My tribute to Sir Howard
Many great leaders have left us and many more are yet to come. However, Sir Howard Cooke's indelible impression on the Jamaican populace will be lasting and will certainly remain with us for years to come. A truly 'big shoe to fill'. I remember meeting Sir Howard in 2001, when I was crowned Mini Miss Jamaica. He welcomed me with open arms and a warm smile, and the combination was simply one that warranted a response.
As a young and enquiring lady, I asked many questions and he responded very professionally. I remembered one of the questions asked was "What's the best part of your job?" to which he responded with his affectionate smile, "to kiss pretty girls like you." After entertaining a few more questions and having fruit punch, Sir Howard gave me another smile and loudly whispered, "you are a wonderful girl." He went on jokingly to say, "If anyone ask you what is the relationship, tell them that you are my granddaughter." We said our farewells and he told me that I could come again soon.
My heart is saddened by Sir Howard's death as he left an impact on my life that is irreplaceable. He has lived a long and truly rewarding life, which many have not got the opportunity to live. Jamaica has lost an amazing leader. To his family and friends, my condolences. Keep your head up and stay strong. Remember, we love him but God loves him best. He's now in the arms of an angel.
R.I.P, Sir Howard Cooke.
- Kimberly Ebanks