Friends, former colleagues, and others have honoured Oliver Clarke, the former Chairman and Managing Director of The Gleaner Company as a man who gave ‘exemplary service’ to his country Jamaica and the Jamaican Diaspora. The Jamaican people have lost in Oliver Clarke an entrepreneurial giant whose contribution with reporting of Jamaica’s political, social, and cultural life since Jamaica’s Independence has been enormous.
Mr. Clarke’s Gleaner provided Jamaica with independent reporting, which is an essential component for all Democracies. Without the ability and discipline of reading, voters will lack the ability to make informed political assessments. The psychological damage Jamaicans suffered from 200 years of slavery is revealed when one considers at Independence only 20 percent of Jamaicans were literate.
This low level of literacy mattered to Mr. Clarke, who published the Gleaner. However, Mr. Clarke did not allow Jamaica’s low literacy rates to deter him. Mr Clarke worked to connect the Jamaican heritage people living in Canada, the United States and England. It would be a fitting tribute to Mr. Clarke for the Jamaicans abroad to dedicate one day annually to unite in honouring and assisting the nation and people of Jamaica.
– Chaka Artwell