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RJRGLEANER Group leadership hails Oliver Clarke

Published:Monday | May 18, 2020 | 12:27 AM

The hierarchy of the RJRGLEANER Group, reacting to the passing of Oliver Clarke, has hailed him for his contribution to media while vowing to protect his legacy.

Clarke, 75, died on Saturday night after a battle with cancer.

Chief Executive Officer Gary Allen described Clarke as a patriot who stood for media freedom.

“He had a passion for media, which he insisted was what keeps our democracy strong. He was fearless, strident, and articulate on the points he raised and pursued for media rights, freedom, and independence,” Allen said.

Chief Operating Officer Christopher Barnes said Clarke always looked out for the interests of Jamaica.

“Oliver always had a focus on what was needed for Jamaica and Jamaicans to advance along the path of development and financial independence at any given time and in any different circumstance. His natural inquisitiveness placed him in good stead to be at the helm of The Gleaner as this provided a credible vehicle through which all the right questions could be asked and answered and for viewpoints to be put forward without fear or favour,” Barnes said.

And Garfield Grandison, general manager of The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, said Clarke was tough, but fair.

“His reach was boundless, his work a spectacle. He could walk with kings and yet had the common touch. That was our Oliver F. Clarke – our OFC.

“He relished the matching of wits, the rough and tumble that are inherent in life, not only as a businessman, but as a leader in media,” Grandison, a former editor-in-chief, said.

Clarke, Grandison said, was a champion of media solidarity.

“It was Oliver’s far-sightedness and leadership which helped us not only as a country, but as a region, to have a robust and fearless media landscape, evidenced in Jamaica’s continued high ranking in the World Press Freedom Index,” he said.