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Arrangements have been made to accommodate all persons who wish to attend the official funeral of the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor the Hon. Ralston ‘Rex’ Nettleford, to be held at the University Chapel, Mona campus in Kingston on Tuesday, February 16, starting at 10:00 a.m.
In an interview with JIS News today (February 12), Chairman of the Planning Committee for the funeral arrangements for Professor Nettleford, Professor Barry Chevannes, explained that particular persons will either access the campus via the Irvine Hall, main or post office gates.
“The Very Important Persons (VIP) and Very, Very Important Persons (VVIP) will be allowed access to the University through the main gate, which is on the Hermitage Road and then the post office gate will be used for people who are specially invited and who will therefore be able to have access to the general parking lot,” he said, noting that the general public will be allowed to park by the Old Library.
He said that members of the general public who wish to attend the funeral will enter through Irvine Hall gate on Golding Avenue and will be ushered into one of the two designated parking areas.
Professor Chevannes said that anyone can attend the funeral, “who valued Professor Nettleford, respected his work and wish to pay their respects,” pointing out that an official funeral does not mean persons have to be specially invited to attend.
“Anybody can come. The only constrain we have is that we cannot seat everybody in the chapel, but only those with tickets will be able to access the chapel, plus the academics,” he said. He noted, however, that the general public will not need tickets to attend the funeral.
The Professor said it is expected that everyone who wishes to attend the funeral will be accommodated, as those who cannot fit inside the chapel will be seated in the Assembly Hall as well as under two tents.
“The chapel itself will be seated to capacity. There are roughly between 500 and 600 seats in the chapel, both on the ground floor and upstairs on the balconies and they will be fully occupied. There are two tents, a small one immediately in front of the chapel and a large one, and between them, they will be able to accommodate up to 1,500 people,” he said.
He pointed out that many of the VIPs will be using the smaller tent and some of the academics and the general public will be using the larger tent. The Assembly Hall will also be used to seat another 1,500 people. The Professor said that participants “should be fairly comfortable,” as both tents and the chapel will be air conditioned. In addition, the service, which will be streamed live, will be fed into the tents, as well as the Assembly Hall.
The event will be streamed online on UWI TV (www.uwimona.edu.jm) and will also be broadcast on the Supreme Sound (RJR FM), Television Jamaica (TVJ) and CVM TV.
Due to the anticipation of a huge turn-out and the traffic jams that may occur, the Professor said that the police will be out in full force to ensure that there is a smooth flow of traffic “from as far as Liguanea all the way up. So, they will be on hand to guide and direct traffic,” adding that no roads are expected to be closed for the event.
He noted further that persons should not be hindered upon entering the campus as the police as well as the University campus police and security, will be on hand to guide and direct the flow of traffic.
Professor Chevannes is requesting that attendees be seated by 9:15 a.m. “It is to avoid the crush of people and crowd as the hour of 10 o’clock approaches. Prior to the start of the funeral…they (attendees) will participate in the prelude, which is to be performed by the University Singers and the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) Singers, both of (whom) will be on hand to perform during that particular time,” he said.
Professor Nettleford, who was born on February 3, 1933 in Falmouth, Trelawny, passed away on February 2, at the George Washington Hospital in Washington D.C. in the United States. He was 76 years old.
Recognised for his involvement in the arts and his vast contribution to academia, he was Professor of Extra Mural Studies at the UWI, headed the Trade Union Education Institution and founded the NDTC.

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