TRIBUTE FROM THE RJRGLEANER COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO FORMER CHAIRMAN REV.’D C. EVANS BAILEY.
One year and one week short of 4 decades ago, on June 25, 1980 Rev’d. C. Evans Bailey came into the RJR family, being appointed a director on the Board of Radio Jamaica Limited, and two weeks later, RJR’s Chairman.
He succeeded South African-born Jamaican author and journalist Peter Abrahams.
The calibre of the Board of Directors at the time is immediately seen with a glance at the directors appointed with him; they included trade unionist Lascelles Beckford, George Byles of Royal Bank Trust Company, Hector Dietrich of the National Union of Cooperative Societies, Maxine Henry-Wilson of the People’s National Party, Stanley Moore of the Credit Union League, Fay Saunders, Secretary General of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and Attorney-at-Law, Richard Small.
These were the days when the government held shares in RJR, so an even bigger confidence statements in his leadership was to be seen in those directors who came and left Rev. Bailey on the board of RJR. They included: Elaine Perkins, Troy Caine, Neville James, Olivia Grange, Derrick Rochester, Audley Shaw, Delroy Lindsay, Dorraine Samuels, Holford Plummer, Sandra Minott-Phillips, Peter John Thwaites, Aulous Madden, Dorothy LaCroix, “Dotty Dean”, among others.
The only director, who served on the Radio Jamaica Board with C. Evans Bailey who is still serving the Board today is Carl Domville, who joined the board in 1990, a decade after Rev. Bailey.
Carl recalls Chairman Bailey as a calm, dignified, organized man who probed, listened and ensured that everyone was heard.
He is remembered for soliciting views, summarizing points and then taking things to their logical conclusion or seeking consensus, when the conclusion did not seem so logical.
At Annual General Meetings he was adored by shareholders for his gentile manner and his responsiveness to them. Yet he was challenged for the chairmanship once. As I understand it, his challenger came from the West, with a purpose because his only activity at the AGM was at election time when he moved to thwart the re-election of Rev. C. Evans Bailey. The challenger was another Minister of Religion, but clearly neither his actions nor his challenge found favour, as Rev. Bailey was comfortably re-elected to the Board.
At the time Rev’d Bailey became Chairman we were only two radio stations, RJR, the Supreme Sound and Capital Stereo, now FAME FM.
From then, it was clear he was leading a Board that had an expansion view. It was under his leadership that RJR made its first bid for a television licence, unsuccessfully joining with the Gleaner to apply for a license for Jamaica’s second television station.
When you live a long life, you are around for things to come full circle, as RJR later got television when it acquired the JBC, which is now TVJ and it got it alone; not with the Gleaner, but alas, C. Evans was still around as RJR got married and became RJRGLEANER as the two substantive media organisations that once competed fiercely, amalgamated.
His chairmanship was at a time when religious groups, trade unions and cooperative societies joined the government in the ownership of Radio Jamaica Limited and participated in making this institution one that is authentically Jamaican.
RJR’s Mission Statement and Core Values today speak of honesty, credibility, fairness, service and integrity, all words, aptly used to describe our former Chairman Rev.d C. Evans Bailey, to whom we are indebted and to whom we pay tribute.