Meet Patricia Allen - Jamaica's next 'First Lady'

Published: Monday | February 2, 2009

Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor

Patricia Allen, wife of governor-general designate Dr Patrick Allen, loves plants and flowers and plans to keep up the tradition of beautiful gardens at King's House. - photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

This is the conclusion of a two-part story on Patricia Allen, wife of the next Governor-General Dr Patrick Allen. Part one was in yesterday's Gleaner.

At age 57, Mrs Allen typifies many women from rural Jamaica, who, through ambition, good parenting and hard work, has achieved her goals.

She is a teacher and a nurse by profession, and the mother of three adult children, two sons, Kurt and David, and a daughter, Candice. She has four grandchildren. She met her husband at Moneague Teachers' College in St Ann and they have been married for 34 years.

She is ready to embrace her new role and is prepared for the inevitable. They are prepared, she told Flair, her husband has held an administrative post for eight years and is no stranger to leadership. Last Wednesday, she demitted office as the head of Shepherdess International, an organisation that looks after the welfare of pastors' wives.

Dr and Mrs Allen became vegeta-rians a year ago and hope to continue the vegetable garden started by Lady Cooke at King's House. Mrs Allen told Flair that she would love to produce all the vegetables consumed at her new residence. Here are her views on the following subjects:


"Each child is different. There is no one prescription for every child and parents should study each child and tailor the approach to rearing them accordingly."

She revealed that a lot of pressure is put on the children of ministers and pastors who, from early, are constantly told that because of who their parents are, they must be well-behaved at all times.

However, because pastors traditionally place family third on the list of priorities behind God and the church/community, their children are usually develop rebellious patterns. They rebel against the congregation that robs them of their father's time and attention. When families are usually at home on the weekends and in the evenings, those are usually the times pastors are on the job or out in the field doing church work. Mothers often end up carrying the load and the children often develop resentment. But to prevent children from going astray, Mrs Allen believes that mothers must first have the courage to stand up and call sin, sin. No matter who commits it.


The soon-to-be 'First Lady' has, for years, enjoyed wearing fashionable and tastefully designed clothes, she has a preference for suits and most of the time designs her own. She has studied designing and, for the swearing-in ceremony on February 26, she is still in the decision-making process.

"I am getting lots of advice but I am looking at the Vogue and Neiman Marcus websites for ideas," she said, knowing that the eyes of the nation will be on her. Like most women, she loves fashionable shoes and beautiful hats.


She makes her own vegetarian meals and, during our visit, she prepared a chick pea curry. She walks regularly, goes to the gym with her husband and, with her nursing training to guide her, she adopts a holistic approach to living.


Having lived in the United States and her children schooled there, she would love to see Jamaica adopt a successful project to lower the rate of teenage pregnancy in some school districts. The children were given life-sized dolls that were programmed to cry and give all the challenges that real babies present. The teenage girls could not cheat in tending to them because all of their responses would be recorded in a computer and, because of the frequency of the crying, and demand for attention, the girls who were made to face the reality of child-rearing, were turned off having children until they were really ready.


"In my day, teachers were very important to the life of the community. Teachers played the organ and piano in church and they filled out forms and assisted in completing all important documents for persons in the community who needed help. They were well-respected citizens, who could discipline children without fear for their lives. This is not so today."

Patricia Allen points to a bunch of bananas that she has tended in her backyard garden and believes that she can grow enough vegetables to feed the King's House household. She will continue the garden that was established by Lady Cooke.