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PM, Trade Union Leaders React to Death of Veteran Trade Unionist, Hopeton Caven

Published:Friday | October 9, 2015 | 2:13 PM
Hopeton Caven
Portia Simpson Miller
Danny Roberts

FORMER HEAD of the Jamaica Trade Union Congress (TUC), Hopeton Caven, who passed away yesterday, has been hailed as a stalwart of the trade-union movement in Jamaica.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller paid tribute to Caven yesterday, describing him as a pioneer in the representation of workers and a distinguished son of Jamaica, whose strong belief in his country propelled him to a life in public service.

In a release to the media, the prime minister said: "Hopeton Caven was a nationalist, who had great confidence in the ability of the Jamaican people

to chart a successful path of political self-determination and economic independence, and he used his position as the Jamaican representative of the Jamaica Progressive League in the 1970s to advance the interests of Jamaican workers and families. He was always concerned about the poor and most vulnerable among us. Hopeton Caven was also my mentor, adviser, and friend, who helped to guide my early political career."

Caven, who led the TUC for more than 60 years, is one of the founding fathers of the Trade Union Education Institute, along with Hugh Shearer and Michael Manley, back in 1963. The institute has since been renamed the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute (HLSTUEI).


In his tribute, head of the HLSTUEI, Danny Roberts, said that the institute was saddened at news of Caven's passing.

"Hopeton Caven is well known for his staunch and forthright mannerism, underpinned by the reasonableness of the cause and the principle of his faith. In the narrative of trade-union history, ... his legacy will remain forever as part of the tapestry of our industrial-relations landscape," Roberts said in a release.

Both Roberts and Simpson Miller expressed condolences to the family and friends of the trade unionist.

Caven is the second prominent former trade unionist to have died this week. On Sunday, Clive Dobson, president emeritus of the National Workers' Union, died at home. He was 80 years old.