The Board of Commissioners, Management and Staff of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) is currently in mourning following the passing of four members of its family & associates in recent weeks.
“The entire JCDC family is in mourning as we have lost four strong and inspirational women who have each left their own mark on our cultural legacy,” said Mrs. Marjorie Leyden-Kirton Executive Directors (Acting) at the JCDC.
“Miss Germaine Raymond was an active member of staff who had given thirty years of service to the Commission, while Miss Donna Dumphrey was a retired staff member who left her mark on the Commission during her decade of service. Mrs. Joycelyn McLean was the mother of our Board Commissioner Nancy McLean, who encouraged her interest in culture and her decades long connection to the JCDC. And the amazing and ethereal Karen Smith wasn’t just an internationally acclaimed Reggae performer, but she also dedicated her time to the development of our culture as a JCDC adjudicator and trainer,” Mrs. Leyden-Kirton continued.
Miss Donna Dumphrey, a retired member of staff passed away at the Croydon University hospital in London, on August 22. She served the Commission from February 2003 to October 2012 in various positions including Office Manager, Personnel Manager and Hospitality Administrator. Miss Dumphrey was admired and respected by all for her very personable approach and purpose driven attitude to her work; she took extreme pride in executing her duties and demonstrated the highest level of commitment and hard work in service to the Commission.
Beloved staff member, Miss Germaine Raymond passed away on September 3 at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston. Miss Raymond, who at the time of her passing was the Artiste Liaison Officer, had served the Commission in various capacities for 30 years, including as Clerical Officer and Events Officer. During her three decades with the Commission, Miss Raymond worked tirelessly on the production of many JCDC events including the National Independence Festival Celebrations, the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Heritage Fest, various national Floral Tributes and state visits, including the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent in April 2013 and the State visit of their majesties King Juan Carlos 1 and Queen Sofia of Spain in February 2009.
Mrs Joycelyn McLean, mother of JCDC Commissioner Nancy McLean, also passed away on September 3, 2021. Miss Nancy McLean, Culinary Arts Consultant and Trainer, is the Chairman of the JCDC Culinary Arts Committee. Nancy McLean credits her mother for inspiring her voluntary involvement with the JCDC which began in the early 70s under the leadership of Mr. Hugh Nash. Mrs Joycelyn McLean would prepare a young Nancy’s costumes for the parades during the Independence Celebrations and later encouraged her interests in the Culinary Arts, which she is noted for today.
Acclaimed Jamaican Songbird and JCDC adjudicator and music trainer Karen Smith passed away in hospital on September 11, 2021. Ms. Smith was one of Jamaica’s most noted cabaret singers, and used her talents and experience to contribute to the development of Jamaica’s musical heritage through her participation with the JCDC. In addition to being an adjudicator and trainer of music in the JCDC’s Western Region, she also gave multiple guest performances at both JCDC parish level and national events and at other national festivals, and civic and commemorative events.
“As we continue to mourn these phenomenal women, we are also keeping their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to extend our support to them in whichever ways we can,” Mrs. Leyden-Kirton said.