WITH the haunting melody of the ‘Meditation de Thais’ by Jules Massenet playing in the background, mourners yesterday morning filed pass the casket of PNCR member Winston Murray as his body lay in repose for about three hours in the building where he made such an indelible mark during his lifetime.
Murray’s casket stood in the pillared entrance to the Parliament Buildings with four persons standing guard at each extremity. Apart from Murray’s immediate family and relatives, among the people paying their respects to the fallen PNC stalwart were President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Sam Hinds, several ministers of government, officials from government ministries, staff of Parliament, persons from the legal fraternity of which Murray was also a member, Members of Parliament, Members of the PNCR, and others.
During a public viewing of the body yesterday at Parliament Building, the President met Murray’s close relatives and friends including party colleagues before signing the book of condolence.
The funeral service continued with a viewing and tribute at St George’s Cathedral by different groups and individuals including Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Speaker of the House Ralph Ramkarran, representatives from different opposition party groups and the Bar Association.
Burial will take place on the Essequibo Island of Leguan, after a service at the St Peter’s Anglican Church.
Murray died at the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) after being on life support for a period of 11 days since a collapse that caused severe brain hemorrhage.
Upon learning of the death of the politician, the President in a message of condolence, described Murray as an outstanding Guyanese and human being.
He noted that the death has robbed the country and the National Assembly of an articulate and intelligent debater whose presentations in the House were always of an exceptionally high standard.
The National Assembly was last graced by Murray the very evening that he fell ill, on Thursday November 11, where he made a sterling contribution to an ongoing debate.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Ralph Ramkarran, upon viewing Murray’s remains and signing the book of condolence yesterday, said: “Mr. Murray had a large number of qualities, but I think the most important thing is that he was one of the finest parliamentarians who have ever been a member of the National Assembly.”
Ramkarran said Murray was always well prepared. “He mastered his brief. His presentations were impeccable and he made a great contribution towards the deliberations of the National Assembly,” the Speaker said.
Ramkarran added that of equal importance was Murray’s contribution to the committees of the National Assembly “which do not always get publicity.”
“He was a member of, and past Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. He was a member of two special select committees [at the time of his death] and from time to time, he was a member of other special select committees,” Ramkarran said.
According to the Speaker, Murray’s work in those committees was extremely important, “especially since we are now building and developing our committee system.”
Ramkarran said, too, that Murray made a very great contribution to the National Assembly “and that is what he will be remembered for.”
According to Ramkarran, Murray was also a man of great humility. “Never aggressive, never hostile, never offended anybody and he was a man who never got involved in small talk and whispers. So he was a fine person and a great parliamentarian,” the Speaker said.