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JAMAICA | Nelson hailed for service to Working Class

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 24, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hailed former government minister and trade unionist Dwight Nelson as someone who dedicated his life to the people of Jamaica.

The 72 year-old former Cabinet minister and trade union leader, died peacefully at home in Barbican, St Andrew yesterday morning after ailing for some time. He is survived by his wife, Angella (Pat), and several children.

Holness, who is also the leader of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, said he is mourning the passing of a beloved brother and friend. “He was a true friend and someone who was always willing to give of himself in the service of his country,” Holness said in a series of posts on Twitter today.

He noted that Nelson served a Senior Vice President at the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union and in government as a Senator, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and Minister of National Security.

He was also Holness' Chief of Staff when he was the Leader of the Opposition. “We are deeply saddened by his passing and extend our sincere condolences to his wife, children, family and friends,” said Holness.

At the time of his death, Nelson was deputy chairman of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT), the Government's main labour relations arbitration panel. However, in the past, he served as a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member of the Senate, minister of national security, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, president of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), and senior vice-president and island supervisor of the JLP-affiliated Bustamante Industrial Trade Union.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said Mr. Nelson gave sterling service to the Jamaican working class for over fifty years as a trade unionist, industrial relations adviser, Deputy Chairman of the IDT and politician. 

Dr. Phillips recalled his pivotal role in the negotiation of the first Government of Jamaica and Trade Union Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2004 during difficult economic times. He said although a senior member of the Jamaica Labour Party, Mr. Nelson leadership of the Confederation was devoid of partisan politics and in the best interest of the working class.

The Opposition Leader and PNP President said his political service in the Senate and the Ministries of Finance and the Public Service as well as National Security were examples of his patriotic commitment.
“For his service to Jamaica, Dwight will be greatly missed, particularly in the trade union movement where his intellect and negotiating skills were highly respected on both sides of the negotiating table”, Dr. Phillips said.

The Opposition Leader said Jamaica has lost a valuable son and extended his condolence, on behalf of the PNP, to Mr. Nelson’s wife and children, friends and his colleagues in the JLP and the BITU.

Nelson served as minister of national security in the JLP Administration of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding in April, 2010, and  he came under fire for his handling of several issues related to the extradition case involving Tivoli Gardens “don” Christopher “Dudus” Coke, which ultimately led to the premature fall of that Government.

  • Countries: Jamaica
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