JIS News

Jamaicans turned out Tuesday (February 23) to say farewell to the late Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford, at a Thanksgiving Service at the Holy Family Episcopal Church.
The two-hour long service began with tributes, reflecting periods of Professor Nettleford’s contribution to the development of Jamaica’s cultural landscape.
Ambassador Dudley Thompson, in the Remembrance, said that Jamaica has lost an irreplaceable man. Highlighting Professor Nettleford’s accomplishments, he praised his devotion to excellence, in Jamaica and the Caribbean, as well as his contributions to education, culture and trade unionism across the region.
Ambassador Thompson said that Jamaica must be proud of one of its sons who rose from humble beginnings to become honoured throughout the world.
He also spoke emotionally of “the friend” he knew for more than 40 years, reminiscing about the last time they were together, in late January, on Mr. Thompson’s 93rd birthday.
Jamaica Diaspora Southern USA advisory representative, Marlon Hill, spoke of the late Professor as Chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation, and his ability to engage the Diaspora in the nation’s development, because he understood, admired and appreciated the global reach and impact of Jamaicans.
President of the UWI Alumni Association, South Florida chapter, Margaret Barrett, spoke of his dedication to the continued development of the UWI, even after his retirement, through connections with the alumni bodies.
Director of Jamaica Awareness, Inc., a cultural non-profit organisation based in South Florida, Sydney Roberts, also spoke about time shared with Professor Nettleford, scheduling events involving the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC).
South Florida radio personality and director of a local radio programme ‘Caribbean Riddims’, Eddy Edwards, said that Professor Nettleford’s contribution to the enrichment of the Caribbean Diaspora will be sorely missed.
Musical tributes were rendered by the Jamaican Folk Revue, the Tallawah Mento Band and the South Florida Caribbean Chorale directed by Steve Higgins.
Dub poet Malachi Smith read a poem aptly titled “Kumina King” that he composed for Professor Nettleford, immediately following his death.
In an emotional tribute, Lois Requa-Dunn and Yvonne Houston Goodrich, both NDTC alumni, did a moving dance performance of “Many Rivers to Cross”. The piece was one of the signature items choreographed by Professor Nettleford during his years with the company.
The service was coordinated by the Holy Family Episcopal Church and the Consulate General of Jamaica, and was officiated by the Very Rev. Horace Ward, Rev. Easton Lee, Rev. Kenneth Simms and Rev. Dr. Richard Ledgister.
Scripture lessons were read by Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, Cornwall College Alumni Association representative, Onell McCarthy, and past Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Clover Thompson Gordon.
Also participating in the service were former United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Sue Cobb; Florida State Representative, Hazelle Rogers; Vice President and Director of Public Affairs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, (BCPA), Jan Goodheart; as well as representatives of the Caribbean Consular Corps in South Florida.
Proceeds from the collection will benefit the Rex Nettleford Foundation for Caribbean Cultural and Social Studies. Professor Nettleford died in Washington, D.C., on February 2.

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