Biographies of Jamaican Personalities (A-H)






Eric Anthony Abrahams

Eric Anthony Abrahams

Eric Anthony Abrahams was born on May 5, 1940 to Eric and Lucille Abrahams (deceased). He attended Jamaica College then proceeded to the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI), where he studied Economics, History and English. In 1961 he graduated from UWI as a Rhodes Scholar and attended Oxford University. He has two children; Eric Jason and Tara Elizabeth.

During his studies at UWI, Eric presided as the Chairman of the Students' Union and President of the Debating Society. He also represented the University Students'  Conference in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Abrahams, while at Oxford University participated in several social extracurricular activities and became the second West Indian to become President of the Oxford Union.Eric has had a successful career. He was:

  • The first black TV reporter at BBC,
  • The youngest Jamaican to have been appointed Director of Tourism - In 1970,one month before his thirtieth birthday,
  • Director of Air Jamaica,
  • Member of Parliament, Eastern Portland, Minister of Tourism - JLP,
  • Minister of Information - JLP,
  • Member of the Jamaica Government Air Policy Committee,
  • Member of the Public Passenger Transport Board,
  • Chairman of the Jamaica Hotel School (1974-1976),
  • Founding Executive Director of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (1970-1974),
  • Member of the Jamaica Senate (1977-78),
  • Director Multi-National Tourism Programme of the Organization of American States (OAS) - 1978-79.
  • Director of Cicatur (Barbados) - 1978-80,
  • Contributing Journalist to the Jamaica Herald (1989-90).\

Eric Anthony Abrahams is a successful Jamaican who during his spare time enjoys squash, swimming and tennis.


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Carlton Alexander

Carlton Alexander
(1916 - 1989)


Selwyn Carlton Alexander was born in Montego Bay on May 9, 1916 to Selwyn Augustus and Rosina Alexander. He was the first of nine children. He attended Orange Hill Preparatory School in Montego Bay, St. John's College in Kingston and Jamaica College. Other formal education included night classes at Kingston College where he learnt shorthand, typing and book-keeping. Selwyn Alexander, at age 16, started working with Grace Kennedy & Co.  in 1933 as a Stock Clerk and rose to the position of Chairman, of the company. Mr. Alexander over many years has played a leading role in the field of Commerce, Industry and Export. He was one of the mastermind behind the co-ordination of the various segments of the business sector in a way which enables that sector to make a more positive contribution to the national development. Dr. Hon. Carlton Alexander, was said to be among the few Jamaican whose work has been instrumental in achieving aspects of sustainable development. Selwyn Alexander was involved in many areas business sector. He was the:

  • Board member of several companies and Chairman and Chief Executive of Grace Kennedy & Company Ltd.
  • President & Life Member of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ)
  • President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.
  • Chairman Jamaica National Export Corporation.
  • Chairman Jamaica National Investment Promotion Ltd.
  • Chairman Kingston Wharves Ltd.
  • Chairman Kingston Terminal Operators Ltd.
  • Chairman Diary Industries Jamaica Ltd.
  • Director Bata Shoe Company.
  • Director Coconut Control Authority
  • Director Jamaica Export Credit Insurance Company.
  • Director Caribbean Atlantic Life Insurance Company Limited.
  • Director of  Pilkington Glass Jamaica Ltd.
  • Director of Domestic Sales Ltd.
  • Chairman of the Jamaica College School Board etc.

He was the recipient of a Humanitarian Award at the American Friends of Jamaica's Seventh Annual Jamaica Charity Ball on November 23, 1988. The award was received by Hon. Keith Johnson as he was ill. He also received the Order of Jamaica and Commander of the Order of Distinction.

Selwyn Carlton Alexander died at age 73 on May 23, 1989. The Grace Kennedy Foundation was established in memory with $4.5 million fund to help education in Jamaica. The beneficiary of the fund are institutions with which Mr. Alexander was affiliated. He is acknowledged as a "rare patriot" to Jamaica.

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Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD
(1951- )

His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, was appointed Governor-General of Jamaica on February 26, 2009. He is the sixth person, and fifth Jamaican, to hold this position since independence in 1962. He has pastored over twenty churches and is a board member of several companies, organizations and public bodies.

Patrick Linton Allen was born on February 7, 1951 in Fruitful Vale, Portland, to Ferdinand Allen a farmer, and Christiana Allen, a housewife. 

He attended the Fruitful Vale All-Age School in Portland, and Moneague College in St. Ann. He later taught at the Water Valley All-Age School in St. Mary for three years before being appointed Principal of the Robins Bay Primary School in St. Mary in 1976. Between 1976 and 1983, he was the principal of Robins Bay All-Age, Hillside Primary and Port Maria High School. In 1985 he attended the Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA where he received a Bachelor’s degree in History and Religion. In 1986 he pursued a Master’s degree in Systematic Theology and in 1996 he went back to read for his Doctorate. During that period, he worked as an Assistant Registrar of Andrews University and in 1998 he was awarded the Ph.D degree in Educational Administration and Supervision.  Sir Patrick Allen returned to Jamaica in 1986 and was assigned as a pastoral intern to various churches in Spanish Town and May Pen. He was formally ordained as a Seventh Day Adventist pastor in 1989. Following his ordination, Allen served as pastor of the Spanish Town Seventh Day Adventist Church, the largest church in the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. He was later appointed Education and Communications Director of the Central Jamaica Conference between 1986 and 1991, and from 1990 to 1993 he served as Director of Education and Family Life of the West Indies Union of Seventh Day Adventists based in Mandeville.

Upon his return to Jamaica in 1998, he was elected President of the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists with responsibility for the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St. Mary and St. Ann. In 2000, he was elected President of the West Indies Union of Seventh Day Adventists with overall responsibility for the Seventh Day Adventist churches and related organizations in Jamaica, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. He was re-elected President in 2005. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Northern Caribbean University for eight and a half years, was a Vice Chairman of the Board of the Bible Society of the West Indies, and through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), gave oversight to extensive community interventions. On June 12, 2009 Queen Elizabeth the second, appointed Allen as Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George.

Sir Patrick Allen is a member of the Order of the Nation (ON), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) and in August 2006, the Jamaican government conferred on him the rank of Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) for service in education, religion, and social work. 

His other awards and accomplishments include: An Honorary Doctor of Public Service, being listed in ‘Who is Who’ in American Universities and Colleges (1985), membership in the Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Mu Gamma Honors Societies.

Allen has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of: the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Book and Nutrition Centre Limited and the West Indies Union Investment Management Limited. He oversees the network of Adventist-administered educational institutions in Jamaica which comprise 10 high schools, 22 primary schools and numerous basic schools. He has also served as a member of the Police Civilian Oversight Authority, the Strategic Review Implementation Oversight Committee for the Jamaica Constabulary Force and is a former Director of the Public Broadcasting Corporation.

Sir Patrick Allen married Miss Denise Patricia Beckford on July 20, 1975. They have three children together, Kurt and Candice who reside in Michigan and Atlanta respectively, and David who resides in Jamaica.


“His Excellency…Patrick Linton Allen.”

“The Governor General.”

Kellner, Mark .“New Man at Jamaica’s Helm.”   


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Amy Bailey
(1895 - 1990)

Amy Bailey gave voluntary service to numerous underprivileged girls in the field of education and social service training.  With £100 she made a down payment for the property at 4 Rosedale Avenue in Kingston to start the Housecraft Training Centre. The Centre opened in January 1946 with a mission to train girls to bring out the best in themselves, to teach them respect for the self and the job. In essence her mission was to equip them with self sufficiency and self reliance. Here she mothered 6000 girls along with her adopted daughter. Amy  was co-founder and first Chairman of the Women's Liberal Club which fought to give women an acceptable place in the world both outside and inside the home. She fought relentlessly for the liberation of women and fervently believed that women should qualify themselves in order to achieve their aspirations and not be rewarded with inferior positions because of their sex. She along with Mae Farquharson, while in England raising funds for the Save-the-Children Fund, was advised that the real problem facing Jamaican women relates to the high birth rate. Having realized this, she quickly responded to the problem by teaching birth control on a small scale. Amy along with Dr. Hyacinth Lightbourne and others in 1938 organized the first birth control league. Amy Bailey is a strong Jamaican, inspired by Marcus Garvey, who believed in the dignity of people and the fight against racial discrimination and the marginalization of women.In 1938, she lectured at a Glasgow Peace Conference, Interlaken, Switzerland. She also visited the United States on tours to raise funds for the Housecraft Training Centre. She served on several organizations as:

  • President of the Shortwood Old Girls Association (1936-1937)
  • President Woman's Liberal Club
  • President Kingston Technical School Group (1940-1941)
  • Vice President Kingston Technical School Group (1942)
  • Secretary Kingston Technical School Group (1942-44)
  • Vice Chairman Shortwood Old Student Association (1944-45)
  • Member of the executive of the Bureau of Standards, The Social Welfare
    Board and Price Commission

Amy Bailey , a Justice of the Peace, in 1960 was made a member of the British Empire for voluntary social service and in 1990 she received the Order of Jamaica for Outstanding services to the women's movement. She also received the Marcus Garvey award for Excellence in 1988.She lived by her motto - "Service is the rental one pays for one existence". Miss Bailey died on October 3, 1990.

