Oliver Clarke was one of the most outstanding leaders to have emerged from the Caribbean private sector in the era of Independence. He served his country most ably and was a strong supporter of Caribbean development.

A shrewd businessman, his resourcefulness and guidance will be greatly missed at many levels.

I am truly saddened by the death of this outstanding individual.

He was a friend with whom I have had many differences over these 50 years for he was as much Jamaican as I am Trinidadian and that made for storms, particularly in the formative years of Caribbean media development. But his ingrained civility and good humour were always at hand to make our problems transitory.

Oliver was viewed as part of the plantocracy in Jamaica which enjoyed the privileges of good fortune, but his earthiness was all Jamaican.

He entered the Caribbean media scene at a critical time. We were moving to establish the Caribbean News Agency (CANA). Tom Sherman was the managing director of the Gleaner at the time and he had little faith in the independence of Caribbean media…perhaps understandably, for Lord Thompson and Cecil King, newspaper magnates from the UK, owned the majority of media houses in the region. In spite of studies which argued that CANA could be a viable entity, Sherman simply said “No”. Jamaica is OUT!

We the remaining publishers then did what Caribbean politicians might have done earlier. We said, “stop”. Gleaner, take one year. Let’s talk again in 12 months. Within that period Clarke had replaced Sherman as managing director of the Gleaner. He said “Yes” and became a tower of strength in keeping press freedom vigorous and alive throughout the region.

Thank you, Oliver. You made that difference.

Then there were other times when things did not go so well. Like the Caribbean school book publishing initiative. Oliver and the Gleaner won the support of vice chancellor Preston and The University of the West Indies for the project. The Express, strongly supported by the late prime minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica, won the support of the OECS governments (only Trinidad and Tobago did not support in the southern Caribbean).

Printing of Caribbean school books commenced, but the project failed for weakness of cash flow. That was a minor Caribbean tragedy because printing of Caribbean school books would have been a major breakthrough in the education system. Perhaps Oliver may already be negotiating with St Peter for the Gleaner to undertake the printing of bibles.

There were so many other sides to Oliver Clarke.

He was a pillar of the Jamaican National Building Society. He was awarded the Americas Award from the American Foundation and an honorary doctor of laws degree from The University of the West Indies in 2009. In 2013 a further doctorate came his way—from Northern Caribbean University. There was the ongoing service as required for the Jamaican government in different capacities... the list is unending.

Oliver Clarke, an accountant by profession, was a shrewd businessman by practice, a journalist/publisher by instinct and a husband and father by his excellent choice.

I extend deepest sympathy from Marguerite and myself and in fact on behalf of the entire Caribbean media fraternity to Oliver’s dear wife, Monica and daughter, Alexandra. May he rest in the peace he so fully deserves.

I regret existing conditions which deny me the opportunity to say my final farewell in person.

Kenneth Gordon

via e-mail


The first lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be already forgotten. In the mad rush to secure their own vaccine supplies through bilateral deals with the pharmaceutical majors, the richer nations of the world are flexing their influence and financial muscle while crowding out and marginalising smaller and poorer nations.

MY title is not a reference to outgoing United States President Donald Trump. We have heard so much commentary describing him as a flawed individual, and we have indeed been presented with recent evidence which has borne this out, that such a title would have been quite apt.

Recent events in Washington, DC, USA, the revered capital of the United States of America, have shaken the moral authority of that country to lecture, threaten and coerce other countries in the name of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

The disgraceful scenes of Americans storming their own sacred Capitol building—the long-claimed sanctuary for democracy—was bad enough, but what preceded it was worse.

POPE FRANCIS’ decision on Monday to allow women to perform some altar duties during Roman Catholic Mass is a welcomed, but tentative, move away from anachronistic gender stereotypes. But not fast enough.

The 21st century has seen the trade union movement in Trinidad and Tobago consistently under attack, severely criticised and victimised by the ruling economic and political elites.

Steve Smith, cheater or not?

That is the question. I have been watching cricket for a long time and though I hold no qualification regarding the laws of the game, I do believe that the action of former Australian captain Steve Smith in “remarking” or whatever he says, is wrong and he should be reprimanded.