Wednesday, 17 January 2018

WHAT HE’S LEFT BEHIND: Ian Boyne’s legacy hailed as ‘exceptional’ by dignitaries, media colleagues at thanksgiving service

GOING HOME: Boyne's casket is transported to the waiting hearse following Sunday's funeral service.

PEOPLE had always wondered, but Cliff Hughes finally put it into words: how did Ian Boyne manage to carry out his enormous Deputy CEO responsibilities at the JIS, plan, produce and present two hit television shows (Profile and Religious Hardtalk), write a weekly newspaper column, maintain a super-active reading life, carry out his duties as a clergyman and still spend time with his wife and the rest of the family?

The response from Boyne, Hughes says, is summed up in his enjoyment of all of these tasks and looking forward to the weekly schedule. He was undaunted. He relished the challenges. By all accounts, it takes great self-discipline and dedication to build the kind of legacy that Ian Boyne has left behind – a legacy that came in for lavish praise during the thanksgiving service to mark his passing, held inside the National Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday morning well into the afternoon.

From the landmark success of his interview programme Profile (three decades of episodes, making it the longest-running programme of its kind in the history of Jamaican television) to the “riveting stuff” of Religious Hardtalk to his incisive, richly argumentative Sunday Gleaner columns to his (State Liasion) work during the tenures of such prime ministers as Portia Simpson-Miller, Bruce Golding and Andrew Holness – Boyne’s consistent contributions, as his cousin Dr. Michael Boyle noted, “cast a long shadow.”

Holness no doubt agrees. “I would have leaned on him for the preparation of my upcoming Budget presentation. So when you hear of the void Boyne has left, it’s a real void,” Holness told the gathering during his tribute. “He was the only person that we know could criticize the Government and get away with it…. He had an incredible reservoir of knowledge and could eloquently articulate on a wide range of issues and topics with sharp analysis and intellectual rigour. He could speak truth to power and did so with respect, honour and dignity. Simply put, he was truly first-class.”

Simpson-Miller said she would miss her “dear friend,” who brought a classy touch to their collaborations, while culture minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange (who, as a junior minister back in the day, gave the green-light for Profile) fondly remembered the mutual respect they shared. Summing up Boyne’s vast bunch of accomplishments, Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said, “All of this is testament to the fact that he had a tremendous capacity for hard work, which so many of us would do well to emulate.”

Long before the advent of his TV shows, Boyne began his sojourn in the Jamaican media in 1975 as a freelance journalist. Fast-forward a few decades, and he was well on his way to becoming a leading presence in the field. He worked with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) and the Jamaica Information Service (rising to the post of Deputy CEO) and has won numerous awards for his frank, sometimes ferocious opinion journalism.

His esteemed media colleagues came out in their numbers to mourn him. In addition to Hughes, Press Association president Dionne Jackson-Miller and RJR/Gleaner Group Managing Director Gary Allen delivered tributes, hailing Boyne as a fine example of a first-class media professional.

Boyne died on December 18 as a result of complications from heart failure, at age 60. As an author, he published Ideas Matter and Profile of Excellence. His numerous accolades include the National Order of Distinction (Commander Class), received at King’s House in 2009.

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