Professor Rex Nettleford is dead


Nettleford<<< Professor Rex Nettleford.

Washington, USA — Vice-chancellor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford is dead.

Professor Nettelford died late last evening at the George Washington Hospital in the United States six days after collapsing in a US hotel.

He would have been 77 today.

Professor Nettleford was being treated for catastrophic brain injury following a cardiac arrest he suffered last week Wednesday.

Since that time, he had been on life support machine in the Intensive Care Unit at Hospital.

Born in Falmouth, Trelawny, Rex Nettleford climbed to the pinnacle of academic success and attainments in the arts.

He graduated from Cornwall College, then the University of the West Indies with an honours degree in history and later as a Rhode Scholar from Oxford University with a postgraduate degree in Politics.

He was the recipient of Jamaica’s third highest honour – the order of Merit and was a cultural advisor to the prime minister.

The 76 year-old Nettleford was recognized as one of the leading figures in Caribbean art and academia.

He was UWI vice-chancellor from 1996 to 2004 and was a professor of the institution’s Extra Mural studies as well as the head of the Trade Union Education Institution.

A graduate of Cornwall College and Oxford University, Professor Nettleford founded the National Dance Theatre Company in 1962.

AND… Up to the time of his death he held a pivotal role in the group as choreographer.

Professor Nettleford has written extensively on Caribbean folklore and politics and had also been know for his eloquence and oratory skills.

Rex Milton Nettleford: Academic, author, orator, choreographer, dancer, cultural advocate and statesman February 3, 1933 to February 2, 2010.


  1. Statement by

    Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham

    on the Death of Rex Nettleford, OM

    3 February 2010

    On behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas I offer condolences to the family of Ralston Milton “Rex” Nettleford, OM, who passed away yesterday.  I also wish to express sympathy to the Jamaican people on the passing of their native son who was the proverbial Renaissance man.

    Rex Nettleford made extraordinary contributions to Jamaica, the wider Caribbean, and the Caribbean Diaspora as an educator, sociologist, writer, social critic, dancer, choreographer and trade unionist.  He was a committed regionalist who was also internationally recognized for his intellectual and creative pursuits.

    At his death he was a professor of Extra Mural Studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and head of the Trade Union Education Institution, having previously served as Vice Chancellor of UWI for a number of years.  He also lectured at the University’s Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC)

    His contributions to the cultural life of Jamaica included his founding and service as the artistic director and principal choreographer of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) of Jamaica.  He led the company for nearly 50 years and was himself a brilliant dancer.

    Rex Nettleford was the Cultural Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jamaica, and served as a cultural advisor to Carifesta and UNESCO, as well as to the Government of Ghana.

    He was a profoundly Caribbean man, who celebrated the unique history of the region through his writings and artistic expression. He was deeply committed to education as a major vehicle for regional development.

    Professor Nettleford visited The Bahamas on numerous occasions and knew many Bahamians through his visits and his work at UWI.  Both Jamaica and the wider Caribbean have lost a native son whose extraordinary talents will be missed.  The Bahamas joins Caribbean people throughout the world in mourning the death of this revered cultural icon.  

  2. STATEMENT BY FRED MITCHELL OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE DEATH OF REX NETTLEFORD The Progressive Liberal Party wishes to express sincere condolences to the government and people of Jamaica and to his colleagues at the University of the West Indies on the passing of Professor Rex Nettleford, the Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University. Professor Nettleford was a cultural icon of the Caricom region. He was well a known figure in The Bahamas having helped to train scores of Bahamians who passed through the University of West Indies at the Trade Union Education Institute and in the Extramural Studies Department of the University and the University itself which he led. Professor Nettleford lectured tirelessly throughout the region on cultural and social development. He was a commentator on cultural development in The Bahamas and in the region. Professor Nettleford was an advisor to three Bahamian Prime Ministers. The PLP was especially grateful for the advice and counsel that he gave during its time in office. He will be sadly missed. Professor Nettleford died following a week long stay in hospital in Washington D.C where he collapsed during a fund raiser for the University in Washington last week. He died in the evening at 8 p.m. Tuesday 2nd February, one day short of this 77th birthday which would have been today. Party Leader Perry Christie and all colleagues of the PLP mourn his passing. He was a giant of the region.

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