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Cecil Baugh

Cecil Baugh – the ‘Master Potter’ was born in Bangor Ridge, Portland in about 1909 and attended the Bangor Ridge Primary School.

During his adolescent years he was given the task to take food for his brother at Long Mountain Road (now Mountain View Avenue. It was here that he was first exposed to the ancient art of pottery. Young Cecil Baugh watched the women who made and fired the yabbah bowls which were produced by a technique which survived from the days of slavery itself, and was of African origin. His first efforts were limited to ‘dollyhouse’ items including little clay tables and chairs, which brought him earnings of three shillings a week on average. He soon ‘graduated’into making flower pots and yabbahs. He increased his earnings but more importantly, fuelled the fires of his ambition. After living for a while in Richmond, St. Ann with his brother who had by then become a tradesman and for a while in Montego Bay, Cecil Baugh returned to Long Mountain to make pots. His efforts in other parts of the island were not as successful as he would have liked. The right type of clay was important and that from the Liguanea Plains was ideal.

He was about 25 years old in 1933 when an incident occurred bringing a new dimension to his work and changing the face of ceramics in this country. One night while firing his day’s work he noticed fire escaping through the top of his rude kiln. Not wanting the temperature to drop he quickly grabbed the nearest thing he could find to cover it. It was a sheet of copper. As the copper became increasingly hot, he saw a flame coming from it. It was not orange-red as he was used to, but turquoise. As it licked at the night Cecil Baugh thought it was the prettiest colour he had ever seen, and he thought about capturing that colour in his work. Having no formal education in chemistry he quite often did not get the colours he tried for, but whatever came out was new to Jamaicans and he sold all he could make.

In 1941, in response to a newspaper advertisement Cecil Baugh enlisted in the Royal Engineers of the British Army. He kept in close touch with his art, but because of World War II, work in ceramics was at a minimum. He claimed that in 1942 his Division was sent to Cairo and it was there that he saw the Persian Blue, a colour quite similar to what he had got using copper oxide and glass in Jamaica. He was greatly encouraged.

Cecil wanted to know everything there was to know about ceramics to enhance his teaching skills upon returning to Jamaica. When he returned to Jamaica in 1946 he was not satisfied with the extent of his knowledge. He wanted to return to England to study under the most respected figure in ceramics in the Western world, Bernard Leach, however, no scholarships were available and when contacted, Leach said he had no time for beginners.

Cecil remained undaunted, went to England to study with another ceramist, and would not rest until he managed to secure a one-year term under the guidance of Bernard Leach. It was the beginning of a friendship, which lasted throughout the years. He returned to Jamaica in 1949 and in 1950 mounted his first one-man exhibition. Soon after with Albert Huie, Linden Leslie, Jerry Isaacs and Edna Manley formed the Jamaica School of Art. Cecil Baugh was the last to leave the institution when he retired in 1975.

Strength and simplicity – these two features above all epitomize the feel of Cecil Baugh’s pottery. And for him, this skill was not easily acquired as part of a planned art course, but was rather built throughout the years by ceaseless experimenting with materials available to him and by determinedly seeking to learn from those more skilled than himself in order to improve his work. He gave nearly half a century of his life to pottery – at first discovering and improving his own skills and later passing these skills on to others. Ceramics in Jamaica now have their own unique form, authentically Jamaican, evolved by Jamaicans for Jamaicans.

To have helped to achieve this status for this ancient craft is a life’s work to be proud of. And in more ways than one has Cecil Baugh been the Bernard Leach of Jamaican pottery, for he is also an artist acclaimed both here and abroad for the simplicity, beauty and craftsmanship essential in all of his excellent work.

Cecil Baugh died on June 28, 2005 at the age of ninety-six.


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Edward Alston Cecil Baugh, C.D., B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
(1936 - )

Born in Port Antonio, Portland on January 10, 1936, Edward Baugh is the son of 
Edward Percival Baugh, Purchasing Agent and Ethel Maud Duhaney-Baugh. He was Professor Emeritus of English since 1978 (retired September 30, 2001) as well as Public Orator since 1985. Baugh is also a poet and an actor. 

Baugh was educated at Titchfield High School in Portland. After completing his secondary education, he won a Jamaican Government Exhibition to the University College of the West Indies and read English. He then won a R. S. McLaughlin Fellowship to do postgraduate studies at Queens University in Ontario, Canada and a Commonwealth Scholarship to the University of Manchester, England where he obtained a Ph.D in English in 1964. 

He taught at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies for three years (1965-1967) and at the Mona Campus for over thirty three years (1968-2001). He has also held visiting appointments at the University of California, Dalhousie University, University of Hull, University of Wollongong, Flinders University, Macquarie University, University of Miami and Howard University. 

Edward Baugh has a distinguished record of academic, administrative and public service, some of which include Head of Department of English, and Dean and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies (now Humanities and Education). He has also adjudicated regional and international literary competitions and prizes such as the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Guyana Prize for Literature. 

Baugh is a prolific writer and has a long list of publications to his credit. This include, "It was the Singing" (2000), "I was a Teacher too" (1991), "A Tale from the Rainforest" (1988), "Derek Walcott: Memory as Vision" (1978), "Critics on Caribbean Literature" (1978) and "West Indian Poetry 1900-1970: A Study in Cultural Decolonisation" (1971).

Baugh has had an exemplary career as a superb and inspiring teacher and intellectual mentor whose generosity and rigorous expectations shaped several generations of Caribbean literary scholars.  


  • Pelican Award (U.W.I. Guild of Graduates) 1999
  • Silver Musgrave Medal, Institute of Jamaica 1998
  • U.W.I. Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Administration 1995


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Isaac Mendez Belisario

Born in the city of London between 1790-1800, Isaac Mendez Belisario was the son of a prosperous merchant and probably the grandson of a famous Rabbi of the same name. He was an etcher and painter.

"Koo, Koo or Actor Boy" 

An Italian Jew, Belisario is best known for the etching of the interior of the Bevis Marks Synagogue. This painting was exhibited at London's Royal Academy in 1815. It was later hung in the Bevis Marks Synagogue where it still can be seen, having survived the bombings of World War II, which devastated much of the surrounding areas. 

Perhaps one of the last works by Belisario was his painting of the famous actress Ellen Kean in 1832. Not long after its completion he left London, sailing for Kingston, Jamaica, where he had close relatives. Once he settled he made himself known as a very competent landscape painter, using mostly water-colours, but he also accepted commissions for portraits, which were said to be of a high quality bearing "striking likenesses" to the subjects. 

Two years later Belisario gained national attention with a set of twelve lithographs, which became known as "Sketches of Character in illustration of the Habits, Occupation and Costume of the Negro Population in the island of Jamaica."

"Queen or "Maam" of the Set-Girls"

Seven of the pictures were used for stamps (and two souvenir sheets) to mark Christmas 1975 and 1976. The series was immensely popular with Jamaicans. Reproductions of these are used extensively in publications on Jamaican culture and festivals. 

It is not known exactly when Isaac Belisario died nor where he was buried. 

A list of some of his works in his "Sketches of Character..." are:

  • "Red Set-Girls, and Jack-in-the-Green"
  • "Queen or "Maam" of the Set-Girls"
  • "Koo Koo or Actor Boy"
  • "Jaw Bone, or House John Canoe"
  • "Milkwoman" 
  • "Creole Negroes"
  • "French Set-Girls"
  • "Lovey"
  • "Water-Jar Seller"
  • "Band of the Jaw-Bone John Canoe"


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The Hon. Louise Bennett Coverly
(1919 - 2006)

Louise Bennett-Coverley is a poet and folklorist of international reputation, an every-green radio and television personality; an author of folk stories; a dominant personality of Jamaican theatre for four decades.  In short she is a living - and more often than laughing - a legend in her time.

"Miss Lou" was born on September 7, 1919.  She was educated at St. Simon's College and Excelsior School, both in Kingston, and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

At an early age she began performing at church concerts, around campfires and for her school friends.  She started writing poetry as a schoolgirl after an experience on a tramcar while on her way to the cinema.  The first poem was called "Spred out yuself Lisa".

Her honours have ranged from the Member of the Order of the British Empire awarded by Queen Elizabeth II in 1961, the Musgrave Silver Medal, the Norman Manley Award of Excellence, and in 1974, the Order of Jamaica which entitled her to be addressed as 'the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley'.

The Hon. Louise Bennett - Coverley died in Toronto, Canada on July 26, 2006. 

