Great (deceased) Jamaicans

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link Ewart Joined: Mar 5, 2005
Posts: 8525
2/15/17 1:07:43 PM 
In reply to mikesiva
More on Louis...

Louis Marriott
The passing of a pasero

by Ewart Walters

Jamaicans have used different words over the years to describe their relationships. I was drawn to remembering this on learning of the death of Louis Marriott.

One by one the words came back. I would not call him a spar or a key-spar. Those were much too flippant for the kind of friends we were. The word in popular usage at mid-20th Century was points. It arose from auto mechanics and the fact that distributors had points, contact points, which transferred current from the spark plugs to each combustion chamber in turn. But points wore out and had to be renewed every so often.

That would not do either.

So neither “friend,” nor “spar,” nor “key-spar” nor “points” satisfied my quest. And then I found it.

Jamaicans returning after working in the Spanish-speaking countries of Cuba, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica and others, used a word that was in the early 20th Century. That word was pasero. And in true Jamaican style, it was often shortened to pas, as in "my pas." From the sense of “ferryman” (translation from Spanish), or someone who would take you somewhere, pasero in essence is someone who will take a walk with you – from dar un paseo, to take a walk.

My walk with Louis spans 59 years. We met at the Ward Theatre during the 1957 LTM Pantomime, Busha Bluebeard. But it was five years later when I was Parliamentary Reporter at Public Opinion in 1962 that we saw each other more often and became paseros. It was one of those paseroships that had no need of regular meetings or telephone calls, or going to have a drink. Whenever we spoke or met, it was as yesterday.

More to the point, born in journalism, our paseroship flourished in the theatre and national development. Louis was born in the theatre. His father was a thespian. As he told me, “I made my theatrical debut at the ripe old age of 2, portraying roles in works that my father wrote, produced and directed to raise funds for Garvey’s UNIA and for the PNP; and being a member of a large family that straddled every conceivable area of the arts and crafts.”

Indeed, his uncle, Alvin Marriott, was the sculptor who created the statue at the entrance to the Stadium, the statue of The Jamaican Athlete, incorporating aspects of the quartet of Wint, McKenley, Laing and Rhoden who blazed to gold and glory in Helsinki at the 1952 Olympics and put Jamaica on the track and field map.

Louis’ passion for the theatre led him to found the Caribbean Thespians which included in its membership the supreme comedian Charles Hyatt, among others. So it was not strange for him to be invited to be a part of that pantomime which marked the on-stage transition from things English to things Jamaican and featured several Black high school students for the first time.

But the shadow of colonialism was still in its infancy. Louis himself was originally cast as the junior romantic lead but, to the upset of the entire cast, was mysteriously jettisoned when the mother of his female counterpart insisted that her daughter needed a partner of “a lighter hue.”

It is a patriot we now mourn. A man of unshakeable integrity and rectitude that sometimes worked to his detriment, Louis helped secure pay for pantomime actors. Dumped from that part because of his colour, he was then asked to audition for the part of the Dame, which was Charles Hyatt’s role.

But with Charles as a member of his Caribbean Thespians, he was against it and read without feeling. So the part remained Hyatt’s. It was at this point that Hyatt asked for £25 in payment for his services. Grudgingly given, it led the following year to payment for Louise Bennett and Ranny Williams as well. They had never been paid before.

Louis was never very far from the theatre and theatrical productions. When the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation began in December 1958 he was involved in the new wave of Jamaican culture over the radio as the sound effects specialist in addition to playing parts in radio drama. As many people know, he wrote several dramas including A Pack of Jokers, The Prophet, Playboy, Bedward and Over the Years. He has created and produced several radio programmes many of which have been broadcast throughout the English-speaking world.

He had strong ideas about theatre and felt that “there are in our theatre today so many pretenders who reap what Stanislavski dubbed ‘false success’ on the backs of theatregoers.” He wrote about the need for mastery of theatre craft and felt that “theatre fare today is not only half-baked or totally raw but also lacking in essential ingredients.”

“The theatre fraternity looks to me for facts on our theatre history. More recently, the PNP leadership have labelled me ‘the party historian.’ I don’t know how that came about as I’m not even a party member, but I’ve written for them a little booklet on the history of the party for their 70th anniversary celebration and wrote, directed and narrated a 90-minute multi-media documentary staged on their 71st anniversary to launch their conference.”

