Simple farewell for ‘simple, humble’ Jennifer Johnson

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former government minister Jennifer Johnson.

PERHAPS it was fitting that her final send-off was a simple yet dignified one, reflective of the live lived by former government minister Jennifer Johnson.

While Johnson wore many hats and represented this country in many spheres, at her home-going service on Thursday, one of her daughters Nadine Johnson remembered her as, “just a simple, humble and real Tobago girl at heart.”

HONOURED: Girls Guides form an honour guard at the funeral for former NAR government minister and former president of the Girls Guides Association, Jennifer Johnson, at her funeral at SAPA on Thursday. Photo by Lincoln Holder

People across the political spectrum filled the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts where the funeral was held for the former NAR government minister. The turnout was testimony to the fact that Johnson garnered respect and admiration from many, even from different political parties.

Girls Guides dressed in their smart blue uniforms, formed an honour guard as her casket was taken from the academy to the Roodal cemetery for burial.

In addition to being a government minister, Johnson served as president of the Girls Guides Association, as well as executive director of Junior Achievement (JA) and chair of the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP), the blind welfare association and many other organisations.

Representatives from each of these entities paid tribute. JA’s Errol J Lewis who succeeded Johnson as executive director, described her as the “oxygen in the JA’s office.”

YTEPP’s Rhonda Taylor-Lewis, said she wished she had the ability to turn back the hands of time to work with her again.

PNM Senator Laurel Lezama Lee Sing said she could still hear Johnson’s voice repeating her mantra, “Let the young people speak,” rallying against the tide of the older heads who insisted that traditional ways were the best way.

Senator Laurel Lezama Lee Sing speaks at the funeral for Jennifer Johnson at SAPA on Thursday. Photo by Lincoln Holder

Former Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan who succeeded Johnson as Girl Guides president, said Johnson was loved and cherished by the girls and leaders.

Johnson was also remembered as one of the NAR government ministers held hostage by Yasin Abu Bakr and his Jamaat al Muslimeen insurgents during the July 27, 1990 attempted coup in the Red House.