Western News

Goodwill residents want landmark in honour of Sir Howard Cooke

Give us a monument!

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

Thursday, July 17, 2014    

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GOODWILL, St James — AS the country continues to mourn the passing of former Governor General Sir Howard Cooke, residents of Goodwill where he was born in 1915, have expressed regret that there is no monument in the community to preserve his memory for future generations.

"Maybe a library or even a computer lab at the school could be named in his honour. It's a sad thing to know that he is from Goodwill and there is nothing here to show it. It is a pity. But we respect him," Anthony Jarrett, also called 'Mr Money', a member of the deep rural Goodwill community argued, during a visit by the Jamaica Observer West news team to the community earlier this week.

"Something needs to be done to leave a memory for the younger generation when they grow up. They should see something. It is not late still. A Goodwill the man born and grow, him dead and gone, but something can still be done."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Lloyd Jarrett, chairman of the Goodwill Community Council.

"Honestly (his passing) is a great loss to the community. But based on the fact that he is from Goodwill and there is no monument or landmark to say that this is what the governor general has done, now in that respect, I sort of have a little regret about it," the head of the community council argued.

"However, apart from that, I believe he has done a lot of things for the country. I can remember one of the times when they had this Festival Village thing in 1962 and we won a prize, he was one of the persons who was integral to our success. But apart from that, throughout his political career there is nothing we can say this is done by him in the community and that's my regret."

The head of the Goodwill Community Council expressed, however, that the former GG's success has made the community proud.

"We proud of him, not many persons can say a governor general come from their district. We proud of that," he stressed.

Retired teacher Cleodine Kerr, a committed member of the Goodwill United Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman, noted that Cooke's profile as a Governor General, has ratcheted up the reputation of the community.

"Whenever I go to a graduation I would always say even a governor general came from Goodwill so you must lift up your school and your community," said Kerr, adding that another distinguished native of the community, Joseph Earle, who is a former principal of Jose Marti and Calabar, also died recently.

"As far as I know he (Cooke) was a member of our church, the United Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman. From what I know of him he was respectable and respected and has helped various communities. He built up a branch of the Church in Farms Heights, St James."

Meanwhile, David Stair, Custos of Hanover, says the name of the former GG will be indelibly inscribed in the pages of history.

"He is one that will always be remembered. I am sure that when the history of Jamaica is documented, maybe a chapter or two will be dedicated to this great man," declared Custos Stair.

"Sir Howard has been a stalwart. He has done so much for this country in terms of inspiring a lot of younger Jamaicans and as such, he will be surely missed. At the age of 98 he has batted a good innings."

Custos of St James Ewen Corrodus also had high praises for one of St James' most venerated sons.

"Sir Howard Cooke has been a household name in Montego Bay for a number of years. He has been a good man: a teacher, a politician. A tremendous gentleman. He has done a tremendous job for St James and for the country overall and we are saddened at his passing. Jamaica has lost a great son and we in Montego Bay are saddened by his passing," Corrodus said.

Sir Howard was a former Governor-General, Cabinet minister and founding member of the ruling People's National Party.

Sir Howard, who retired from public service in 2006, died at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston on Friday July 11.

He was sworn in as Independent Jamaica's fourth governor general on August 1, 1991.

Known to many as 'Teacher', Sir Howard taught for 23 years, first at Mico College and Practising School. Later, he served as headmaster at Belle Castle All-Age School, Port Antonio Upper School, and Montego Bay Boys' School.

His contribution to education also saw him holding the office of president of the Jamaica Union of Teachers.

In addition to his contribution to education, Sir Howard served in the insurance industry as senior inspector and branch manager, Standard Life Insurance Company; unit manager, Jamaica Mutual Life; and branch manager, American Life Insurance Company.

On July 22, 1939, he married Ivy Sylvia Lucille Tai. The union produced two sons, Justice Howard Fitz-Arthur Cooke, puisne judge; and Richard Washington McDermott Cooke, hotelier; and one daughter, Audrey Faith Cooke, a consultant in international affairs.

His funeral arrangements are yet to be made public.

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