Father Clyde Martin Harvey

When he was awarded the Humming Bird Medal Gold for Religion and Community Service in 2011, Fr. Clyde Martin Harvey was not too enthused about writing HBM after his name. Instead his personal letterhead carries the exclamation, Human Beings Matter, and he promised to be guided by that principle as he sought to respond to the deepest meaning of this national award. Although he likes to say that he is just a parish priest, there is more to Fr. Clyde Martin Harvey than just saying prayers, heaven and hell. Father Clyde Martin Harvey is a tall, stately man who is compassionate and humble. This lecturer, Vicar for Clergy and Hummingbird Gold medal recipient is one of our country’s most charismatic leaders. He comes down from the altar with a practical approach, serving God and his people.

As a priest, his strong social and political statements indeed make him an anomaly. However, he has been rather vocal since his days of basketball and public speaking at St. Mary’s College. After entering the Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs in 1967, Fr Harvey attended UWI where he studied Politics and Sociology. He then attained a MA in Theology magna cum laude from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

In 1976, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Anthony Pantin who once told him that “BA can mean Bachelor of Arts…it can also mean Big A double S-and we all have the potential to be both”. It is this kind of wisdom that he passes on to youth, the disadvantaged and others. After ordination and some pastoral work, he did further post-graduate studies at Lancaster University and the Graduate Theological Union in California. He teaches courses in ethics and comparative religion at the Seminary and UWI. In 2012, he received an honourary LLD from UWI.

This down-to-earth man of the cloth understands the realities of communities such as Laventille, Morvant, Maloney, San Fernando and Gonzales in which he has served as priest. In Laventille, he allowed youth to play in front of the Shrine, a space which often became Desperados Steelband stage. He develops a close relationship with his community and relates to them on their level of understanding.

Fr Harvey is a co-founder of LIFELINE and founder of two HIV-support organisations. He chairs the Morris Marshall Development Foundation and the Community Intervention for Transformation and Empowerment (CIT+E) which provide educational and personal development opportunities in Laventille and East Port-of-Spain. He is a passionate servant, a man of God but also of the people.

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