Violet Neilson, first female House Speaker in Jamaica, has died Loop Jamaica

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Violet Neilson

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Violet Neilson, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives in Jamaica, has died.

She was aged 93 years.

Neilson, who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for St James East Central from 1989 to 1997, representing the then governing People’s National Party (PNP), died Tuesday afternoon while the House was in session

A teacher for 19 years, Neilson also served as the first female President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).

The current Speaker of the House, Juliet Holness, made the announcement of Neilson’s passing on the motion for the adjournment of the sitting.

“Members, while we sat here in Parliament, about an hour, hour and a half ago, our first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Violet Neilson, passed away,” Holness said at 6:33 pm.

Holness said the House will indicate at its next sitting when tributes will be paid to the former speaker.

Neilson was born on July 16, 1931 in Somerton, St James. She was educated at Mico Teachers’ College in Kingston, and returned to Somerton, where she taught for nearly 20 years.

After her teaching career ended, she worked as a secretary for the Member of Parliament (MP) for St James South Eastern, Upton Robotham.

After retiring from politics in 1997, she became an active volunteer at the Somerton United Church.

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