Mr Alva Anderson, truly an unsung heroWednesday, July 28, 2021
Each society is blessed with individuals who often give national service without seeking personal glory. Those unsung heroes, as they are termed, make the kind of contribution that lead to the betterment of their nations.
Mr Alva Anthony Ambrose Anderson, who passed away last week at the age of 83, was one of those unsung heroes who, while known to many in his age group, was not an individual with whom the large majority of modern-day Jamaicans would be familiar.
But many younger Jamaicans, particularly those in rural communities, are now benefiting from Mr Anderson's sterling contribution as managing director and vice-chairman of the Rural Electrification Programme (REP) in the mid-1970s.
The REP was incorporated in June 1975 to expand electricity supply to rural areas, where the provision of such services was not economically viable for commercial providers of electricity.
By August 1976 the REP had connected 4,560 households along 220 miles of distribution lines built.
In February 2014 the country was told that 5,000 kilometres of pole line extensions had been installed, resulting in 97.8 per cent electrification in rural communities; approximately 616,125 Jamaicans had benefited from expansion in the distribution of electricity supply in rural areas; and more than 20,000 houses had been wired under the Government of Jamaica House Wiring Revolving Loan Programme.
Mr Anderson's service to his country also extended to two terms as chairman of National Housing Trust (NHT), from 1978 to 1980 and 2005 to 2007. Indeed, that agency, in its tribute to him, noted that he played a key role in implementing initiatives which created the foundation upon which the NHT is built.
These initiatives, the NHT said, included matching interest rates to contributors' income, thus making homeownership a reality for many Jamaicans, particularly low-income contributors.
The NHT also told us that during Mr Anderson's second tenure as chairman it strengthened its social impact through the Inner-City Housing Programme and embarked on the Special Benefits Programme for people with disabilities.
As we noted in our report on Mr Anderson's passing, he distinguished himself in business, working at Jamaica Milk Products as marketing manager in 1967 and, at the time of his death, was director of TM Traders. He was also a director of Sports Innovators Group Ltd and Chicken Mistress Ltd (Island Grill).
His love for sport was immense, as he saw it not only as recreation and business, but a contributor to the moulding of human character. He represented Jamaica in football, field hockey and boxing. Additionally, he served as president of the Jamaica Men's Hockey Association; board member of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control, National Sports Limited; and president of Kingston Cricket Club.
Mr Anderson was also vice-chairman of the organising committee for the International Federation World Netball Championships in 2003 and director of the local organising committee for Cricket World Cup 2007.
Amid all that, he never neglected his obligation to his family, which he showered with unconditional love; nurturing their relationship to form a strong bond.
To many people, though, Alva Anderson was simply a warm, generous, and decent human being who embodied one of the guiding principles of Freemasonry — making good men better.
We will miss Alva Anderson, a man whom Jamaica owes a huge debt of gratitude.