On March 16, 2017, many awoke to the sad news that executive director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, had passed. He was 55 years old. Gordon served as executive director of the JCDC for only four years, but he had worked with the organisation since 1987. In fact, for more than 30 of his 55 years, he was actively and directly involved in the preservation and development of Jamaican culture.
Culture and Entertainment Minister Babsy Grange described him as “an affable and capable man who was dedicated to cultural development and committed to the JCDC”.
Opposition spokesperson on culture, Lisa Hanna, called him a “true patriot who was dedicated to high quality service”.
“He was passionate about unearthing and developing Jamaica’s culture and was effective in spreading that passion,” said Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Donna-Marie Rowe.
Here are some facts about his work life that you may not be aware of:
- In 1977, he won his first medal in the JCDC National Drama Competition while a student at Mount Angus All Age School in St Mary, and, in later years, was a member of the St Mary Cultural Development Commission, entering as a participant and also coaching others in drama, dance and speech.
- His first post with the JCDC was as cultural organiser for the parish of St Mary in 1987. He was promoted to parish manager in 1989; then to regional manager for the Northern Region with responsibility for St Mary, St Ann, St Thomas and Portland in 1991.
- In 1998, he was appointed director of field services with oversight for Jamaica’s 14 parishes, as well as the Programmes management Department. Between 1998 and 1999, he was also asked to serve as acting executive director. He was again asked to serve in this capacity between April and December in 2009.
- He rose to the rank of deputy executive director in 2010, and acting executive director in January 2011. He was appointed executive director of the JCDC in 2013.
- He was a Justice of the Peace for the parish of St Mary.
- Under his leadership in 2009, the JCDC received the Gleaner Honour Award for Excellence in Arts & Culture.
- According to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, “He served on numerous parish and national committees, boards, organizations and institutions for which he is the recipient of numerous awards and citations for outstanding contribution and dedicated service.”
- He is credited with unearthing the talent in, as well as influencing the lives and work of many Jamaican artists and artistes through the work he did with the JCDC for three decades.
Here are links to the news articles about this quiet Jamaican cultural advocate: