Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Guest Editor | Rev Ronald George Thwaites - A man of many hats

Published:Friday | September 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Ronald Thwaites

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and The Gleaner has invited several stakeholders to be guest editors of a special edition of the newspaper. They will help bring into sharp focus the impact that this dreaded disease has had on the Jamaican society, the fear and often steely resolve of those who battle this illness, and the policies that determine whether they live or die.

On Monday, October 2, readers will be locked into this special Gleaner publication that these individuals, passionate about cancer awareness, have edited.

Today, we feature the fourth of our guest editors: Rev Ronald George Thwaites, member of parliament and breast cancer survivor.

Rev Ronald George Thwaites is a man of the cloth who wears many hats. This deacon, lawyer, journalist, talk show host, politician, and family man is one of our guest editors who has been tasked to help produce the newspaper's Breast Cancer Awareness special edition. It is a subject that he is all too familiar with, being a breast cancer survivor himself.

Thwaites went to St George's College in 1955 and graduated with the Class of 1959. A careful look at the career paths that he has taken reveals a common thread connecting them: oration. He's as skillful as he is eloquent, commanding attention every time. Two of the awards he got while at St George's College - the Vincent Isaacs Medal for Excellence in Elocution and National Dramatic Awards from the Schools Drama Festival - foretold the direction of his life's journey. And being a member of the 1962 St George's College All-Island Champion Debating Team confirmed it.

He was awarded a Jamaican scholarship to Cornell University in 1963, an Ivy League research institution in New York, and it was while there that he donned another of his hats, that of editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun. It was for a short while, from 1966 to 1967, but it would not be the last time that he would be in media. He has been host of local and international radio and television programmes, including the talk show 'Public Eye' with the then Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation from 1976-1994. He continues to host 'Independent Talk' and 'Ronnie Thwaites Live' on Power 106.

Thwaites was a columnist for the Daily Gleaner, Daily News, Jamaica Record and Herald Newspapers.

He is a Rhodes Scholar, receiving his scholarship to Oxford University in 1968.

Come 1970, Thwaites began preparing to enter the law profession. His MA in Jurisprudence came that year and he was admitted to the English and Jamaican Bars in 1972.

He founded the Kingston Legal Aid Clinic in 1972 and co-founded the Montego Bay Legal Aid Clinic in 1974, functioning as managing director of the Kingston clinic until 1976.

He co-founded the legal firm that bears his name - Daly, Thwaites, Fairclough, Watson, and Campbell in 1979.

Ronnie Thwaites was ordained deacon of the Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Kingston in March 20, 1983, and has been assigned since then to Sts Peter and Paul and the St Martin de Porres Church Communities.

Thwaites walked into Gordon House for the first time in 1997 as a member of parliament, running on the People's National Party's ticket, representing Central Kingston. He was appointed minister of education from 2012-2016 and is currently opposition spokesman on education and training.

He has 16 grandchildren.