Prime Minister Holness characterised Clarke as “one of the giants of our time, who for decade straddled the Jamaican business community like a Colossus. From his time as an Assistant General Manager at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) to his last major role as Chairman of the RJRGleaner Communications Group, Oliver has been a major player in many aspects of the Jamaican and regional private sector,” he said.
“For those who knew him, Oliver was more than a media giant. His role in shaping the development of the nation as a leader of the local private sector can never be discounted. As President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica between 2002 and 2003, President of the Inter American Press Association, and a member of the board of directors for several major private sector entities, Oliver provided sound judgement and a calming presence,” Holness noted.
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said Oliver Clarke’s death “signals the end of an era in the historical development of the nation.”
Phillips observed that “Clarke represented a true example of patriotism as he facilitated and accommodated the many calls to national service. When Jamaica faced major challenges in its development, particularly over recent decades, Mr. Clarke was never hesitant in responding to the call from different political administrations to serve at the highest levels in search of solutions.
“Oliver Clarke was one of a kind. A successful businessman and leader of the private sector; he was also indisputably a selfless and courageous patriotic devotee to the public services in multiple spheres of national life for the past forty years or more,” Dr. Phillips said.
“Often controversial and gifted with a wry sometimes sardonic wit, he was nevertheless able to motivate others to achieve national goals. His analytical skills, business experience and accounting expertise were frequently called on to bring our nation through difficult times as was the case during the advent of dollarization in the 1980s and as head of various task forces, including the body that examined the emoluments of parliamentarians.
““The causes to which he devoted himself were myriad, ranging from the defence of press freedom, police reform; advocate of good governance, integrity and anti-corruption reforms across successive administrations.
“He was committed to the quest for economic efficiency and public sector transformation that would establish Jamaica definitively as a modern, socially just, economically efficient and law-abiding state, exercising its sovereign independence in the global community.” Dr. Phillips said.
“He had a deep passion for his country and spared nothing in standing behind causes of national development. He was willing to use what he had to reshape the nation for the better. It was this passion for change in the culture of violence which led to his creation of the Peace and Love in School initiative. He believed in application of critical thinking in problem-solving; this led to the establishment of many think tanks that elevated important ideas on the issue of crime, national debt and other matters that were of national and international concerns,” Dr Phillips concluded.
Prime Minister Holness and Dr. Phillips have extended condolences to Mr. Clarke’s wife, Monica, his daughter Alex , other members of his family, the staff at the RJRGleaner Group and his many colleague and friends.
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