Angelo Laurence, Gleaner Writer
AS JAMAICA celebrates its 50th year of Independence, it is fitting to highlight the consistent, dedicated service by members of the Rotary Club of Mandeville since its inception in 1964. Operating within the confines of its motto 'Service above Self', the club has attracted some of Mandeville's exemplary citizens to its membership during its 48 years of existence.
One such person is longtime member Basil Cameron, who was installed on June 23 as president of the Rotary Club of Mandeville.
Born far from the tree of wealth to humble parents Remelda and Artly Cameron in Jeffery Town, St Mary, his aspirations were wide and varied, but he finally settled on becoming an electrical engineer.
Cameron received his first taste of formal education at the community-based 'Miss Bennett's Basic School'. After his stint at basic school, he continued his educational journey, which took him to Breadnut Hill Primary School and then on to Ferncourt High School. He then migrated to England, where he attended the University of Brighton and earned a first degree in electrical engineering. Answering the call of the then Government for skilled Jamaicans abroad to help build the country, Cameron returned to Jamaica in the 1970s.
After a brief stop at the Government's Works Department, he moved on to Alpart, a bauxite-mining company, where he became the superintendent for electrical engineering.
Married to Lorna, and the father of two children, Cameron left Alpart in 1985 and started his own business, Cameron Industries, one of the region's mega commercial entities in the custom construction and tiling business. However, his success in business did not come overnight, or without the support of the community and well-wishers. Mindful of his humble beginnings and the many hurdles he had to overcome, Cameron chose the Rotary Club of Mandeville as a vehicle to give back to the community, and, by extension, the entire country.
As president and a long-serving member, Cameron told The Gleaner he was especially proud of the various pieces of life-saving, state-of the-art equipment the club had been able to donate directly, or secure, through its sister clubs for the Mandeville Regional Hospital. Education, said Cameron, is the "foundation of Jamaicans' future" and any social or economic infrastructure that doesn't ensure that the "educational foundation from basic school is a solid one", will lack the strength for sustainability.
Like many other unsung heroes and heroines, Basil Cameron is in the community trenches assisting schools with computers, students with scholarships to further their education, and mentoring vulnerable young men and women. Cameron truly lives by the club's motto 'Service above Self'.
Photos by Angelo Laurence