A tribute in pension, funeral funds advice
Aloun Assamba's long-term support of Jamaican popular music was evident at Monday's official launch of Tribute to the Greats 2018, held at Strathairn Avenue, St Andrew.
But while Assamba spoke warmly of her experiences with Jamaican music while posted to England as Jamaica's high commissioner, her current position as chief executive officer of COK Sodality Credit Union finances were not far from her mind.
The 21st staging of Tribute to the Greats takes place on Saturday, July 28, at Curphey Place, Swallowfield, St Andrew. This year's awardees are Eric 'Monty' Morris, Earl 'Bagga' Walker, The Folkes Brothers, Frankie Campbell, Lone Ranger, Roy Black, Derrick 'Stewie' Stewart, Garth White, Mary Isaacs, Norman 'Roots and Soul' Hughes and Livingstone 'John Bird' McCarthay.
Think about future
"Many entertainers enjoy what they are earning, but they do not think about what will happen later in life. There is no pension," Assamba said. "In Jamaica, only about 10 per cent of the workforce has pension arrangements. And I wonder how many artistes are contributing to the NIS Fund?" Assamba asked, putting in a plug for COK's pension fund and Family Indemnity Plan, which provides a death benefit for three generations of a family. Assamba handed over COK's sponsorship contribution to Kingsley 'King Omar' Goodison, primary organiser of Tribute to the Greats. Other sponsors of the event are the Chase Fund, Lewin's Hardware Ltd, Nubian Construction Ltd and Miss Dawn's Jamaican Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil. In outlining the awardees and structure of the awards, concert and dance which comprise Tribute to the Greats, Goodison reinforced the impact it has had on recipients.
He recounted one honouree arriving with halting movements and leaving standing erect with his certificate clutched to his chest, as well as persons who have cried (among them former Wailers member Beverley Kelso). The impact goes back to the roots of Tribute to the Greats, Goodison saying that he saw the distress that many persons involved in the earlier years of Jamaican popular music were in and was determined to do something about it, "not the money, but the recognition."