JIS News

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  • Members of the Senate on Friday (Jan. 25) paid tribute to former Government Minister, the late Dwight Nelson.
  • Mr. Nelson, a trade unionist, who served as a Senator, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and Minister of National Security, died on December 24, 2018.
  • Leading the tributes was Government Senator Kavan Gayle, who said Mr. Nelson was well known for his “dazzling oratory, fiery debating skills, and was a man who lived his life in serving the best progressive cause.”

Members of the Senate on Friday (Jan. 25) paid tribute to former Government Minister, the late Dwight Nelson.

Mr. Nelson, a trade unionist, who served as a Senator, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and Minister of National Security, died on December 24, 2018.

Leading the tributes was Government Senator Kavan Gayle, who said Mr. Nelson was well known for his “dazzling oratory, fiery debating skills, and was a man who lived his life in serving the best progressive cause.”

Senator Gayle, who is also President of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), a body Mr. Nelson served in various capacities up to the position of Senior-Vice President, described him as the consummate trade unionist, who was a mentor for many.

“As a vanguard of the working class, he was admired for his negotiating skills and rose above mediocrity in the pursuit of making a better life for the working class,” he said.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, in her tribute, said Mr. Nelson was “a man given to service to people, service to workers and service to Jamaica”.

She described him as an expert in labour and industrial relations, an expert negotiator, a hero to working people, a nation builder, brilliant politician, and a patriot.

Mrs. Johnson Smith said it was a pleasure to have worked with Mr. Nelson in the Senate and within the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), particularly when she was young entrant into the political scene.

“He was always ready to give guidance, always ready to share a perspective and even if he didn’t agree with you, you would leave the conversation understanding more,” she said.

She further noted that he was a good conversationalist with a great sense of humour, who always kept a cool head and had an easy way about him that could diffuse any tense situation.

“It was this particular quality I think, … that made his such an excellent negotiator,” she said.

Opposition Senator Lambert Brown recalled Mr. Nelson as a good natured individual, who was “a people person”.

Mr. Brown said he had the privilege of working with Mr. Nelson as part of the trade union movement.

“He was an erudite trade unionist, who served the country of his birth with passion and finesse. We will miss his candor; his humility. We will miss a decent person,” he said.

Other Opposition Senators, Floyd Morris and KD Knight also gave tributes recounting impactful personal experiences they had with the late former Senator and Minister.

Mr. Nelson, who started his career as a teacher before joining the trade union movement as a teenager, also served as Vice-Chair of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT).