JIS News

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade mourns the passing of national icon, Professor Rex Nettleford, OM, Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies.
Professor Nettleford’s life is an uplifting story of distinguished service and accomplishment, spanning various fields including academia, culture, and international relations.
We, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, treasure the significant contributions he made in the field of international relations in particular through UNESCO, his unstinting commitment to regionalism and the struggles of Jamaica and the developing world on the journey from colonialism to independence and self-determination. At the UN, Professor Nettleford’s brilliant address in March 2007, marking the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade will long be remembered.
His strong sense of nationalism was central to his outlook and work, propelling him to co-found the internationally acclaimed National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) on the dawn of Jamaica’s independence. The NDTC manifests Prof. Nettleford’s enduring love for Jamaican culture and the use of dance as vehicle to affirm national identity and enhance national pride. Nor shall we forget the many occasions in which he and the NDTC performed overseas in the context of enhancement of our relations with various friendly countries. Those experiences endeared him to personnel across the Foreign Service.
The Ministry recalls the Professor’s selfless and positive contribution to the development of relations between the Jamaican Diaspora and the Jamaican Government, a fact which is not as readily known as the rest of his illustrious achievements.
It was only last November that he formally assumed the office of Chairman of the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation, the body charged with developing policy and overseeing relations between the Jamaican Diaspora and the Government. Professor Nettleford was one of the inspirational personalities behind the scenes guiding the formation of the Foundation as well as the dynamic process of interaction between the Diaspora and the government.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, and members of the University of the West Indies fraternity in this hour of bereavement. Indeed, all Jamaica mourns the passing of one of our favourite sons, Professor Rex Nettleford. May he rest in peace.