He worked in public relations with Development and Welfare Minister Edward Seaga on the 1963 Independence Festival, and with Prime Minister Michael Manley as Press Secretary in 1973 and 1979-80, and was Assistant Public Relations officer for the Ninth Central American and Caribbean Games at our National Stadium in 1962.

Between 1967 and 1970 he was Advisor and Deputy Editor with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. From 1976 to 1979 he was Assistant Director at JAMAL, Director of Publications and Advertising for the Agency for Public Information (now JIS), and was a freelance writer since 1980.

Up to his death, he was the Executive Director of the Michael Manley Foundation, a member of the Performing Right Society, Jamaica Federation of Musicians, and founding member of the Jamaica Association of Dramatic Artists. In 1996, he published the book, “Who's Who and What's What in Jamaican Arts and Entertainment."

Louis described himself as “the son of the 109th member of the PNP.” Often in his father’s company “as a ‘fryers,’” he was exposed to a number of significant political events and developments. His oldest specific recollection is of events relating to the 1938 labour disturbances. It was a theme that was revisited in much of his writing and one that remained with him all his life.

Between 2001 and 2002, he had two-thirds of "Growing Up With Jamaica Part I," of his two-part autobiography, serialised in the Sunday Gleaner. The title reflects his exposure to a number of significant political events and developments including the fact that his parents’ house was often the venue for meetings for Ken Hill’s National Reform Association, which was foundational in the national movement. The first book was to end at Independence Day 1962. He had envisaged 56 episodes but, for a number of reasons, lost momentum and moved on to other things.

Seven years ago I ended an e-mail note to Louis as follows: Our days draw near to their close, Louis. I am trying to get some things down on paper and out into the published world. Hope you are doing the same.

“As for recording our history for posterity, I have sort-of started the process,” he said. “If I live long enough, I’ll complete the two autobiographical books, one on the history of the PNP, and a Michael Manley biography....”

I last saw him at the Jamaican launch of my book, “We Come From Jamaica: The National Movement 1937-1962,” at the UWI, Mona, in October 2014. He was not well but came nevertheless… out of paseroship, and the fact that my subject was the National Movement of which he had been a first-hand observer. Indeed, he was one of the many individuals I consulted in researching the book.

Hasta la vista pasero. Andas bien.


link XDFIX Joined: Mar 2, 2003
Posts: 10700
2/15/17 2:15:05 PM 
In reply to Ewart

true Jamaican style, it was often shortened to pas, as in "my pas."

Never heard that term used in Jamaica

link pelon Joined: Mar 22, 2008
Posts: 5665
2/15/17 2:26:08 PM 
In reply to Ewart

Dear sir, thanks for this. I am jumping in [side note] to ask more about the etymology/context of "paseo"
Jamaicans returning after working in the Spanish-speaking countries of Cuba, Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica and others, used a word that was in the early 20th Century. That word was pasero. And in true Jamaican style, it was often shortened to pas, as in "my pas." From the sense of “ferryman” (translation from Spanish), or someone who would take you somewhere, pasero in essence is someone who will take a walk with you – from dar un paseo, to take a walk.

Finding context in this (and I continue to praise and thank you for these postings), is that where Pinchers extracts "pasero"? un pasero / empasero = same linguistic context (JA) as per your your post?:
Hey gringos empasero
Uh-when ya make way for di bandilero
'cause if you don't do that my friend
Then your number is zero
Dem lyrics snatch up like the sword of Zorro

Fascinating after all these years to get a context for the word.....
I said so before: this is the best ever thread on

link Ewart Joined: Mar 5, 2005
Posts: 8525
2/15/17 3:09:32 PM 
In reply to XDFIX

Were you alive in the forties? fifties??

What about points? Did you ever hear points???



link black Joined: Feb 28, 2004
Posts: 24811
2/17/17 10:19:56 AM 
Is this the longest running post on this site?

link Ewart Joined: Mar 5, 2005
Posts: 8525
2/17/17 11:16:05 AM 
In reply to Black

Dunno.... Check Ryan or Chrissy for that.

