Remembering Jerry George
Like thousands of people throughout SVG, the region and the diaspora, news of the death of Jerry George sent shock waves down my spine. Jerry was my neighbour. We chatted sometimes by phone, but almost on a daily basis traded messages via WhatsApp. If I heard news of any developments in any part of the region, I brought it to his attention, and he used his contacts to get the information. I last spoke to him on Saturday afternoon. He had replayed an interview I did with him on Emancipation Day in 2017. In that telephone conversation, he reminded me that we had talked about having a program on aspects of our country’s history. We agreed then on a once a month session. I had known Jerry for a long time, meeting him at first, I believe when I rented a house from his father in the Dascent Cottage area. When I returned from my final studies abroad and took up a job with CARIPEDA, my first office was in the space now used by Daniel Cummings as his NDP office, owned by his father, but managed by Jerry. When I left that office, Jerry began using it for computer classes.
Our relationship developed when he joined the Searchlight team and assisted in putting the paper together to be sent to Barbados for printing. His interest in journalism and in social and political issues bonded us. Jerry’s passion was to ensure that there was greater awareness of what was taking place in each other’s country, and of what was happening in the rest of the world. His training in journalism at CARIMAC and being a foundation member of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers were in keeping with that passion. His programmes EARLY IN THE MORNING and THOUGHTFUL TUESDAY, the one he was hosting with his business partner Beverley Sinclair when he died, came out of that devotion. These programmes, carried on Facebook, attracted listenership and viewership that spread far and wide throughout the region and in other areas of the world. Many looked forward to his programme on mornings and will surely miss not hearing the rooster crowing and Jerry’s closing remark “Whatever you do go out and be Uptstanding”.
Jerry also in closing stated that those who had listened to the programme would be 98 percent more informed than others. He was right about that because he surfed the web and brought news that was timely and relevant and which he thought we needed to know. His regular postings on his FACEBOOK page, which included updates on the weather kept us all informed.
He hosted news personalities and invited the opinions of those whom he thought had information from which we could benefit. One person he hosted on a number of occasions was Jeremy Stephen, Lecturer in Banking and Finance at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill. He told me while other lecturers were hesitant, Jeremy was always willing to express his views on a wide range of issues, including LIAT. Jeremy indicated in a tribute to Jerry that he owed quite a lot to him and was moved by his passing. Jerry was outspoken on political and social issues. He was fearless in expressing his views, especially about shortcomings in our democracy. He wanted persons to speak up against the ills in our society. As a journalist he found it important to visit different countries to cover elections, events, and important meetings of regional and international bodies. He was always on top of things, trying to keep us informed. I did not always agree with some of the positions he took, but welcomed the information he provided. The tributes being paid to him and reports of his death throughout the region reflect the impact he had. I will miss my conversations with him and know for sure that our country is the worst for not having him with us, but hopefully his legacy will live on. Jerry wore many hats and played many roles, all of them important to our country. My condolences to his wife, children, grandchildren, and the rest of his family.
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian