Sir Hilary hails Prof Jones as a class act

Professor Edwin Jones was yesterday described as a class act and quintessential collegial man by The University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Professor Jones, who was ailing for a while, died on Wednesday. He was 80.

In 2007 he was invested with Order of Jamaica for excellence in academia and public service.

“The return of Professor Edwin Jones to his ancestral land invokes reflections on his time with us,” Sir Hilary said.

“The University of the West Indies, not only here at Mona, but everywhere was enriched by his many gifts — his social compassion, personal humility, deep sense of caring, brilliance in the classroom, public advocacy for social justice intertwined with economic growth and efficiency, and his life-long commitment to the importance of good public service,” The UWI vice-chancellor added.

He said Jones was always willing to promote intellectual discourse while mediating resulting ideological conflict. “He celebrated the value propositions of all sides, and always sought resolution [oftentimes over a game of dominoes] that promoted the humane and progressive path. He was my friend of 40 years and I respected his professional, personal and social identities,” Sir Hilary said.

“I met Edwin in 1980 at Mona when he was being prepared by the Faculty of Social Sciences to inherit the leadership mantle from the great humanist scholar Professor Gladstone Mills who had mentored my rookie generation in the values of respecting robust academic conversation while keeping at the centre the meaning of human decency and non-aggression.

“Across the Caribbean he taught, befriended and guided generations of students in the science of improving the public administration of the region. He was an icon of integrity for permanent secretaries from The Bahamas to Belize and Barbados.

“The university celebrates our seminal son, and coveys its condolence to his beloved Mrs Jones, the family, and legion of loved ones,” Sir Hilary said.

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