But it is certainly a very enlightening and entertaining post.


link bimbo Joined: Jan 13, 2006
Posts: 10430
2/17/17 3:58:51 PM 
In reply to Ewart

Do you have any information on Pancho Rankine of St Georges?

link Ewart Joined: Mar 5, 2005
Posts: 8525
2/17/17 5:17:02 PM 
In reply to bimbo

Pancho was around and active while I was in JA but I would have to get help or do serious research in order to tell you anything about him except that he was well known.


link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
2/20/17 6:23:25 AM 
In reply to black

I'm getting down to my last dozen names, so this thread won't run for much longer....
"Cecil Bustamente Campbell OD (24 May 1938 – 8 September 2016), known professionally as Prince Buster, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and producer. The records he released in the 1960s influenced and shaped the course of Jamaican contemporary music and created a legacy of work that would be drawn upon later by reggae and ska artists."

Prince Buster

link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
2/27/17 6:57:53 AM 
In reply to Ewart

Great one on Louis Marriott....
'Among his many experiments, Sir Philip describes as "the biggest course in education" he ever took was his tenure as Education Officer with the Jamaica Welfare Limited. This was a philanthropic organization he joined in 1945 on the invitation of National Hero, Norman Manley where he was able to work at the grassroots to develop leadership in the community. His crowning achievement came in 1964 when he succeeded Sir Arthur Lewis as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, having previously served as Pro Vice-Chancellor. Under his brilliant leadership, the UWI grew in importance and prestige, and stands today as his lasting monument. In this capacity, Sir Philip had also brought with him several years of service to an institution that he had served since the time of its inception in 1948. He had been the first Director of Extra Mural Studies, Vice Principal and Acting Principal of the University College of the West Indies as it was called prior to 1962. He was the founding principal of the new campus at St. Augustine, Trinidad, and undertook the establishment of the Faculty of Engineering as well as transformed and incorporated the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture into that Campus.'

Philip Sherlock....

link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
3/2/17 6:05:46 AM 
'He was born Barrington John Reckord in Kingston, Jamaica, where he grew up in Vineyard Town with his three siblings: two brothers, Carol and Lloyd, and a sister Cynthia. He attended Kingston College and after matriculation went on to study theology at St Peter's College in 1948. He left the island in 1950 after winning an Issa Scholarship to Cambridge University, where he read for a degree at Emmanuel College, graduating in 1953. He began writing plays as a student and several of them were performed at London's Royal Court Theatre (he is claimed as the first Black Briton to have had a play on there), sometimes directed by his brother Lloyd Reckord. Della, Reckord's first play, which (as Adella) had been staged by his brother in a small fringe production in 1954, was produced under the title Flesh to a Tiger at the Royal Court in 1958, directed by Tony Richardson, with a cast that featured Cleo Laine, Pearl Prescod, Nadia Cattouse, Johnny Sekka and Lloyd Reckord, and choreography by Boscoe Holder. The play dealt with the attempts by a cult leader to enforce his wishes on a female member of his congregation. In 1961 the Royal Court also produced You in Your Small Corner, which transferred to the New Arts Theatre and was subsequently adapted for ITV's Play of the Week series in an episode that aired on 5 June 1962, directed by Claude Whatham. This broadcast is now thought to contain the first interracial kiss on television between Lloyd Reckord, the playwright's brother, and Elizabeth MacLennan. Reckord's most successful play Skyvers, first produced in 1963 at the Royal Court (directed by Ann Jellicoe, with an all-white cast that included David Hemmings), is considered by Guardian critic Michael Billington "one of the key plays of the 1960s", prefiguring Edward Bond's 1965 Saved. Skyvers, which deals with the alienation of a group of working-class south London boys in the last few days at their comprehensive school, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2012 as part of a series of plays curated by Kwame Kwei-Armah, after lobbying to ensure better recognition for black dramatists. Reckord wrote other television dramas, including for the BBC In the Beautiful Caribbean (1972) and Club Havana (1975), as well as a book about Cuba entitled Does Fidel Eat More Than Your Father (Praeger, 1971). In 1973 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship to Assist Research and Artistic Creation. Also in 1973, Reckord was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica. After living most of his adult life in Britain, mostly with his companion Diana Athill, in the last few years of his life he returned to Jamaica, where he died in December 2011, aged 85.'

