Wed | Dec 11, 2019

David Coore: 1925-2011 - Contributor to Jamaica's Constitution passes

Published:Tuesday | November 15, 2011 | 12:00 AM
David Coore, following the stand-off between workers and management at the Frome sugar plantation in Westmoreland.
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer

David Coore, the firebrand lawyer who helped draft the Jamaican Constitution in 1961, died yesterday at his home in the Dominican Republic (Dom Rep).

Ivan Coore, the second of Coore's three sons, said his father died from complications related to pneumonia. He was 86 years old.

Coore had been living in the Dominican Republic since April. His wife, Maria De Marchena, is a native of that country.

He had been hospitalised twice since returning to the Dominican Republic from the United States in October, Ivan Coore said.

The younger Coore said he was scheduled to travel to the Dom Rep on Thursday to visit his ailing father.

"We knew he wasn't well, but news of his death came as a bit of a shock," Ivan Coore said.

The elder Coore's death makes former Prime Minister Edward Seaga the only survivor of the committee that drafted Jamaica's Constitution 50 years ago. Seaga is 81 years old.

Born in Anchovy, St James, Coore attended the prestigious Jamaica College (JC) in St Andrew. In a 2009 interview with The Gleaner, he said his anti-colonial passion was fanned while he was a student at JC.

He recalls following the stand-off between workers and management at the Frome sugar plantation in Westmoreland.

"From then, I was an ardent believer in Jamaica getting out of colonialism. The strike (at Frome) made a mark on me," he said.

Coore returned to Jamaica in the 1950s after attending McGill University in Canada and Oxford University in England. He was a member of Jamaica's Legislative Council when he was appointed to the committee to draft the country's Constitution.

Many political students associate Coore with the turbulent 1970s when his close friend, Michael Manley, was prime minister.

They had met at JC and developed a close bond. Coore was chairman of the People's National Party when Manley became its president in 1969.

Three years later, when Manley was elected prime minister, Coore was appointed minister of finance and planning. He was also deputy prime minister.

Manley had declared democratic socialism as his administration's mantra, which not only angered the opposition Jamaica Labour Party, but caused friction between the moderates in the PNP and its hardliners.

Coore resigned from the Cabinet in 1978 to take up a job with the Inter-American Development Bank.

In recent years, he worked as an adviser to the PNP on Constitutional affairs.

Coore, who was married four times, is survived by his widow and three sons from his first marriage - Michael, Ivan and Stephen. The latter is founder and guitarist of progressive-reggae band Third World.

He is also survived by younger brother, Haldane, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.