Tribute to the late Professor Edwin Jones

The following statement is issued by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI in tribute to the late Professor Edwin Jones.

A class act is closed and is finally to be celebrated. The return of Professor Edwin Jones to his ancestral land invokes reflections on his time with us. 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 lifelong commitment to the importance of good public service.

Professor Jones was the quintessential collegial man. He 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.

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. He championed the Mills’ manifesto and was respectful and encouraging to all. 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 condolences to his beloved Mrs Jones, the family, and legions of loved ones.