Barry Reckord

link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
3/3/17 6:31:08 AM 
'Lloyd Malcolm Reckord was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 26 May 1929. He began his theatrical career with the Little Theatre Movement (LTM) pantomime at Ward Theatre. As reported by Michael Reckord in the Jamaica Gleaner, "Reckord's first big role was as Tobias in a production of Tobias and the Angel at the Garrison Theatre, Up Park Camp, when he was in his late teens. Fired from his job at his uncle's hardware store because he insisted that he had to leave early to play his role in the LTM pantomime, Alice In Wonderland, Lloyd left Jamaica in 1951 when he was 21 to join his brother Barry, also a playwright and actor, in England." He auditioned and was accepted as a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, subsequently joining the Old Vic Company in London. He would also study theatre in the US, years later, at Howard University, Yale University and the American Theatre Wing. Reckord appeared in the Ted Willis play Hot Summer Night at the New Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London in 1958, with Andrée Melly as his white girlfriend; a later Armchair Theatre adaptation the following year concentrated on the couple's relationship. Reckord participated in the earliest known example of an interracial kiss on television, in You in Your Small Corner. a Granada Play of the Week broadcast in June 1962, in which he kissed actor Elizabeth MacLennan. This claim had earlier been made for Emergency – Ward 10, which post-dates Reckord and MacLennan's kiss. The play was written by Reckord's brother Barry, and directed by Claude Whatham. Reckord also acted in several television series, including four episodes of Danger Man (1960–61, 1964–65) and The Human Jungle ("Enemy Outside", 1964), but feeling typecast as an actor, he wanted to move into direction. With only limited funds, including a grant from the BFI, he made two non-commercial film shorts Ten Bob in Winter (1963, featuring Winston Stona, Bari Johnson, Peter Madden and Andrew Salkey, with a jazz soundtrack by Joe Harriott) and Dream A40 (1965). Reckord later returned to Jamaica, where he worked as a stage director, with rare screen appearances, as in The Lunatic (1991) and Third World Cop (1999). In 2011 his work featured in the Black London's Film Heritage Project, with the compilation Big City Stories including Reckord's 1963 film Ten Bob in Winter, as well an excerpt from the television play by his brother entitled You in Your Small Corner, in which Lloyd Reckord played the lead male character. His short film Dream A40 was shown at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (LLGFF) at the British Film Institute. Reckord died in Jamaica on 8 July 2015 after a short illness, aged 86, and his life was celebrated at a thanksgiving service on 29 July.'

Barry's brother, Lloyd Reckord

link Ewart Joined: Mar 5, 2005
Posts: 8525
3/7/17 10:39:33 AM 
Don't remember if one was done on Michael Manley, but yesterday marked 20 years after his death on a day India were opening a Test series with West Indies.

Michael "Joshua" Manley
“The Word Is Love”

by Ewart Walters

It was the West Indies' darkest day. It was also the longest. All day on Thursday March 6, 1997, family members of Jamaica's most lustrous personality gathered round the St. Andrew bedside of Michael Manley as he drifted into the penultimate hours of his final struggle - a mortal combat between his clear, incisive mind and the insurgent prostate cancer that was known to have engaged him some six years earlier.

As the lengthening hours closed in on midnight (o lente lente currite noctis equi), with some 15 minutes left before the new day, the struggle ended and Jamaica's most persuasive voice was stilled. With his family and close friends around his bedside, Michael Manley, 72, journalist, trade unionist, politician, author, prime minister, horticulturalist, lecturer, Third World leader, anti-apartheid fighter, sports enthusiast, cricket writer, and a towering beacon of hope and enthusiasm for millions of his countrymen at home and abroad, lay dead.

It was a remarkable day for it had also begun with death. Before the day was 30 minutes old, the President of Guyana, Cheddi Jagan, 78, son of indentured labourers from India, had been pronounced dead in a U.S. hospital from a heart attack.

To further mystify matters, that dark Thursday was the first day of the First Test match between the West Indies and India who were opening their 1997 tour at Sabina Park in Kingston. The West Indies team then was made up almost entirely of players of African descent and so it was something of a struggle between Africa and India – the old world, in the new. But with India scoring 300 runs for the loss of only two wickets at the close of the first day's play, Manley, the cricket writer, on his deathbed in St. Andrew would have felt that, against India, a team that had traditionally been suspect to hostile pace bowling, the West Indies pace bowlers had failed to regain their once-feared dominance. Was there anything left to live for?

Ironically, Manley's death was reported in Canada by the Toronto Star before the venerable Gleaner, Jamaica's leading and oldest newspaper. Philip Mascoll, a Jamaican reporter at The Star, received a call and quickly added the necessary final details to the story he had written a few weeks before. His story was on The Star's front page on March 7. The Jamaica Observer ran a second edition in the afternoon of Friday March 7 to tell of the death. The Gleaner did not report it until Saturday March 8, although the body of an obituary had been pre-written and left standing months before.

