A Few Leading Men of Jamaica
Not too long ago we asked our fans online to nominate the Jamaican men they felt were among the most influential and the response was overwhelming- Thank you for your feedback! We have a few clear winners with USAIN BOLT, ANDREW HOLNESS and CHRIS GAYLE leading the way. So from media to sports and business here are a few of Jamaica’s leading men as chosen by you the people...
Age: 29 years old
Title: Track Athlete/ Fastest Man In The World
He is electrifying, entertaining, legendary and charismatic. He is the best. With an ironic name like “Bolt” and a signature lightning bolt pose, Usain has struck a chord in the hearts of sports fans all around the world and has earned that legendary status that he has been hoping for. Bolt was born in Sherwood Content, Trelawny. He was an energetic and active child and displayed a natural ability for sports. Bolt’s journey to stardom started on the dirt tracks of the Waldensia Primary and William Knibb Memorial High Schools. He took a liking to cricket but coaches, on seeing his talent, encouraged him to focus his energy on athletics. Bolt ran at the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Boys and Girls Championships where he became the record holder of Class I in the 200 and 400 metres, with times of 20.25 and 45.35 seconds, respectively. Bolt became the youngest World Junior Champion at age 15, when he won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica in 2002. A year later, he broke the World Junior record in the 200 metres at the World Youth Championships in Canada.
He became the first junior to run the 200 metres under 20 seconds at the CARIFTA Games held in Bermuda in 2004. Bolt’s fame heightened in 2008 when he beat Asafa Powell’s record of 9.74 in the 100 metres, setting a new world record of 9.72, at the Reebok Grand Prix Meet in New York. At the 2008 Olympics, Bolt broke new ground, winning the 100m in a shattering 9.69s and the 200m in a new world and Olympic record of 19.30s. Bolt broke another world and Olympic record with the Jamaican 4x100m relay team, a time of 37.10s. He was 22 years old. At the 2012 Olympics, Bolt retained his title in the 100m and 200m event where he won gold and set a new 100m record of 9.63s. Bolt was now, without a doubt, a legend. He has become the greatest track athlete ever. With million dollar endorsement deals with brands like Puma and Gatorade, he is the highest paid track athlete ever and the most marketable athlete in the world. In 2011, Bolt was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree by the University of the West Indies. He is also a recipient of the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction awards from the Jamaican government and is now referred to as Dr. the Honourable Ambassador Usain Bolt.
Most Hon. Andrew Holness
Age: 43 years old
Title: Prime Minister of Jamaica
People consider this Prime Minister to be a breath of fresh air as he is the youngest Prime Minister in Jamaica’s history at 43 years old. The Most Honourable Andrew Michael Holness was born in Spanish Town, St. Catherine and attended the St. Catherine High School. He later attended the University of the West Indies and graduated with his Bachelors of Science degree in Management Studies. Being born to working class parents, Holness understood the struggle of having to work for what one wanted and was passionate about helping Jamaicans. He served as Executive Director in the Voluntary Organization for Uplifting Children from 1994 to 1996 and then joined the Premium Group of Companies, as a special assistant to Edward Seaga. In 1997, He was elected as to be the MP of West Central St. Andrew at 25 years old. Holness found his passion in politics when he became cabinet minister of Education for the JLP. Under his watch, Jamaica saw the introduction of the Career Advancement Programme, the start of institutions such as the Jamaica Teaching Council, the National Education Trust, the National Education Inspectorate, National College for Education Leadership, the Centres of Excellence Programme and the Alternative Secondary Transition Education Programme (ASTEP) all designed to help student and teachers in Jamaica’s education system. He succeeded Bruce Golding as leader of the JLP and Prime Minister in October 2011 but lost in the December elections that year. On February 25, 2016, the JLP won the general elections and Andrew Holness became Jamaica’s ninth Prime Minister.
Age: 36 years old
The self-proclaimed “Universe Boss” has made quite an impact on the cricket world. Chris Gayle is no doubt a force and a bit of an entertainer, at times, on the cricket pitch. Gayle made his international cricketing debut at just 19 years old playing for Jamaica. Now at 36 years old, his batting skills, physique, timing along with his charismatic personality has gotten him a barrage of admirers around the world. Gayle had a slow start to his international career, but in 2002, he ended the year with three centuries and became the third West Indian to score over 1,000 runs in a calendar year, along with greats like Sir Vivian Richards and Brian Lara. Since then, he has set numerous records and has signified his name in the cricket world. In 2012, he became the first player to hit a six off the first ball of a Test match. He also scored a 30-ball century, which became the highest individual T20 score. He is one of only four players who have scored two triple centuries at Test level and opened the popular restaurant in Jamaica, appropriately named ‘Triple Century’. Chris Gayle captained the West Indies’ Test side from 2007 to 2010. He plays domestic cricket for Jamaica, and also represents the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. His impressive career and charm is the reason why people all over the world come out to watch him play. He loves what he does and always remains true to himself whether you like it or not.
