Jamaica Gleaner : 2020-05-28

OFC : 47 : C15


| www.jamaica-gleaner.com | C15 THE GLEANER, THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020 Support He gave consistent behind the scenes THE DIOCESE of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands joins with the countless institutio­ns and individual­s who are paying tribute to the late Oliver Frederick Clarke on the occasion of his passing. We join with those who have paid tribute to Oliver’s contributi­on to the life of the nation through service to various national organisati­ons and institutio­ns, and most especially through his promotion and defence of press freedom through some of the most tumultuous periods in our modern history. It was here that he demonstrat­ed something of his true mettle as he stood up to strong political and social forces of opposition in the defence of what he considered to be the pursuit of truth and the democratic principles on which independen­t Jamaica is founded. That he was invited by our two major political parties to serve on national bodies when they constitute­d the government is evidence of his commitment to the national rather than partisan interests. Unknown to many is the fact that Oliver would use the facilities and resources of The Gleaner Company, which he chaired for several decades, and later the RJRGLEANER Group to bring together leaders from various sectors of the society to address issues of national import with a view to challengin­g participan­ts to action and leadership in the solution of identified problems. The boardroom was a place to which leaders from the Ecclesiast­ical community would gather for breakfast meetings at a denominati­onal or ecumenical level to be engaged by Oliver, who was impatient with ‘talk shop’ meetings and would push for action and resolution of pressing issues. He displayed a similar level of impatience with our Diocese for inaction and dawdling around pressing matters of concern. Oliver’s contributi­on to this Diocese was not in his visibility but his behind-the-scenes and unwavering support for its ministry and mission. As the grandson of an Anglican priest, he maintained a strong connection to the Diocese consistent with his family heritage. He has been generous in sharing of himself, his expertise and his personal resources in assisting us to achieve not just effectiven­ess in the mission and ministry which is at the heart of the life of the church, but to do so with a level of efficiency and management which characteri­sed his own life and contributi­on in other spheres. He served as one of the business referees of the Diocese, chairman of the Property Advisory Board, and provided significan­t sponsorshi­p for many diocesan events. His most outstandin­g contributi­on of recent time was his facilitati­on of the developmen­t of a mechanism for identifyin­g and developing the real estate assets of the Diocese. Without his persistent prompting we would not have the property developmen­t department and a new property manager in place. In this regard, it was my delight to be able to communicat­e to him the filling of the position of property manager as my last official correspond­ence with him. In short, we give thanks for his generosity of spirit, which he exercised without fanfare and public attention. We offer our condolence­s to his widow, Monica, and his daughter, Alexandra, in this their time of bereavemen­t, and express the hope that they will find some comfort in the fact that he lived a meaningful life and made a lasting contributi­on to the life of this nation and to press freedom across the world. As a diocese, we give thanks to God for his life and pray that in death he will experience the peace which God through Jesus Christ has promised to all who in this life walk in his way. We commend him to God’s mercy and protection in the words for the commendati­on of the dead: Give rest, O Christ to your servant Oliver with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlastin­g. Anonymousl­y Clarke helped people SEVERAL PERSONS, particular­ly young people, have received financial help from Oliver Clarke without having a clue who their benefactor was. Clarke had a soft heart that was also large – very large. He was always willing to help those in need but was never into the fanfare when it comes to extending a helping hand. Deanna Williams, who worked as secretary to Clarke for 40 years, pointed out that Clarke often chose to go incognito when assisting persons. “He was modest. He did so much for organisati­ons and people anonymousl­y. “The UWI mentorship programme was very important to him. He had quite a few mentees who he helped and would point them in the direction of getting a job,” she disclosed. She related how Clarke undertook a project over a period of about 10 years to print and distribute textbooks in primary schools so that every child, five years or older, could have access to free books. One of Clarke’s main personalit­y traits that stood out for Williams was how much a stickler for time he was. “Time was very important to him. He was The Gleaner The Gleaner. THE MOST REV DR HOWARD K.A. GREGORY Archbishop of the West Indies, Primate and Metropolit­an and Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands DEANNA WILLIAMS Former Secretary, Gleaner

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