KINGSTON — Family, friends, well-wishers and former colleagues turned out in their numbers to bid farewell to former Minister of Tourism and renowned journalist, Eric Anthony Abrahams, at an official funeral service at the St. Andrew Parish Church, Half-Way-Tree, on Wednesday August 17.
The mourners included the wife of the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Lady Allen, Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, members of both Houses of Parliament and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
In his tribute, Prime Minister Golding described Mr. Abrahams as a “trailblazer” and an extraordinary Jamaican. He noted that the former Rhode Scholar and politician pioneered a number of initiatives that have not only endured the test of time, but have become institutions that many Jamaicans take for granted.
“We bid farewell to a thinker, whose mind raced much faster than we could keep up with. (His) exceptionality was clearly discerned from his very early years… as a brilliant student at Jamaica College,” he stated.
The Prime Minister said Mr. Abraham’s relatively privileged upbringing did not insulate him from the issues and concerns of those less fortunate and in turmoil.
“Indeed it evoked from him a duty to stand up against injustice, to defend the defenseless and to be a voice for the voiceless. He was never afraid to challenge the status-quo, never afraid to demand change,” he remarked.
Former colleague on the “Breakfast Club” morning talk show, Professor Trevor Munroe, expressed his deepest sympathies to the family of the late journalist and noted that, although they came from different points, politically, they respected and loved each another.
“Tony lived and breathed the Breakfast Club, day in and day out,” Mr. Munroe said. He noted that the programme was Mr. Abrahams' brainchild; a creation which reflected his intellectual brilliance and his journalistic genius.
His son, Eric Jason Abrahams, described his father as “the smartest man he had ever met”.
“My father’s consuming desire for information and knowledge was only matched by his love of good food, and only exceeded by his love for his family,” he said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller read the first lesson. The service was officiated by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Thompson and the Rev. Monique Campbell.
Mr. Abrahams, who was also a former Director of Tourism, died on August 7 at the age of 71. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), becoming its first Executive Director. After leaving politics, he returned to broadcast journalism, hosting his own current affairs breakfast radio programme, “The Breakfast Club”, starting in 1992 on the UWI-owned Newstalk 93 FM radio.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter