Dyer hails Walt Crooks

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer

Monday, January 14, 2019

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Hotelier Godfrey Dyer hailed his friend and business partner Walt Crooks as a pioneer of good entertainment in Montego Bay.

Crooks died on January 4 in the tourist city at age 69.

“When it comes to entertainment, Walt was 'Mr Entertainment'. Everything was built around his club Disco Inferno. It was the place MoBay looked forward to going to. He is leaving behind a great legacy in music and entertainment,” Dyer told the Jamaica Observer.

Disco Inferno was the main attraction in Montego Bay during the 1970s and 1980s. It formed the basis of quality entertainment in the tourism hub. International entertainers including O'Jays, Chaka Khan, Billy Paul, Fats Domino and Dionne Warwick performed there.

Crooks was also part of the team that conceptualised Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay. The show was first held in 1993 and Dyer, who owned and operated the Wexford Hotel there, said it was he who put the group of Crooks, Robert Russell and other contributors together.

“I was the one who invited him,” he said. “I was operating the Wexford Court Hotel at the time, and I called up a group of them and said what we can do to improve the entertainment scene in Montego Bay. Since then, we have been putting on Sumfest until two years ago.”

Dyer added that Crooks played an instrumental role in the execution of the annual event.

“He was very active. He would do a lot of the work in the field. It was right up his street, especially in his younger days.”

Dyer believes the most fitting word to describe Walt Crooks is reliable.

“Walt is somebody you can rely on,” he said. “When he says he is going to do something it gets done, no matter the assignment.”

Several people who knew Crooks, including Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament for St James East Central, Edmund Bartlett, and Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, expressed similar thoughts about Crooks.

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