Minister Shahine Robinson fighting cancer

Minister Shahine Robinson fighting cancer

Senior staff reporter

Friday, May 29, 2020

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MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson is seriously ill, a Jamaica Observer source confirmed yesterday.

Robinson, who has been missing in action from work, Parliament and social engagements for some time, is understood to be fighting lung cancer. She has been in and out of hospital since 2018.

“She is very, very ill and I can only hope that she will make it,” a close friend and associate of the minister told the Observer last night. “She has been in and out of Cabinet meetings, and it is well known that she has not been well and has been fighting her illness for some time,” the source stated.

She has been visited by Prime Minister Andrew Holness and their cabinet colleague Olivia “Babsy” Grange since the start of the week at her home in Kingston

The joint select committee of Parliament currently reviewing proposals for the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which would normally have been chaired by the minister of labour, is currently being chaired by her junior minister, Zavier Mayne. Mayne represents the St Ann South Western constituency, and Robinson, who is originally from Claremont in St Ann South Eastern, has been representing the St Ann North Eastern constituency since 2001.

The last time questions arose about Robinson's health was in January when it was raised at a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House. Minister responsible for information, Karl Samuda, said then that she would not be stepping down from her post in the Cabinet, despite her extended period of illness. “I communicate with Minister Robinson regularly; she has attended functions. She is doing very well and we are hoping everything will be just fine for her,” Samuda said then. The St Ann MP has been to the House of Representatives on a few occasions since, however, she appeared to have lost a considerable amount of weight.

A protégé of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, a virtually unknown Robinson scored a major upset in a by-election in the People's National Party's (PNP) St Ann North Eastern stronghold in 2001, defeating Carol Jackson (PNP), after the resignation of Danny Melville (PNP). She has held on to the seat since then for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Robinson's younger brother, Peter Fakhourie, a 62-year-old businessman who lost to Lisa Hanna in the 2007 General Election, died last October.

Robinson's presence was missed by JLP officials attending yesterday's wreath-laying ceremony at National Heroes' Park in Kingston, posthumously celebrating Seaga's 90th birthday.

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