Celebrating Oliver

They do say that you should always celebrate and show your appreciation for people while they are still “trodding this Earth.” In other words, don’t take the great human beings you know for granted. Shower them with praise and love while they are still around.

Not that I am expecting Jamaica’s “King of Comedy” Oliver Samuels to leave us any time soon! But I am delighted that the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) will present Oliver with a special award next week. You can watch the event live on Facebook and on the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica television channel on Wednesday, November 11 at 3:00 p.m. Jamaican time.

Why is this so important to me personally? Because Oliver has always been like “family” to us. When we first moved to Jamaica in the 1980s, we never missed an episode of his television series (I remember finding it hard to get used to there being only one TV station, Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation!) In a way, it helped us to adjust, to settle down, to laugh and relax. With Oliver, we always felt that everything was going to be all right. The sketch with him at the airport, a Jamaican traveling for the first time with ear muffs on, still makes me chuckle just thinking about it. We were so grateful to Oliver – and I still am. Here’s more, from CCRP:

CCRP is a vibrant organization with lots of benefits for members.

Oliver Samuels to Receive CCRP’s Living Legacy Award on his Fiftieth Anniversary

Jamaica’s much-loved “King of Comedy”, Oliver Adolphus Samuels, CD, will be honoured with a 2020 Living Legacy Award from the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) on Wednesday, November 11 at 3:00 p.m. in a ceremony to be broadcast live on the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) television channel and live-streamed on the PBCJ Facebook page.

Mrs. Vilma McDonald, Chair of the CCRP Living Legacy Awards Committee, observed: “It is timely that we should honour our beloved Oliver Samuels in this, his 50th year of delivering top level comedy and drama to Jamaican and international audiences. Oliver, who came from a humble family background in St. Mary, represents so much that is kind and generous, embodying the true, old-fashioned Jamaican values that we still hold dear. And importantly – he keeps our spirits high with his awesome comedic deliveries.”

Launched in 2012 with a special Jamaica 50 edition, the Living Legacy Awards are a CCRP tradition, celebrating the lives and achievements of men and women who have made substantial contributions to Jamaica’s development in various fields.

The CCRP Living Legacy Award has been presented to over 90 honourees. These include three Governors General – the late Sir Howard Cooke, Prof. Sir Kenneth Hall and Sir Patrick Allen; Beverley Anderson Duncan, Vilma McDonald, Alma Mock Yen, Professor Edward Baugh, R. Danvers ‘Danny’ Williams, Merrick Needham, Hon. Karl Hendrickson, K.G. Anthony Hill, Prof. Hon Anthony Chen, the late Syringa Marshall-Burnett,  and the late J. Lester Spaulding.

CCRP Board Directors Executive Chair Jean Lowrie-Chin, Michael Fraser, Sethuraman Kumaraswamy, Patricia Reid-Waugh and Director Emerita Ambassador Aloun Assamba will participate in the event. Special presentations will be made to Oliver Samuels by Saundra Bailey, Caribbean Group COO of Gallagher Insurance Brokers and Chris Hind, General Manager of Jamaica National General Insurance (JNGI).

Emcee will be Joan McDonald who will have a conversation with Oliver Samuels about his fifty-year journey in Jamaican theatre. The programme will also include a rendition of Jamaican folk songs by Christine McDonald-Nevers of the Jamaica Folk Singers, backed by Stephen Shaw.

The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) is a non-profit organization for persons 50 years and over, with a membership of over 10,000. CCRP was launched on April 20, 2010 by Jean Lowrie-Chin as a 30th Anniversary Legacy Project for her company, PROComm, in honour of her mother and other senior mentors. The management consists of a small administrative team supported by PROComm. CCRP has four regional chapters based in Kingston, Montego Bay, Mandeville, and Ocho Rios.

Oliver Samuels came from humble beginnings in rural Jamaica. He went to Kingston, studied drama, met Louise Bennett (“Miss Lou”) – his mentor – and the rest is history.

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