Sun | May 19, 2019

Ronald Mason, fiery talk-show host and attorney, passes

Published:Friday | April 5, 2019 | 12:29 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Ronald Mason

Firebrand talk-show host and noted immigration attorney Ronald Mason passed away peacefully at his home in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew, yesterday after a two-year battle with colorectal cancer.

Mason, a sceptic of CARICOM and some of its associated institutions, reserved his most acidic condemnation in his Gleaner opinion columns for the Caribbean Court of Justice and Jamaica’s regional trade rivals such as Trinidad and Tobago. He was also a no-holds-barred critic of Jamaica’s political class, which he viewed as largely corrupt, and systemic failure to ensure accountability.

Mason, who was 72 at the time of his death, spent decades in the United States, where he practised law and was one of Atlanta’s leading legal mediators.

When he returned to Jamaica, he became a Supreme Court mediator. He also offered immigration services here.

“He was a decent human being who always tried to look out for people and was always giving advice to younger people for their betterment. He loved cricket, even when West Indies was losing miserably,” said his widow, Rose, of the Wolmer’s Boys’ School alumnus.

“I used to watch it with him. He also loved track and field. There was nowhere to him like Wolmer’s,” she told The Gleaner yesterday.

He leaves behind four children.

Mason served a stint as head of the Dispute Resolute Foundation but gained popularity as host of Nationwide News Network talk show ‘On the Agenda’.

Saddened by his passing, attorney-at-law Gordon Robinson described Mason yesterday as a “rare voice of fearless and clear thought”.

“Agree or disagree with him, you could never fault his intent and belief in a better Jamaica. His task is done, his burden lifted,” Robinson tweeted yesterday morning.

Mrs Mason said that her husband often lambasted the Jamaica Labour Party and the People’s National Party for being accommodating of corruption.

NO-NONSENSE PERSON

“He was a very firm and no-nonsense person. He thought the society was very corrupt and didn’t see anything being done to fix it. He felt it was getting worse day by day,” said Mrs Mason.

“He thought corruption and indiscipline were terrible things and that we weren’t doing anything to stop it.”

In one of his last columns for The Gleaner, published on July 30, 2017, Mason railed at officialdom,

“The current Cabinet of Jamaica was involved in the $600-million vote-buying exercise for the local government election. ... To date, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has not commented on the OCG report. Others have told the country that they were found to have nothing negative to defend. They have played the country for fools. The monies were handled in a questionable manner.”

And in the same article titled ‘It stinks’, he wrote: “The PNP shenanigans in South West St Andrew smell. The party, in its play on words, seeks to allow outside influence in the form of the former leader of the party. Yes, she is former and retired and no longer member of parliament, having resigned from Parliament, but to facilitate, with tenuous claims at best, the party would seek to muzzle those who express opinions on social media. ... Jamaica needs to think long and hard about where we are going as a country and all the actions of these so-called leaders that result in increased misery for the population at large.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com