In requiems for the repose of the souls of our dearly departed friends or relatives, the biblical adaptation quite often referenced is the questioning of death as a victory, or to enquire of its sting – ‘oh death, where is thy sting!’ or ‘where, death, is thy victory?’ Beyond its apostolic meaning which is associated with Paul’s call to the importance of the resurrection, there is perhaps the more mundane interpretation that helps us to do two things: first, to fortify ourselves from the trauma of death and the devastating psychological impact it can have on our being; and second, to remind ourselves that we are all destined to await that inevitable hour when even our path of glory will lead but to the grave. It is for us then, at that ‘inevitable hour’, to have reason to celebrate the ‘great victories’ of the lives of those whom we have come to love, admire and adore.
Jimmy Moss-Solomon was an exceptional Jamaican, a thought leader who represented well the quintessence of the human spirit. In paying homage to Jimmy it is therefore important to adapt or reinforce our own lives with the ‘path of glory’, the ‘victories’ that defined the seat of his emotions and character; to reflect the soul and essence that harmonised his body and spirit into the beautiful human being he was to become. For no greater tribute can be paid to him than for us to deny the effluxion of time the ‘victory’ in complacency by not living a piece of Jimmy’s legacy that we have come to admire.
In the more than a decade that I have come to know him and worked closely with him through the Mona School of Business and Management, and the Board of the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jimmy’s noble rage defined the restless urge that consumed his desire for success at all things. He was passionate, purpose-driven, and commanded an air of solemn stillness that made working with him extreme pleasure.
When, in one of our many discussions, we spoke about the ‘dragon in the Caribbean’, Jimmy suggested that because of the implications for Jamaican labour and the decent work agenda, the Hugh Shearer Labour Studies Institute should collaborate with the MSBM to host a forum examining the pros and cons of China’s economic relationship with Jamaica, and by extension the Caribbean. We organised the forum and included a global perspective with insights from a leading academic from Rutgers University.
It was a subject that Jimmy knew all too well was here to stay, and in his November 28, 2019 Public Opinion piece, he provided a ‘wish list’ for future Jamaica-China relations to include technology transfer, development of the cargo airport at Vernamfield and “a moderate-sized Huawei assembly plant geared to the demand for the Caribbean, Central and South America”, among others.
On the UHWI Board, where he served as chairman, and I as chairman of the Procurement Committee, such was the passion of the man to clinically oversee the great institutional legacies that was to shape the tapestry of a first-class health care system well into the future. With ease and dexterity, fuelled by his consummate passion for excellence, Jimmy presided over the implementation of the Mammography Unit, the State-of-the-Art Interventional Suite, updated digital X-ray equipment and the initial plans for the transformation of the UHWI into a world-class provider of health care services.
He excelled. A remarkable human soul who understood the courage of his conviction. ‘Even from his tomb, the voice of Nature cries; even in his ashes will live the wanton fire’.