Mon | Jun 21, 2021

Letter of the Day | Reflections on Martin Henry’s passing

Published:Saturday | June 8, 2019 | 12:00 AM


1. “It is distressing that Mr Martin Henry died while in the prime of his life.’’

2. ‘’Mr Henry was a model of clarity, precision and, most of all, integrity and honesty.”

(1, 2: Stephen Vascianne, president of the University of Technology, Jamaica, Observer, May 29, 2019)

3. “My children don’t like when I say it, but it’s true: Life is so uncertain, only death is sure.” (86-year-old woman, Trelawny)

4. “I am prepared, ready to be with my Saviour. I often tell people that I love life and living so much that if death was something we could run from, I would be the first to run the fastest and farthest away.” (94-year-old man, Trelawny)

5. “Mi ready, is a long time mi ready fi go home any time. Man weh live to 90 shouldn’t worry bout anything, neither sickness nor death, no sah.” (93-year-old man, Manchester)

6. “Life and health we often take for granted; cherish both.” (Advice to son from father, 52 years, dying from cancer)

What was former long standing Gleaner columnist, public commentator and University of Technology administrator Martin Henry planning to write about the late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga?

The shocking news of Henry’s sudden passing last week, only moments after one of his usual balanced and insightful commentaries on Television Jamaica (on the passing of Mr Seaga), was most ironic and another reminder of the uncomfortable, unavoidable reality of death. It sent me into deep reflections.

Henry was not a personal friend, but we corresponded by email over the past decade regarding his columns and public commentaries on wide-ranging issues. His replies to my emails were prompt, and I recall him saying that over the years, even before the advent of the internet, he replied to all the letters he received.

I looked forward to his Sunday columns over the years and learnt a lot because his writings were deeply analytical, balanced, perspicacious and profound.

It was obvious he read and researched thoroughly, which created the impression he was an expert on the subject matters he addressed. When I told him this, he informed me that he does not write for praise or popularity, only for factual emphasis. But popular he was, and his discerning and insightful commentaries over the decades are truly worthy of high praises.

Well done and farewell, Martin.