Jimmy Riley – Inspiring Sustainable Institutions for Jamaica’s Music Industry

Culture and Entertainment Minister, the Honourbale Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, speaking at the thanksgiving service for veteran reggae singer, Jimmy Riley, held at Webster Memorial United Church, pledged her commitment to making Jamaica’s music industry among the best in the world.

She said that sustainable institutions will be established to form the foundation on which a successful and respected music industry can be built. 

The Minister indicated that she will be continuing the work she has been doing over the years, explaining that these institutions, including libraries and museums will aid in creating “a persuasive environment in which our young entertainers can comfortably absorb our history, and use that legacy as the basis for an entertainment industry that can contribute significantly to the growth and development of our nation and compete with any similar industry in the world.”

In a touching tribute to the late music icon, Minister Grange said, “We as the survivors need to recognize that funerals and celebrations like these should not only be about saying goodbye to our musical geniuses. It should also be about creating institutions which will ensure that, their contributions are recognised; their families and collaborators are properly compensated in perpetuity; and their legacy is preserved as a beacon for future generations.”

Jimmy Riley was lauded by the Minister for his over 40 years of dedication and contribution to Jamaica’s musical heritage and was hailed as dapper, witty and inspirational.

“Jimmy was upbeat to the end. He was fearless or at least he did not allow us to see if and when he was afraid. In fact, he was flirting with the nurses telling them that he doesn’t kiss and tell and could keep a secret even on his last days,” the Minister said. 

The Minister said today marked the beginning of the process of ensuring that Jimmy Riley's music will not be buried with his ashes but will continue to live beyond him as a glorious reminder of the immortality of his talent. Adding that she has no doubt that his son, Tarrus Riley, will lead the charge in preserving his father’s legacy.

Minister Grange also paid special tribute to his family, friends and associated who were attached to Jimmy Riley at different points of his illustrious career. 

Jimmy Riley received a well deserved final farewell which was attended by scores of entertainers and producers from the music fraternity, fans and well wishers.



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Minister's charge

I remain hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaican people; their warmth and creativity; their dynamism and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening the spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, re-group, re-engineer and re-open to a brighter future with Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Olivia Grange


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Jamaica, W.I.

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