Jamaica, for all its warts, has been a remarkable island nation, producing some extraordinary leaders who have impacted the world in many areas, including athletics, the arts, business and politics.
And in the heady days of east-west hegemony, and the globalisation of the ideological struggle to territorialise the world, Jamaica was front and centre of the raging debate and ideological and geopolitical partitioning of the world. Figuring prominently in the unfolding drama of the time was Beverley Anderson-Manley.
A political firebrand and national activist, she saw the People's National Party (PNP) as the vehicle to fashion an egalitarian society to replace the inherited yolk of colonialism, which saw the wealth and the leadership of the country, and its critical institutions, invested in the hands of a view. Anderson-Manley became agent provocateur-in-chief, and in this capacity, and with the majority of the polloi in support of her activism, sought to spearhead the change that would transform the society from one where the privileged few were 'lord and master' to a more equitable one where merit was the order of the day.
And so it was that with her husband at the helm of what was the regional leadership and, by extension, one of the international voices against the status quo, Anderson-Manley campaigned long, hard and stridently for change. It was then that she found her political and ideological soulmate, in another ideologically driven firebrand, Dr D.K. Duncan, their relationship evolving into a deep and abiding love! Well, decades later, the couple is still very much in love, with Anderson-Manley walking away from the hurly-burly of the political platform to embrace academia, a new career in broadcast journalism, as well as roles of gender consultant and international speaker on the lecture circuit, whilst sharing a life and home with Duncan, himself withdrawing from politics to his practice of dentistry. Well, since then he has returned to politics, with Anderson-Manley at his side.
Anderson-Manley recently celebrated her 70th birthday, and to commemorate the occasion, her beau hosted what was a fab birthday soirée on Saturday November 12, at their upper St Andrew residence, which saw family and friends jetting in from all over the world for it. And luvs, not only did the do turn out to be a fab smasheroni, it was a double celebration, as much to the surprise of most everyone present, Duncan got down on bended knee and asked his long-time love to be his wife! Dears, we are talking the surprise of surprises here as this was no ordinary birthday party to begin with, with the incomparable Ernie Smith providing superb entertainment. And as the evening wore on, and the festivities changed gears, the fab Della Manley serenaded the birthday girl followed by the diva of divas, Myrna Hague, singing (a cappella) Here's To Life.
And when guests thought they had reached the high point of the evening, they were invited to view a montage of the exploits and achievements of the belle of the ball. And at the end of the video presentation, Duncan made a cameo appearance during which he, unabashedly, said to wit, "Beverley, I have asked you before, but tonight I am asking you again to set the date for our wedding."
And following the video presentation, Duncan walked on to the stage area, asked the birthday girl to join him, and in a moment that will long be remembered for its beauty and emotion popped the question! The celebration that followed delayed the birthday girl's response as everyone urged her to say 'yes'. She was obviously taken by surprise and took some time in drinking it all in before replying with an emphatic "Yes!" And luvs, that was when the real partying started!
The party was hosted on the lawns of the couple's home, but the after-party moved into their condominium where musical honours were by Gladdy of Wild Bunch Disco, and pumpkins, with the event now being a double celebration, it made for one fabulous night, the birthday girl and beau leading the way in partying into Sunday morning!
Among those out sharing in the birthday/engagement celebrations were Anderson-Manley's children Natasha Manley and brother, David Manley, and companion Marina Ansell, both jetting in from London; their siblings, author Rachel Manley, who jetted in from Canada; Sarah Manley; Joseph Manley and wife Della. Also out were Maya Manley; Drum and Zarna Drummond and their daughter Tyler; sisters to the birthday girl, the elegant Shirley Anderson-Fletcher and hubby Richard, and the fab Lilleth McKay and husband Vincent; the elegant Jeanette Hutchinson and daughter Raquel Leigh Hutchinson; Margaret McTaggart; Sadie Smith; Marva Brodie; and Makeda Thomas.
Children of the host out were Keith Duncan and wife Wendy, daughters Donna Duncan-Scott and hubby Alwyn Scott and Patricia Duncan Sutherland and hubby Wayne, Imani Duncan-Price and hubby Stephen; Sean Green; Dr Josina Duncan; Stephen Steele; Lloyd and Dorothy Duncan; Hugh and Monty Duncan; Ajamu Duncan and Dr Rebecca Duncan; Sheldon Powe and fiancée Dr Melissa Green.
Others out were Peter Bunting and the stunning Esther Beck; Sir Alister and Lady Marjorie McIntyre; O.K. and Angela Melhado; Dr Winston Davidson; Cissy Pouyatt; Major Bunny Stern and the regal Andrea Fletcher; Steve and Betty-Maye Ashley; former MP Karlene Kirlew-Robertson; former MP Ambassador Marjorie Taylor; former Senator Barbara Blake-Hanna; Ernie and Janet Smith; Louis and Tricia Castriota; the charming Shirley Henry; talk-show host Richard 'Dickie' Crawford and wife Valerie; Joyce Perry Jacobs; the charming Margaret Barrett; Trevor and Joy Gordon-Sobers; the lovely Justine Henzell; playwright Basil Dawkins; Maria Samuels; Noel and Rosalie Barker; Robert Stephenson; S. Diana Burgess; Jean Wilson; Geoffrey Smith; Gladstone Parker; Dr Dorith Grant Wisdom, who flew in from Washington; and Annette Stewart, who jetted in from Atlanta, plus a number of others.