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Official Funeral, Parliamentary Tribute And Government Organised Nine Night For Professor Nettleford

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Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Honourable Olivia Grange, MP has announced that the late cultural icon and educator Professor, the Honourable Rex Nettleford, OM will be accorded an official funeral.

Minister Grange made the announcement today (Monday) at a news conference at the University of the West Indies . The UWI is collaborating with the Government of Jamaica, the family and friends of Professor Nettleford to make the arrangements.

Minister Grange said:

“The Government is according an official funeral to Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, OM , OCC, FIJ. The funeral will take place at the UWI Chapel, Mona Campus on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

A Planning Committee has been put in place to make the necessary arrangements. This committee is being chaired by Prof. Barry Chevannes.

The University of the West Indies is spearheading the planning of all the activities to celebrate, recognise and pay tribute to this cultural icon and renowned son of Jamaica .

The Government has taken the position that although it is an official funeral, the planning for the funeral and all other related activities, will be a collaborative one, which will accommodate the wishes of persons who were closely affiliated with Professor Nettleford.”

The Planning Committee comprises representatives from the UWI, Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Ministry of Health and close friends of Professor Nettleford.
As part of the national tribute, there will be a special sitting of Parliament in honour of Professor Nettleford on the day of the funeral (February 16).

The Minister of Education and Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, the Honourable Andrew Holness, MP said:

“The Parliament also wants to take note of the passing of this great gentleman. We will be suspending the business of Parliament to allow four persons, possibly five, to address the Parliament at the bar of the House. The former Prime Minister Edward Seaga and the former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, in addition to past Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Shridath Ramphal and the present Chancellor Sir George Alleyne will address the House.

We see this as significant in honour of the life of Professor Rex Nettleford.”

Minister Grange also announced that there would be a traditional nine night for Professor Nettleford.

According to Minister Grange:

“The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture will host the traditional nine night (set up) at the Ranny Williams Centre. This will be produced by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. This will be very representative of the kind of depth that Professor Rex Nettleford showed for his culture. We will move from the traditional, such as Kumina, through Rastafarian, Nyahbinghi, and it will take us through the various forms of our cultural experience.”

The nine night, as per custom, will take place on (February 11) the ninth night following the passing.

The NDTC, one of Professor Nettleford’s creations, will host a tribute performance on the evening of the funeral beginning at 7 o’clock at the Little Theatre; while the Phillip Sherlock Centre will host a special tribute performance on February 25 at the Mona campus.

Condolence books will be opened. The dates and locations will be announced later.

Professor Nettleford died at February 2, 2010 at the George Washington University Intensive Care Unit in the United States where he was being treated for catastrophic brain injury following a cardiac arrest.

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