Mike Henry launches new book

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 24, 2013

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FORMER transport and works minister, Mike Henry, says he welcomes the recent admission by Mayor of Portmore George Lee that the Statistical Institute's (STATIN) 2011/12 census population figure for the municipality is more than 60 per cent off target.

"This is further proof of what I have been saying all along," the publisher and Member of Parliament gloated, as he thanked dozens of guests who filled the Red Bones Blues Café in Kingston last Tuesday for the launch of his new book, Many Rivers to Cross, on his 78th birthday.

Lee told Jamaica Observer editors and reporters at last week's Monday Exchange that the 182,000 residents accounted for in the census is wrong, and suggested that the figure is closer to 300,000.

Those who know Henry well must be fully aware of his political passions — accurate statistics, especially population figures which, he insists, are basic for planning growth and development; his vision of a multi-modal system of transportation for Jamaican commuters; and his promotion of reparations for slavery in Jamaica.

"A country cannot develop without proper population figures, so without that we are bound to fail the IMF targets," Henry said.

While some readers may be disappointed that the book, sub-titled, "A Political Journey of Audacious Hope", is not full of juicy political gossip, it certainly puts into perspective his vision, experiences and achievements after 33 unbroken years in the nation's House of Representatives as MP for Central Clarendon.

The book covers what he considers his important parliamentary speeches, as well as "parts of my unfinished political life", he says, reminding the reader that — as far as political representation is concerned — he is not yet finished despite his 78 years.

"Given good health and an undying belief and hope in Jamaica, much is left to be done and doesn't hope spring eternal?" he asked.

"This book assesses how consistent I have been in my pursuits; and, in my analysis, how much did I seek to change and how much of an impact I had," he added.

Henry says that the trilogy he has been writing, which will also include his memoirs, will be completed over the next few years.

The function attracted a number of friends and political colleagues, including Opposition and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness, Chairman Robert Montague, former deputy leader Derrick Smith, among other JLP executives.

Professor Dr Oswald Harding, dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, was the main speaker, while Dawn Henry, wife of the author, brought greetings from their company, LMH Publishing. Dr Norman Marshall did the same for the Book Industry Association of Jamaica.

LMH has planned a "meet and greet" island tour, which will include May Pen, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, to promote the book. The first print has also sold out and the book is now in its second print.

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