Martin Henry hailed as 'Martin the Reformer'

By Nigel Coke

Monday, July 01, 2019

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Hundreds of mourners including family and members, colleagues and friends of the late Martin Henry turned out yesterday at Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church to pay their last respects and tribute to the man described by many as a man who who stood for justice, righteousness, faith and family, and was a scholar, public figure and professional.

However, it was the executive secretary of the Jamaica Union Conference, in his tribute, who ignited the gathering by describing him as 'Martin the Reformer', referencing Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer.

“No lowered flag, no marching band, no lying in state, no 'Eternal Father Bless our land', no gun salute, no TAPs or battlefield lullaby, no state farewell, but Martin is a fallen soldier in the charging stage of his conquest,” said Walker.

“Today the Seventh-day Adventist Church joins his family, not only to mourn his passing, but to memorialise his living. We thanked him in life, now we salute him in death.”

Henry, a social and political commentator and Gleaner columnist died at the age of 61 on Tuesday, May 28, after he collapsed moments following a live Prime Time News interview at the TVJ studios, where he had been part of a discussion around the death of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, who passed earlier that day.

Walker went on to say that he (Henry) was more than an academic and political analyst and objective critic; “more than an exemplar of family values, more than a nation-builder influencing from the individual to the inner and upper core of national power; more than a dependable, articulate advocate for justice and integrity — a true sample of heaven, a model among men, a rare balance of a man of intellect and one with an insatiable passion for God. and with this balance he served his Church summa cum laude for decades.”

Walker added that Henry's contributions to the church could not be quantified because it “forms the building blocks of Adventism at its best in Jamaica; and in his time and place, bear his spiritual and intellectual imprint”.

Dr Paul Levy, associate vice-president of the University of Technology, Jamaica (Utech) in his tribute quoted Professor Steven Vasciannie in saying: “Martin was more than a colleague to many of us at the university” … he was a friend who dedicated his professionalism, diligence and analytical skills to the fulfilment of our collective mission of promoting xxcellence through knowledge. He was particularly impressive in his work; he was always thorough, worked ahead of schedule, and brought his skills of careful organisation and innovation to all our activities.”

Three initiatives were announced to celebrate Martin Henry's life of service to education and the public:

1. The family has established at Jamaica Money Market Brokers, the Martin Henry Academic Scholarship Fund for needy students. The account number is: 1347319.

2. National Integrity Action, of which Henry was a director, is in discussions with the Press Association of Jamaica to identify a way to acknowledge the upholding of good governance.

3. The University of Technology will establish the Martin Henry Award for best research.

Henry is mourned by his wife, Jacqueline; son, Theodore; daughters Lawrie, Joanique and foster daughter, Tamara Chin.

His body was interred in a family plot in Ramble, St Thomas.

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