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Observer honours founders at Silver Anniversary Awards

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 17, 2018

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THE Jamaica Observer continued its 25th anniversary celebration Tuesday night by honouring the newspaper's founders at a lavish Silver Anniversary Awards banquet at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.

Delroy Lindsay, Ken Gordon, and the late Dr George Phillip, who was represented by his widow Janette, were presented with personalised engraved awards for their significant contribution to starting the national newspaper, first published as a weekly on March 7, 1993.

A special surprise award was also made to Observer Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart who, along with the three, turned a vision into reality through drive and conviction.

The award to Stewart was made by the newspaper's staff and was enhanced with a video of the newspaper's employees, vendors and readers giving their views about the daily and Stewart's generosity of spirit, love for his workers and for Jamaica in general.

“…This 25 years is a long time, but it has gone by so quickly and we have some of the most remarkable people at the Jamaica Observer; remarkable in every way. I never really expected any presents and those video presentations, so once again I am indebted to the staff of the Observer. Thank you so much. I thank the people at the Observer every day because of the dream that Delroy Lindsay and myself had of taking Jamaica from one newspaper to two voices, two printed newspapers,” Stewart told the packed ballroom of family, friends, staff, advertisers, business people, and parliamentarians.

He reminisced on the early days of discussing the probability of the newspaper he has since become very fond of, noting that one conversation with Lindsay, Gordon and Phillips led to another before the publication eventually hit the streets.

“The Jamaica Observer is a source of education, and if we can educate every day of life in one way, shape or form, then we are achieving what we set out to do,” Stewart said.

Lindsay, during a video presentation, said that the idea was born out of the fact that Jamaica, the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean, was the only one at the time with one national newspaper. And according to him, having one newspaper in the democratic country was anti-democratic.

“Butch and I were neophytes. Neither of us had any history of the newspaper business or knowledge of it. We decided that we needed someone with the technical ability to match our entrepreneurial ability and resources and that's why we brought in Ken Gordon from Trinidad [& Tobago] who has a long experience of developing newspapers throughout the Caribbean,” Lindsay said.

Gordon said he was always convinced that Jamaica had a natural environment for a second newspaper to be produced, and that it would take great effort to realise that dream.

“Once you had the financial backing and you had the background you know what to do and you have a pattern. The task was how to get it done, and I think I was satisfied that the talent existed to do it and it was just a matter of working through the issues as they arose, which is what we did,” Gordon said in a video presentation.

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