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Tax expert Ethlyn Norton-Coke dies at 68

BY KARENA BENNETT Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 10, 2014    

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THE financial and legal fraternities were yesterday rocked by news of the passing of Ethlyn Norton-Coke, who served as a chartered accountant and attorney-at-law in various institutions.

Norton-Coke, 68, had been suffering from a medical condition for the past year-and-a-half and was on Wednesday hospitalised at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston.

She died about 11:58 am yesterday.

Described as the "grandmother of forging the new tax development", Norton-Coke last served as honorary secretary of the council at the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAJ) and was also chairman of the Taxation Committee of the Institute.

According to Dennis Chung, president of the ICAJ, Norton-Coke made a significant contribution, not only to Jamaica, but to the advancement of the accounting profession. He described her as a very professional and caring person.

"She was someone who took her work very seriously. She always wanted to ensure that everything was completed in a very efficient manner. Ethlyn also had a very caring side to her; she would try and help anyone that she could, especially the less fortunate," he said.

Chung lamented her death as a significant loss to the profession and the country.

"The institution lost a very valuable resource in terms of taxation. She was one of the most knowledgeable persons on tax laws and on the work of the tax system in Jamaica. Many of the persons who are now tax executives grew up under Ethlyn; she lectured and developed many of them," Chung added.

Her exemplary work over the years gained recognition when in 2013, Norton-Coke received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer for her service in the field of Taxation.

Similar sentiments were shared by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Ethlyn Northon-Coke. She is someone who was known personally to me and my wife. She was an expert in the field of taxation, and respective governments would have benefited from her advice and service. She will be greatly missed," he said.

Norton-Coke served at Deloitte & Touche as director of tax services, with responsibility for negotiating liabilities in respect of areas of taxes, and arguing tax cases at the levels of the Resident Magistrate and Supreme Courts.

She also served at the National Housing Trust as legal consultant; Dunn Cox & Orrett as attorney-at-law; and Caribbean Cement Company as legal advisor/company secretary.

Norton-Coke taught extensively in the areas of taxation, auditing, financial management, money laundering, conveyancing law and office management courses for attorneys-at-law, University of the West Indies, Norman Manley Law School, Nova Southern University, University of New Orleans and at the Jamaica Institute of Management.

In 2008, Norton-Coke was appointed legal counsel and compliance officer of the University of Technology.

She also served on a number of boards, including the Public Accountancy Board, Nuttall Memorial Hospital, the Land Titling Committee in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Advisory Board of Management of the Registrar of Companies, the University Hospital of the West Indies, and the National Solid Waste Management.

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