Justine Henzell rooted in Treasure Beach

October 24, 2017
Justine Henzell

The name Justine Henzell is all but synonymous with Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth. While she was not born there, her ties to the lovable rural community started in her childhood days and remains intact.

Born in Kingston in 1962, Henzell is the daughter of the late film-maker Perry Henzell and the sister of established businessman Jason Henzell. Her association with Treasure Beach began with spending the summer holidays with her grandparents, who lived there while she was a child.

"As children, we loved swimming in the sea and the rougher the waves, the more exciting it was," recalled Henzell. "We also loved walking down the road to the corner shop to buy sweeties, including the Bustamante backbone and paradise plum."

Unlike her brother Jason, who would later become one of Treasure Beach's most recognised businessmen, Justine chose to follow in her father's footsteps, becoming a noted film producer and director in her own right.

Among her signature works are two top-flight documentaries: One People The Celebration, which showcases Jamaica's global impact during the nation's 50th year of independence, and Jamaica Arise, which chronicle the 75-year history of the People's National Party.

One of Justine's defining contributions to Treasure Beach came in 2001 when she co-founded the biennial Calabash Literary Festival, which has been attracting award-winning novelists and poets to the community for many years.

"All of Treasure Beach benefits from Calabash, as the hotels, guest houses, restaurants and vendors all do amazing business," she said of Calabash, which started as an annual event but was subsequently changed to a biennial event. "The entire area is usually fully booked, and people also drive in for the day."

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