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Evon Blake                                                                                                          

It was over a century after Emancipation in the British West Indies, but racial segregation strongly manifested within various spheres of the Jamaican society; the luxurious Myrtle Bank Hotel in Kingston was no different. In the summer of 1948, a Black man, on his own, dared to express his disapproval of such legacy. He plunged into the hotel’s pool which was occupied by Whites who subsequently left the pool in protest.  The management demanded his exit but he refused their requests. Such an act got him a lifetime pass, but more importantly, it significantly undermined racial barriers at the hotel.  This man was pioneer journalist, Evon Blake, born Urell Blake.

Blake was born on the 7th day of February, 1906 in Salem, Clarendon to Cottilda Ayre- Blake and farmer, Joseph Blake. He attended the Tabernacle Elementary School (1912- 1921) in James Hill, Clarendon and the Government Farm School/ Jamaica School of Agriculture (1921- 23) in Kingston. He later studied Stenography, Accounting, Spanish Literature and Journalism in Colon, Panama, and LaSalle Extension University of Scranton, Pennsylvania in the United States of America where he attained a Ph.D. with honors.

In 1923, having just completed his third year at the Government Farm School, Evon Blake, while on his way home, was drawn to a ship in the Kingston harbour on which he spontaneously decided to stow away to Panama where he spent thirteen years. It was here that his career as a journalist began.


Blake started out as a columnist for the Star and Herald of Panama from 1928 to 1929 and then moved on to serving as secretary to the manager of Panama Agencies Company in Cristobal. Later, he joined the staff of the United Fruit Company. This was his final job in Panama as he returned to Jamaica in 1933 where he became an established journalist. However, he first joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force where he was recruited as an interpreter/translator and political undercover operator at the Kingston Division; he served in this capacity for only a brief period in 1933.

In June of the same year, Blake became crime reporter and columnist at the Gleaner Company located at the time on Harbour Street in Kingston. He resigned in 1938 and began freelance writing for the Jamaica Standard, a daily newspaper, and the Jamaica Times, a weekly newspaper. This lasted for about a year because in 1939 Blake parted from this engagement to establish what would become a much recognized and successful venture of his, the Spotlight Newsmagazine which was the first of its kind in Jamaica.

Spotlight Newsmagazine, Evon Blake declared on its launch (January 1940) had, “a triple feature combination—News, Information, Entertainment; a combination which no literate man, woman or child can resist: a popular appeal” (Spotlight, 1). He further noted that although the Magazine would communicate news of political happenings, it would avoid airing views related to such happenings. Hence, the Magazine’s disconnect from political tribalism which he believed would jeopardize its span of life.

As editor and publisher of the Magazine for sixteen and a half years, Blake’s work covered several news items relating to crime, the World War, business, industry, government, education, labor, sport, religion, women, folklore, press, politics and other subjects. In an endeavour to publish the “newsmagazine glamorous sister”, Mr. Blake, in 1953 established Spotlight Illustrated. However, it survived only three issues as a result of a lack of technical expertise in Jamaica.

The year 1956 was a turning point in Blake’s career. It was the year of Spotlight’s incorporation and his divorce from the said publication; the former resulting from financial difficulties and the second from irreconcilable differences between Blake and management. Subsequently, he launched in August 1957, Newday Newsmagazine which became the competition of its forerunner and lasted for eight and a half years.

Although it was the rival of Spotlight, Newday had a different geographical focus; it was West Indian. The name ‘Newday’, he said had a dual symbolism: “Considering the long mental night out of which it was born, considering that even while it is being born the people it is designed to serve are emerging joyously from out of the long political and social night of colonial rule into the hopeful new day of nationhood. . .” (Newday, 9) “Federal Affairs”, “Sport”, “Caribbean Quotes”, “About Ourselves”, “Women” and “Education” are just some of the content headings of the Newday Newsmagazine of the West Indies.

Mr. Blake’s work was not limited to journalism or publishing. He espoused nation building and sought to champion the cause of the socially and economically deprived. Besides editorials, writing letters to government officials was a fundamental part of these undertakings. Correspondences between him and former Prime ministers (The Most Honorable Michael Manley and The Right Excellent Sir William Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica) speak to such efforts. These include:

A letter dated 6th June 1963 which Mr. Blake wrote to Sir Bustamante stating that funds (20, 000 pounds) allocated for the Chicago Exhibition should instead be used to support the cause of the unemployed who were suffering dire hardships;

Correspondence between him and the Honorable Michael Manley (in March 1961) on the issue of granting scholarships to practicing Jamaican journalist;

A letter dated 2nd January which he wrote to Sir Bustamante expressing his disapproval of Americans instead of Jamaicans contracted to work on the Sandy Gully Project.

As a result of health issues, in 1963 Mr. Blake retired to Long Bay and later Anchovy, Portland. Here, he worked as a columnist for The Gleaner, feature writer for The Star, and produced two major publications; The Best of Evon Blake, 1967 and Beautiful Jamaica, 1970. Although the former of these two publications comprised the articles Mr. Blake felt was the best written by him, the latter (a colorful pictorial of Jamaica depicting various aspects of the society) gained more recognition not only locally, but internationally. It was an official government publication. Other publications include:

Publications (novels) for the Jamaican Movement for the Advancement of Adult Literacy [JAMAL]

  • Unforgettable Sunday, 1977
  • Money for Mama, 1978
  • Night out of Town, 1979
  • Legend of the God Bird, 1980

Extra-journalistic activities of Mr. Blake involved:

  • Chairman of Jamaica Red Cross (Portland Branch)
  • Member of Portland Region Hospital Management Board
  • Member of Passely Gardens Agricultural College Board
  • Member of Eastern Region Rent Assessment Board
  • Director of Portland Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-founder of Jamaica Press Association


  • The Seprod Gold Medal for Journalism
  • Silver Medal from the Institute of Jamaica

Mr. Blake withdrew from active journalism three years before his death at the University of the West Indies Hospital on November 7, 1988.


Blake, Evon. Anecdote, National Library of Jamaica.

Blake, Evon. Beautiful Jamaica. Vista Publications: 1970.

Blake, Evon. Correspondences, MS1955, National Library of Jamaica.

Blake, Evon. Newday Monthly West Indian News Magazine vol. 1: 1957.

“Evon Blake remembered as colourful, fearless.” The Daily Gleaner: 9 November, 1988:2. Print.

Blake, Evon. Spotlight News Magazine 1.1-12: 1940.

Blake, Evon. The Best of Evon Blake, 1967.

Blake-Hannah, Barbara. “My Father Who Fathered Me”, Jamaica Record: 20 November 1988.

“Veteran Journalist Evon Blake Dies.” The Star: 8 November 1988.

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The Rt. Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante
(1884 - 1977)

Sir Alexander Bustamante was born on February 24, 1884 , the son of Robert Constantine Clarke, an Irish planter and Mary Clarke (nee Wilson) a Jamaican of mixed blood.  He was named William Alexander Clarke, but later changed his name in 1944 to William Alexander Bustamante.  He was the second of five children of the Clarke family.  He had three sisters, Louise, Iris and Maude and a younger brother, Herbert.  He also had two elder sisters, Ida and Daisy Clarke, by a previous marriage of his father.  His grandmother Elsie Clarke-Shearer was also the grandmother of Bustamante’s contemporary and fellow National Hero, Norman Washington Manley.

For thirty years, beginning in 1905, the restless Bustamante traveled extensively in the hemisphere particularly to Cuba, Panama , and the United States trying his hand at a variety of occupations including security work, dairy farming, transportation and pen keeping.  It is believed that Bustamante made a considerable amount of money speculating on the Wall Street stock market.  Back in Jamaica in the mid-thirties his money-lending business prospered, but while it gave him a livelihood it also opened his eyes to the appalling plight of the poor. Bustamante began participating in trade union activities before 1938 and developed a public reputation as a spokesman of the downtrodden.  The violent labour disturbances during 1938 and his attempts to mediate and bring about a reduction in tension between the parties resulted in Bustamante being projected as the country’s “Labour Leader”.  The authorities viewed him as a troublemaker and this resulted in his detention in 1938 and again in 1940.

The Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) was formed in 1939 and over the next few years Bustamante displayed charisma in his ability to gain significant benefits for the workers he represented.  In the latter part of 1943 Bustamante followed the example set by Manley and used the membership of the BITU to build a political party.  Bustamante’s success in negotiating substantial gains for large groups of workers fuelled further support for the Jamaica Labour Party and when the elections of December 1944 were held the party won with a land-slide victory.Later in 1962 when Jamaica became independent Bustamante was named the new nation’s first Prime Minister.  One month later he married his private secretary, Miss Gladys Longbridge.


