The late Ambassador, the Hon. Dudley Thompson, will be accorded an official funeral by the Government of Jamaica.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on Tuesday (January 24), during a parliamentary tribute to Ambassador Thompson in the House of Representatives. She said details of the funeral will be announced at a later date.
Ambassador Thompson died on Friday (Jan. 20) one day after his 95th birthday.
In her tribute, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the late Ambassador had a distinguished diplomatic career and served as Jamaica’s envoy to West Africa, specifically to Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Namibia.
“He was regarded as a world citizen; a Pan Africanist to the core and a freedom fighter. Mr. Thompson was a well-respected diplomat and a consummate statesman, who had the distinction of being considered a friend… (by) African leaders,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She stated that as a dedicated politician and public servant, he was awarded the Order of Jamaica for distinguished service in the field of International Affairs.
She said he was a “serious liberationist”, who contributed significantly to the independence struggles in Belize and the Bahamas and was an integral part of the team which crafted and implemented the laws, which led to the social transformation of Jamaica during the 1970s.
“In spite of all his accomplishments, he was a decent human being, who placed himself firmly on the side of the marginalised and oppressed and dedicated his life to the development of his people,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Andrew Holness, in his contribution, said Ambassador Thompson had made significant contribution to national development.
“I want to pay tribute to him firstly as a nationalist par excellence. He was prominent among those who searched passionately for the Jamaican identity and for whom Jamaica was the centre of his being. He served his country with passion and distinction. It is often stated that we do not choose our roles in life but we have a duty to play them well. Ambassador Thompson played many roles and he played them all very well,” he added.
Born in Panama on January 19, 1917 to Daniel and Ruby Thompson, Ambassador Thompson was a life member of the People’s National Party (PNP), and was elected Chairman of the PNP in 1979.
He was a PNP Senator in the years 1962-1978, and was leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives in 1978. He served as Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Western from 1978 to 1983; Minister of National Security in 1978; Minister of Mining and Natural Resources from 1977 to 1978 and Minister of State, with the responsibility for Foreign Affairs from 1972-1975.
Mr. Thompson was Jamaica’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Namibia. He was Jamaica’s chief representative in the conference on the Law of the Sea and played a leading role in securing Jamaica as the permanent headquarters for the International Seabed Authority. He also introduced the Office of the Ombudsman to Jamaica.
At the time of his death, Mr. Thompson was the President of the World Africa Diaspora Union.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter