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Hundreds bid farewell to Dr Douglas Manley

Sunday, August 18, 2013    

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DR Douglas Manley, son of National Hero Norman Manley, was remembered as a remarkable individual who excelled in all that he had undertaken.

The former member of parliament for South West Manchester and cabinet minister, professor, lawyer, author, sociologist and sports extraordinaire drew his last breath on July 26, at his Washington Drive home in St Andrew.

He was 91 at the time of his passing.

On Thursday, relatives and well-wishers, including a host of People's National Party officials and other dignitaries, led by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, paid their last respects to him during a thanksgiving service for his life at the University of West Indies Chapel in Mona, Kingston.

Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson and Manley's nephew, Drum Manley Drummond paid glowing tribute to him, recalling memorable moments which brought laughter to mourners in the congregation.

Insightful, meticulous, astute, absent-minded, quiet, introverted and witty, were some of the words used to describe Manley.

According to Patterson, who met Manley as a education and psychology lecturer at UWI Campus in 1956, "Manley was man of few words and kept himself below the radar".

"It was never a question of being under the shadow of anyone else, Douglas was always maintaining his own place and extremely comfortable in his own skin," he said. "He was not one to seek the limelight."

The former PM also eulogised Manley as a great athlete who broke his father's 30-year-old record and a champion boxer who used his skill to trounce bullies.

"Douglas had wicked sense a humour and biting wit," Patterson said recalling a joke which Manley's wife had shared with him.

"She told me that when he was leaving the house he would kiss the door goodbye and slam her goodbye," Patterson recalled amidst chuckles from the congregation.

Patterson said Manley was also a just politician noting that he was seen by some as one of the most down-to-earth politician.

"He was a performer of the highest calling and his work will burn as a flame that will not be extinguished," Patterson said.

Drummond in his tribute said, "He was easy to remember but hard to understand. He was enigmatic, you had to know him to understand him."

He also recalled that his uncle was not very emotive, but was always there for his family and was often the one who was sought when an advice was needed.

"He was a safe harbour for me when I was going through my troubles at law school," Drummond said

Drummond also described his uncle as an unorthodox politician who literally ate out of his constituents' pot.

"I remember when my uncle was campaigning and he heard that his opponent had bought birthday cards for all the females in the constituency, he made it his business to have a drink with all the men to even the score," he said.

He said Manley, who served as minister of health, minister of agriculture and minister of youth and community development, made his strides in many areas including revamping the Social Development Commission, restructuring the training of warders in the Correctional Service Department, strengthening the immunisation programme, introducing breast-feeding programmes and devoting attention to mental health.

Meanwhile also taking part in the service was Prime Minister Simpson Miller who read the first lesson and Jamaica Labour Party secretary, Karl Samuda, who read the second lesson on behalf of Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness who was absent.

Manley's daughter-in-law, Della Manley also paid tribute in song as well as Professor Winston Mendes Davidson.

Manley who is survived by his sons, Norman and Roy, along with other family members, will be inurned at the Providence Methodist Church's columbarium .

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