you, Senator Redwood, as I have said to you personally on many occasions, I have admired your leadership and I hope that we have lived up to your expectations,” Senator Williams said.
Minister with responsibility for information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, noted that many pundits doubted Redwood’s ability at the beginning of his term, suggesting that it was not an astute appointment but a “risky” one.
“As it turned out, your appointment was a master stroke,” she said.
Redwood was appointed to Senate after two unsuccessful attempts at being elected to the House of Representatives on a PNP ticket, losing to the Jamaica Labour Party’s JC Hutchinson in North West St Elizabeth in 2002, and to Dr Christopher Tufton in South West St Elizabeth in 2007.
He is married to Karen Watson-Redwood and together they have five children — four daughters and one son.