On behalf of the Michael Manley Foundation, I would like to express my most profound regret at the passing of one of Jamaica's most respected and consistent freedom fighters, Ambassador Dudley Thompson.
His dedication and contribution to the advancement of mankind, locally and internationally, is legendary. So much so that, only last year, he was recognised by the leaders in Africa, when he was awarded the status of a Legend of Africa by the African Union. As a start, this gave Ambassador Thompson diplomatic status in every African country. No other Jamaican has ever achieved that feat.
Ambassador Thompson's outstanding achievements were underpinned by his philosophical and ideological moorings, which located him on the side of the national and international progressive movement. In the orthodoxy of ideology, he was always on the ideological left.
In paraphrasing words delivered by Michael Manley in 1976, in defence of those who found themselves on the ideological left, it can be said of Ambassador Thompson: "He took up his position on the left, when he was old enough to perceive and understand the nature of poverty and injustice in the world. He took up his position on the left when he was mature enough to understand that it is a world system that makes us suffer what we suffer. He took up his position as a democrat on the left when he came to understand that the elitist of history, manipulated the people to preserve their own power and their own privilege."
It was this position on the left which influenced Ambassador Thompson's social consciousness, and which spurred him into action to soldier on for 95 years, every day, using his mental prowess and every fibre in his being, to right the wrongs of the world.
As a lawyer from the "top drawer", he used his skill of advocacy to advance the lot of the ordinary people. As an ardent and - in his time - outspoken member of the People's National Party, he used his engaging intellect to consistently position the party as one which acts for and on behalf of the people. As a diplomat and statesman, he used his mastery of negotiation, and his army of contacts, the world over, to protect the interest of Jamaica. As a Pan Africanist, he used his deep and uncompromising belief in the capacity and ability of the occupiers of that continent to advance their lot in every forum in which he participated.
Dudley Thompson, although short in stature, was a giant in his field of endeavours; calm and respectful, he was always biting and incisive with his comments; although of, and for the poor, he worked and walked with kings, queens, chiefs, presidents and prime ministers; although a keen listener, when given the opportunity, he easily "floored" his opponents, as was the case when, after listening to one of his critics for over half an hour, and thereafter, called upon to respond, said, "You know, in all my training, I was never ever taught to make sense of nonsense."
Ambassador Thompson will always be remembered as a person who dedicated his entire life to improving the social and economic conditions of his fellow human beings.
May his soul rest in peace and light perpetually shine upon him.
Michael Manley Foundation