  • He holds a honorary degree from the American University, Fairfield , Connecticut (1963)
  • In 1966, the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws ‘honoris causa’ of the University of the West Indies was conferred on him. He was made a member of the Privy Council in 1963
  • In 1966 Sir Alexander was awarded the National Order of Knight Grand Cross.  He was also awarded the Distinguished Order of the Brilliant Star with special Grand Cordon by the Government of the Republic of China.
  • In February 1968, the Jamaican House of Representatives and the Senate paid tribute to Sir Alexander.  Later that month, the Bustamante Foundation was launched simultaneously in four countries, as a permanent and lasting memory of Sir Alexander’s services to Jamaica.
  • In 1969, Sir Alexander became a member of the Order of National Hero; a life-size statue of him was erected at South Parade; his picture appears on the Jamaican one-dollar bill and his birthplace has been made a National Monument.

Two years after taking office Bustamante, then 80 years old, became ill.  He never returned to active involvement in the affairs of state.  He officially retired in 1967 and died on August 6, 1977 at the age of 93 years.


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The Honourable Gladys Maud Bustamante O.J., J.P.
(1912- 2009) 

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Born Gladys Maud Longbridge to parents Frank Longbridge and   Rebecca Blackwood, in Parson Reid, Westmoreland on March 08, 1912. Gladys grew up in rural Jamaica with her grandparents after her mother left the island for Cuba when she was three years of age.  She attended the Ashton Primary School. In later years, her Aunt took her to Kingston where she lived in Jones Town and attended Tutorial Secondary and Commercial College.It was at Tutorial Secondary and Commercial College that she learnt her secretarial  skills that would in later years shape her life. In the early 1930’s Gladys returned to Westmoreland with the intent of using her achieved skills for the betterment of her community. She was unable to employ her skills there due to little job opportunities. She then moved to Montego Bay where she gained employment at Havana Sports. 

In 1934, Gladys Longbridge returned to Kingston, where she was temporarily employed at the Arlington House Hotel and Restaurant. In March 1936, she was employed by Alexander Bustamante as private secretary in his capacity as businessman and she continued in this capacity following his entry into the trade union movement, politics and until he became Prime Minister of Jamaica. Gladys also did social work islandwide, particularly among port workers and their families and in sugar communities and with the children of destitute parents. 

She was actively involved in voluntary work and charitable institutions. During her employment to Bustamante she was also actively involved in the trade unionism and she traveled with him throughout the length and breath of the country. On September 07, 1962, Gladys Maud Longbridge and Sir Alexander Bustamante were married.

Lady Bustamante has been and still is the Treasurer of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) and a Trustee since 1938, a member of the executive committee and trustee of the Jamaica Labour Party, member of the Old Age Pension Committee and Patron of The Bustamante Hospital for Children.

 Lady Bustamante has been presented with a number of awards:

  • Golden Orchid Award from Venezuelan Government in recognition of dedication to Sir Alexander Bustamante’s ideals, 1979.
  • Order of Jamaica, 1982.
  • Gleaner Company’s Special Merit Award for Outstanding Service to the Nation, 1984.
  • Patron of Bustamante Hospital for Children, 1984.
  • Trophy in Recognition of “Widow Exemplary Family Life” by Harmony in the Homes Movement 1985.
  • Plaque for Outstanding Public Service to Jamaica to mark the end of United Nations Decade of Women 1976 - 1986.
  • Long Service Award from Bustamante Hospital for Children for 21 years of Service.
  • Citation from Young Jamaica in honour of supporting role to National hero, Sir Alexander Bustamante.
  • Proclamation for the City of Opalocka for determination and commitment to the betterment of humankind, declared “Lady Bustamante Day”,  December 10, 1988.
  • Outstanding Achievement from Metropolitan Dade County, Florida,  1988.
  • Plaque of Recognition for Work and Dedication from Friends of the Poor Incorporated, Florida 1988.
  • Woman’s Inc.’s Celebration of Womanhood Award in 1988.
  • Certificate of Recognition of National Day of Jamaica, 1990

Today, Lady Gladys Maud Bustamante resides in upper St. Andrew and continues her work at the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union.

Lady Bustamante died at the Tony Thwaites Wing at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Saturday July 25, 2009. She was ninety-seven years old.


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Archbishop Samuel Carter

Samuel Carter
(1919 - 2002)

His Grace, the Most Revd. Samuel E. Cater was born on July 31, 1919 to Wilfred and Marie Carter. He attended the St. Aloysius Primary School in Kingston under the management of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. After successfully completing his secondary education he went to St. Simon's to teach Latin (1939-41). Immediately following St. Simons in 1941 he worked as a Clerk in the Treasury and Finance Department until 1944.

In August 1944 he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Shadowbrook, Massachusetts and pronounced his First Vows as a Jesuit in 1946. The following year he went to do a Bachelors of Arts Degree and in 1950 his Master's Degree in Philosophy at Weston College. Having taught Sociology  for one year at Holy Cross College, Worchester, Massachusetts he returned to Weston College in 1951 to pursue studies in Theology and achieved a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL). Samuel Carter did not stop there, In 1954, after he was ordained, he went to St. Bueno's College, England, to study  Ascetical Theology and in 1958 he attended the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and obtained the Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW).

Samuel Carter throughout his career served as:

  • Assistant Priest at Holy Trinity Cathedral
  • He represented the Church on social work programmes such as Save the Children Fund, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children/Jamaica Children Services
  • Manager of Holly Family School 
  • Manager Catholic Women's League
  • Social Casework Lecturer for Probation Officers
  • Chairman Fort Augusta Prison Visiting Committee (1960-1974)
  • President Jamaica Catholic Educational Association (1960-61)
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Jamaica Mental Health Association (1960-65)
  • Editor-in-chief Mental Health Conference Report 1962
  • Chairman Ministry of Education Committee on Organization and Structure of Educational Systems (1965-66)
  • Chairman of Holy Trinity Secondary Board (1968)
  • Member of Council - University of the West Indies (1976)

 He has many first throughout his career. He was the first:

  • Headmaster of Campion College,
  • Jamaican Rector of St. George's College,
  • Jamaican Roman Catholic Bishop,
  • Jamaican Archbishop of Kingston,
  • Chairman of the Conference of Churches - he was elected in 1973 at the Inaugural Meeting as the Chairman.

Samuel Carter earned several awards of Honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) from the:

  • College of Holy Cross (Worchester, Massachusetts) in 1970, 
  • Le Moyne College (Syracuse, U.S.A) 1976, 
  • Rale Medallion (U.S.A), 1976
  • Loyola University of Chicago, 1979 
  • University of the West Indies, 1988
  • Fairfield University, Connecticut U.S.A., 2000

He was also awarded the Bicentennial Award from Boston College School of Social Work  and a Honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) from Bethany College, Bethany, U.S.A in 1996.

Archbishop Carter served on many Commissions and  Conferences either as Chairman or as a member. He was said to have developed a passion to serve mankind from an early age. He worked  relentlessly in the inner city communities to spread the Eucharist of Love.  He retired November 11,1994 and died September 3, 2002. 

Archbishop Emeritus Samuel Carter's motto was "That all may be one". He undertook many challenges and throughout his career he impacted positively on the development of the mind of many to whom he had come into contact with and those who knew or heard of him.


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Sir Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke ON, CD, GCMG, GCVO
(1915 - 2014)

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Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke was born on October 15, 1915 in the "free village" of Goodwill, St. James. His parents were Mary Jane Minto, seamstress and butcher and David Brown Cooke, wheelwright and carpenter. 

Sir Howard started from humble beginnings. He remembered that at times the community could be very dry. When this happened he and others had to walk long distances to fetch water which they carried on animals, in drums and sometimes on their heads. In his youth Howard Cooke and all the boys went to school without shoes, only girls wore shoes.

Sir Howard was educated at elementary and private schools, Mico College and London University. It was in 1933 at the age of 18 that Howard Cooke was accepted among the top twenty of 120 candidates to enter Mico College. He had performed so well in the entrance examination that he was selected to teach the first lesson that year at Mico Practising School. This however didn't go very well as Cooke was told that his lesson on "Books" was the worst delivered at the college in a very long time. 

Despite his mortification Cooke strived as his instructor E. A. Moore who encouraged him to continue. He was told he had the ability to control the classroom and he also knew how to handle the children. With Mr. Moore's help he was able to better prepare his lessons. With this advice and several books on specialized teaching "Cooksie", as he was fondly called scored the highest mark in the college that year.

Howard Cooke was also a great cricketer, later he went on to play football. He played in the Evelyn Cup at Mico College and he also played house matches in football.

He graduated in 1935 and was awarded the Duff Memorial Prize. He returned to Mico one month later as Junior Master where he taught Sports, Agriculture and taught lessons at the Practising School until 1939. At age 21 he became the president of the St. Andrew Teachers Association. His teaching career spanned 23 years as after he left Mico College and Practising School, he later served as Headmaster at Belle Castle All Age School, Port Antonio Upper School and Montego Bay Boys School. He was also was a member and former President of the Jamaica Union of Teachers. 

