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Jamaica's Tony Abrahams remembered

BEVAN SPRINGER Special to the AmNews | 8/22/2011, 9:36 a.m.
Jamaica's Tony Abrahams remembered

NEW YORK (Aug. 18, 2011)-Jamaica's local tourism community is mourning the passing of popular journalist and former minister of tourism Anthony Abrahams.

Abrahams, 71, a Rhodes scholar who was at the center of the popular radio show "The Breakfast Club" for close to two decades, died in his native Jamaica on Aug. 7 from pneumonia following a struggle with bone cancer. The morning show attracted commentators from around the world on the issues of the day; global, national and regional.

"Jamaica has lost another brilliant son in the person of Eric Anthony Abrahams. In everything he undertook throughout his life he was a pioneer and the best in his field," said Prime Minister Bruce Golding. He added, "A unique and brilliant mind has left us, but he will be remembered for the trail of outstanding contributions he made in his service to his country and fellow Jamaicans."

Current director of tourism John Lynch paid tribute to his predecessor, who was Jamaica's third director of tourism, recognizing his extraordinary contributions to tourism throughout the decades.

"Since taking up this appointment as chairman of the board and director of tourism, I have had numerous reasons to reflect on Tony Abrahams' achievements in helping to carve out Jamaica's position on the world map as a leading tourist destination. His ability to think outside the box coupled with his innovative, adventurous spirit and his 'stick-to-it-ive-ness' made him an exemplary leader, and his accomplishments changed the course of Jamaica's tourism," Lynch recalled.

Among his accomplishments was the creation of a department of planning, research and statistics, equipping the Jamaica Tourist Board for the first time with its own facility for industry research to help with marketing activities. He was responsible for the introduction of a new division within the board to monitor the standard and quality of their products, a precursor to today's Tourism Product Development Company, and he established a subsidiary company to address the development of visitor attractions.

"Personally, I am proud to call Tony Abrahams a friend and mentor. His boundless energy, his quirky sense of humour and his uncanny eye for creative detail have been good signals for me throughout my career," Lynch added, calling on Jamaicans to celebrate his life as "a pioneer, a marketing revolutionary and a brilliant leader."

Jamaica and the Caribbean will miss an affable, brilliant academic who lived by his own rules but showed great respect for the opinions of others in developing the region.