As expected, the electronic media were quickly on to the news, the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation informing its audience shortly after 1.00 a.m. on March 7.

Although only six years separated them in age, in politics Jagan and Manley were not exactly contemporaries. When Manley was in power in Jamaica, his Guyanese counterpart was Lyndon Forbes Burnham, Jagan=s political colleague-turned-rival, on whose shoulders the British and Americans conspired to place the mantle of the leadership of Guyana because Jagan (in the 1950s) professed communism. Indeed, it would be 28 years before Jagan returned to hold the reins of power, and by then, Manley had retired. Like Jagan, Manley attracted unfavourable attention from the United States. Again the Americans tried to blame their actions on Acommunism.@

However, despite his friendship with Fidel Castro – among other world leaders including Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney of Canada, Olaf Palme of Switzerland, Carlos Andres Peres of Mexico, and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania – Manley himself was never a communist. All the time that he was being painted by the media as "left-leaning" or being "pals with Fidel Castro", Manley steadfastly maintained in Jamaica all the institutions of democracy along with the two-party system and democratic elections. He maintained his pro-democratic stance even while he was the target of two assassination attempts in the mid-1970s, which Penthouse Magazine credited to the CIA in a December 1977 article by investigative journalists Ernest Volkman and John Cummings, under the headline, "Murder As Usual."

And what was Manley's "sin"@ What caused his downfall? Why did he attract the rapt attention of right-wing America and the CIA? Mostly his style, but also his reach. In 1974, Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, Burnham of Guyana and Tom Adams of Barbados all joined Manley to clamour for Cuba's admission to the Organization of American States. They all increased their diplomatic relationship with Cuba. But only Manley paid the price. For Manley, a spell-binding orator who once declared that he would "dismantle capitalism brick by brick," was at once blessed and cursed with exceptional personal magnetism and charisma.

But his "sin" was greater than that, for he championed the cause of the poor and downtrodden. And, unlike most of today=s politicians, he didn't do so merely with words. His record of socio-economic legislation for the benefit of the poor and marginalized in Jamaica=s post-colonial society was acknowledged even by Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, never one of his fans. In reaching down with compassion to help these poor Jamaicans, Manley began upsetting the established order and thus stepped on the corns of the privileged, many of whom fled – to Toronto and Miami mainly, and wallowed in bitter recriminations; a few of these new Torontonians went so far as to throw "Blue Book Parties" at which they lit bonfires to burn their blue Jamaican passports.

Some of the well-to-do Jamaicans who remained in Jamaica, simply siphoned their money out of the country and in the process created new intriguing legends about the native creativity and ingenuity of Jamaicans as they sought to outwit the currency cops and export their money.

In one of the more imaginative examples, the story was told of a doctor who arrived at the Norman Manley International airport booked on a flight out of the country. Prominent on his arm was a fresh plaster of Paris cast, sign of a recently broken arm. But the currency cops took one look at him and saw through his scheme. Against his loud protests, they cut and removed the cast, searching for currency. But there was nothing there. The fuming doctor missed his flight. The next day, he was back with a fresh cast, daring the currency cops to make him miss his flight again. This time, sheepishly, they let him through – with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the cast. Or so the story goes.

As it became clearer that Manley's program was directed at the entire population, that not only the usual beneficiaries would reap the political spoils, his political opponents sought to terrorize him out of power. This action began with spectacular fires and shootings in a section of lower St. Andrew called Rose Town in January 1975 at a time when US journalists were present to attend a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. The fires and shooting went on for the better part of two weeks and the ensuing social disruption was splashed lavishly and frequently onto the pages of the US and Canadian press and beamed into living rooms by television.

In September 1976 alone, the Toronto Star alone used up some 800 column inches of space on Jamaica – all of it negative. The Globe and Mail, the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Star, the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Journal, the Toronto Sun, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, and the wire services were not far behind. In short order, Jamaica became verboten for American tourists. The 1976 tourist season was virtually non-existent.

In their efforts to install a reign of terror in Jamaica, Manley=s opponents were supported by money and equipment from the US and anti-Castro Cuban exile groups in Miami. Between 1975 and 1980, vehicles, two-way radios, guns and ammunition, and millions of US dollars flowed into the pockets of the anti-Manley campaigners. In Canada, a visit by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to a few Jamaicans in Toronto seemed to be enough to deter their plans to purchase guns and send them off to the Jamaica Labour Party in Kingston. They denied the allegations. "We hate the guy but we were not setting out to kill him," one said. (It is still not clear whether they had made any shipments prior to the visit of the RCMP).

