Rex Nettleford Was Quintessential Caribbean Man

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Jamaica's tourism community mourns the passing of Professor Rex Nettleford with a combination of deep sadness, and heartfelt respect for the extraordinary person this man was.

His many contributions to Jamaica and the world as Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of The University of The West Indies (UWI) and founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) will continue to enrich our lives.

Professor Rex Nettleford was an exemplary man of wisdom and vision who inspired cultural pride and instilled a sense of self-worth in the minds of Jamaicans, in a quest to obliterate the remnants of colonialism. He was so rightly hailed as the quintessential Caribbean man as he used his gift of dance, eloquence as an orator and writer and position as a professor and Caribbean intellectual to stimulate our minds and uplift our hearts.

His countless endeavors, driven by an unbridled passion, strengthened the cultural fabric of our nation and his legacy will live forever as we continue to build and strengthen Jamaica. The region itself has lost a brilliant leader who epitomized excellence; nonetheless, it is richer for his outstanding contribution and cultural pursuits.

Let us not mourn his loss, but instead celebrate his life. On behalf of the Jamaica Tourist Board, our deepest sympathy is extended to all the family members and loved ones he left behind. Here in Jamaica, we will always feel gratitude to Professor Rex Nettleford for his commitment and dedication to the cultural development of Jamaica.

John Lynch is Chairman, The Jamaica Tourist Board

Editor's Note: The Jamaica Gleaner is reporting that Nettleford, who was 76, died at George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C., after suffering a heart attack at a hotel Jan. 27

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