Marcia Erskine remembered as Trinidad’s finest export to Jamaica Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Public relations practitioner, journalist and philanthropist Marcia Erskine was lauded for her outstanding work and vivacious personality during the thanksgiving service for her life on Saturday, April 13.

The astute, broad-smiling Trinidad and Tobago-born Erskine who made Jamaica her home for more than four decades served with distinction a range of corporate and international clients as well as the University of the West Indies (UWI). The funeral service was held at the University Chapel on the Mona campus.

Two scholarships were announced in honour of the late communications specialist, who passed away aged suddenly on March 6. She is survived by her husband Michael, two children Machel and Roshal Marshall, son-in-law Dr Zwade Marshall and grandchildren – Sule and Nyla.

The Marcia Erskine Scholarship Fund was established at the UWI with a US$100,000 (J$15 million) endowment to support and empower future female journalism students at UWI. 

Also, Gary Williams, chairman of the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) announced a scholarship in her honour to be awarded next month.  COJO is a voluntary organization working for children in state care which has awarded more than US$300,000 in scholarships.

Williams lauded Erskine as “irreplaceable” for her unwavering work for the organisation for more than 30 years.

PJ Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica told the hundreds of mourners that he was captured by the spirit and the tenacity of his adopted “niece”. Patterson said Erskine accepted clients not just for money but for causes in which he believed such as promotion of the Caribbean space and development of the human resources of the region, as well as notable charitable endeavours.

He also recalled her consummate professional skills and her ability to tackle any challenge with grace.

“As a client, she made you believe you were the one and only customer. The formidable the challenge, the resounding advice [from her], but when she signs off with her delightful tilt of the Trini accent, ‘Everything is alright’. You can really relax,” Patterson said.

Journalist and friend, Al Edwards in his eulogy described Erskine as “one of the finest exports from Trinidad to Jamaica”. 

“With singular clarity she cut to the chase, distilling information succinctly. That talent never left her and served her well for decades”, he said. He recalled her kindness and graciousness and that there was never an occasion when she was quick to scold or reprimand those with whom she interacted.

Corporate banker Eva Lewis, who heads Citi Jamaica, recalled Erskine’s belief in the work in the Women’s Leadership Initiative and the United Way of Jamaica, “never seeking the stage, but confidently leading from the back, middle and ever so subtly, from the front”.

UWI Vice Chancellor Prof Sir Hillary Beckles said Erskine’s “commitment to the vision and mission of this University was everywhere evident”. She projected the institution and protected its values “with an illuminating smile and social savvy that disarmed even the non-believers”.

Started out as a reporter in her native Trinidad and Tobago, Erskine served Trinidad Express and the Trinidad Guardian as well as the Gleaner in Jamaica and and the host of publications and as a press officer in the Office of the Prime Minister. 

Her PR firm listed clients such as the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Board, CIBC, British Airways Restaurants Associates, UWI and ESPN Caribbean.