WHEN now-veteran newsman Arthur Hall was being christened as a tot the clergyman performing the rite declared that he would “be a great politician, lawyer, or pastor”, but Hall chose his own path and did it his way, leading to his being conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer at King’s House in St Andrew on Monday.
Hall, a 30-year veteran of journalism employed to the Jamaica Observer, was among 205 Jamaicans who were conferred with national honours and awards at the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards at King’s House.
Speaking with this reporter following the event, Hall, who was recognised for his service in the field of journalism, said the honour had come out of left field.
“I have covered so many of these [honours and awards ceremonies] over the years, where I have interviewed those who were conferred, and to be on the other side today is a real humbling feeling. It was not something I had ever expected, and with the people I was awarded with, some really outstanding Jamaicans,” he stated.
“It gave a sense of pride and accomplishment, and to compound it, my mother and my two children made it in from the States to be with me here, making it a special day for us,” he said beaming.
Asked to describe the experience of walking across the lawns of King’s House to the dais to receive the honour from the hands of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, Hall said, “It was probably the most nerve-racking five minutes of my life to get from where I was sitting to the governor general.”
Monday, a vibrant Imogene Hall, his mother, was elated at the honour bestowed on the third of her six children.
“It was wonderful, I am so blessed, and I am so proud of him, because I remember when he was little and we used to sit around the black and white television and watch this, and I didn’t know that one day he would be up there. I am so proud of him, it’s a wonderful feeling for me,” she said fervently.
This memory jogged another.
“When he was being christened, the pastor said, ‘This boy is going to be something great, he is either going to be a great politician, a great lawyer, or a great minister of religion,’ ” she shared chuckling.
“He didn’t choose any of those paths. At that time we weren’t thinking about journalism, but he chose his own path, and he has done it very well,” she said smiling proudly.
His spouse Sherelin, still basking in the moment, told this reporter, “It was awesome. He works long hours and very hard, this moment is well deserved.”
Monday, Hall’s 33-year-old daughter Kaydeann asked to share her thoughts on her father’s award quipped, “It’s about time,” on a peal of laughter.
“Just before I did my GSAT [Grade Six Achievement Test] I said, ‘I want to be a journalist,’ and he said ‘absolutely not’. So I thought he wanted me to blaze my own path, but now I see that it’s the competition he didn’t want for the award,” she said jokingly.
“I am extremely proud of him,” she added sincerely.
Hall’s 24-year-old son Kamar, responding to the same question as his sibling, replied in the same humorous vein, quipping, “I am honoured,” drawing another peal of laughter from his sister.
“I am proud, overjoyed, it’s a wonderful feeling to see the man excel and lead the way for us to follow. It’s a great feeling,” he added smiling broadly.
Hall started his career in journalism at the now-defunct Jamaica Record before moving on to radio station KLAS as a reporter. He later worked as news editor at Nationwide News Network before moving on to RJR, where he took the role of associate editor. He was also news editor at Television Jamaica.