Michael Sharpe hailed for outstanding contribution to journalism
THE nation’s political leaders, colleagues and relatives paid tribute to veteran journalist Michael Sharpe yesterday, praising him for his endearing traits, outstanding contribution to journalism, and willingness to foster the development of youngsters in media.
Sharpe, who died in hospital last week Tuesday at age 65, served almost 40 years in his profession. He had been ailing for some time.
At the time of his passing, Sharpe was head of the Jamaica News Network ( JNN), a subsidiary of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness described Sharpe as an iconic figure in Jamaican media.
“He distinguished himself as a reporter, news anchor, journalist, and a host. After 38 years in the field, Michael Sharpe would have become a part of every Jamaican household through his reports, Parliament, his anchoring of the nightly news, and the many broadcast programmes he hosted,” said Holness.
Holness also recalled a personal experience with Sharpe.
“In the early 2000s, we rented a studio to record a national broadcast. Michael happened to be there and he was very helpful in guiding me through my first time using a teleprompter. He made it look so easy and you could tell that he was a master at his craft. He was very willing to share skills and guide generations of journalists and broadcasters who came after him. Michael will be really missed,” said Holness. “Jamaica is grateful for his service and we express our deep sympathies and condolences to his family and co-workers. May his soul rest in peace and his life be an inspiration to others to aspire and to exceed,” added the prime minister.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding also shared similar sentiments about Sharpe.
“He was a wonderful broadcaster, veteran of the business. He was always a pleasure to be around – friendly, calm, cool, easy-going and the kind of person who I think embodied the best traditions of the journalistic profession. Whatever his personal view was on a matter, it wasn’t obvious. He just wanted to hear from you. We have lost a son of the soil, great journalist, and I know he is somebody who is well-loved by the Jamaican public,” said Golding.
Whilst Sharpe had multiple roles in media, such as co-anchoring TVJ’s Primetime News with Dorraine Samuels for more than a decade, and being a relief host for the talk show Hotline, he was also a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Senior Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay pointed out that “Mikey” was a part of the JCF since 1997, serving as a district constable up to the time of his passing.
“His first appointment was at the Half-Way-Tree Police Station, where he served in a number of capacities. For those of us who knew Michael, he liked to be on the front line; he was an operations person. At one point he was a part of the Crime Management Unit (CMU) – the special anti-crime task force – and many other entities within the JCF. He was very integral to the creation of the Constabulary Communications Unit then, where he gave of his time and effort,” said Lindsay.
Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson shared a fond memory of Sharpe, noting that being interviewed by him was similar to a game of cricket.
“Being interviewed by him reminds me of a batsman facing a bowler; he would tempt you with some easy balls dead on the stumps [and] you had to play every one. But what I would call an impish smile on his face indicated that he was going to come with a vicious bouncer and you better be prepared to answer it,” he said.
Recalling the special moments shared with Sharpe, one of his sisters, Arleen Sharpe, said: “My fondest memory of Michael was going to Hellshire Beach to have fish, festivals and Red Stripe beers. It has been a little tough this time coming to Jamaica [as] my brother would always pick me up at the airport in front of the police station – so I knew exactly where to stand. [He] wasn’t there this year.”
Carol Sharpe, another sister, added: “He did everything for us… I am going to miss my brother. Coming to Jamaica will be different without him, but I am glad that you had him all these years and thank you for loving him back.”
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