Benvenuto Tino Barovier


William Robinson Clarke

‘Student who travelled in C class was son of Italian Count’

1929 - 1994

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A future director of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, Benvenuto ‘Tino’ Barovier was a 19-year-old student when he boarded the Empire Windrush in Kingston, Jamaica.

Despite travelling below decks in C class, he was the son of Italian-born Count Guiseppe Barovier and his wife, Jamaica-born Countess Violette Barovier, née Hope-Panton, the daughter of a merchant. They were married in London in 1925.

The Baroviers were a distinguished Venetian family. They specialised in glass from as long ago as the 14th century and some of their works are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The company is one of the oldest family businesses in the world and still trades to this day as Barovier & Toso.

On November 19, 1929, Guiseppe, Violette, and children Maria, aged 3, and Tino, a babe-in-arms, left London for Jamaica on the SS Jamaica Settler. They had been living at Lansdowne Crescent in Notting Hill. But the ship suffered an accident to its rudder and had to return to Ireland for repairs. The family was unable to resume their journey until December 31. The intention had been for Violette, who was a journalist, and the children to spend winter in Jamaica at the home of Violette’s parents, while Guiseppe would return to Italy after a month in Jamaica.

Violette divorced Guiseppe and married her second husband, New York-born writer Jimmy Francis Riel, in Jamaica in 1946.

After Italy became a republic in 1946, Guiseppe, along with other members of the Italian nobility, dropped the title of ‘Count’.

Despite his family’s wealth, Tino did not live a pampered lifestyle and after arriving in London, he lived at 181 Sutherland Avenue in Maida Vale, an address he shared with nine other adults. Having graduated from St George’s College in Jamaica, he was studying at the Chelsea College of Aeronautical and Automobile Engineering. Further down the line, he would complete his education at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

Tino’s visit to England ended on November 2, 1949, when he left Liverpool on the Empress of Australia destined for Jamaica. He was already well-travelled, thanks to his family, who moved between Italy, England, and Jamaica.

Tino married Fay Chang, who was of Chinese and Spanish heritage, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Kingston in 1959, and the couple went on to have two children. He held senior positions with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation – which he joined in 1961, and was considered largely responsible for the growth of both television and radio broadcasting in the country.

Having represented Jamaica in football during his youth, he subsequently served in senior administrative positions with the Jamaica Football Federation. Tino died in Half Way Tree, Kingston, on March 19, 1994.

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