'A true patriot'

Senior staff reporter

Monday, January 15, 2018

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday described late veteran journalist and speechwriter Ian Boyne as “fair, fearless and factual”, as he joined a distinguished field of political leaders paying tributes at a five-hour thanksgiving service inside the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.

Boyne, who was the deputy chief executive officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), as well as a newspaper columnist and television talk show host, died on December 18 last year from a heart attack.

Holness as well as two former prime ministers who attended the service along with a few hundred mourners joined with the governor general, Sir Patrick Allen, in celebrating the life of the obviously much-respected and highly acclaimed journalist.

Sir Patrick said that Boyne made a “memorable impact” not only on Jamaicans, but on individuals “all across the world”.

He remembered him as a “scholarly and dignified gentleman”, whose boundless energy and ease of manners inspired adulation and imitation.

“He was a true patriot,” Sir Patrick said.

Holness praised him as “a truly first-class journalist” and, referencing a line from a song by popular Jamaican reggae artiste Chronixx, called him “a man who gives for the love and not for the likes”, to the amusement of the crowd of attendees.

He said that he felt he was speaking on behalf of a “union of prime ministers” when he suggested that Boyne, whose job at the JIS included writing speeches for government leaders, “was probably the only public servant who could criticise the Government and get away with it”.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, at the same time, rated Boyne as “an exceptional Jamaican who touched the consciousness and sensitivity of the country”.

He said that Boyne was a voice of hope who “steadfastly refused to join the tear down culture”, and had left behind an “impressive body of work” which has earned him national and international recognition.

According to former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Boyne was “an honest man who was never afraid to speak his mind”.

She recalled him as “kind and gentle” to her, adding that he would never allow anything about her to be published without checking it himself.

“He was a happy man who lived life to the fullest,” she said.

Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding read the first lesson, which was from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, and opened with “ To every thing there is a season and a time under the heaven”.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange, whose ministry was mainly responsible for organising the event, recalled knowing him “for almost all his professional life”.

She said she was instrumental in his joining the government service while she was a junior minister in the 1980s, and that his death has left a void which those close to him recognise will be hard to fill.

She also noted that Boyne's popular television programme, Profile, was one of the longest-running local programmes on local television.

“He really loved and care about all Jamaicans,” she said.

Also present were Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw and junior ministers Fayval Williams (finance and the public service) and Pearnel Charles Jr, national security, as well as Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites.

The church was also well represented by several pastors from Boyne's own church, the sometimes controversial Church of God International (CGI) a split from Herbert W Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, and an arm of Garner Ted Armstrong's Evangelistic Association, which he represents as a pastor in Jamaica.

Those from the CGI participating included Jamaica's High Commissioner to London and CGI pastor George Ramocan, delivered gave the sermon; and CIG pastors Bill Watson (overseas), who gave a tribute; Pedro Hall, Spanish Town, who gave the benediction; while deacons Stephen Scale and Christopher Hendricks led the prayer for the family and the benediction, respectively.

Also representing the church were: Bishop Neville Owens of the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches; Rev Al Miller of Fellowship Tabernacle; and Dr Barry Davidson, CEO of the Family Life Ministries.

Tributes were also read by Press Association of Jamaica President Dionne Jackson Miller and Gary Allen, managing director of the RJRGleaner Group, as well as Nationwide News' CEO Cliff Hughes and Dr Clinton Chisholm.

A number of guest entertainers, including popular gospel music artistes Rondell Positive, Jabez, Glacia Robinson, Jermaine Edwards, and Kevin Downswell joined with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the JIS choirs, Kevin Williams and Ana Strachan to offer musical tributes as the crowd sat through the lengthy service inside the sports centre, next door to Jamaica's National Stadium.

Reggae singer Ken Boothe did offered Speak Softly Now in a tribute. Moderator for the service was broadcaster Fae Ellington.

Boyne was interred at Dovecot Memorial Park and Crematorium in St Catherine.

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