In 1938 at the age of 23, Howard Cooke became one of the founding members of the People's National Party (PNP), thereby starting his political career. He was chosen along with another member from the Jamaica Union of Teachers to represent that group in the formation of that party. Mr. Cooke was one of those who drafted the the PNP constitution. He also became a member of the West Indies Federal Parliament from 1958 to 1962, a Senator from 1962 to 1967, a member of the House of Representatives from 1967 to 1980, Minister of Government 1972 to 1980, as well as President of the Senate from 1989 to1991. As minister he held at different times, the portfolios of Pension and Social Security, Education, Public Service and Labour. 

Sir Howard also had an illustrious career in the insurance industry where he started as Branch Manager of the Standard Life Assurance Company in Montego Bay from 1960 to1971. He later went on to the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) where he was also Branch Manager from 1982 to1991. He left the Montego Bay Branch after he was appointed Governor General on August 1, 1991. His Excellency, The Most Honourable Sir Howard Cooke, became the third native Governor General since Jamaica gained independence in 1962. 

Sir Howard Cooke and his wife, Lady Sylvia Lucille Tai-Cooke have been married for over 65 years and are parents to three children, two sons and a daughter. 

Among the honours and awards accorded to Sir Howard are: 

  • Knight (GCVO) 1994
  • The Knighthood (GCMG) bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen 1991
  • Mico College Gold Medal Award for outstanding service 1991
  • Order of the Nation 1991
  • Special Plaque awarded by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association 1980
  • Commander of the Order of Distinction 1978  

Sir Howard Cooke demitted office on February 16, 2006. He died on Friday, July 11, 2014 at the age of 98.

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Frank Cundall

Frank Cundall
(1858 - 1937)

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Frank Cundall was born in London on the 17th of January 1858. Frank Cundall was married twice and had two children. His son was the Hon. Leslie Cundall, Q.C., Attorney General of Jamaica and his daughter, Mrs. Frances Wiehen who was married to Mr. Guy Weihen, a Master of Munro College, St. Elizabeth.

Mr. Cundall held the position of Assistant Secretary in 1883 to the International Fisheries Exhibition and from 1884-85 to the Health and Inventions Exhibition. In 1879, Sir Anthony Musgrave, the then Governor of Jamaica, founded the Institute of Jamaica. At a special meeting of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Jamaica held in 1890, Frank Cundall was appointed Secretary and Librarian. He arrived in Kingston on February 6, 1891.

Prior to his appointment Frank Cundall was an author. He was the author of The Landscape and Pastoral painters of Holland  and Reminiscences of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition.

During his tenure at the Institute of Jamaica his focus was on historical research and the development of the West India Reference Library. It was his past involvement in exhibitions that lead to the quick creation of  the Art Gallery at the Institute. Cundall used his connections overseas to acquire most of the Institute's collection. He saw to the collection and preservation of all types of materials on all the Caribbean Islands with the greater emphasis on Jamaica. Cundall, with minimal support from the government made significant contribution to the development of the West India Reference Library now the National Library of Jamaica.


In 1929, His Majesty King George V was pleased to confer on him the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).

His Involvement

  • He was Chief Assistant Secretary to the Royal Commission of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in 1886.
  • For many years he was a Church warden of the St. Andrew Parish Church and Lay Representative of the Synod of the Church of England in Jamaica.
  • He was a Fellow of the Society of the Antiquarians and of the Royal Historical Society
  • He was an Honorary Corresponding Member of the Institute Historique et Heraldique de France, the American Antiquarian Society, the American Jewish Society, the Hispanic Society of America, the Ontario Historical Society and the Academic des Jeux Florimontains.

Some of his Publications

Mr. Cundall was a prolific writer and a bibliography of his works make for much reading. The items include:

  • The Story of the life of Columbus and the Discovery of Jamaica
  • A Brief Guide to an exhibition of maps of the sixteen century...
  • The Life of Enos Nuttall, Archbishop of the West Indies
  • The Press and printers of Jamaica prior to 1820
  • A History of printing in Jamaica from 1717 to 1834
  • The Taxation of Jews in Jamaica
  • A Supplementary bibliography of Richard Hill
  • A Brief History of the Parish Church of St. Andrew Jamaica
  • The Aborigines of Jamaica
  • The Rodney Memorial in Jamaica
  • A Brief account of King's House, Spanish Town, Jamaica
  • Jamaica in 1901; a handbook of information for intending settlers and others
  • Jamaica in 1897; a handbook of information for intending settlers and others
  • Jamaica in 1896; a handbook of information for intending settlers and others
  • Jamaica in 1895; a handbook of information for intending settlers and others
  • Place-names of Jamaica
  • Historic Jamaica
  • Catalogue of the portraits in the Jamaica History Gallery of the Institute of Jamaica
  • Jamaica in 1928, a handbook of information fro visitors and intending residence with some account of the colony's history
  • Tortoise shell-carving in Jamaica
  • Bibliographies of the West Indies (102, 1908,1909)
  • Lady Nugent's Journal (editor of)

One can see his bust at the Institute of Jamaica.


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Professor Daphne Douglas

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Professor Daphne Douglas was born on September 26, 1924 in the parish of Kingston to Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Edson Douglas. Her early education was at St. Hilda’s High School, Brown’s Town and Suthermere Commercial School, St. Andrew. Her library education began in 1954 with a Jamaican Government scholarship to the Eastern Caribbean Regional Library School, Trinidad, where she completed requirements for elections as an Associate of the Library Association (ALA) of the United Kingdom. In 1957/1958, a Jamaica Library Service scholarship took her to Leeds College of Commerce School of Librarianship, England, which led to her election as a Fellow of the Library Association (FLA). Later, she was awarded a three-month UNESCO fellowship to the Danish School of Librarianship (August to November 1968) to pursue studies in Library Education. In 1974 she attained the Master of Library Science Degree (MLS) from the University of Pittsburgh where her outstanding work culminated in her election to membership of the International Library Service Honour Society, Bet Phi Mu.

Professor Douglas’ first post as a librarian was with the Jamaica Civil Service (1944-1956) where she also served as Stenotypist and Secretary. She joined the Jamaica Library Service in 1956 and served until 1971. Professor Douglas’ first librarian position was as cataloguer and this was followed by the position of Regional Librarian of the St. James Parish Library. She then held the position of Principal Librarian and Training Officer. Professor Douglas also held the positions of Chief Librarian at the Library of the Institute of Jamaica (1961-1963) and Librarian at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations (1963-1964).

On the establishment of the Department of the Library Studies, University of the West Indies, she was appointed a lecturer in 1971, then head of the Department from 1976 to 1980 and from 1982-1993.

Professional Affiliations include Jamaica Library Association, renamed Library and Information Association of Jamaica and Association of University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL).

She was Professor of Library Studies from 1984-1994 and made Professor Emeritus in 1994 and has been Chairman of the Board of Management of the National Library of Jamaica since 1997.

 Honours and Awards received by Professor Douglas: 

  • Silver Musgrave Medal for contribution to Library Development – 2005
  • Junior Chamber of Commerce, Liguanea Chapter special award for outstanding service to community – 1993
  • Member of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander conferred, by appointment His Excellency, the Governor General of Jamaica in recognition of services in the field of Librarianship – 1992
  • Award for Outstanding Service in the field of Librarianship, by the Association of Librarians in the Jamaica Library Service – 1991
  • Special Tuition Grant awarded by the University of Western Ontario
  • Woman of Distinction: National Award for distinguished service in Librarianship and unbroken service in the field of Library Education –  1976-1985
  • Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal for Meritorious Service in the Field of Librarianship and Library - 1979
  • Bet Phi Mu (International Library Science Honour society) - 1974
  • OAS Fellowship to the University of Pittsburgh – 1973/1974
  • UNESCO Fellowship to the Danish School of Librarianship – 1968
  • Jamaica Library Service’s scholarship to Leeds School of Librarianship –1957/1958 

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Leonie Forbes

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Born on June 14, Leonie Forbes grew up in Kingston as an only child. She attended St. George's Preparatory, Merrywood Elementary School, Mico Practising School, Kingston Senior School, Excelsior College and Durham College. Ms. Forbes is an actress and former radio and television broadcaster.

Her first job after leaving school was with Sir Philip Sherlock. She worked as a typist at the then recently incorporated University College of the West Indies (UCWI). After a while she went to work with Barry Reckord, a playwright. Here she would type Mr. Reckord's plays and at times accompany him to the studios of the Government Information Service (now Jamaica Information Service) to watch the recording sessions. It was here that she got her first exposure to radio as she started to do parts in the programmes produced for Government broadcast.

