By Sue-Ann Wayow
A SERVANT, a dedicated colleague and fighter has been lost with the passing of former government minister Marlene McDonald.
This according to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in a Facebook post on the passing of McDonald on Friday at the age of 63. She had been ailing for some time.
He wrote, “Today the Peoples National Movement (PNM) received the sad news of the passing of a servant and a dedicated colleague, Ms Marlene McDonald. She was a dedicated fighter who devoted much of her adult life to the service of others. We mourn her loss as we extend our deepest condolences to her family. From all her colleagues and the PNM family, may she Rest in Peace.”
The PNM in a statement also spoke highly of the party’s former member.
McDonald served in several ministerial capacities under the PNM administration after being elected the Member of Parliament for Port of Spain South for three consecutive terms since 2007.
In 2010, she was also appointed as the Opposition Chief Whip and served in that position until 2015.
“As the Chief Whip, Ms McDonald was fierce and knowledgeable, and she very effectively used the tools of the Parliament and its Standing Orders,” the party stated.
Her last ministerial portfolio was as Minister in the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications which she served as for a brief period.
On a party level, she served as Deputy Political Leader- Legislative from 2010- 2019, and will be credited for hosting robust monthly group meetings. In an effort to ensure maximum participation, she made it her duty to carry the meetings across the length and breadth of the country, something all members appreciated, the release stated.
The PNM stated, “With a powerful voice, a passion for the people of Port of Spain South and a clear sense of purpose, Marlene McDonald used her training as an attorney-at-law to be a champion of and for the people of her constituency and of the country.
“She was a fearless and outstanding debater, well-researched, and always ready to lift the level of the debates, both academically and politically. She possessed a sharp legal acumen which aided her various parliamentary portfolios. Her wit was unmatched both in the Parliament and on the political platform.”
General Secretary of the People’s National Movement Foster Cummings said, “Marlene was an extremely hard worker, in life and for the PNM and she will definitely be missed by those who worked with her.”
The party extended its sincerest condolences to McDonald’s family, friends and former constituents praying that she rests comfortably in God’s eternal peace.
Several of her colleagues also posted condolences on their social media pages last evening.
Describing her as “a dedicated stalwart and daughter of the soil” Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Faris Al Rawi said affectionately known as “Aunty Marlene,” her unwavering commitment to public service and contributions to nation’s development were indelible.
Opposition Deputy Leader Dr Roodal Moonilal also offered sentiments.
He said, “Deepest condolences to the relatives, friends and supporters of former Minister Marlene MacDonald. I had the opportunity to work closely with her as Chief Whip when I served as Leader of Government Business in the 10th Republican Parliament. She was an affable and dedicated representative. May her soul rest in peace.”