Michael Manley Is Dead at Age 72

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By Jennifer Dowd

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Key tourism figures in the Caribbean mourned the loss of former Jamaica Prime Minister Michael Manley, who died of cancer at 72.

John Bell, executive vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association, said that as a strong advocate for the hotel sector's contribution to Caribbean development, Manley was crucial in proving tourism's value to the region.

"As the prime architect of the only Tourism Summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community to have taken place, which led to the development of the regional marketing program, Mr. Manley's contribution to Caribbean tourism was substantial and will be lasting," said Bell.

Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman of Sandals and Air Jamaica, described Manley as a man of unparalleled charm and charisma, whose special gift to the people of Jamaica was "our full awakening to political consciousness and our possibilities as a people."

"His vision for a better Jamaica, and indeed a better world, directed his life. He will be sadly missed," said Stewart.

In the beginning of his career, Manley was a journalist and trade union leader. He later became the leader of the People's National Party and served as prime minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992.

Manley was a founding member of Caricom, the umbrella group of the English-speaking Caribbean states.

Earlier this decade, Manley helped to create the Association of Caribbean States.

Both projects were efforts for Caribbean regional integration.

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