Trelawny mourns Alfred Chen
THE constituency of South Trelawny was still in shock Thursday, following the death of Jamaica Labour Party Caretaker for the constituency, Alfred Chen.
“All the people are in shock (and) the whole place feeling a loss,” chairman of the Southern Trelawny Environmental Protection Agency (STEPA), Hugh Dixon, told the Observer.
Forty-nine year old Chen, who was also the sitting councillor for the Albert Town division in the Trelawny Parish Council, died on Wednesday evening after his helicopter crashed in bushes, shortly after it took off, in the community of Lorimers.
Residents reportedly searched the crash site for nearly an hour, but were only able to find the businessman after he discharged two bullets from his licensed firearm.
In the 1997 elections Chen ran on the JLP ticket but lost to current Member of Parliament, Doreen Chen (no relation). He was later elected as councillor for the Albert Town division.
Since entering elective politics in the area, Chen has been involved in several projects in South Trelawny, including the building of playing fields and construction of roads.
Four years ago he played an integral role in the establishment of the Trelawny yam festival and was a corporate sponsor of the event.
“He was always around to assist out of pocket and he did it genuinely and was not looking for anything,” Dixon said.
Chen was in the process of constructing a multi-million dollar facility in Albert Town, that he had planned to use as a training centre for persons in the constituency.
His death has left the project with an uncertain future.
“He wanted to finish the complex before the end of the year, so it could help the people, but I don’t know what will happen now,” Dixon said.
The STEPA chairman said the community would suffer immensely from Chen’s death, and expressed the hope that other business persons would follow his philanthropic examples.
Meanwhile, JLP deputy leader in charge of Area Four, Ed Bartlett, told the Observer that Chen was one of the exciting new recruits to the political process and a forthright member of the western team who would be missed.
Bartlett said Chen’s freshness, zeal and energy gave hope to both the young and the old in his constituency, where he donated much to education.
The National Democratic Movement (NDM) has also expressed its regret at Chen’s death.
In a release, the NDM said Chen would be remembered for his philanthropy, kind-heartedness and love for Jamaica, as well as his contribution to public life.
On Thursday, the Trelawny Parish Council suspended its standing orders and observed a minute of silence in Chen’s memory.
Members of Parliament Wendell Stewart and Doreen Chen, as well as the councillors who were in attendance at the regular monthly meeting, offered glowing tributes to their late colleague.