Nevertheless, with or without their help, terror descended on Jamaica. The death toll between 1975 and 1980, in the downtrodden areas of Kingston and lower St. Andrew, was over 2,000, as urban terror was unleashed on People's National Party (PNP) youth group members and party supporters who then tried to retaliate. Superficial commentators - and there are many - point to violent elections under Manley, leaving the impression he instigated the violence.

Significantly, of the 17 general elections between universal adult suffrage in 1944 and 2007, the only ones marked by violence were in 1976 and 1980 - when somebody was trying to terrorize Manley out of power. On the other hand, there was hardly a fuss in 1972 and 1989 when Manley was trying to get into power.

On November 4, 1977, a full-page advertisement was run in the New York Times for the December issue of a popular US magazine, Penthouse. I have kept a laminated copy of that New York Times advertisement. The story that was being promoted in this unusually grand fashion was written by Ernest Volkman and John Cummings, two of America=s top investigative journalists. The headline was, AMurder As Usual.@ The advertisement featured a huge picture of Uncle Sam with a glint in his eye and a loaded gun in his hand. It went on to state:

"Last year, the CIA conspired to assassinate Prime Minister Michael Manley of Jamaica. While official Washington reverberated with mock hysteria over the assassination of Allende of Chile, and indulged in self-castigation and guilt over the covert operations of the CIA, (Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger approved a plan to overthrow yet another government."

In Jamaica, Manley's government played down the story. But it was never refuted by any agency of the US government. Indeed, it is now known that there were at least two attempts on his life. Not only murder as usual, it was also business as usual. For the main reason for the attacks on Manley and Jamaica, was business – US business; specifically, the business of bauxite and alumina which three American companies and one Canadian company were busy mining out of Jamaican soil – for peanuts.

The trouble began when Manley, ever the trade union negotiator, attempted by entirely legal means to get them to increase the pay – from peanuts to cashew nuts. (For an idea of the Armageddon that was unleashed on Jamaica see Michael Manley’s book, "Jamaica: Struggle in the Periphery"). The thing is, up to that time, nobody ever said that the complaints of American bauxite companies constituted the (main) reason for the destabilization. This reason was well camouflaged. Most Jamaicans still have no idea.

Michael was a servant. His sense of service arose from his great love. It could be said of Michael, like Othello, that he was "one who loved – not wisely, but too well." Here, of course, I make no reference to the fact that he married five times. Rather, I speak of his love for his people. His love that reflects the true intent of St. Matthew 25, verse 40 which says,

"Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me."

Michael dedicated his life to the service of his people, especially the downtrodden. This, perhaps, he did too well. This was his Achilles tendon. He later said he recognized this as a problem. But great man that he was he did not stop there. He went on to express regret publicly for this fault, which he acknowledged led to his ignoring other faults.

Michael aroused strong feelings. First it was love and admiration, excitement and enthusiasm. You had to be there in Jamaica when he won in 1972 to understand the euphoria, the intensity of the adulation. All around the island, people were overcome with joy and they went out on the streets in the main towns for three whole days to express their happiness.

Then, like a marriage gone bad, it was, for some after a few years, an equally intense hatred. The arguments will continue. But his death freed him at last from the twin pressures of adulation and animosity. Still, for the entire period between 1972 and his retirement, the opinion polls said he remained the single most popular politician in Jamaica. And so, as Jamaicans still analyse the meaning of his life, their writings bear the unmistakeable signs of stress and a continuing struggle to define him. Yet they all find themselves compelled to "Hail the Man." For it was Manley who gave them a sense of belonging, a sense of pride in themselves. And THAT is his lasting legacy: He held up a mirror of pride to his people. They stared intently in this mirror and believed.

Here then are the voices of two of these believers, quite appropriately in the language of Jamaica. The first is Louise Bennett:

"Dark night got peenie wallie,
Sun-hot got shady tree
Yuh struggles fi human dignity
Tun stalwart victory."

The other is Jennifer Keane-Dawes:

"Missis, when it comes on to dat man, me hab nuff tings fi seh. But the main one is dis. God bless him. Cause if it wasn't fi him dat open the floodgates to university education to poor people, nuff picky-picky head smaddy like meself couldn't tun lawyer, doctor and Indian Chief."

