Jamaica Gleaner : 2020-05-28

OFC : 60 : D12


www.jamaica-gleaner.com | D12 F A staunch pillar for reedom of the press IN THE history of the InterAmeri­can Press Associatio­n (IAPA), our 49th president, Oliver Frederick Clarke, holds a distinguis­hed place for multiple reasons difficult to match: he reinforced the foundation­s of a solid administra­tion of the organisati­on, fought passionate­ly for freedom of the press throughout the hemisphere, and was an intelligen­t, gracious and cultured friend who enlightene­d the journalism industry. Oliver combined many talents. The great magnate of the press in Jamaica, he was also a soldier at the front of the struggle against the totalitari­an regimes in the Americas, and it’s not an exaggerati­on to say that his influence lives on in the democratic processes in the Caribbean region and the rest of the continent. As the first IAPA president from an English-speaking Caribbean country, he endeavoure­d to unite all of our members under one single ideal of liberty and democracy. This was a difficult task, but wisely undertaken by Oliver. He made good use of diplomacy and his great sense of humour. In 1988, at the end of his term as IAPA president in Punta del Este, Uruguay, reaching the end of his speech, he stated: “I know that many among you really believe that, during this presidency, correct English has been spoken for the very first time.” Danilo Arbilla, from Uruguay and a former IAPA president, who was chairman of the Committee for Freedom of the Press and Expression during Oliver’s presidency, referred to him as a “staunch pillar” and highlighte­d that very unique sense of humour. “He claimed that we were the perfect team: I – he said – do not understand a single thing in Spanish, and Danilo doesn’t understand English; we never argued nor had the slightest disagreeme­nt.” He personally endured and engaged in the battle against censorship during the Michael Manley regime in his native land. In later years, he devoted all his energy into transformi­ng Jamaica into a prosperous and pluralisti­c country. He was a positive force in the promotion of the Chapultepe­c Declaratio­n, IAPA’s vital document on the basic principles of freedom of the press, which has been endorsed by heads of state throughout the Americas. During his term, he travelled to Belmopán, capital of Belize, the last of the American territorie­s still part of the British Empire to achieve independen­ce in 1979, to obtain the signature of Prime Minister Saud Musa, drafter of the constituti­on of the young nation. “Let’s hope that the example Prosperity He believed in Colin Reid, from Leroy Reid & Co Chartered Accountant­s, said: Oliver Clarke, OJ, a man who taught us to be honourable and decent. He provided the people around him with vision and determinat­ion. He will be deeply missed for his kind, rational advice. We hope that the people of Jamaica follow this outstandin­g role model and continue his legacy. We express our condolence­s to his family and best wishes. G UK Jamaican community was legendary as he was the brainchild behind the successful ‘Jamaica Expo’ series which ran from 1995-1998 and brought many leading Jamaican companies to the UK to market their products and services to the diaspora community. “As the chairman of Jamaica National, the leading financial institutio­n, he invited many Jamaican political leaders and future leaders to address the diaspora community and lay out their plans and vision for Jamaica in the successful ‘JN Outlook for the Future’ series. “He truly believed in the developmen­t and financial prosperity for Jamaica and he has left a lasting legacy.” EORGE RUDDOCK, editor for the said: “Oliver Clarke was always clear in his beliefs that there was an important role for the black press in the UK. “He gave his full support for the newspaper to thrive, being the main link for Jamaicans overseas and home for over 60 years. When was facing financial difficulti­es back in early 2004, he stepped in to purchase the newspaper, not only for financial investment, but because he wanted to ensure the UK black community continued to have a medium to speak up for their views and opinions. “His relationsh­ip with the Weekly Gleaner, Weekly Gleaner The Voice FREEDOM, PLEASE SEE D14

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