Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Growth & Jobs | Deanall Barnes succeeds against all odds

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2020 | 12:29 AM

Born at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital as the second son to a teenage mother, Deanall Barnes came into this world with a proverbial fork in the road. Using his academic intellect and wit, Barnes has defied the statistical odds and the socio-economic limitations against him and has succeeded in becoming an attorney-at-law and astute business executive.

Today, his success has landed him the position of managing director of building materials giant ARC Manufacturing Ltd in Jamaica.

With the difficulties faced by a single, teenage mother raising two boys, Barnes was sent to the country as a baby to be raised by his maternal grandparents and great-grandmother in the community of Lime Hall, St Ann. He stood out, as they noticed his brilliance at a young age. A family with few resources, they did their best to foster his education, assisting him with his homework and studies, all while encouraging him to do his best.

Financial constraints forced Barnes to not attend school every day. On the days he had to take off, he would go to the market with his grandparents and assist them with the cash exchanges for the produce they were selling.

While attending Lime Hall Primary, Barnes, a mild-mannered and obedient child, was always self-motivated to get his work done. With hard work and perseverance, Barnes passed his Common Entrance Examinations and proceeded to attend Calabar High School in St Andrew. While at Calabar, he held various leadership positions as well as continued to succeed academically, with Spanish and history being his favourite subjects.


Working at NCB, his first entry-level job out of sixth form, Barnes recalls a moment he had an encounter with Minister Delroy Chuck. After noticing his potential, Minister Chuck asked him, “What are your plans, young man?” Suggesting furthering studies at The University of the West Indies (UWI), he facilitated Barnes with getting his hands on an application form. Barnes was accepted and began his tertiary education at UWI, there he studied economics, and later changing his major to management and accounting, which proved to set the tone for his future career.

Holding on to a forewarning from his great-grandmother that he was destined to be an attorney-at-law, Barnes applied to pursue the Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of London. He was accepted and completed his degree with flying colours. While undertaking the Bar examinations at the Norman Manley Law School, Barnes was awarded the Arthur Cruickshank Memorial Award for Best Male Criminal Law Student and was one of the recipients of the Richard Wayne Lee Memorial Prize.

He was later recruited to be manager of strategy at ARC Manufacturing Company and was taken under the wings of Chairman Norman Horne, who not only inspired Barnes immensely, but cultivated his professional growth by allowing him to attend various high-profile meetings, locally and internationally, before making his way up the company’s corporate ladder.

Barnes describes Horne as “a modern-day commercial genius” and through him, he learned the crucial language of business and finance. After more than a decade, Barnes now holds the position of managing director, thanks to Horne’s leadership and guidance.

ARC works with the capacity building of youths within the sector and their mission is to “help those who are not academically inclined to become mechanically inclined”. However, for those who are academically minded and want to succeed in the corporate world, Barnes’s personal advice is, “learn to manage your intellect”. Currently, he is the chairman of Ewarton Primary School Board of Governors and a board member of Charlemont High School. His purpose at these schools is “simply just to serve. I am where I am today because of education”.

Barnes’ next avenue for service is likely to be in politics, supporting a party that is rooted in promoting growth regardless of social status. He says he sees himself working in the future with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and/or the Ministry of Finance, based on his professional experience, or the Ministry of Education because of how important education has been to his success.