Former Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson Dies

Dwight Nelson Dead
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Jamaica News: Former Senator, Cabinet Minister and Trade Unionist in the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP Administration Senator Dwight Nelson died early this morning.

He was surrounded by family members and died at the age of 72.

Dwight Nelson; the politician who commanded the gritty national security portfolio when police and soldiers swept into west Kingston in 2010 to apprehend strongman Christopher Dudus Coke, walked off the political stage in May 2015. In 2015, Nelson, described his time in politics, from his first appointment to the Senate in 1983, as being oftentimes controversial but at all times, satisfying.

Jamaicans will not forget the moments when the late Senator occupied the witness stand for several days at the Manatt/Dudus Enquiry. During numerous exchanges lawyers for the People’s National Party; who attempted to question him, found that his standard answer to most of their probing questions was the now infamous line “I CAN’T RECALL”. Apparently, Minister Nelson couldn’t remember much of the details of just about anything.

He is known to have led 13 major unions in negotiations with [then] Minister of Finance Dr. Omar Davis to the signing of the first public-sector Memorandum of Understanding. In addition, “I was deputy chairman of the Michael Manley foundation as a Labourite – a real nationalist” he declared.

Nelson figured prominently as National Security Minister in the high-profile extradition controversy surrounding Coke that precipitated the 2010 police-military operation that claimed the lives of more than 70 persons. A trade unionist by profession, Nelson also spearheaded the bi-partisan approach in forging the first social partnership pact with the public sector workers many years ago. Mr. Nelson functioned in the capacity of senior vice president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, then as a director in the Matalon Group of Companies and as Minister with responsibility for the public service in the Ministry of Finance.

[Contributed by Professor Colin O Jarrett]

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