“This is the greatest political leader this country has ever produced,” veteran journalist and author, Ken Jones, described the subject of his new book, “Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes (of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante)”, at its launch last night at King’s House.
Mr. Jones told a large audience, which filled out the seats in the King’s House ballroom for the event, that his research leading up to the book had convinced him of what he had already determined from personal experiences.
“From my own experience and from my research and study, I am aware that what I just told you is true,” he commented to loud applause from the crowd.
“As for those who have sweated and sacrificed and made slaves of themselves for the people of this country, I think we all agree that this was the noblest Roman of them all,” he said.
Author Ken Jones hands a copy of his new book, ‘Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes (of the late National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante)’, to the Governor-General, the Most Hon Sir Patrick Allen, at the launch at King’s House last night (October 29).
The launch was attended by a number of dignitaries including the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and several members of the cabinet and other national institutions. Master of Ceremonies was Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Pearnel Charles.
Mr. Jones paid tribute to: the Prime Minister for agreeing to be guest speaker at the launch; to the CHASE Fund for supporting the project; and to the Governor-General for making King’s House available for the event. He noted that while King’s House was the seat of power of the authorities with whom Bustamante battled in the 1930s, the national hero was eventually able to appoint the first Jamaican to occupy it in 1962.
The Governor-General, who officially launched the book, agreed that the organizers could not have chosen a better venue. He said he believes the book will help to dispel rumours about Bustamante which had been made into “schoolyard jokes.”
“He was a leader, a friend, a husband and one the Founding Fathers of our nation,” the Governor-General said.
Mrs. Gloria Jones, wife of the author of ‘Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes (of the late National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante)’, Ken Jones, presenting a copy of the book to Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange, at the launch at King’s House last night (October 29).
Mr. Golding, the guest speaker, said that the country has been forced to rely too heavily on folklore for information about Bustamante’s past, although folklore has no claim to truth or accuracy, because of the lack of scholarly interest due to the national hero’s class interests.
“Folklore is like Anancy stories, and there are many such stories about Bustamante,” he said.
However, he stated that episodes like Bustamante’s record four-day long budget speech in Parliament, and his choice of words in his letters to the Gleaner, indicated that he was “a straight thinker and speaker, and was absolutely confident in himself”. He added that the book helps to confirm this.
Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, the Hon. Olivia Grange, said that she was excited about the book, and the fact that it presented a fair and accurate picture of Bustamante “for generations of Jamaicans who never had the pleasure of meeting him.”
“I am delighted that the book has been produced. It will add to the records of the life and times of this great Jamaican,” she said.
The function also featured a dramatic presentation of letters written by Bustamante to the Gleaner between the 1930 and 1960s highlighting the plight of poor Jamaicans, especially the working condition of labourers.
There was also a video presentation titled “Memories of Bustamante”, compiled by Carey Robinson, which featured recollections from people who marched with Bustamante insisting that they would “follow Bustamante” until they died. Prayer was led by the Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston, the Most Rev Egerton Clarke. Greetings from the CHASE Fund, was brought by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), W. “Billy” Heaven.