VETERAN public servant Faith Innerarity died yesterday in Florida, United States, where she had gone for cancer treatment. She was 54.
A former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Culture Youth and Sports, Innerarity worked for more than 30 years in the civil service, spending much of that time in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS).
'Mrs Inn', as she was affectionately called, represented Jamaica at many international conferences and was lauded for her outstanding contribution to public service.
At the MLSS Innerarity served as director-general and, before that, director of social security for several years, and was instrumental in the development of the country's social safety net, including the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
There she worked under several labour ministers, including current Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the late Donald Buchanan, Horace Dalley, Dean Peart, Pearnel Charles and Derrick Kellier.
She recently resigned from the public service due to ill health, a source at the MLSS confirmed yesterday, and was pursuing doctoral studies at the University of the West Indies at the time of her passing.
A devout Christian, Innerarity was a leading member of the Dayton Avenue Church of God in Kingston. She was married and had a son.
In a statement, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said she was saddened at the passing of her colleague in public service.
"Mrs Innerarity has been an outstanding civil servant who not only dedicated her life and work in the service of her country, but whose principled lifestyle strengthened the quality of her service to Jamaica. It was reassuring for me as Minister of Labour and Social Security to have had someone like Mrs Innerarity by my side as she was not only a dedicated professional, but someone who vetted her thoughts and actions with Christian principles," the Simpson Miller said.
The prime minister said Innerarity's efforts supported a successful initiative that resulted in the removal of music and talk show content deemed harmful to children and lowering the dignity of women.
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness also expressed sadness at Innerarity's death, noting that she not only worked closely with him while he was minister of education, but also lectured him while he was a student at the University of the West Indies.
"Her determination, knowledge of the issues, thoughtfulness, selflessness and commitment to service were of an international standard, and her work will be felt throughout Jamaica for decades to come."
Meanwhile the MLSS, in expressing regret, said that Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier and permanent secretary Alvin McIntosh were away in Canada on government business and would issue a statement shortly.