A striking testament on Michael=s signal achievement -- what somebody has called "the smaddytization of Jamaica." Ms. Keane-Dawes’ comment on his impact on education is worth a pause. It was his father, Norman Washington Manley, who opened the education floodgates to the children of the masses with one thousand free place scholarships in 1957 for the first time, thus providing a way out of persistent poverty. Michael became Prime Minister in March 1972 and by his 1973 budget extended his father’s efforts by presenting free education to the country, as he put it, “for the first time, at last!”

Central to his thinking was a belief in the capacities of his people, a belief that all ideas should contend freely, and that the greater would prevail. When the assessments come to be made, when they add up the pluses and take away the minuses, the historians will set Michael Manley high on the list of those illustrious servants who have made the greatest impact for good on the people of Jamaica.

While the lavish use of the words "Communism," “Castro,” and “Cuba” opened purse-strings in the US, the main trigger for the US support was that Manley had taken his advocacy for the downtrodden beyond Jamaica, seeking increases for the prices that Third World producer countries received for their goods from consumer countries. Above all, he had upset American bauxite companies in Jamaica, not by "nationalising" bauxite as he was sometimes accused of in US media, but by finding a completely legal means of securing from them improved returns for the bauxite they were extracting daily out of Jamaican soil.

Angry that they now had no recourse through the courts, the companies went complaining to Uncle Sam. And the response came through extra-legal means, hence the increased flow of anti-Manley resources. Hence the assassination attempts. Hence the massive anti-Manley press, both abroad and at home. And so, tired and unwilling to put his people through more of the murder and mayhem that had descended on Jamaica since 1976, he was actually relieved to be kicked out of office in the general elections he called for October 30, 1980.

In short order, massive inflows of aid that had been withheld from the Manley administration by the IMF and the World Bank, came pouring into the Jamaica that was now led by Edward Seaga. Goods that had vanished from the supermarket shelves (and would only appear in brown paper bags to dearly cherished customers) were now once again abundantly available. Consumer goods of all types, models and descriptions flooded the various markets. No longer could the foreign press take photographs of empty grocery shelves; no longer would they turn their TV camera lenses on hopeful blades of grass sprouting between sections of concrete sidewalk in New Kingston and proclaim that this represented a decaying economy. Everything was all right – if you had money. Seaga was riding high.

But there was a price to be paid. President Ronald Reagan, happy that the so-called pro-American, pro-business, Harvard-educated Edward Seaga had taken control of the country, set up something called the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and declared that he was going to make Jamaica, "the showcase of the Caribbean." Hundreds of Americans had taken up residence, jobs and consultancies in post-Manley Jamaica. David Rockefeller of the famous wealthy US family was one of these; he headed a team of Americans Athe Rockefeller Committee@ who came down to Kingston Ato assist Jamaica.@

Back in the US, right-wing Americans got the news media including the Wall Street Journal to champion their cause: they wanted Manley=s celebrated bauxite levy to be removed and the time had come, at last. An editorial in that paper early in 1980 clearly stated that Seaga would succeed Manley and that he would remove the bauxite levy. But then, even with Seaga now installed as Prime Minister, a curious thing happened on the way to American happiness. Seaga himself failed to remove the levy.

And so, without surprising any Jamaicans, most of whom had quickly dubbed the CBI, the ACaribbean basin-pan@ (basin-pan being known as a humble, mostly rural domestic utensil used to facilitate evening ablutions), the aid that had been flowing like a river in spate suddenly dried up. In the mid-1980s, America, which had made Jamaica its Caribbean home, took up its belongings and departed amidst a surprising flood of rabid anti-Seaga commentaries in the US press.

With no more external backative, Seaga's cause was lost. Unlike trade unionists William Alexander Bustamante, Hugh Shearer and Michael Manley, or the deeply respected Norman Washington Manley, all previous national leaders, Seaga drew his support neither from a trade union background nor from either love or towering respect. If Machiavelli was right that the two towering political forces are love and fear, then Seaga's was certainly fear. But the fear he generated was purchased with external support and when it dried up the field was levelled once more. And so, it was that love conquered all. Manley whose main 1972 campaign slogan was
"the word is love," Manley whose love for the Jamaican people was equalled only by their love for him, was returned to power in 1989.

He returned a changed and chastened man. If he now cast his democratic socialism in a new market-driven light, it was still the politics of participation. The new approach, he said, was to embrace the market system in a way that would benefit every Jamaican, not just the 21 rich families who had owned most of the country=s wealth and wielded most of its power.