When the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) started in 1955, Ms. Forbes became an announcer. She was one of the first voices on the radio along with Dennis Hall, Desmond Chambers, Erica Allen and Beverly Anderson. 

The late Mrs. Rita Coore, who Forbes says was one of the influential persons in her life, heard her on the radio and decided to give her speech lessons. Mrs. Coore said that Leonie had a charming little voice, but was doing some dreadful things to the language.

It was with the help of Englishman Robin Michelin, who came to Jamaica to help set up the JBC, that Leonie was able to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in England. He was quite impressed with her voice and offered to sign her up to attend the Academy. Miss Forbes was sceptical at the time and became increasingly disappointed after months passed and she didn't get any reply from the Academy. She eventually heard that not only had she been accepted but she had also won a tuition scholarship.

She spent six years of study and practice at the RADA where she pursued a Diploma Course in Radio Television and Stage. Leonie also worked on scripts for the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Caribbean service where she did works on Jamaican lifestyle. 

The then Mrs. Forbes-Amiel appeared in several RADA productions including the pantomime "Cinderella". She also played in "Unknown Woman of Arras", "Days of the Lion", and "Antony and Cleopatra" in which she was the lead female actor. She has also featured in television drama series on the BBC and Independent Television networks such as "Z Cars", "Odd Man", "Public Eye", "Hugh and I", "Desperate People" and "Harper's West"

On her first appearance in professional theatre, "Busha Blue Beard", a Lloyd Reckord production, in April 1962, a London critic, Kenneth Tynan reported that Leonie put on "a bewitchingly ingenious a crystal ball trainee".

Leonie Forbes returned to the JBC in 1966 after the completion of her training at the Royal Academy. She left again for Australia in 1968 with her husband Dr. Keith Amiel who at the time was doing research in veterinary science at Queensland University. While  there she appeared in the production of the Shakespearean play "Merchant of Venice". She also took part in ABC radio plays, taught drama at three Brisbane schools and worked as a librarian for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) Australia Limited. 

When Leonie returned to Jamaica in 1970 she went back to JBC where she worked as a producer/presenter for television. In 1972, she spearheaded the development of Radio Two JBC FM Stereo Service and started and ran the JBC TV Drama Work Shop, which produced among other programmes; "Stronger", "A Scent of Jasmine", and "Lets Say Grace" - a screenplay which she wrote and produced herself. In May 1976 Leonie was appointed to the post of Director of Radio Broadcasting for the JBC. 

As an actress, Ms. Forbes has played leading roles in twelve pantomimes and has acted in plays such as "Sea Mama", "Miss Unusual", "The Rope and the Cross", "Old Story Time" and "Champagne and Sky Juice". She has also appeared in films such as "Children of Babylon" (1980), "Club Paradise" (1986), "The Orchid House" (1991), "Milk and Honey" (1995), "What My Mother Told Me" (1995) and "Soul Survivor" (1995). 

Leonie Forbes also authored a book called "The Re-Entry Into Sound", along with Alma Mock Yen, formerly of the UWI's Radio Education Unit. This is a standard text used to train broadcasters all over the Caribbean. 

Ms. Forbes is the mother of four children. 

Honours and Awards

  • "My Life in the Theatre" medal by the Mexican Theatre Centre of the International Theatre Institute for outstanding theatre personalities of Latin America and the Caribbean (2001)
  • Order of Distinction (Officer Class) Government of Jamaica (1980)
  • Silver Musgrave Medal 
  • Centenary Medal
  • Bronze Musgrave Medal (1973)

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Sir Florizel Glasspole


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Former Governor General of Jamaica since June 27, 1973, Sir Florizel was born in Kingston, Jamaica on September 25, 1909.His parents were the Rev. Theophilus A. Glasspole and Florence Baxter-Glasspole.Sir Florizel Augustus Glasspole is married and has one daughter. His wife is Ina Josephine, nee Kinlocke.EducationHe was educated at Buff Bay Infant School, Central branch Elementary School, Wolmer's Boys School (1922-1926) and Ruskin College, Oxford, where he majored in Trade Union Studies on a one year scholarship awarded by The British Trade Union Congress in 1946.  He studied accounting with a Mr. R. A. Parkinson and completed his studies by correspondence courses from The Scottish School of Accountancy.

Sir Florizel Glasspole died on Saturday November 25, 2000 at the age 91.


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Honourable Orette Bruce Golding M.P.

Honourable Orette Bruce Golding M.P.

Early Years

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Orette Bruce Golding, the third of four children was born to father Tacius Golding, and mother Enid Golding (nee Bent) on December 5, 1947. He was born in the home of his godmother Mrs. Winnifred Stewart where his mother was staying in order to be in close proximity to the doctor.  Shortly after birth, he was taken home to the community of Ginger Ridge, St. Catherine where he lived for two years.  The Golding family then moved to the community of St. Faiths District near Browns Hall St. Catherine, where they lived for the next five years. He was enrolled in Watermount Elementary School at the age of five, two years younger than the normal enrolment age; the then principal was early childhood education pioneer D.R.B. Grant. In January of 1954 he was sent to live for six months with his aunt at Skibo in Portland.  During his stay he attended the Skibo Elementary School. He then returned to St. Faiths District and attended the Macca Tree Elementary School where his father was principal.

As a result of the fact that his mother Enid Golding was then employed to Alpha Primary School in January 1955, he was enrolled in this institution. He sat the Common Entrance Examination in 1957 and was successful. However, he was not awarded a free space to St. Georges College on the grounds that he was too young.  Armed with his common entrance results, the young Bruce Golding went to St. Georges College without the knowledge or consent of his parents to plead his case. The then headmaster, Fr. Edward Donahue, overheard him speaking with his secretary and took him into his office. As a result, he accepted him as a first form student under the condition his parents could afford to pay the tuition.  In 1962 he successfully sat the Cambridge Examination before he reached the age of 15 years. In 1963 he then transferred to Jamaica College to pursue his Religious Knowledge and was also chosen to represent the school as Head Boy.  In 1966 he enrolled in the University of the West Indies where he studied Economics.  He graduated three years later with a B.Sc. Degree in Economics.


From an early age Mr. Golding has been involved in Jamaica’s political arena. His father Tacius Golding was first elected to the House of Representatives for West St. Catherine in 1949 when young Golding was two years old. By the General Elections of 1962 Bruce had taken on the task of setting up and operating the public address systems at political meetings. In 1967 while still at university Mr. Golding suspended his studies due to changes in the constituency boundaries which resulted in a political crisis for his father. Golding took charge of his father’s campaign which resulted in his winning the seat by a small margin of 878 votes compared to the usual over 3000 votes. In 1968, Bruce Golding was elected Vice Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party Constituency Executive for West St. Catherine and appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the National Lotteries Commission while still attending university.

In 1969, after completing his studies at the University of the West Indies, Golding was selected as the candidate for West St. Catherine; he was only 21 years old. He was also elected to the Central Executive of the Jamaica Labour Party and was one of the founders of the youth arm “Young Jamaica”. He went on to be elected the youngest Member of Parliament in the 1972 general elections at 24 years old. In 1972 Bruce Golding was appointed a member of the Board of Governors of the Institute of Jamaica. The year 1974 saw him being elected General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party. Mr. Golding was not reelected as Member of Parliament for the West St. Catherine seat in the 1976 General Election. He then withdrew from representative politics in 1977 in order to concentrate more on his responsibility as general secretary and was also appointed to the senate.

Bruce Golding was instrumental in returning the Jamaica Labour Party to power in the 1980 general election. He was appointed Minister of Construction. Mr. Golding was elected Member of Parliament for then South Central St. Catherine in 1983 and was also reelected in 1989 and 1993 each time increasing his margin. On September 30, 1984 Bruce Golding was elected Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party after serving for over ten years as General Secretary.

In the 1990’s the views of the Jamaica Labour Party and that of Mr. Golding began to differ. He began to lobby for major reforms within Jamaica’s political system. This led to major disagreement with some senior members of the Jamaica Labour Party which eventually resulted in Mr. Golding tendering his resignation effective September 6, 1995 as Opposition Spokesman on Finance and by extension Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. He then tendered his resignation to the Jamaica Labour Party effective Monday October 3 1995. The resignation was rejected by the executive of Central St. Catherine which gave him four weeks to decide on his political future. Mr. Golding left the Jamaica Labour Party.

Under the stewardship of Mr. Bruce Golding the National Democratic Movement (NDM) was launched on Sunday, October 29, 1995, where he was elected as its first president. The National Democratic Movement started off well, luring many of Jamaica’s professionals and the public’s support. The party contested its first General Election in December 1997 where they had representatives for most constituencies but were ultimately unsuccessful in gaining seats for the party. The party did not contest the local government election of the following year. Mr. Golding tendered his resignation to the NDM in 2001 and was invited to host a radio talk show “Disclosure” on Hot-102.

