Sunday, 24 December 2017

THE GREAT DEBATER: Iconic journalist, talk-show host, sociopolitical commentator – Ian Boyne was in a league of his own

ONE OF A KIND: PM Andrew Holness signs a condolence book in honour of Ian Boyne at Jamaica House.

IAN Boyne passed away at the University Hospital on December 18 at age 60, so naturally I’m remembering our first encounter – at the launch to celebrate his second book, Ideas Matter, at King’s House. November 2014. Boyne was dumbfounded when he heard that I was the sole writer/editor producing articles for TALLAWAH. His mouth fell wide open when I confirmed that yes, it was all me.

He was, of course, familiar with TALLAWAH because I made sure to add him to the mailing list when I was just starting out, so the newsletter went to his inbox every week. A few years later, I was pleased to receive an invite in my inbox from his publishers (Pelican Publishers) requesting coverage for the book launch. Everyone was there, from government officials and corporate-world icons to relatives, friends and well-wishers.

Boyne attracted the best of the best. He was a man of great accomplishments, and achievement was something that he in turn loved celebrating. After all, he dedicated his popular Sunday evening programme, Profile, to spotlighting outstanding Jamaican success stories he’d come across or were brought to his attention. His ‘applause’ was vociferous and his give-and-take interview style yielded the most revealing half-an-hour segments on Jamaican television. That programme will be sorely missed. 

The same can be said for his other TV-J staple, Religious Hardtalk, which made for riveting viewing. I know his Sunday Gleaner readers will miss his intellectually sound and frequently ferocious columns that tackled everything from the Jamaican political climate to the social ills to the global status quo. He brought razor-sharp arguments to the national conversation, winning him countless admirers and his share of detractors. “I don’t answer critics. People criticize me all the time,” he told me during our chat at King’s House. “When you’re in the public eye that happens, so you have to be prepared for that. It comes with the territory.” 

In his book Profile of Excellence, Boyne outlines in lush detail the strategies and principles that have always guided his life. It is essential reading for every Jamaican, youngsters especially. Profile of Excellence is a bonafide pageturner, and you get a firm understanding of how he became the stalwart he became – not to mention some of the most insightful, motivational one-on-one interviews you’ll ever read. 

It’s part of the storied Ian Boyne legacy that must be preserved for future generations. Coupled with Ideas Matter (another must-read), it captures the measure of this fascinating Jamaican man. 

> IN HIS OWN WORDS: Boyne gets candid in our Nov. 2014 interview

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