Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Carlyle Dunkley remembered as industrial diplomat

Published:Thursday | July 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM
K.D Knight, senator and former chairman of the Urban Development Corporation (right) in discussion with Steven Dunkley, son of the late Carlyle Dunkley at the funeral held at the University Chapel on Wednesday.

The University of the West Indies Chapel was filled on Wednesday morning with members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, parliamentarians both active and retired, academia, as well as the family of Carlyle Anthony Cosmo Dunkley, who died last month.

The Official Service for the former trade union leader included retired Prime Ministers Portia Simpson Miller and P.J. Patterson and former Governor General, Professor Sir Kenneth Hall.

Dunkley's children, Patterson, and former president and island supervisor of the National Workers' Union Vincent Morrison paid tribute to the many facets of Dunkley's professional and personal accomplishments. "Today we celebrate the life of a real-life super-hero," his son Julian said.

Dunkley's accomplishments seem never-ending. "Carlyle mastered the art of winning one round at a time and yet insuring that there was sufficient stamina for any fight, no matter how long it would take," Patterson said, explaining that Dunkley chose to dedicate his career to obtaining justice for workers.


"Carlyle Dunkley became the first product of the West Indies to place his education, training, and leadership skills to the workers' cause when in 1963 he joined the National Workers' Union. In doing so, Carlyle started a tradition that would increasingly bring the intelligentsia into the labour movement and contribute to the creation of the legislative framework that would protect workers' rights and improve their daily standards," Patterson remarked.

Throughout his life, Dunkley held countless positions, including president, and research and education director of the National Workers' Union; stints in Parliament; Minister of Education and Minster of Production, Mining and Commerce; as ambassador to Cuba; and as the founder of Blue Mountain Coffee Venture Limited.

Lessons were read by Dr Horace Chang, who represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and Dr Peter Phillips, leader of the Opposition. The Reverend Doctor Robert Thompson officiated and said in his homily, that Dunkley found his mission to be giving voice to those who felt that their stories were being ignored by the world.

- Melinda Renuart