Desmond Allen marks 50th anniversary in journalism today
On October 1, 1973, Desmond Allen, fresh out of Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St James, about to turn 19 years old and as green as they come, stepped into the hallowed newsroom of The Gleaner to begin a 50-year odyssey with journalism.
From his lofty perch as founding editor of the 30-year-old Jamaica Observer newspaper, the veteran journalist now contemplates renewing himself as an author, with his first book — Desmond Allen’s Greatest Hits: Wondrous tales of extraordinary Jamaicans — which will be officially released today.
As he marks his 50th anniversary, it can be assumed that Allen knew from then what he wanted to be all his life and that once he had begun, he would not relinquish his hold on the fabled ringside seat, his pen flashing, as history was being created in his beloved Jamaica.
Many of the things that researchers, students and readers generally know about Jamaica of the 70s, 80s, 90s and even the 2000s, emanated from the prodigious pen of a man who fell in love with reading at four years old and delights in turning phrases, tell-tale signs of his storytelling prowess.
“I’m blessed, truly blessed,” says Allen. “I regard myself only as a glorified news reporter, but I’ve seen some things in five decades. I’ve met some of the most consequential people and I have come to love these audacious, resilient Jamaicans beyond measure. Because at their best, Jamaicans are a wonder of the world.”
Among the people Allen is referring to is the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the colossus who founded the Appliance Traders Ltd/Sandals empire which includes the Jamaica Observer and whom he regards as a mentor and friend in whose memory the book is published.
Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is main sponsor of the compendium which features 20 outstanding Jamaicans whose stories are among the multitude Allen has written over his long and eventful years in journalism.
“The idea of publishing a book of my works that helps to preserve the awesome legacy of great Jamaicans has been something that Mr Stewart used to encourage me to do but I had never found the right time to do so,” Allen said. “What better time to do so than now as I celebrate my 50th anniversary.”
Current executive chairman of SRI Adam Stewart, in endorsing Allen’s book, said: “The published work is about more than just journalism. My father truly respected Desmond’s exceptional talent as a journalist and considered him a great friend and an awesome human being, with the same ability to create amazing relationships across the entire nation.”
Collaborating with Allen in the production of the book is long-time friend and communications guru Dr Grace Silvera of Red Stripe fame. Desmond Allen’s Greatest Hits: Wondrous tales of extraordinary Jamaicans is published by Extra MILE Innovators Limited, trading as BambuSparks, which is headed by Cameka “Ruth” Taylor, CEO and chief publishing consultant.
To pre-order copies of Desmond Allen’s Greatest Hits, go to https://bambusparks.com/desmondallensgreatesthits/ or write to email@example.com