Robert Russell: The visionary celebrates 75 | Living – Jamaica Gleaner


His friendship is as firm as a rock; it is hard as diamonds and fortified as gold.

The most prominent Montego Bay business magnate and founder of Pier One, Robert Ducksie Russell, celebrated his 75th birthday last Saturday at the mansion, in the presence of the two Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and Bruce Golding, who were both lavish with praise.

Their presence was a testament to Russell’s presence in the business and political communities, which included hundreds of well-wishers, family and friends.

In fact, the idea of ​​’the world and the wife’ in Peter One turned out to be suitable for the larger-than-life Russell, whom Golding described as a wonderful man, whose strength is particularly shown when he goes through fire and brimstone. still asking him how you do.

“Friendship is a very special thing. It can be very mercurial and be affected by so many different forces and influences. It’s the kind of thing where a simple mistake can do serious damage. Those of us who are illustrious, Earl Robert Russell, we are truly blessed among his friends, because if you are a friend of Robert, you know that friendship is as solid as a rock, declared the first Prime Minister.

The two have been friends for over fifty years, having attended the same high school.

While Ducksie Russell may not be able to claim it for many years, Prime Minister Holness said he could call the father of the state Russell an icon. “He said he’s a hospital in town, he’s made a mark, and from all the evidence he’s given, he’s a good man and a true friend,” Holness said.

One of the founding fathers of Reggae Sumfest, Russell, in the early days, was an assistant director to the late filmmaker Perry Henzell on his first Jamaican feature film, ‘Hard to Come’.

Justin Henzell of Calabash fame, the opening batsman, paying tribute to Russell last Saturday night, said of him like an uncle. Looking back on the days he spent doing business with his father Perry in Kingston, he said their biggest plan was to ‘Come Harder’. “As an assistant director, he did absolutely everything. Places, throws, and everything else,” said Henzell.

Foreshadowing in the stories I learned as a child, Henzell’s mom Sally and Ducksie told him they were all around Kingston looking for the right church and the right preacher to move. They also had ganja undercover in the days when marijuana was a criminal offense.

“Ducksie had to set off with a letter in his pocket from the then police commissioner stating that if he didn’t think he was locked up for the act of robbery.”

Ducksie was also in the music business, he played on stage, so he knew a lot of musicians, and when Perry Henzell needed to film the iconic scenes and sounds of the studio, he sent Ducksie to win the works of Johnny and the Blue Boys. But he brought back Toots and the Maytals, “If it wasn’t for Ducksie I’d Come Harder,” Henzell said.

He told his family that Ducksie was his personal hero.

An avid bird shooter who travels to various locations in pursuit of his beloved, he was also celebrated by his friend and former business partner, Johnny Gourzong, who swore that Russell had introduced the goat car to the people of Paraguay.

“People in Paraguay didn’t eat goat until we went there one year with Robert’s seasoning bag and cooked the best goat ever cooked,” said Gourzong, who met Russell 41 years ago at a tennis tournament in St. Elizabeth.

The two became such good friends that they went on to found Reggae Sumfest, one of the biggest reggae festivals in the world, which was bought three years ago by Joe Bagdonovich’s Downsound Entertainment. Ducksie remains the director of the festival.

Not only did Ducksie’s vision elevate Jamaican music to the world, but Russell Gourzong said he was the best interpreter he knew, the best chef, a technician of no mean order, and a man of immense determination.

Robert Russell, father of four, who has been married to Beverly for over 40 years, was in high spirits during the lavish and entertaining event, which saw his sister Elizabeth Williams reveal how her drive, vision and entrepreneurial spirit helped transform Jamaica. tourism and economics

She spoke of a brother whose symbol transcends the love of the Jamaican family.

As if Saturday wasn’t enough, on Sunday, the S Hotel organized a brownie in honor of the maestro, which was still being celebrated a week later.

“I’m still scared. I’m still in a state of happiness, with so many people turning up to celebrate with me,” he told the Sunday Gleaner.

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Ava Grey

Hi there! I'm Ava Grey, an enthusiastic article writer with a passion for the arts, fashion, and staying informed about current events. As a journalism student at the New York Academy of Art, I'm driven to use my writing to create positive change and spark meaningful conversations. I'm particularly interested in contemporary art and sustainable fashion, and I love exploring how people use these mediums to express themselves and communicate their values. I believe that staying informed and hearing different perspectives is essential for personal growth and learning, and I'm always eager to engage in lively debates and discussions.

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