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Gleaner columnists pay tribute to Boyne

Published:Tuesday | December 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Ian Boyne
Daniel Thwaites
John Rapley
Martin Henry
Peter Espeut

Daniel Thwaites: Champion Boyne gets nuff respect

Rev Ian Boyne was the gold standard bearer of opinion journalism. He reliably held his own in the sensible centre, allowing others - myself included - to roam the hinterlands with more freedom and abandon.

His genius was in his ability to do so with verve and freshness, and even while occasionally courting controversy. The payoff was respect and admiration from across the society. Rev Boyne might appear as the cause for stimulating debate on the latest Government action or Opposition policy, as well as he might appear in Alkaline's Champion Boy:

Dem yah story yah cyaa come pon ER

It haffi go-go pon Profile (Ian Boyne!)

I offer respect for his achievements as a columnist as one who shared real estate on The Sunday Gleaner's opinion pages, but more so as someone who understands the discipline and focus that Rev Boyne had to apply to this activity, even while pursuing an otherwise busy and productive life.

Martin Henry: Among the pillars, the mellowing originals was Ian

Right there among "the pillars", the mellowing "originals", was a young Ian Boyne alongside Morris Cargill, Carl Stone, Vincent Tulloch, Dawn Ritch and a few other established Gleaner columnists when Editor Dudley Stokes introduced his baker's dozen of 13 new columnists in October/November 1987. I among them. Ian has sadly and suddenly joined all those pillars out of the columns, and all but a couple of them in another place. Among the baker's dozen, I alone remain in the opinion columns of The Gleaner, and only one other writing elsewhere. Ian Boyne has been a colossus straddling media in print, television and radio. Bold, acerbic, learnt. He has copped the Morris Cargill Award for Opinion Journalism on several occasions and leaves behind a monumental corpus of work as his rich legacy some of it anchored in a book of selected columns. We shared themes and certainly length and an abiding interest in philosophy and religion as central to civilised human existence. But not style. Pugilist vs pacifist, hot vs cool, debater vs negotiator. To him I was Bredda Martin. Goodbye, Bredda Ian. In death, voracious reader, powerful writer, I will not call you Booklist Boyne.

Rev Peter Espeut: He made mentally lazy churchmen uncomfortable

I never met Ian Boyne outside the context of an interview or a theological debate, and so our encounters were largely intellectual. But stimulating they always were! We respected each others' minds, and our rational framework, although we often came to different conclusions. He sometimes would call to congratulate me on a column, and mention me in his; too few would engage him in religious debate, because very few were as familiar with the subject matter as Ian. Through his television interview programme 'Religious Hard Talk' he provided intellectual space for all religious ideas to contend, even crackpot ones. He was iconoclastic, challenging so profoundly the very foundations of mainstream Christianity, that he made mentally lazy churchmen uncomfortable. But his back was broad: he did not avoid logical and theological challenges to his own Armstrongian version of Sabbatarianism, even though, despite his interviewing style, he rarely engaged in debate about his own faith. His abrupt departure leaves us with unfinished business. I will miss him deeply.

John Rapley: We shall miss him terribly

I have lost a real friend, and Jamaica has lost a great servant and one of its finest public intellectuals. Ian had a hunger for ideas that was rivalled only by his passionate determination that those ideas should be put to the service of people. A critical commentator who never lost sight of the vital importance of civility, he aimed to find a common space that would unite all Jamaicans across our various divisions. We shall miss him terribly.