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Former PM Patterson says he's in good health

BY HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 27, 2019

PJ Patterson was born at Chisholm Avenue in Kingston on April 10, 1935. That makes him 83.

As a boy he spent time in Hanover, before returning to Kingston to pursue secondary school studies at Calabar High School during the 1940s – an institution that he represented at table tennis and debating, and was at one time editor of the school's magazine.

The holder of a Bachelor's degree in English Language from the then University College of the West Indies, now the University of the West Indies, Patterson went on to read for a degree in law at the London School of Economics, the same institution that the man he succeeded as prime minister — Michael Manley — attended.

The former Senator and Member of Parliament ruled Jamaica as Prime Minister from 1992 to 2006 while he served as president of the People's National Party. Since then, he has remained in the public eye, though not following the same rigid schedule that characterised his reign as head of the Government.

With preparations for his 84th birthday now occupying the thoughts of those close to him, how is Patterson's health and how has he managed to keep relatively fit for all these years?

“The doctors think it is good and I think so too. I feel so too,” was his response to the Jamaica Observer's question.

“I suppose I'm lucky to be blessed with the genes that I have and I thank the Almighty for the blessings that he has afforded me and I try as best as I can to make sure that the stress, which is inevitable in public life, is not transferred and continue in my life as a private citizen,” said the man who enjoys the occasional alcoholic drink and whose early love affair with smoking ended in a swift divorce.

“I smoked for a very short time and the person who stopped me from continuing was Norman Manley (founding president of the PNP and former premier and chief minister of Jamaica).

“He looked at me one day and said, 'Youngster, you are presiding over the destruction of your health. So my smoking was short-lived,” Patterson reflected of Michael Manley's dad, an eminent barrister-at-law in his days.