JIS News

Members of the House of Representatives, on November 9, paid tribute to the late former University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Emeritus, Alston Barrington ‘Barry’ Chevannes, who died on November 5.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange hailed him as an exceptional Jamaican and one of the nation’s “outstanding sons of culture and heritage”.
Miss Grange said Professor Chevannes’ death was untimely and represented a major blow to Jamaica’s cultural communities.
The former UWI lecturer, historian and cultural activist passed away at the University Hospital of the West Indies. He was admitted to the hospital in September.
“I hail his many contributions to national life through his research, and activism in areas such as the Rastafarian movement, National Ganja Commission, male gender sensibilities, peace management, among other things,” she noted.
Miss Grange described Professor Chevannes, as an “outstanding teacher and researcher, cultural activist and community animator, advocate for the role of the arts and culture in social transformation, author and composer and affirmer of the integrity of Jamaican roots and traditions.”
“I ask that this House place on record our appreciation and recognition of the work and worth of this Jamaican,” Minister Grange said.
She also extended condolences to his family, wife Pauletta and their two daughters, Amber and Abena, as well as to the UWI community.
Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness also paid tribute to the former educator, describing him as a man of great knowledge, who understood the culture of Jamaica.
“His passing for many of us is untimely; he will be greatly missed in the education fraternity and particularly at the University of the West Indies,” he said.
Professor Chevannes’ association with the UWI spans the Institute of Social and Economic Research, now The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies and the Department of Sociology, Psychology and Social Work, where he served as Head.
He was subsequently appointed Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, a position he held until 2004 when he was appointed Director of the newly created Centre for Public Safety and Justice. He played a leadership role in the University Township Project, which built on work that he had done for many years in the surrounding community of August Town.
He was the recipient of several national, international and university awards – Commander of the Order of Distinction, the Institute of Jamaica Centenary Medal for work in the field of culture (1979); the Norman Manley Award for Excellence in the field of social development (1997); the UWI Guild of Graduates Pelican Award for contribution in the field of anthropology (1998); and the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in research, teaching, University service, and service to the wider society. He was also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Professor Chevannes was Chair of the Council of the Institute of Jamaica, and founder of Fathers Incorporated, and Partners for Peace. He also chaired the National Commission on Ganja from 2000 to 2001. He was a member of the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) of the Ministry of National Security; Chairman of the Jamaican Justice System Reform Task Force and Co-chaired the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development.

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