Tue | Feb 25, 2020

PJ Patterson takes book launch out West - Dubs ‘My Political Journey’ as a personal two-part memoir

Published:Sunday | February 17, 2019 | 12:11 AM
Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, dances with singer Karen Smith, during the launch of his book 'My Political Journey', at the S Hotel in Montego Bay last Wednesday night.
Deja Vu's Rajesh Kripalani, and the University of the West Indies, Mona, Campus' Minna Israel.
From left - Richard Patterson, son of former prime minister, PJ Patterson; Dr Alicia Duncan-Sloley and her husband Noel 'Sport' Sloley Jr.


The S Hotel in Montego Bay, recently played host to former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, as he launched his new book titled ‘My Political Journey’.


Sections of the book, which Patterson described as a personal two-part memoir, tells of, among a myriad of other things, The Federal Experiment, humourous encounters with Sir Alexander Bustamante and battles with Trade Unions over wage increases for teachers.

An encounter with the headmaster at Calabar, who gave him what he described as a “toasting” after he slipped from second to fourth in his class, were among the memories he spoke of which, left the audience roaring with laughter.

Patterson, had the audience in stitches last Wednesday night, when he recounted how Terry Gillette, was almost expelled from Cornwall College after he, not knowing that the youthful Patterson at the time was a teacher, thought he was a wayward student, strolling around campus out of uniform, and attempted to “rush him”, only to be told by his cadet leader; “Stop, that is a master (teacher)!”

Patterson, who spent some of his early boyhood days in Somerton, St James, sought to establish his “Hanoverianness” during the event, explaining why having a book launch in the west was of great importance to him.

“We had a launch in Kingston, but the launch in western Jamaica was a must. Happily it coincides with Black history and month and I am reminding you of an African custom. In Africa, your tribe is not determined by the accident to where you were born. It is where your navel string is buried,” he said with pride.

That said, his navel string was buried in Kendal in the parish of Hanover.

“So I am willing to assert in whatever, then face the challenges that might have been made, that I am without doubt, a born Hanoverian,” he said.

The former Prime Minister, also sought to explain that his new book is not an autobiography, but more of a personal memoir, reflecting the Jamaica in which he grew up and eventually, according to him, had the privilege of leading for 14 years.

“And it was to me, very important that the story be told for several reasons: to trace for people to come, how did we move from a period in 1938, where the industrial unrest sparked that which triggered the grant of Universal Adult Suffrage, enabled us to move from a colony which we were, to self-government and to independence,” he said.

“The book is in two parts and for me, the most important part is part one. I say that because what I did as Prime Minister, is more generally known. We needed ofcourse, to put it in context, but it is the earlier part that speaks of the influences, the things which moulded you. What is it that infected you with a sense of caring for people; what is it that set standards which would guide you and would seek to influence the sort of society you would wish to create."

He added: “The influence of the church, our educational systems, out teachers, they may make all the difference to which they are. Sometimes we are not even conscious of it at the time.”