A win against smoking

On the heels of a successful debate in the Jamaican Parliament for a Smoking Ban Bill, Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson stopped over in New York for some rest and relaxation and to accept an award from his expatriate countrymen at the Adria Hotel in Queens.

Dr. Ferguson was praised not only for that legislative victory, but also for his tireless work as a public servant; he being the longest-serving MP representing the constituency of Eastern St. Thomas since 1944 and surpassing the previous record-holder, L G Newland, who served 19 years, 11 months and 28 days.

“What difference does a couple a days make,” Ferguson quipped, as he graciously accepted his award.

The bill calling for a Smoking Ban Act was passed after a little more than two weeks of debate, over disallowing smoking in recreational facilities and public places.

Every year, Jamaicans of different social circles in its New York diaspora honor compatriots who are making a difference in the lives of others back home. This year, “Friends of Eastern St. Thomas” undoubtedly honored Dr. Ferguson for his 20-year tenure as MP alongside his outstanding work in improving the overall health of the country.

In accepting his award at the Adria Hotel on Saturday night July 6, 2013, Dr. Ferguson thanked the people of his constituency first for consistently believing in him for the past 20 years and supporting his vision in improving the parish stance. He also defined his position as a health minister whose responsibility is to provide first class health care and benefits to all Jamaicans, especially the elderly and children, who are vulnerable to second-hand smoke in places such as hospitals, libraries and schools.