It soon became obvious that the changed Manley lost much of the youth support he had attracted in 1972. But nobody has been able to calculate how much of the change was the product of intellectual rigour, how much a matter of political pragmatism and how much the simply human reaction of self-preservation after the assassination attempts and the thought of the bitter civil war of the seventies. The one thing that can be said is that filthy lucre had no part in it; Manley may have succumbed to terror, but he was not bought out.

In any event, his own personal lonely struggle to maintain his health now began to intensify. He stepped down in 1992 after spending weeks in a Miami hospital fighting a debilitating double pneumonia. The year before there was word of prostate cancer. For several years before that he had wrestled with a painful and persistent inflammation of the colon known as diverticulitis.

** ** **

link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
3/18/17 5:24:26 AM 
In reply to Ewart

He's been mentioned before...but you can never have too much of Joshua!
big grin
My father was one of the doctors who treated Manley at UWHI when he had diverticulitis, and he spoke highly of his interactions with Michael.

"Jacob Raphael de Cordova, Texas land agent and colonizer, was born in Spanish Town (near Kingston), Jamaica, on 6 June 1808, the youngest of three sons of Judith and Raphael de Cordova, British Jews of Spanish descent. Since his mother died at his birth, he was raised by an aunt in England. He was well educated and became proficient in English, French, Spanish, German and Hebrew. In 1834 Jacob moved back to Kingston, where he and his brother Joshua started a newspaper, the Kingston Daily Gleaner, which is still published today. In early 1836 Jacob went to New Orleans, where he shipped cargoes of staples to Texas during its struggle for independence. At this time he served a term as Grand Master of the Odd Fellows. After the Battle of San Jacinto he visited the Republic of Texas to install members in the Odd Fellows lodges, the first established outside the United States."

Jacob de Cordova

link CWWeekes Joined: May 30, 2010
Posts: 282
3/18/17 8:29:08 AM 
Mr. Ewart, Mr. Siva:

Anything on Vere Johns who with his talent show "Vere Johns Opportunity Hour", helped to nurture the growth of Ja's popular music. His name comes up so often when artistes of the 50's and early 60's are interviewed. Thanks for this thread.

link mikesiva Joined: Jan 12, 2007
Posts: 27556
3/19/17 9:27:30 AM 
In reply to CWWeekes

You're a mind-reader! He was next on my list....
big grin
'Johns was born in Mandeville in 1893, and after working for the Post Office, served in the South Lancashire Regiment in World War I before finding success as a newspaper columnist in the United States in the 1920s. While in the US he divorced his first wife and married his second, actress Lillian May, known as "Lady Luck". He began running talent contests while in the US, and continued on his return to Jamaica in 1939. In the late 1940s he began a long-running "Vere Johns Says" column in the Jamaica Star newspaper, often on the topic of music. He made a major contribution to Jamaican music with his "Vere John's Opportunity Knocks Talent Show" on RJR Radio, which helped to launch the careers of several major recording artists including Lloyd Charmers, Hortense Ellis, John Holt, Bob Andy, Desmond Dekker, The Wailers, Alton Ellis, Jackie Edwards, Dobby Dobson, Boris Gardiner, Laurel Aitken, and Millie Small. His talent contests began as theatre shows held in downtown Kingston venues such as The Majestic, Palace and Ambassador theatres, with the winners judged by audience reaction, and going on to appear on his radio shows. Producers such as Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and Arthur "Duke" Reid scouted for talent at the shows, taking singers to record at Stanley Motta's studio to cut records to be played on their sound systems. Lloyd Bradley, in his book This is Reggae Music, described Johns as "the most influential man in Jamaican music in the second half of the 1950s", a period in which indigenous Jamaican styles were coming to the fore. Johns, despite his antipathy towards Jamaica's Rastafarians, also provided exposure for Count Ossie's group of drummers after singer Marguerita Mahfood refused to appear on his show unless she was backed by Ossie's Mystic Revelation group; The group proved popular with the audience and went on to perform regularly in Kingston. Johns also worked as an actor, performing in Shakespeare plays and solo recitations, and taught acting. Vere Johns died in September 1966.'

Vere Johns

link CWWeekes Joined: May 30, 2010
Posts: 282
3/19/17 10:43:44 AM 
In reply to mikesiva

Thank you.

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