Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Letter of the Day | Wenty Bowen – a Caribbean intellectual

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:08 AM
In this 1990 file photo, (from left) then president of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), Franklin McKnight; chairman of the PAJ Education Committee, Wenty Bowen; and Billy Hall, second vice-president of the PAJ as seen at a forum. Wenty Bowen passed
In this 1990 file photo, (from left) then president of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ), Franklin McKnight; chairman of the PAJ Education Committee, Wenty Bowen; and Billy Hall, second vice-president of the PAJ as seen at a forum. Wenty Bowen passed away recently.

THE EDITOR, Madam:

It is with profound sadness and deep regret that the media sector marks the passing of Wenty Bowen, outstanding journalist and Caribbean scholar.

I came to know of Wenty’s work as a journalist and photographer during his time at the Daily News in the mid-1970s. There, he reported on a wide range of national and regional topics, alongside such colleagues as Carl Wint, Ben Brodie, and Canute James, who was then editor of that newspaper. While at the Daily News, Wenty designed a set of Christmas cards and greeting cards with Caribbean and Jamaican images, indicating his interest in photography, in valuing local content, and in promoting Caribbean images. He worked at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation in its early years and later served as an instructor at the Creative Production and Training Centre.

Wenty began working as a part-time lecturer at then Caribbean Institute of Mass Communication in the mid-1970s. During that time, he completed the 300-page Directory of Caribbean Mass Media, which was published by the Mass Comm Institute, UWI, in 1976. The directory highlighted the background of media houses and leading personalities throughout the region, thereby contributing to a deeper understanding of the diversity and scope of media and its leading actors in the region.

Wenty later became a full-time Lecturer at CARIMAC and served through the early 1990s. He taught television script-writing, feature writing, and print journalism to several cohorts of Caribbean students. His interest in research ranged from media history to Caribbean governance and regional integration. In 1993, Wenty became a founding member of the Caribbean Association for Communication Research (CACR), which I had the honour of leading for several years, alongside such colleagues as Dr Paul Martin and Dr Elaine Wallace, among others.

As we mark Wenty’s passing, we recognise him as a wise Caribbean intellectual, dedicated to public service and to the development of a strong and vibrant media industry in the region. He was a good listener, soft spoken, and thoughtful. He was also an excellent writer and an outstanding analyst of Caribbean affairs. We celebrate with respect and honour Wenty Bowen’s life and sterling contributions and extend profound condolences to his family and closest associates.

HOPETON DUNN

Former director

Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), UWI