Plea for political unity as Thompson laid to rest

Thompson hailed as the consummate Pan-Africanist

BY COREY ROBINSON Observer staff reporter robinsonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 11, 2012

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JAMAICA yesterday said farewell to former Government minister and diplomat Ambassador Dudley Thompson at an Official Funeral Service in which Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan urged Jamaican politicians to unite for the betterment of the country.


Farrakhan, who described Thompson — whom he affectionately called "Baba" — as a "father", said the move was one which Thompson would have wanted. Farrakhan was speaking at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston.


"Jamaica, you are the light of the Caribbean... Partisan politics is destroying democracy in North America, and we cannot afford to let partisan politics destroy the future of Jamaica," he said, noting that Thompson expressed great love and respect for both Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller with whom, Farrakhan said, Thompson had expressed an interest to work and share knowledge.


"Dudley Thompson said he wanted to come back to Jamaica to help her (Portia)... He knew that she couldn't do it by herself, but with Andrew Holness by her side," continued Farrakhan. "With PNP and JLP working together, we can make Jamaica what all the ancestors wanted Jamaica to be, and then we can make the whole Caribbean one great federated nation, and a light to the entire world," he said.


"It is not accidental that the two of you sit together today as we give tribute to Dudley Thompson. Both of you he spoke of with love," Farrakhan said, adding that Thompson had great hope for Jamaica's future.


He thanked Simpson Miller for championing "cutting the umbilical chord which still ties us with our former colonial masters".


Farrakhan, who noted that he had known Thompson for years, described the late politician as the consummate Pan-Africanist.


"He always wanted to see the rise of African people, not to the detriment of other human beings, but only to those who exploited our condition for their rise, and Dudley spoke strongly against that mentality," he said.


Yesterday's funeral service was attended by dozens of statesmen, diplomats, politicians, lawyers, and judges from as far as Africa, where Thompson served, among other roles, as a member of the World African Diaspora Union.


In other tributes, Prime Minister Simpson Miller described Thompson as "a powerful force both locally and internationally"; Opposition Leader Holness called for a revision of the school curriculum to incorporate Thompson's legacy and that of other Jamaican pioneers; Professor Claude Packer, president of Mico University College, spoke of Thompson's contribution to that institution; and Leonard Jeffries, president of the World African Diaspora Union, lauded Thompson for his many offerings to the union.


Attorney-at-law Delano Franklyn also read a tribute on behalf of American actor Danny Glover and James Early, director of cultural heritage policy at the Smithsonian Institution.


Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson shared humorous memories of Thompson's days as a lawyer.


Thompson's daughter, Margaret Cezaire Thompson, thanked those who offered tributes, noting that they help to sustain the family during their time of grief.


"Your tributes of love have not only sustained us through the loss, which is immeasurable for our family, but of the fullness of that life that Dudley Thompson shared with us as father, husband, grandfather, uncle, brother," she said.


"The outpouring of tributes from Jamaica and around the world has meant so much to us. We know that these are more than mouth honours. They are honours in tributes straight from the heart," she continued.


Thompson died from a heart attack in the United States on January 20, a day after his 95th birthday. He was interred at the military cemetery, located at Briggs Park in Up Park Camp.


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