1935 was a very good year. One of its products was John Oliver “Jackie” Minott, second son of Leslie Oliver Minott and his wife Edna Minott. The other siblings are Dr. Owen Minott, the late Evelyn Minott, and Mrs. Marjorie Motta. He was the proverbial “wash belly”.
At about eleven years old, Jackie boxed for Munro in the inter school competition in Kingston in the 70–80-pound division. He out- pointed his opponent in the semi-final and according to the 1949 Munronian, “lost bravely and closely to a good boxer in the finals.” He won his boxing colours, serving notice that he was going to be a fighter for life.
He was a member of the Munro Dramatic Society, and played a role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the school and in Mandeville. This indicated that his life would be one of drama – not “Dullsville”.
He was tough but not a bully. He played games for his house – Coke, took robust part in the pranks and tricks of schoolboys, took his canings bravely, received the gauntlet with endurance, and gave it with mercy. His busy schoolboy schedule did not prevent him getting a grade two in the Senior Cambridge Examinations, with six credits and three passes.
On leaving Munro – although Jackie Minott never really left Munro – he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from McGill University, Canada in 1959.
His first job, from 1959-1960, was Assistant Manager of the New York office of the Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation (JIDC), and from 1960-1962 he was the Research Economist for the JIDC.
He went to Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) as Assistant Sales Manager from 1963 to 1965, and was Sales Manager from 1965 to 1972. During 1968 he was seconded to Jamaica Frozen Foods.
As Sales Manager at D&G he was instrumental in getting Red Stripe into the English market, where converts to our brew are still grateful for that act of missionary zeal.
With the ammunition of thirteen years immersion in business, in both public and private sectors, he took over his father’s produce business in 1972 as Managing Director, and to this day chairs Jamaica Standard Products Company Ltd. During these forty years he has ventured into the manufacturing of tiles and the export of pimento leaf oil. But his main product has been coffee- specifically High Mountain Coffee – sold locally, exported globally, and yielding international awards for consistent quality.
His wife Beverly Hope (nee Nelson), daughter Hillary, and son John Oliver Jr., round out his nuclear family, but his concern and care embraces a much wider circle of family and friends.
His civic pride extends beyond his home in Mandeville and his business compound in Williamsfield. Across the road from his office is a beautiful pond with colourful blooming lilies and a well-manicured surrounding lawn.
On a wider canvas, the development of his parish was dear to his heart, and he chaired the Manchester Parish Development Committee from 2000 to 2008 for which effort he was awarded an Honorary Citation in 2010. He is no stranger to Halls of Fame, for he was inducted into the Manchester Hall of Fame in 2006. Still in Manchester, he founded the High Mountain Coffee 10K Road Race in 1983- an exciting annual event on the national sporting calendar, and the largest of its type in Jamaica,
In case you are getting the impression that Jackie is an unrepentant countryman, or that he cares for little beyond St. Elizabeth or Manchester, then the following will dispel that notion. He was President of the Kingston Jaycees in 1969, on the boards of National Development Foundation of Jamaica, Barita Investments Ltd. Barita Unit Trust as Chairman, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), and Jamaica Producers Group Ltd. He still serves on three of these Boards.
His hectic and effective activity has not entirely escaped notice. The Jamaica Exporters Association has conferred on him the Trailblazers Award in 1994, and the Pioneer Exporter Award in 2009. His company, Jamaica Standard Products, was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious NCB Nation Builder Award. In August 2000, he was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD), for outstanding contribution in the fields of Commerce and Export.
Service to his Alma Mater
Early in his career, Jackie was the first of the bright young Turks to become Chairman of the Munro and Dickenson Trust, succeeding Mr. William F. Coke in 1972. In that capacity, with strong ideas of his own, he supported the practical moves to improve the school —-the bus service, the cafeteria system, the farm, and the effort to bring water from the plains to Munro and its environs.
He was involved in the building of the Richard B. Roper Auditorium from its early stages to its opening in 2000. His indefatigable works were consistent, whether he was Chairman of Trust, Board Member, P.T.A. Member, or none of the above. While he savoured the memory of the Munro traditions that helped to mold his character, he never allowed the “in-my-day” syndrome to in any way cloud his vision of the future and the imperatives of the present.
Lest you imagine that his confidence and macho swagger was the whole man, please be advised that tears came – manly, dignified tears, of course, no cow bawling – when in 1992 the Munro academic, administrative, and ancillary staffs, and the students, honoured him in a brief function in the Munro Chapel.
His latest hobbies are bird shooting and brisk walking. The brisk walking was slowed down and stopped by recent health issues, but his swift recovery speaks to the mettle of which he is made, and he expressed deep appreciation for his family, his nurse, and his friends, who prayed for him and rallied around. Thank God he is now well enough to walk briskly into the Munro College Hall of Fame. But he is not going to just stand there – he’ll be the first to tell you there is always more to do.
For these reasons John Oliver “Jackie” Minott, CD, was inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.