MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Councillors at yesterday's monthly meeting of the Manchester Parish Council paid rich tribute to former Mayor of Mandeville Cecil Charlton, who died earlier at the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital.
The 88-year-old Charlton served in both the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party as mayor of Mandeville during the 1970s and '80s.
Current Mayor of Mandeville and chairman of the council, Brenda Ramsay, who was presiding over the monthly council meeting when news came of Charlton's death, described him as "fearless" and a "giant".
Ramsay said that while she was not a member when the council was presided over by Charlton, she benefited from his counsel.
"He was a very accessible person. When you need advice he would readily give it. He was a fearless individual and a man of action. We are missing a giant of a man who was small in stature, but large in many other ways. He will be long remembered, not only in Manchester, but throughout Jamaica," she said.
Ramsay regretted that a bust of Charlton slated to be erected in the town centre in his honour was not completed in his lifetime. However, she said that efforts will be made to keep the Cecil Charlton Park at the standard that he would have wanted. The park, at the heart of Mandeville, as well as a conference hall attached to the parish library were named for Charlton.
Councillor Desmond Harrison (JLP, Christiana Division) said that the former mayor was "a son of the soil" who had done much for Manchester. The library was among the institutions that benefited greatly from Charlton's work, he said.
Harrison recalled that as a businessman, Charlton was one of the first persons to operate a fleet of taxis in the town and was known for his horse-racing business, Charles Off Betting Limited.
Deputy Mayor Ervin Facey said that Charlton was a man who was always of and for the people and hardly a "nine night" (wake) would miss him.
Facey hailed Charlton's tremendous contribution and recalled that it was largely Charlton's input that earned Mandeville the reputation of being one of Jamaica's cleanest towns.