Age: 47 years old
Title: Reggae Artiste
Shaggy is an international reggae superstar. With songs such as “It Wasn’t Me” and “Mr. Bombastic”, current chart blazer "Don't You Need Somebody". Shaggy has made a name for himself, internationally and is credited as one of the artistes to showcase Jamaican music on the world stage. There is no doubt that this former military personnel and Grammy award winning artist has had a fulfilling music career. Shaggy started the Shaggy ‘Make A Difference’ Foundation to help children in Jamaica and the region. The annual Shaggy and Friends concert also raises money for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
Age: 35 years oldIndustry: PoliticsTitle: Politician Young, passionate and very outspoken are just some of the words that are used to describe Damion Crawford. He has always been a natural born leader, from his days at UWI School of Hospitality in Bahamas where he was the Guild President. Crawford, who earned his Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Tourism Management, remained passionate about Education. He served two terms as the PNPYO’s President and started numerous tutoring initiatives for high school students in his area and also lectured at UWI Mona. A former Minister of State for Entertainment and Tourism; he is now the host of his own radio programme on NationWideRadio aptly titled "Straight Forward".
Age: 63 years old
Industry: Financial Services
Title: Chief Financial Officer/Chairman
Richard Byles is quite a powerful man in the business, financial and insurance sector in Jamaica. Being the President and CEO of Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited, Co-chairman of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee, the Chairman of the Board of Desnoes and Geddes as well as Pan Caribbean Financial services; this man pretty much does it all. He holds great financial responsibility in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, part of with includes the oversight of the current agreement with the IMF.
Age: 27 years old
When he tweets #WatchThisSpace, his thousands of online viewers clench to their devices waiting for him to break the next big story. Abka has been excelling since age 12. At that time, he was celebrating his success in six GCE and CSEC subjects including Mathematics and English. As a senior reporter at Nationwide Radio in Jamaica, this young journalist has gained popularity and become one of the most credible reporters in Jamaica and the region. He scored the first exclusive interview with the Most Honourable Andrew Holness as Prime Minister of Jamaica. Jamaicans, both local and overseas, look to this Kingston College/ Fortis fanatic for news on what's happening in Jamaica and across the world. Simply, “If Abka didn’t tweet it, it didn’t happen”.
Age: 63 years old
Title: Journalist/Football Coach
As once a part of the dynamic duo of Simon and Neville on TVJ’s ‘Smile Jamaica’; the ever so charming Neville “Bertis” Bell woke up Jamaicans every morning with his hilarious personality and crazy antics. Still on Smile Jamaica, but now with female counterparts, Neville Bell has a special place in the hearts of Jamaicans. He has had an impressive media career spanning over two decades. Neville Bell is also associated with sports being an expert commentator on football and the head coach of his Alma Mater- St. George’s College’s football team.
Age: 35 years old
Title: Chief Executive Officer
With a father named “Butch Stewart”, it is easy to see why Adam Stewart is well known. This business maven has stepped out of his father’s shadow and made quite a name for himself. Adam was born and raised in Jamaica and graduated Florida International University with a degree in Hospitality Management. Stewart is now the CEO of Sandals Resort International, which has resorts all over the Caribbean region. Stewart is also the CEO of the ATL Group. Adam launched ATL Automotive and they are now master dealers for BMW’s and MINI in Jamaica and across the Caribbean.
Age: 27 years old
Title: Dancehall Artiste
Dancehall artist Popcaan has always been a star on the rise. From being under Vybz Kartel’s wing in the “Gaza Empire”, every dancehall fan knew he was special. Popcaan is now a certified star. Now running his own camp “Unruly Entertainment” and being a part of Drake’s “OVO Music”, Popcaan has taken dancehall to new heights. Popcaan’s debut album “Where We Come From” put him on the map as one of dancehall’s best new generation artists and with international collabs with Drake and Young Thug under his belt; and recently winning Red Bull’s Culture Clash with MixPak in the UK- he has no intentions of slowing down.
Age: 66 years old
Glen Mills, O.D., is a sprinting athletics coach from Jamaica. He was the head coach of the Jamaican Olympic athletics team between 1987 and 2009. He is currently head coach of the Racers Track Club which includes world and Olympic record holder Usain Bolt and the 100 metre World Champion Yohan Blake. Other athletes that he has coached in the past included Kim Collins, and Ray Stewart.
For the full list, check out the Summer 2016 Issue of PANACHE