Treasures of a proud nation
Lloyd Eubank-Green’s ‘Jamaica’s Gifts to the World’ is concisely and punctiliously delivered. While included in this roster are legendary figures such as Jimmy Cliff, Courtney Walsh, and Michael Norman Manley, others are hardly household names. Still, their Herculean accomplishments cannot be ignored.
Foundational to Eubank-Green’s work is the incontrovertible excellence of its honorees, each recognised, their worth showcased in education, politics, sports, education, law, medicine, engineering, literature, and the arts, each equally impressive. Choosing one over the other is a futile exercise. Indeed, this is an illustrious, exhaustive field.
In this monumental tribute to Jamaica, the writer delivers the first salvo with the prodigiously erudite Peter Blair Henry, dean of economics at New York University, who had the distinction of serving on US President Barack Obama’s transition team that reviewed the role of international economic bodies, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Etched in the annals of great Jamaicans is the inimitable sociologist Horace Orlando Patterson, an intellectual who penned seminal works, in particular, The Sociology of Slavery, Slavery and Social Debt, and Freedom and the Making of Western Culture.
Over time, athletic excellence has defined Jamaica, surpassing bigger countries that have injected immeasurable resources into their sports industries. Jamaican athletes, though, have persevered, astounding the world and winning the admiration of a global audience.
The enormous feats of Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are renowned, and she deservedly earns a place in this book. “ Shelly-Ann,” we learn, “i s proud to acknowledge that she came from one of Kingston’s less affluent communities and attributes her success to hard work, clean living, and remaining focused on her goals,” and “ she has used her success to create her own charitable foundation which works with other local organizations to assist young people with talent.”
Notable in the field of entrepreneurship is Raymond Chang, who “h as used his privately owned company, G. Raymond Chang Ltd to pursue numerous enterprises, including the development of hydrogen fuel cells, medical diagnostic devices and equipment, wireless networks and the manufacturing and distribution of packaging material and investment and finance.”
And equally distinguishable is Glen Christian, chairman and founder of Cari-Med and Kirk Distributors, who emerged from “ the obscurity of deep rural Jamaica, [rising] to the pinnacle of business success and achievement through grit, sweat and tears.”
In the creative arts, there is no brighter star than Olive Senior, who has contributed to writing programmes at the University of Toronto, St Lawrence University, and Bernard College, Columbia University, in New York. The University of the West Indies has also benefited from her ingenuity.
In music, the late Peter Tosh is extolled not only for his immense musical talent but for his revolutionary position against apartheid, which was immortalised in his song Equal Rights.
The ascension of Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller to the highest political office is deservedly noted, and being the first and only woman to have attained this feat is laudable and inspirational.
In offering a broad tapestry of immensely gifted personages, readers, especially young men and woman, will reshape their view of their culture, their nation, and themselves. Eubank-Green’s work is no doubt a boon for the young mind.
Mention here of every personage presented by the author is impractical, but every story is worth telling.
The author’s spirited account of accomplished Jamaicans is testament to an exceptional nation of no more than three million people, people who, over centuries, have proven to be resourceful and tenacious. The intrepidity of the Jamaican is arguably their signature characteristic, and it has served them well.
‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating,’ according to one famous dictum. Surely, Jamaicans have risen to every occasion; their global contribution indisputable.
Eubank-Green’s compilation of Jamaica’s best proves that much.
Jamaica’s Gifts to the World (Volume 2) by Lloyd Eubank-Green
(c) 2019 Lloyd Eubank-Green
Publisher: Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston
Available on Amazon
Ratings: Highly recommended