Wed | Dec 12, 2018

St Thomas' Omar Ryan is a man on a mission

Published:Wednesday | August 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMShanna kaye Monteith/ Gleaner Writer

Known to many as a passionate, ambitious, and goal-oriented man, Omar Ryan of White Horses in St Thomas is determined that he will achieve all his goals, by whatever legal and morally acceptable means possible.

Having started the ILife Vegan Foods, which operates from a stall on the campus of the University of West Indies, Mona, Ryan has been on a mission to raise enough funds to complete his second degree, a bachelor of law.

The small establishment offers a variety of foods and beverages, including vegan patties stuffed with callaloo and ackee, smoothies, natural juices, and tropical fruits.




"I plan to do some expansion to the business and I have been seeking funds, loans and so on, but have not been successful thus far.

"I started the business on campus as a means to solve what I call the health issues there, but primarily to gain capital to assist with going back to school," he said, adding that he has so far completed only two years of law study, one in 2011 and the other some five years later.

With a degree in African diaspora studies, Ryan told The Gleaner that obtaining the law degree would help him to achieve his life's goal, which is to become a "credible leader for his people".

"And that's in any avenue that I choose, whether politics or law. In law, I would advocate for justice; in business, I'd make money and change the lives of people; in politics, I would advocate for better policies because, for me, our people are really short of leaders who would sacrifice their lives for the betterment of our people, and that's my main aim in life - to be a credible, outstanding leader for my people in this time," he said, adding that in order to meet that goal, he will first have to make money and help his family.

Ryan made local news last year after he was locked up by the police for organising demonstrations in St Thomas over the poor road conditions.

The advocate's latest venture to raise funds to restart and complete law school is a book called Haffi Get Di Money.

"It's an anthology of original poetry. The book has three chapters; Chapter 1 - Inspiration; Chapter 2 - Sister Love (a salute to women); and Chapter 3 - a commentary on social, political and other matters and personalities of concern to me.

"The book is self-published and has been out since December 2017," Ryan said, adding that its reception has been OK, so far, but he has been unsuccessful in getting it into bookstores.

Despite his many setbacks, the 35-year-old, who even established a gofundme account in a bid to help raise funds, told The Gleaner that he is already working on another book and that he will remain steadfast in the pursuit of his dreams.