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The Government has accorded an official funeral to the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor the Hon Rex Nettleford O.M., at the University Chapel, Mona Campus, next Tuesday (February 16) starting at 10 a.m.
Professor Nettleford, who also founded the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), died on February 2 at the George Washington Hospital in Washington D.C. in the United States.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (right) greets University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, Registrar, William Iton (left),
at a press briefing on Monday (February 8) at the UWI’s Mona Campus to announce funeral arrangements for the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus Professor, the Hon. Rex Nettleford. Looking on is Principal of the UWI, Professor Gordon Shirley.

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday (February 8) at the UWI, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, said that a planning committee, chaired by Professor Barry Chevannes, has been put in place to make the necessary arrangements.
“The Government has taken the position that, although it is an official funeral, the planning for the funeral, and all other related activities, will be a collaborative one, which will accommodate the wishes of persons who were closely affiliated with Professor Nettleford,” Miss Grange said.
Professor Chevannes stated that as many as 2,000 persons can be accommodated at the funeral service. He added that tents would be set up outside the chapel to accommodate the large turnout expected.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange (left), listens to University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Registrar, William Iton, at a press briefing on Monday (February 8) at the UWI’s Mona Campus to announce funeral arrangements for the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus Professor, the Hon. Rex Nettleford.

Because of the chapel’s limited size and capacity, the number of persons who will be able to sit inside will be limited, Professor Chevannes said. Officials of state will be accorded space inside, as well as the senior management and staff of the university community, the Diplomatic Corps, the family and similar categories.
The funeral is expected to last for two hours, and will include tributes from Prime Minister, the Hon Bruce Golding; Leader of the Opposition, Hon Portia Simpson Miller; and representatives of the NDTC and the trade union movement, among others. Classes at the University will be suspended in the morning.
The Celebrant will be the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, the Rt. Rev Dr. Alfred Reid, who will be assisted by the Rt. Rev Dr. Don Taylor, and other Chaplains of the University. The University and NDTC singers will present a musical tribute, as a prelude to the service.
Condolence books will be opened in honour of Professor Nettleford. An announcement will be made regarding the location.
A session of tribute will also be held in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (February 16), which will include tributes from two former Prime Ministers – the Most. Hon. Edward Seaga and the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, in addition to past Chancellor of the UWI, Sir Shridath Ramphal, and the current Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne.
A traditional “Nine-Night” will also be held on Thursday (February 11) at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre. It will be produced by the Jamaica Cultural Development Centre (JCDC).
The UWI, Mona Campus, will also host a special tribute to Professor Nettleford on the February 25, at the Oriental Gardens, beginning at 6:30pm, to which the public is invited. The NDTC will also pay a tribute to its founder on February 16, at the Little Theatre starting at 7pm.