What a celebration!
Chester Francis-Jackson, Gleaner Writer
Dears, when one has given one's life to the service of country through politics and law, who can begrudge that individual the accolades of peers? The adoration of political colleagues and the society attests to the fact that P.J. Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica, is a man of international standing. What better time to show this adoration than on his 75th birthday!
Well, such was the case on Saturday, April 10, at the charming Riu hotel, just outside Ocho Rios, in St Ann. The man of the moment: Jamaica's longest-serving prime minister, successful legal luminary and outstanding Caribbean national.
Dedicated to serving Ja
Patterson, from his early days of political apprenticeship in the PNP, including his stint abroad in legal studies, has been dedicated to serving his country. Upon his return home, he engaged in the political struggles of the time, with the view of helping to shape the political and social landscape of postcolonial Jamaica.
Not unlike his mentors, Patterson retired at the top of the political game. So friends, family, party colleagues and admirers gathered to join him in celebrating his birthday, and dears, what a celebration it was!
Not only was the event style perfect, it was easily the humdinger of the season and then some.
Luvs, talk about putting on the ritz. The evening began with cocktails - premium libations, no less - and then moved into dinner and toasts, in a brief period of formalities chaired by Mike Fennell. This saw son, Richard Patterson, his successor, Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, and friends Ambassador David Muirhead and Dr Vin Lawrence moving toasts to Patterson, the friend, politician, family man and statesman.
But dears, what began as a class act, was made even more so, when the diva of Jamaican stage and music, cabaret performer, the oh-so-captivating Myrna Hague, took to the stage. Looking regal, and sounding as flawlessly grand as only she knows how, she belted out some of the birthday boy's favourite songs.
My dears, Hague is easily the finest performer this country has ever seen. Just writing about it brings on the goose pimples!
There was a Marilyn Monroe-esque moment, when a fabulous-looking lass popped out of a gift-wrapped box and in her best sultry drawl did a 'happy birthday, Mr Patterson' chorus. When it was time for Patterson to reply, he was as gracious as ever, and a most benevolent conclusion to the official interlude!
It was a night of high glamour, the intelligentsia, the socially well heeled and, of course, the political and literati!
Among the many friends, well-wishers, dignitaries and family members present were daughter Sharon Patterson Hibbert and husband Horace; son Richard Patterson, grandchildren Gabrielle, Breanna and Andrew Patterson; former British Prime Minister John Major and wife Norma; former Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall and his wife Lady Hall; Dr Denise Eldemire Shearer; Sir Alister and Lady McIntyre; former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe; Col John Simmonds; new PNP candidate Lucius Thomas; the Reverend Robert Thompson and wife Charmaine, Spanish Ambassador Jesús Silva; Peggy Fennell and Hopeton Caven.
Also out were president of the Senate, Dr Oswald Harding, and wife Marigold; Senator A.J. Nicholson and his wife, Yvonne; Senator K.D. Knight and wife Dr Pauline Knight; Senator Noel and Sharon Sloley; Derrick Smith and his wife, Carlene; PNP Chairman Bobby Pickersgill and companion Fiona McNeill; Dr Peter Phillips and wife Sandra; Dr Omar Davies and wife Dr Rose Davies, Phillip Paulwell; Anthony Hylton and his wife, Yodit; Dr Wykeham McNeill and wife Sheila; Peter Bunting and daughter Emma.
We spotted Lisa Hanna; Ambassador Dr Matthew Beaubrun; former High Commissioner Burchell Whiteman and his wife, Jolene; Ambassador Madge Barrett and husband Tunty; John and Urla Junor; Horace and Norma Clarke; Arnold 'Scree' and Clare Bertram; Professor Dr Trevor Munroe and his wife, Ingrid; Nathan and Ann Richards.
Kenny Benjamin and companion Aloima Suarez; Gordon and Dianne Tewani; Dr Charles and Corina Meeks; Ainsley and Marjorie Henriques; Jack and Jean Wilmot and their son Paul; Kingsley Cooper and companion Romae Gordon; Ryland Campbell; the lovely Minna Israel and son Kris Anthony Turner; Elombe and Donna Mottley; Sam James; Sonia Hamilton; Barrington Watson and wife Doreen; Yvon Desulme and wife Cynthia; Noel and Jacqueline DaCosta; Lance and Beverly Johnson; Steve and Betty Ashley and their sons Chase and Emile; Alston Stewart; Raymond and Mary-Ellen Reece; Bill Clarke; Dian Watson; Delano Franklyn.
Dr Tony Vendryes and his wife, Dorothy; Duke and Gwen Hamilton; Roosevelt Thompson; Audrey Hinchliffe and son Garth; a voluptuous looking Doreen Frankson; St John Hutton; the charming Kay Osborne; Dickie and Ingrid Woung; Wyvolyn Gager; Tony and Yvonne Rae; Len Crooks and his wife, the elegant Debra Hamilton; Dr Lorna Simmonds and her daughters Phoebe and Leah; Ray Gouldbourne; Clover Thompson; 'Ribbie' Chung; the lovely Sonia Witter; Kenny Mason; Brian McNish and Dawn Young; Charles Wood; Carol Jackson; Leon and Joyce Gordon; Robert Stephenson and Lisa Lewis; Maureen Webber; Louis Grant; Terry Campbell; the charming Jennifer Kerr; Sylvia Ashley, in from Atlanta; and the lovely Francesca Tavassi De Majo, in from Malta; plus several others!
And my dears, it was truly a memorable celebration!