Geoffrey B. Haddad

by Geoffrey B. Haddad
(West Vancouver, BC, CANADA)

Geoffrey Haddad

Geoffrey Haddad

If I'm Not Back By Wednesday

Trapped in Jamaica's Blue Mountains

Author's Biography

Geoffrey B. Haddad was born in Kingston, Jamaica.

He graduated from McMaster University in 1974 (first class honours) and completed a master's degree in structural engineering in 1975. He is a professional engineer registered in Jamaica, British Columbia and Ontario, Canada. He has worked in the consulting engineering and related fields since that time.

He resides in West Vancouver, Canada with his family, including four grandchildren.

By the time he was five he had developed a passion for the outdoors. At sixteen he had hiked most of the hills of the southern flanks of the Blue Mountains, either while on cub/scout outings or hunting with his father.

Conquering the Peak, however, had always been a personal goal. Spontaneously accepting that challenge on December 15, 1967 almost cost him and his four friends their lives.

After almost ten days in heavily forested terrain, as inaccessible as any place in the world, and where few, if any, men had previously trodden, they found themselves hopelessly lost, trapped, cold, starving and probably had only hours to live.

On that day, December 24, 1967 at 8:42 a.m., pilot Jack Tyndale-Biscoe’s heart was sinking as he got ready to aim his highly manoeuvrable small plane back to Kingston. He felt he was out of time and good skies and in a little while he’d have to land with no news of the year’s five most wanted persons in Jamaica.

After almost fifty years, author Geoffrey Haddad has compiled his cathartic tale, including not only his first-hand account, but the contributions of those who bore witness to this historic adventure.

With a distinctly cinematic appeal, the title "If I’m Not Back By Wednesday" are based on the words Geoffrey spoke to his friend, Robin Crawford, as he set out on his trip to the Blue Mountains: “Call out the army if I’m not back by Wednesday, December 20.”

It is not only the tale of survival against the odds ... it is also a catalyst for learning more about the diverse social dynamics of life in Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1960s, as well as a testimony to how life’s occurrences, for better or worse, are engineered by something more than coincidence.

We are shown Jamaica’s beautiful geographical diversity, with temperatures in the Blue Mountains such that hail can be formed, and such heat and humidity that years later reggae group Third World convincingly sing a song titled "96 degrees Fahrenheit in the Shade".

The story doesn't abruptly end with their rescue, but goes on to describe the aftermath, the ripple effect on those who were witnesses, and the lasting impression the experience left on Geoffrey Haddad for the rest of his life.

It is a dramatic, adventurous and historic look at Jamaican life at the time.

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Comments for Geoffrey B. Haddad

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Jan 11, 2017
The Observer Review
by: Anonymous

Ann-Margaret Lim from The Observer has written -

"Geoffrey Haddad has a winner here, since such a book is not only relevant to the high school population, but also to members of the wider Jamaican society, both here and in the Diaspora, who relish having a piece of the island’s history at their finger tips; and also the university population for its historic, literary and anthropological merits.

Another reason Haddad’s book is a good tool for an anthropological study of Jamaica is that it saliently illustrates the complex social and class relations that existed then and exists now in Jamaica, in that, although the boys were middle-class with mostly immigrant grandparents not of the African race, they are quite comfortable speaking the local patois – a reality white South Africans did not share in white apartheid South Africa at that time. This reality, borne out throughout the book, also gives credence to Jamaica’s national motto, 'Out of Many – One People'."

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