CLAREMONT, St Ann — Seymour Mullings was yesterday eulogised as Jamaica's finest political thoroughbred, a man of great character, and a politician to whom the label tribalist could never be ascribed.
"His sharpness of mind, ease of manner and love and respect for people as individuals marked him out as a man whom no reasonable person could dislike. He was the antithesis of the political tribalist," former Prime Minister PJ Patterson said in his remembrance of the man who served as deputy prime minister, finance minister, and Jamaica's ambassador to the United States at different stages of his political career spanning just over 30 years.
Proof of the respect which Mullings enjoyed was evident in the large turnout of politicians from both major parties at his Official Funeral at St Matthew's Anglican Church in his hometown of Claremont, which sits in the South East St Ann constituency which he represented in Parliament.
A capacity congregation that spilled over into the church hall and tents in the churchyard listened as Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness read the first and second lessons respectively.
Reverend Robert Thompson, in delivering the homily, noted that for so many politicians of both major political parties to have attended the service, Mullings — who died at age 82 on October 9 after ailing for sometime — was truly a man of great character.
But it was former Prime Minister Patterson who related well the life of his late colleague.
Using Mullings' favourite sport of horse racing to describe him, Patterson said Mullings established himself as "Jamaica's finest political thoroughbred".
Describing Mullings as "a man for all seasons", Patterson also hailed the man known as 'Foggy' as "a comrade to the bone".
"Seymour Mullings was truly one of a kind. His sound upbringing and calm temperament made him uniquely fitted for the time and space which he occupied in Jamaica's political history," Patterson said.
According to Patterson, Mullings contested seven major elections between 1969 and 2000, winning every one by over 70 per cent, except for 1980 when he won by 53 per cent.
"No constituency has ever been served better by one who seemed to know every voter by name, who sought to satisfy the priority needs of each district and community," Patterson said.
Mullings's sister Phyllis Amber said "no matter how far he travelled, his heart was with the people of St Ann".
He was also remembered as one who never forgot his roots, who loved his family, and an honourable man who never lifted his voice beyond its normal range, but was able to get the work done.
Up to the time of his passing Mullings was the only ex-parliamentarian to have served more Cabinet portfolios than anyone alive.
Mullings entered the Parliament in 1969 after defeating the Jamaica Labour Party's Garland Lloyd in a by-election triggered by the resignation of Lloyd's father, Dr Ivan Lloyd.
Mullings held the seat until 1983 when the Michael Manley-led People's National Party (PNP) boycotted the snap general election of that year called by Prime Minister Edward Seaga.
However, Mullings returned to the House of Representatives in 1989, following a comfortable general election victory by the PNP. He served as MP until 2001, leaving the seat vacant for almost a year, after which he was succeeded by present High Commissioner to London, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba who was, up to that time, a senator.
The seat is now held by Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna.
Following yesterday's funeral service, Mullings' remains were interred in the St Matthew's Church cemetery.