In September of 2002, after intensive negotiations Mr. Golding reentered the Jamaica Labour Party. The Party went on to contest the 2002 general election and lost. Shortly after the election he was appointed a Senator and named Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. In February 2005 he was elected Chairman of the Party and in April of the same year elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of West Kingston as well as Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Golding contested the General Election of 2007 as President of the Jamaica Labour Party. The Party was successful in what was the closest election in Jamaica's history. He was sworn in as the Honourable Orette Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, on September 11, 2007.

Bruce Golding is married to the former Miss Lorna Charles. The marriage has produced three children: one boy, Steven Golding and two girls Sherene and Ann-Merita Golding.


  • Biographical Notes - Golding, Bruce

  • Historical Notes - Jamaica Labour Party

  • Historical Notes - National Democratic Movement

  • The Directory of Jamaican Personalities 2004- 2005



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Philip Henry Gosse

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Philip Henry Gosse was born April 6, 1810 in Worcester, England. The second son of Thomas Gosse, a painter of miniatures who had fallen into a life of severe poverty. His mother, Hannah Best, had little education. At the tender age of two (2) years Gosse’s family moved to Poole in Dorset, which was then a busy seaport with a thriving Newfoundland trade. Gosse had a reasonable education and as a young man showed remarkable interest in Natural History. In 1827, at age 17, Gosse began working as a clerk in the office of a trading firm at Carbonear, a position he held for five (5) years. Gosse lost interest in his job and he “suddenly and conscientiously became a Naturalist and Christian” and this dual course defined the rest of his life.

He found life in Newfoundland contentious and even dangerous; so Gosse went to Canada with some English friends, hoping to form a farm colony of like-minded people who were prepared to labour, worship and study in what he hoped would become a new Elysium. In 1835 Gosse bought an abandoned farm in Canada and in 1836 wrote “The Entomology of Newfoundland”, which was never published. In 1838 after only three (3) years in operation Gosse sold his share of the farm in Canada as it was unsuccessful and went to Philadelphia. Later he went to Dallas, Alabama where he worked as a school teacher. In 1939 being almost penniless on board the ship to England, he completed the manuscript of his book The Canadian Naturalist.

Gosse tried several things in order to earn a living, and  down to his last shilling, sent his manuscript to Mr. Van Voorst to be published, Voorst published the book and that was the beginning of their fifty year friendship. With the publication of Canadian Naturalist, Gosse’s luck had turned and he began contributing papers to the Royal Society and wrote books on popular scientific subjects.

On October 20, 1844, Gosse set sail on the Cardine for Jamaica to collect insects. His fellow passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Plessing, Moravian missionaries, put him in touch with some of their colleagues in Westmoreland namely, “ Bros. Deleon and Forrest of Savanna-la-Mar; Coleman of Bluefields, and Grimley of Content. Mr. Nunes ‘a West Indian gentleman’ accompanied by his two sons and a niece helped him to make contact with Honourable Richard Hill of Spanish Town. Gosse’s sojourn in Jamaica was a happy and memorable one. He published within eight months after returning to England The Birds of Jamaica. Gosse’s other books about Jamaica are: Illustration of the Birds Jamaica, 1849; A Naturalist Sojourn in Jamaica, 1851. In 1948 Gosse married Emily Bowes and a year later their son Edmund Miller was born. Emily Gosse died of breast cancer in 1857 and in great distress, Gosse turned to the conflict between new biology and traditional religious beliefs and wrote: Omphalos: an attempt to untie the geological knot. It was unsuccessful as it was described as honest but a misguided effort to reconcile geology with Genesis.

Gosse retreated to Devonshire Village where he became the leader of a group of simple believers and continued his popular writings and he remarried to Eliza Brightwen in 1860. In 1856 his work on Retifers earned him to the fellowship of the Royal Society. In 1879 he became member of the Entomological Society and 1866 Gosse teamed up with a young colleague C.T. Hudson and published a definitive two volume work about Retifers. Philip Henry Gosse died August 23, 1888.

Gosse described Jamaica as giving him an interlude of tranquility in an otherwise troubled life and Jamaican biology remains enormously indebted to the work of this obsessed and uncompromising but perceptive and versatile man.


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Dudley Ransford Brandyee Grant

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“The world is my country; to do good is my religion.” This was the motto of D.R.B. Grant; a motto that captures his life’s work in the field of education. Born on the 15th of September 1915 in Santa Marta, Colombia, to Annie Bond-Grant and James Grant, he, at a very early age, was brought to Jamaica by his parents. Here, he was educated at Maldon Primary School in St. James, and Mico Training College (now The Mico University College) in St. Andrew. In advancing his intellectual capacity, Mr. Grant also studied at Oxford’s Institute of Education in England (1952-53), Colombia University (1963) and Cornell University in the United States of America (1961-63); obtaining a Master of Science degree from the latter.


‘Father of Early Childhood Education’, ‘great Jamaican educator’, and ‘the salt of the education system’ are just a few of the expressions that many have used to describe the work done by D.R.B. Grant. His career of almost forty years in education revolved around his passion for, and commitment to, the development of Early Childhood Education.

Mr. Grant’s career commenced with him serving as a primary school teacher in 1941. From here on and even during his retirement, he made an outstanding contribution to the development of education in Jamaica. His primary focus concerned teacher training for, and the facilitation of, Early Childhood Education. Between 1942 and 1962, he served as: Headmaster of Primary Schools - Bromley, Jack’s River, Water Valley, Goshen, and Morant Bay; Methods Tutor at Moneague Teachers College; Demonstration Teacher of a course sponsored by the Ministry of Education; and the first Principal of Caledonia Junior College. During this period he also obtained financing for the development of Early Childhood Education through the Bernard van Leer Foundation (B.V.L.F.) - based in Holland - and instituted the framework of the “Educational Plan” directed towards infants 3- 6 years old.

In 1963, Grant became a lecturer and foundation member of the Institute of Education, mandated to conduct academic research and practical orientation in the field of teacher training, at the University of the West Indies, Mona. In such capacity, not only did he conduct courses for Infant School teachers, but he also ingeniously created and advanced teacher training methods.

While at the Institute of Education, D.R.B. Grant played a critical role in implementing the Project for Early Childhood Education (P.E.C.E), financed by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation in 1966. He was charged with the responsibility of directing this project as well as the organization - Centre for Early Childhood Education (C.E.C.E.) - that was responsible for it. Initially, the P.E.C.E. was a three (3) years experimental program formulated to “apply current theories of learning and teaching, and child development, to the solution of certain problems in the island’s pre- primary schools” (Grant, ii), especially ones that catered to children who were being raised in less fortunate conditions. As a result of the program’s success, the life span of the project was extended for another three years. A comprehensive “on the job” teacher training program was implemented by the Government, and several essential economic needs of children and teachers were fulfilled.

Although, in 1973, the P.E.C.E was brought to an end and was succeeded by the Program for the Advancement of Childhood Education (P.A.C.E) in 1973- a highly beneficial program- Grant, being committed to the development of education in Jamaica, still sought financing from the B.V.L.F. for projects such as the Nain Resource Centre Training Unit in St. Elizabeth and the Teenage Mothers Project in different parishes.

Besides making a very notable and distinctive contribution to the development of education in Jamaica, Mr. Grant served as Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland, Vice President of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (U.N.E.S.C.O.) International Year of the Child as well as consultant for education projects in countries such as Bahamas, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya, Colombia, Venezuela, and Spain.

Despite retiring officially in 1978, Mr. Grant continued his life’s work - aiding in the development of education- up until his death on August 25, 1988.   


  • Living Conditions of Some Basic School Children
  • Life-Style of Children 1-3 in the Caribbean
  • Teaching Handwriting
  • Pains of a Child’s World
  • Teaching Reading
  • Longman’s Activity Arithmetic
  • Curriculum Manuals for Teachers of 4, 5 and 6 Year- Olds
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Training Teacher Trainers and Para- Professional Teachers

Awards and Honors

  • Roman Catholic Certificate of Distinction for Work in Education in Jamaica
  • Mico Old Students Gold Medal for Contribution to Education
  • The Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal
  • The Gleaner Certificate of Merit for Work in Early Childhood Education
  • The Jamaica National “Commander of the Order of Distinction”- O.D. (1987) for Outstanding Work in Education
  • Dudley Grant Memorial Trust funded by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus
  • D.R.B. Grant Early Childhood Resource Centre at and established by the University of the West Indies, Mona
  • D.R.B. Grant Basic School established by the Ministry of Education and located in Catherine Hall, Montego Bay St. James.


Brusma, J. and E. Walters. Reports on the Research Studies on the Effectiveness of the Project for  Early Childhood Education 1967-1969. Bernard van Leer Foundation (B.V.L.F.), 1971.

Dickson, R. The Jamaica Directory of Personalities. The Gleaner Company Limited, 1987.

