James Sievright Moss-Solomon, Jimmy to us all, was my friend. Accordingly, this tribute is hopelessly biased.
I first met Jimmy a few decades ago when I was made a mason. We became brothers and friends.
I learnt over 27 years ago that; “Humility and docility are sure indications of merit”. Jimmy, a scion of the great Moss-Solomon family, was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country. But you would never know. Certainly not from the Nissan motor vehicle that he drove; or from the clothes that we wore; or from how he conducted his daily life.
He was a natural leader in whom there was no pretence. He was my leader. When the GOJ asked him to take over the chairmanship of the UHWI (after a scandal led to changes), Jimmy told the government that he needed “his lawyer” to be on the Board of Management. The GOJ acquiesced and so I went with him. An election came. The administration changed. The new government asked him to remain as chairman and his lawyer remained. Simply, Jimmy served his beloved country — Jamaica.
Jimmy’s greatest strength was his abiding and over-arching humanity. His benevolence and humanity appeared to be limitless. He lived his life to serve. The tremendous, unheralded work that he did in the tough inner-city area behind the GraceKennedy headquarters on Harbour Street is but one small example of the work that he did to uplift humanity. Not to speak of the countless young people that he mentored.
Many years ago, when my wife decided to do an MBA at the Mona School of Business & Management, Jimmy was the Executive in Residence. Keisha then became his sister-in-law.
His scholarship was breathtaking. Although he chose business as his vocation, he could easily have been an academic, a Don in the original and proper use of that title. When the idea of restarting Public Opinion was broached to him, he unhesitatingly and enthusiastically came on board. He wrote articles in the first 122 out of the first 123 editions of Public Opinion. The depth and range of his articles were awesome.
A chap, who is a friend and brother and who went to high school with me, who in fact was a few forms ahead of me and who I suppose I ought to call my elder, decided to jointly start a business venture. The original thinking that we would each own 50% of the shares. The lawyer in me cautioned against this as it could lead to deadlock. We decided that we would both each own 49% of the shares and we would find an experienced businessperson of impeccable credentials to own 2% of the shares and to be the tiebreaker. We did not have to look far. We both agreed that Jimmy was the ideal person. This was the measure of the man.
He truly lived respected and has died regretted.
We will miss him.