Sympathy on the Death of Mrs. Sheila Holder3614 02 Aug, 2012
Ms. Selman: I rise on behalf of A Partnership for National Unity to support the motion standing in the name of the Hon. Member Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, under the caption, “Sympathy on the Death of Mrs. Sheila Holder”.
I have had the privilege of serving in the Parliament of Guyana during the period 2006 – 2011 with Mrs. Sheila Holder, a former Member of this National Assembly, who, after lifelong service to her country, Guyana, departed this earthly plane on 20th November, 2011.
Born on 7th February, 1946, Mrs. Sheila Holder spent most of her sixty-five years on this stage of life in service to the people of Guyana in various capacities. She was a wonderful mother, a skilful homemaker, civil society activist, consumer advocate, vice chairperson of the Alliance For Change, former Member of Parliament for both the Working People’s Alliance and the Alliance For Change from the period 2001 – 2011.
Mrs. Holder rendered exemplary service to the National Assembly from 19th March, 2001, until the dissolution of the Ninth Parliament on 27th September, 2011. During her tenure in the National Assembly, Mrs. Holder tabled the following motions:
• The Casino Gambling, published on 12th December, 2006, but was not adopted.
• Access to Local and External Channel, other than NCN Channel at Linden, which was published on 22nd July, 2008, but also was not adopted.
• Political Parties Campaign Financing motion published on 8th October, 2010, and adopted on 22nd April, 2011.
Mrs. Holder, whilst a Member of this National Assembly, asked numerous questions with and without notice.
Mrs. Holder entered this National Assembly in 2001 after being extracted from the Guyana Action Party/Working People’s Alliance (GAP/WPA) list of Candidates. Mrs. Holder served as a member of the Parliamentary Management Committee, the Committee on Appointments of members of constitutional commissions and the Standing Orders Committee.
Mrs. Sheila Holder participated in the World Bank’s seminar on “Parliaments, Good Governance and Poverty Reduction” in Finland in 2003. My research has revealed that it was during this time that she was contracted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) to prepare a study on political party campaign financing in Guyana.
Mrs. Holder served as a member of the Trustee Board of the NGO Forum and as a Director of Guyana Stores Ltd., the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and the Bauxite Industry Development Company Ltd.
In 1995, Mrs. Holder became chairperson for the Environmental Chapter of the Guyana National Development Strategy. Within the region, she was elected a member of the CARICOM- recongised Caribbean Consumers Consultative Committee, a precursor to the Caribbean Consumer Council. Mrs. Holder was also a member of the Global Policy & Campaigns Committee of Consumers International as a representative for Latin America and the Caribbean. She represented the regional group at meetings such as the CARICOM Forward Together Conference with heads of Government, the 7th CARICOM Council Meeting for Human and Social Developments, and the 23rd Meeting of Ministers and ACP-EU Economic and Social Interest Groups in Brussels.
In 2002, Mrs. Holder was recognised by the St. Lucian Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Investment and Consumer Affairs and the St. Lucian Consumer Association for her contribution to the advancement of the consumer movement in St. Lucia.
My colleague, the Hon. Member Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, has already alluded to the fact that during 2004 Mrs. Sheila Holder was part of the Commonwealth expert team of five mandated by the Commonwealth Secretary-General to report on the Cameroon registration process for presidential elections, and that she returned, subsequently, as a member of the 45th Commonwealth Elections Observer Group to the Cameroon presidential elections under the chairmanship of Mr. Joe Clark.
Mrs. Holder had presented several papers at international conferences, including the presentation of “Privatisation of Telecommunications,the Guyana Experience” at the Consumers International Fourth Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile and she had contributed articles to regional and international publications.
Mrs. Holder was an outstanding politician. Mrs. Sheila Holder was a patriot who embodied the attributes of grace and service. She was a fierce fighter for a better and united Guyana and worked tirelessly to promote change in her dear land.
We, in APNU, extend our heartfelt condolences to her widower, her children and family, including the AFC family, in this time of grief.
Mrs. Sheila Holder was the embodiment of dignity, fairness and equality. She was an upstanding citizen and, as was said earlier, an uncompromised politician and words cannot express how much she will be missed in this National Assembly and in Guyana.
Mrs. Sheila Holder’s medical condition had forced her to withdraw from the position of Prime Ministerial candidate for the AFC. Her sudden demise has created a vacuum which cannot be filled. However, we in this National Assembly can only wish her family and friends, and members of the Alliance For Change, of which she was a founding member, deepest sympathy on the passing of this wonderful woman who has left a legacy to be admired and patterned. Guyana has lost a dedicated and concerned citizen.
Mrs. Holder fought a courageous battle until the end and that, I believe, is the legacy that she leaves behind for us to emulate. Rest in peace, dear daughter of Guyana.
I wish, therefore, on behalf of A Partnership for National Unity, to support the motion in its entirety. May her soul rest in peace.
Thank you. [Applause]
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