Tribute to Gerry German from Norman Girvan

I met Gerry German some 54 years ago when he was a teacher at Knox College, Spaldings, Jamaica and I had just joined the staff. Gerry was one of the most popular teachers at Knox with the students and from those days he was known to be a progressive, a socialist, and a fighter for the poor and oppressed. He campaigned for Norman Manley's PNP in the 1959 election and whenever anyone questioned his right as a "white man" to be involved in Jamaican politics he would quip "Comrades, me not white, me pink!". Gerry went on to become Head Teacher at Manchester High School in Mandeville, Jamaica and then he fell afoul of the Government after the JLP won the 1962 Independence' election and Edwin Allen became Minister of Education. I believe they made life so difficult for him that he and his family eventually had to leave Jamaica (Gerry was originally from Wales). After that I lost touch with him until about 3 years ago when we began to exchange emails having been put in touch by our mutual friend, John Maxwell, who himself passed on subsequently. John used to write about Gerry regularly in his columns. Gerry and and I were both glad to renew our friendship and we exchanged informative emails about the progressive struggles in Britain and the Caribbean. Gerry demonstrated the same ebullience and radicalism at age 80+ that had endeared him to Jamaicans at age 30+ and the picture that Gus John painted of his last appearance is totally in character.

Gerry's wife and lifelong partner was Patsy, daughter of the Jamaican poet Vera Bell, (author of the moving poem ""Ancestor on the Auction Block"") and herself a warrior. They had I believe five children all of whom are making their mark in one way or another. 

 
In solidarity, Norman