Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Avis Henriques worthy of remembrance

Published:Tuesday | March 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Avis Henriques, at least in her public persona, neither talked loudly nor walked with stomping strides. In a sense, she was a woman of her times. But she was also, in Jamaica, a woman ahead of her time.

Mrs Henriques, who died last week in Florida, age 91, was president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce from 1976 to 1980, the country's most ideologically turbulent period, when socialism was in the ascendancy and there were deep fears about the future of private enterprise.

She didn't flinch, offering, instead, firm, quiet and effective leadership. It was the same approach she brought to the presidency of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica from 1981 to 1983 and later as head of United Way of Jamaica.

Her performance in these positions belies the manner in which this former teacher of languages was thrust into leadership after the death of her husband, Leslie Henriques, and the chairmanship of the then iconic jewellery company, L.A. Henriques, in 1971. Jamaica was better for the public discovery of her