New book celebrates achievements of Jamaicans



To demonstrate his patriotism and, hopefully, to educate young people, former Canadian resident, George Meikle, has penned a book to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary next year as an independent nation.

In Praise of Jamaica; Natural Wonders, Heroes and Achievements, which celebrates the achievements of people of Jamaican heritage in the Caribbean country and Diaspora, was launched in Canada last Sunday at the Program for the Advancement of Early Childhood Education’s annual fundraising brunch.

“This is a historical sweep of where we are coming from and where we Jamaicans at home and abroad are now in the journey of national consciousness and national identity,” said Meikle, who returned to Jamaica in 1989 after spending 32 years in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). “As a country, Jamaica has produced many heroes. The book celebrates Jamaica’s many successes, especially on the world stage in music, sports, the arts, science, politics and business, while also showcasing a rich and vibrant culture at home.

Meikle said he started his research for the book two years ago.

“Instead of being down on ourselves, we Jamaicans have much to be proud of about our unique and wonderful country,” he said. “This is what this book is all about. “I also wrote it because we often feel maligned by the opinions of foreign journalists who misrepresent us and fail to report about Jamaica and Jamaicans accurately and in a balanced way and because of my concern about the negative image of Jamaica and its people fed by the media and absorbed by our children and grandchildren.

“I know that Jamaicans in general hunger for something permanent, not just a fleeting media presentation, which captures in a comprehensive way the truth about Jamaica. In other words, we need to write a book to catalogue these achievements.”

The 184-page softcover coffee table book is divided into six sections – Jamaica and its People, The Wonders of Jamaica, Achievements of Jamaicans, Memorabilia, Global Icons, National Heroes and Independence – and 33 chapters.

In the foreword, recently retired president of the International Criminal Tribune for the former Yugoslavia, Patrick Robinson, said Meikles’ account of the wonders of Jamaica and the heroic achievements of its people is a welcome tonic.

“The book presents an encyclopaedic catalogue of the remarkable achievements of Jamaicans who have contributed to national development, as well as those who have had an impact on the wider international community,” said the distinguished jurist. “It is also frank enough to mention some of the unsavoury features of national life.”

Meikle, who graduated from Kingston College and the University of Toronto with a first degree and an MBA, worked with a chemical firm for 25 years, before returning to Jamaica.

He plans to publish a second edition in hardcover to include builders and achievers which could not be included in his first book.

The book is available at A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst St. The price is $45.95 plus tax.

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