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Dunkley remembered as industrial diplomat

Published:Wednesday | July 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMMelinda Renuart
Steven Dunkley, son of Carlyle Dunkley, carries the urn containing his father's ashes as Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel Constable Kadian Stephenson (second left), Sergeant Keisha Bentley (centre), Constable Yanique Cameron and Constable Oliviene Pennington (right) look on during the funeral held yesterday at the University Chapel in St Andrew.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Chapel was filled yesterday morning with members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, parliamentarians - both active and retired, members of academia, as well as the family of  former government minister Carlyle Anthony Cosmo Dunkley, who died last Wednesday.

Also among those attending the official service of thanksgiving were public figures such as former Prime Ministers Portia Simpson Miller and P.J. Patterson.

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," said son Julian.

Truly, Dunkley’s accomplishments seem never-ending.

“Carlyle mastered the art of winning one round at a time and yet ensuring 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, who was born in 1939, held countless positions, including president and research and education director of the National Workers’ Union; stints in Parliament; minister of education and minister of production, mining and commerce; as ambassador to Cuba; and as the founder of Blue Mountain Coffee Venture Limited.

Both Dunkley’s son Graham and Patterson highlighted his busyness by remarking on the great amount of time he spent on the telephone.

Said Graham: “Our father had a love for a telephone. The longest phone cord in the world existed in our house… the phone in the house had to reach every single room.”

Said Patterson: “I have never known anybody more addicted to the telephone.”

Dr Horace Chang, minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness in reading a lesson.

Holness is currently at the 38th meeting of CARICOM heads of government in Grenada.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips also read a lesson.

 The Right Reverend Doctor Robert Thompson officiated and said in his homily, “It’s really fun to be around people who believe God has a mission for the world and that they are part of it”.

He also said Dunkley found his mission to be giving voice to those who felt their stories to be ignored by the world.