Some 25,000 Jamaicans tuned in virtually to say farewell to veteran journalist and news anchor, Michael Sharpe. The popular and well-respected broadcaster died on April 20 after being hospitalized for almost a month with COVID-19.
During his virtual farewell ceremony on April 28, Jamaica’s political leaders, colleagues and relatives paid tribute to Sharpe for his outstanding contribution to journalism. In one of the many tributes to the veteran broadcaster, Prime Minister Andrew Holness described Sharpe as an iconic figure in Jamaican media.
“He distinguished himself as a reporter, news anchor, journalist, and a host. After 38 years in the field, Michael Sharpe would have become a part of every Jamaican household through his reports, Parliament, his anchoring of the nightly news, and the many broadcast programmes he hosted,” said Holness.
Holness also recalled a personal experience with Sharpe.
“In the early 2000s, we rented a studio to record a national broadcast. Michael happened to be there and he was very helpful in guiding me through my first time using a teleprompter. He made it look so easy and you could tell that he was a master at his craft. He was very willing to share skills and guide generations of journalists and broadcasters who came after him. Michael will be really missed,” said Holness.
Tributes also came from President of the People’s National Party, Mark Golding and former Prime Minister, PJ Patterson.
Michael Sharpe wore many hats in the field of media, and still found time to dedicate to his country in other ways. In addition to being a media practitioner, Sharpe was also a district constable with the Jamaica Constabulary Force. SSP Stephanie Lindsay, the head of corporate communications for the JCF, spoke of Sharpe’s role in the police force.
“His first appointment was at the Half-Way-Tree Police Station, where he served in a number of capacities. For those of us who knew Michael, he liked to be on the front line; he was an operations person. At one point he was a part of the Crime Management Unit (CMU) – the special anti-crime task force – and many other entities within the JCF. He was very integral to the creation of the Constabulary Communications Unit then, where he gave of his time and effort,” said Lindsay.
At the time of his passing, Sharpe was head of the Jamaica News Network. One of his colleagues at JNN, Marvin Moodie detailed what Sharpe was like outside of work.
“Over the years I discovered that he was a lover of Jazz music. He also loved reggae music, especially Bob Marley. He was a sports fan. He would tell you that Calabar would win Champs every year, and he was a Chelsea fan. And he also found time to be a farmer,” he said.
Michael Sharpe was a past student of the Calabar High School. He also studied Journalism at Hunter College in New York City. He died at the age of 65 years old.