Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Letter of the Day | 'Profile' as intrinsic as Sunday rice and peas

Published:Friday | December 22, 2017 | 12:05 AM


Ian Boyne and I interviewed each other a few times off the air. I venture to say, we had developed somewhat of a friendship, a mutual respect for knowledge and wisdom, though we had only met a couple times.

Out of the blue, I would get an email or a call from him, or he from me, and I think we had both secretly agreed that I would one day be on his programme. I'm not sure what we were waiting for. I think we told ourselves that it was inevitable and that we had time.

When he interviewed my daughter on his TVJ programme 'Profile' in August 2014 (just before she left to attend college in Chicago), that was the most time I spent with Ian directly. We were honoured for her to have been a guest, because it was rare for youngsters to be featured on 'Profile'. We felt privileged.

We were all in the dressing room together and in those 20 or so minutes, while he waited to have his face powdered, Ian revealed himself to be the jovial, articulate, humble man that so many Jamaicans have come to love.

We were riveted to our television screens on Sunday afternoons. 'Profile' was part and parcel of a Jamaican Sunday afternoon, as intrinsic as rice and peas and soursop juice. Indeed, we claimed him as our own beloved, and countless persons secretly aspired to one day be interviewed by Ian. That was like the stamp to confirm that you had arrived, that the world (at least, our world) had finally taken notice of you.

Later, when he started hosting 'Religious Hardtalk', Ian proved himself to be one of few theologians who could muster objectivity and independence of thought. He opened the floor to fellow theists, as well as atheists and the plethora of religious/spiritual diversions. I think he tried his very best to be balanced and inclusive.

Ian Boyne was a journalist par excellence, with a fervent, enquiring mind. He genuinely sought to know things, to unravel the mysteries, to ask the tough and daunting questions, to thrash things out openly and respectfully, and to encourage us to do the same as adults and as vulnerable human beings.

His interviewees were intriguing, his style of questioning provocative and sometimes hilarious. He was innately inquisitive and often played devil's advocate, to our relief, because we truly also wanted to know the juicy details. In the true spirit of the interviewer, he sometimes pretended not to know, so that someone else might tell. He was a good listener, and he listened because he sincerely wanted to know.