Tue | Aug 3, 2021

Pilgrimage to Robin’s Bay, a soulful experience

Published:Sunday | March 31, 2019 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera - Senior Gleaner Writer
Factories Corporation of Jamaica chairman, Tanny Shirley and his wife Roxan Wais Shirley.
The birthday boy, Lanville 'Sankey' Henry (centre), flanked by some of his best friends, from left - former West Indies Cricket Board CEO, Michael Muirhead; former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Gilbert Scott; Merritone's Monte Blake and Robert Benjamin.
Wayne Lewis and his significant other Alicia Cargill
From left: Denese Adams, Nastassja Grant and Susan Brown.
From left - Lois Spence, Douglas Grant and George Beckford.
From left - Helene Dean, Bev Corke and Dr John Junor, former tourism minister.
From left: Stephanie and Ian Neita, Toni Rennie and Peter Thomas.
From left - Angela Thame, Joan Bogle and Karen Young
Rochelle Burnett (left) and Juliette Fuller dancing up a storm
Lanville 'Sankey' Henry shares lens time with Dr Clover Brown of Sarah's Children during his annual birthday soiree at Robin's Bay in St Mary.

What started as a riverside party 43 years ago, has blossomed into a seaside affair that can easily be tagged a diaspora soiree on Robin’s Bay in St Mary.

Last Saturday, the trek continued, and St Mary was richer for the hundreds who invaded their space on the weekend.

Those who know the conceptualiser, refer to the birthday fundraiser as ‘Sankey’s Party’, and retired banker Lanville ‘Sankey’ Henry has absolutely no issues with the fame his annual event has earned him.

In fact, the trip to Robin’s Bay has become somewhat of a pilgrimage, as foreigners from as far as Europe, the USA, Canada, and as near as Cuba, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands, flock to the Jamaican-rich curried goat, ‘blue draws’, mannish water, escoveitched salt fish, fried sprat, jerked chicken and jerked pork event.

Many go for the food, but will probably not admit, owing to the camaraderie that Sankey’s party brings to the soul. Many go for the music, because some of the biggest and most respected selectors vie for the coveted position of playing at this party.

And the majority attend because it has become an institution.

“We started at a place called Rock River in 1976 with about 50 friends, then moved to Martins, not far from Robin’s Bay, before moving to Robin’s Bay sometime in the ’80s,” Henry tells Outlook.

According to him, for 35 years it remained a free party, until the numbers moved to 1,000, dropping to about 400 when he started charging. This year, the count was a little over 500.

This year’s event was attended by a wide cross section of persons from the business community, Henry’s family, close associates, members of both political parties, and even the Church.