September 24, 2017

As the second week of the 2017-2018 academic year drew to a close, some significant figures came together in a small room at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew. Those ‘figures’ were not only numbers, but also persons. For it was the fifth awards function of Jah Jerry Inc, the foundation named for the late Jerome ‘Jah Jerry’ Haynes, OD, guitarist with the Skatalites band, who died 10 years ago.

Haynes’s son, James Haynes, asked rhetorically, “where would the Skatalites be without Alpha?” before announcing that four “top-of-the line computers, fully loaded” were being donated to the institution famed for its output of musicians. The gift was accepted by the Alpha Institute’s Margaret Little Wilson.

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Mrs Little Wilson, administrator of Alpha, with James Haynes.

And among those present, in addition to representatives of benefiting institutions, Edna Manley and the Alpha Institute, was singer Neville ‘Bunny Wailer’ Livingstone, one of the founding members of the Wailers, which had an extensive connection with the Skatalites at Studio One. Bunny Wailer described Jah Jerry as “a great Jamaican”.

Haynes also made the connection between the foundation’s work and his father’s approach to music. For just as the foundation’s intention is to help young people, Haynes said his father’s forte “was helping young people, showing them how to work the instrument, to play music”.

So, he said, the foundation continues that “legacy of touching lives, making a difference”. And in referring to his father’s humility, Haynes said “he was one of the few musicians I know who avoided the spotlight”.