The ruling People’s National Movement Sunday described the island’s former high commissioner to Jamaica, Fitzgerald Jeffrey as a “good and faithful servant,” who provided “selfless” service to Trinidad and Tobago.
Jeffrey, who served as the High Commissioner to Jamaica from 2016 to 2018, died Saturday after battling lung cancer for the past three years.
Prior to his appointment as a diplomat, Jeffery was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2007, serving as Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education. He was re-elected in 2010 and served as an opposition legislator until 2015.
“A fervid orator, his passion for his people and his advocacy for his constituents were evident in his contributions in the Lower House, which were crisp and compendious,” the PNM said.
In January, Jeffery disclosed he was seeking financial assistance to raise US$1 million for a lung transplant and had set up a GoFundMe account.
He said a severe blood clot subsequently led to him being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.
Jeffrey had tests done at the University of the West Indies Hospital, Mona and was diagnosed with stage four pulmonary fibrosis. The doctors recommended a lung transplant.
The 69-year-old retired secondary school teacher in February said he believed his lung disease may have been caused by the December 17, 2013 oil spill where an estimated 7 000 barrels of oil leaked into the area.
Jeffrey recalled the oil company used the dispersant Corexit 9500, said to be a cancer-causing agent, in the clean-up exercise.
He said he walked in the mangroves and along the coastline from La Brea to Aripero, “in the thick of the things to investigate and do research, breathing in the toxic air”.
Jeffrey is survived by his wife, Julia and one daughter.
“We wish to convey our heartfelt appreciation for the selfless time, effort and service Fitzgerald invested in our party, in his community of La Brea, and in our nation. Rest in perfect peace, good and faithful servant,” the PNM added.