Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tribute to Hartley Neita by Ian Martin

Dear Jean : I too would like to join you and the many who have offered tributes to the late Hartley Neita. In so doing, I include excerpt from a letter that I forwarded to the editor of the Jamaica Observer relative to your column that appeared in the October 13, 2008 edition of the Jamaica Observer and titled "Hartley Neita's JC Thriller"
"Veteran journalists like Hartley Neita, Ken Chaplin, C Roy Reynolds and the late Geof Brown, to name a few, are guys that brought a stroke of objectivity, fairness and independence to the profession. They pulled no punches and wrote and reported as they saw it."

However, the above comments do not and cannot even begin to tell of the many virtues of Mr. Neita. Mr. Neita's expertise was not limited to journalism. He was a diplomat in his own right very versed in protocol and an advocate of folk history. Beside his down-to-earth demeanor, he was a class act and an embracer of social graces.

Not so long ago, a former chief-of-staff of the Jamaica Defence Force and I shared a conversation where Mr. Neita's name came up. The former army official told me when he had any questions relative to protocol and certain ceremonial rites, Mr Neita had the answers and was only a phone call away.

Mr. Neita was truly an ambassador and son of Jamaica. Deepest sympathy to family, friends relatives and colleagues. May his soul rest in peace.

Ian Martin
Brooklyn, New York

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