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Sanguinetti basks in successes of hometown hero Godfrey Dyer

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:26 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer


“He was such a well-behaved boy, I never wanted him flogged by his mother,” were the words of affection from 95-year-old Pearline Sanford as she spoke glowingly of Sanguinetti’s living hero, Godfrey Glengoffe Dyer.

Sanford, who refers to Dyer as “my son”, is among hundreds of residents in the small Clarendon district who revere Dyer as a beacon of hope, their rising star and pride and joy.

Dyer, a titan in the local tourism industry who was inducted into the Order of Jamaica in 2018, was last Thursday saluted by the St James Municipal Corporation as the popular Sunset Boulevard was renamed Godfrey Dyer Boulevard.

“I can’t find words to express. I am thrilled. He is a true son of Jamaica. He uplifted this country, not just Sanguinetti,” said Sanford, who has been Dyer’s next-door neighbour since the day he was born.

Describing the young Dyer as a great son, Sanford said she has never heard anything disrespectful about him.

“He was a great son to his mother, even me as a neighbour, so the blessings of the Lord are upon him,” she reflected.

Sanford says so loved is he, that when Sanguinetti residents haven’t seen him in a while, they visit her querying his whereabouts.

Another Sanguinetti-born resident, Dr Hugh Cross, former CEO of the Universal Service Fund, said Sanguinetti was “absolutely elated” at the news of Dyer’s latest accolade.

Cross said Dyer had uplifted the area and having the stretch of roadway from the Sangster International Airport roundabout to Jimmy Cliff Boulevard renamed after him was a fitting honour.

“He is a very upstanding and decent human being. He grew up with his mother, Miss Amy, and he took the best care of her. They were like Siamese twins. He has also not forgotten the community. He attends as many funerals as he possibly can, and speaks at various events,” Cross said.

Located in northwestern Clarendon, Sanguinetti is home to about 3,500 residents. Other notable Jamaicans hailing from the community include Digicel Rising Stars winner-turned-X-Factor sensation Dalton Harris, Olympian Omar McLeod, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Festival Song Competition winner Robert Forbes, reggae singer Warrior King (Mark Dyer) and Professor Edmonson of Cornell University.

Reminiscing on his own years spent growing up in Sanguinetti, Cherton DaCosta, a former Gleaner journalist and social worker at the National Housing Trust, said Dyer has been a role model for youngsters in the community.

“We –all of us – grew up having role models. Godfrey Dyer ... readily comes to mind. He had become successful in tourism circles. Many would have left the community for Montego Bay, where Godfrey would assist them in getting jobs within the industry,” DaCosta said. “Every rung of that ladder he climbed, the community applauded him. We recall when he was the JHTA (Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association) president, his involvement with Summerfest, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and so much more.”

A man of great humility and perseverance, as Dyer was toasted by Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis, St James Custos Conrad Pitkin and Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, Dyer said the recognition put to bed the popular belief that “a king has no honour in his own country”.

He admitted that it had never crossed his mind that a street would be named in his honour.