Senate Pays Tribute to Edley Deans

Senate Pays Tribute to Edley Deans

The Senate, on Thursday (September 22), paid tribute to the late former Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Edley Lopez Deans, CD, JP, who died on August 27.

Leading the tributes, President of the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, said Mr. Deans had a long and full career in the Parliament, and carried out his duties in an impartial manner and with the dignity befitting the position.

“He was a fount of knowledge and committed himself to the principles that guided correct parliamentary practices and procedures. He was a genial gentleman whose contribution to national development will not soon be forgotten or underestimated,” he said.

Mr. Deans served in several capacities throughout his tenure from 1956 to 1994, including Assistant Clerk and Deputy Clerk, before being elevated to the position of Clerk to the Houses of Parliament in 1978.

“You are looking at a man who served this Parliament from 1956 to 1994, which would have made him a spectator to the development of this country,” Senator Tavares-Finson said.

During his time with the Parliament, Mr. Deans served with two National Heroes, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante and the Rt. Excellent Norman Manley.

Mr. Deans also served with Prime Ministers – the Most Hon. Sir Donald Sangster, Hugh Shearer, Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, and P.J. Patterson.

“He would have had a bird’s eye view of the history of this country,” the President said.

For her part, Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Valerie Curtis, described Mr. Deans as the parliamentary encyclopedia.

“Mr. Deans loved his work. You could call on him at any time to answer any question you wanted to have answered concerning the work to be done at Parliament. When you asked him a specific question, he would not answer yes or no, he would give you a lesson on the subject, all in the aim of helping you to understand and retain what he wanted you to know,” she said.

Government Senator, Kavan Gayle, described Mr. Deans as the consummate public servant, who was dedicated to serving.

“Not only was he a consummate public servant, but also a mentor and that’s important… to mentor the other members of staff. And those of us who are going through the Standing Orders, can understand and appreciate the work that he would have done to lay the foundation to what is being depicted today,” he said.

Senator Gayle, who used the opportunity to recognise public servants who have served well, noted that Mr. Deans “was one such person, and we commend him for that.”

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Peter Bunting, said: “we all are better off today for the decades of service he gave to this institution.”

“He was, perhaps, the only non-attorney to serve as Clerk to our Houses of Parliament and the fact that, notwithstanding, he was such an authority on parliamentary practice and procedures, tells you how dedicated he was to the position,” Senator Bunting said.

Members of the Senate also observed a minute’s silence in his honour.

Mr. Deans retired in 1994 and returned to serve as consultant on parliamentary practices and procedures until 2002.


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