MR Vivian Crawford, the tireless and always smiling executive director of the Institute of Jamaica, has retired after serving for 11 years during which he has led the perpetually underfunded Institute with dedication and an infectious joie de vivre.
Not many Jamaicans are aware of the fact that the Institute of Jamaica has responsibility for a complex group of entities, among them the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank, the Jamaica Music Museum, the Junior Centres (Programmes Co-ordination), the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, the Museums of History and Ethnography and the National Gallery of Jamaica.
In addition, the Institute of Jamaica has been publishing the highly respected Jamaica Journal since its inception in 1896.
Surprisingly, Mr Crawford's professional training is not in the arts. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of the West Indies and a Master's degree in business administration from Nova South-East University.
His involvement in the arts and culture has not been confined to administration of the Institute of Jamaica, as he is a renowned organist whose musical skills are in great demand. Indeed, such is his talent that he is one of only eight people authorised to play the magnificent organ in the chapel at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus.
Mr Crawford was born in Moore Town, Portland on May 4, 1940 and attended Moore Town Primary School. Later, he distinguished himself at Mico Teachers' College where in addition to his scholastic achievements he was awarded the Chairman's Prize for outstanding contributions to the venerable institution and the Nathan Brissett Prize for Music. Similarly, while studying at UWI he was the recipient of the Max Henry Kiwanis Memorial Prize for Music.
A deeply religious man with a passion for education, he has given voluntary service to numerous causes and institutions. He has been resident organist for three churches and has guided several choirs, including that at Unity of Jamaica. Having lost his father at three months old, he values the mentoring of youth, many of whom do not have the benefit of male role models.
He has taught Sunday School at St Barnabas on Love Lane and St Matthew's in Allman Town and has taught music at Boys' Town. He has also been treasurer of the Ward Theatre Foundation and serves on several boards such as the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
That Vivian Crawford is a patriot who has sought to promote the development of Jamaica is not in doubt. Indeed, the Institute of Jamaica was more than a job for him; it was his calling. Thankfully, his invaluable contribution to the arts, culture, music and the preservation of Jamaica's heritage has been duly recognised as he is the recipient of several awards, including the Governor General's Achievement Award for St Andrew in 1998.
We want to add our word of gratitude and assure him that there is widespread appreciation for his many years of service to Jamaica. We say to Mr Vivian Crawford, well done and thank you on behalf of the Jamaican people.