“D.R.B. Grant of Early Childhood Education Fame Dies.” The Weekend Star. August 26, 1988.

Grant, D.R.B. Training Teacher Trainers and Para Professional Teachers. Jamaica Publishing House, 1981.

Neita, C. Who’s Who Jamaica. Who’s Who Jamaica Limited, 1969.

Early Childhood Education Programme.  Ministry of Education, March 1983.

Williams, M. The Life and Work of D.R.B. Grant. University Printers, September 2000.

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James Hakewill

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James Hakewill was born in 1778, the second son of John Hakewill. He studied architecture and later entered the field as his chief profession, though he was a proficient painter as well. He exhibited some of his designs at the Royal Academy of Art on at least two occasions. He is, however, best known for his illustrated publications, such as the sketches of Windsor (England), Italy, and Jamaica.                               

             "The Bog Walk"

In 1816-1817 he traveled to Italy and on his return published in parts "A Picturesque Tour of Italy", in which some of his own drawings were engraved by J.M.W. Turner. 

He came to Jamaica in 1820 and remained on the island until 1821. He subsequently published in 1825, "A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica" from his own drawings. 

"Williams Field Estate"

During his almost two years' stay in the island, Hakewill did not restrict himself to Kingston and its suburbs but he travelled to many parishes. Drawings of the Estates situated in St. Mary, Portland, St. Thomas in-the-East, Trelawny and St. James are among his best. His reproductions are not duplicated even though, Adolphe Duperly has made daguerreotypes of Montego Bay, the settings are entirely different. His views of Monetgo Bay from Reading Hill is said to be one of his most beautiful. 

Although these illustrations of Jamaica do not fall in the category of truly great masters, the charm and delicate attention to detail found in their works cannot but impress those with whom they come in contact. 

"Spring Garden Estate"

Hakewill was collecting materials on the Rhine when he died in London on May 28, 1843. He left his wife Maria Browne and their four sons.               

Here is a list of some of the prints from Hakewill's "A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica" in the collection of the National Library:

  • "King's Square. St. Jago De La Vega"
  • "Bridge over the Rio Cobre"
  • "Kingston and Port Royal from Windsor Farm"
  • "Waterfall on Windward Road near Kingston"
  • "Holland Estate, St. Thomas-in-the-East"
  •  Spring Garden, St. George's. The Property of I.R. Grossett Esquire
  • "Cardiff Hall, St. Ann's"
  • "Whitney Estate, Clarendon. The property of Viscount Dudley and Ward"
  • "Willams Field Estate, St. Thomas-in-the-Vale"
  • "Montego Bay from Reading Hill"
  • The Bog Walk

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Andrew Holness
(1972 - )

Andrew Michael Holness was born to working class parents in the southern city of Spanish Town, on July 22nd, 1972. He attended the St. Catherine High School where he was both head boy and valedictorian. He is also a graduate of the University of the West Indies where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Development Studies. In 1994, prior to entering representational politics, Mr. Holness worked as the Executive Director of one of Jamaica’s oldest non-government organizations (NGOs), the Voluntary Organization for Uplifting Children (VOUCH) and in that capacity, led extensive social work in several inner city communities of Kingston. In 1996 he joined the Premium Group of Companies and functioned as a special assistant to then Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga. In his capacity as personal assistant, he was assigned the responsibility of developing poverty reduction and social investment policies for the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP).

According to Jared Mcallister, “in 1997 at the age of 25 he was first elected to the House of Representatives to represent his home district of West Central St. Andrew as Member of Parliament.” He served as Opposition Spokesperson on Land and Development from 1999 to 2002. In 2002 he switched portfolio to Housing and in 2005 Holness was asked by the new leader of the JLP, Bruce Golding, to take on the topical issue of education. He was sworn in as the Minister of Education after the JLP won the September 2007 general election. He has also served as Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives and, by extension, the man responsible for electoral matters in that chamber since 2008. Following endorsements from outgoing Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, and government Members of Parliament, he succeeded Bruce Golding as both Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party and Prime Minister.

On October 23rd 2011, Mr. Holness became Jamaica’s youngest Prime Minister and the first born after the nation’s independence in 1962. Holness in his 15th year of representational politics was sworn in by affirmation on Sunday October 23, 2011 as Jamaica’s ninth Prime Minister. Andrew Holness, a Seventh Day Adventist by faith, is married to Juliet, a chartered accountant and businesswoman and they have two boys, Adam and Matthew, aged nine and seven respectively. Mr. Holness enjoys a game of chess, jogging, cycling and a round of table tennis.

“Profiles of Cabinet Ministers.” “Jamaica-Andrew Holness ‘sworn in’ as Jamaica’s new Prime Minister” Sunday 23rd October 2011 page 30 CSME Network News


Albert Huie
(1920 - )

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This artist was born in Falmouth, Jamaica in 1920. He started painting in 1936 and studied at Ontario College of Art in Toronto. In 1947 he was awarded a British Council scholarship and then studied at Camberwell School of Art in London. He has received several awards, including the Institute of Jamaica's Silver and Gold Musgrave Medals in 1958 and 1974 respectively.

Mr. Huie was presented with an international award for painting at the Spanish Bi-Annual exhibition in Havana, Cuba in 1959. In 1962, he received the Jamaica Government award for the best painting in the annual National Exhibition of painting. He has also been the recipient of the Badge of Honour for his contribution to art (1968). Also in that year he participated in a group exhibition presented by the Caribbean Committee for cultural advancement in Canada.

Among his works are Young Girl (1936), The Baptism (1939) and the Vendor (1939).

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Charles Hyatt

Actor, Comedian, Director, Writer and Radio and Television Broadcaster

Charles Hyatt was born in Kingston on February 14, 1931. His education up to age thirteen was carried out at several schools, which included Windward Road, St. Michael’s and St. Aloysius.

Hyatt entered amateur theatricals in 1946, when he joined the Caribbean Thespians-founded by Anthony Finn. After a successful tenure with the Caribbean Thespians, Charles was invited to appear in the 1950 Little Theatre Movement (LTM) Pantomime Production of Aladdin. He made eleven consecutive appearances until 1960/61; eight of which he appeared in as the dame.

In 1959, Charles joined the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) for the launching of a new radio station and was first among a list of early morning presenters. During his tenure at JBC, he created and presented what became a popular programme at the time, Here Comes Charley.  In the same year, Charles was elected Actor of the Year and awarded a scholarship by the Arts Council of Jamaica and was granted a bursary by the British Council. He left for England in 1960 and was attached to Theatre Royal in Windsor for six months.

Following his attachment to the Theatre Royal, he was cast as a West Indian doctor in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) longest running radio serial Mrs. Dale’s Diary. After a nine-month stint with this production, he was cast in his first television production for the BBC entitled A Book with Chapters in it. Soon after, he was cast in a production called The Day of the Fox, which was written by Jan Carew for Commercial Television and which also starred Sammy Davis Jr.

In 1962, he was invited to return to Jamaica for a performance in Nuggets for the Needy, where he was once again afforded the opportunity to work with Sammy Davis Jr. His visit home was extended from two weeks to three months to allow him the opportunity to perform in the Independence Revival of the LTM’s Carib Gold. On his return to England, he ventured into the Off West End Production of Do Something Addy Man and realized new adventures in his professional career in Britain and Europe.

Over the next thirteen years he appeared and starred in several television, radio, stage and cabaret productions for the BBC, ITV, Grenada and London Week-end Television, BBC Home, Third Light and Caribbean Radio Services which featured productions such as Crown Court, Love thy Neighbour and Blood Knot.

During his theatrical career, he toured Britain and Europe with several productions for the Oxford Playhouse and other professional theatrical groups. His film career in England included High Wind in Jamaica, Crossplot, Bush Babies and Love Thy Neighbour. While in England, Charles made over 200 appearances on radio and over 50 on television.

Upon his return to Jamaica in 1974, he rejoined the JBC as the Head of the Department of Theatre and  was also the producer and director of the popular radio serial Fortunes of Floralee. He was also the presenter of the Musical Show, Sunday Souvenirs. During this time he also appeared in several productions including McBeth, Two’s a Crowd, Sex, Brashanio, Mother Courage, The Mouse Trap, Old Story Time and Johnny Reggae. He also wrote, directed and produced plays which included The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Jesus Christ Dem Kill Son Son, Curly Locks and The Seven DJ’s and Santa Fari. He also produced and directed the following for radio: Ritual: For a new Liberation Covenant and The Rope and the Cross.  

Charles is also known for his book When me was a boy  in which he gives readers insight into some aspects of Jamaican social life and customs. This book was published by the Institute of Jamaica in 1989. In 1977, he was awarded Actor of the Year for his performances in several productions, which he also produced and directed. In 1978, he was awarded a Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica. In 1980, he was awarded the Institute Centenary Medal and a national honour – the Order of Distinction.

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