Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Noel Hylton hailed as nation builder

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Dr Carroll Pickergill hugs Noel Hylton, while Horace Reid looks on in this 2013 file photo.

Noel Hylton never lost his passion to see Jamaica prosper and worked hard to that end. For that, the nation owes the former head of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) a debt of gratitude, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in reaction to the news that the visionary and nation builder had died on Saturday.

"Noel was that connection between the modern and the historical. He was always a good reference point and could identify the past challenges based on his history working for Jamaica. It is important that we have persons who have the benefit of history, and we are happy that there was a significant transfer of institutional knowledge from him to the current management of the Port Authority," the prime minister said in a press release.

Hylton served Jamaica with distinction for more than four decades as leader of various substantial public-sector institutions such as the PAJ, the Public Services Commission, and Air Jamaica, with the nation now reaping the benefits of his expertise, according to Holness.

"We are benefiting from his long-term vision of Jamaica having internationally recognised modern port facilities, which are an important part of the growth ecosystem. Noel understood this decades ago before most persons and worked hard to see the current reality manifested. He was a visionary who transformed the Port Authority, developing, among other things, the Kingston Container Terminal into a regional trans-shipment hub, while expanding and diversifying Jamaica's cruise ship offering," Holness said.


Respected by all


Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, in paying tribute to the "giant of the public service", noted that Noel Hylton's professionalism was also recognised and respected at the highest level.

"His unique administrative skills and expertise were often called upon by many locally and across the globe, and this established him as a giant of shipping in the world," Phillips noted.

"He served under different administrations in several capacities and was driven by intense patriotism and love for the Jamaican people," Phillips said.

Hylton's passion and drive to expand the nation's port facilities and trans-shipment infrastructure, and, in the process, rebranding Jamaica as a major point for shipping, is a hallmark of his sterling career, according to Phillips.

Hylton, who was 86, worked at the PAJ as chairman and chief executive officer from 1975-2013.

As news spread of his passing yesterday, many took to social media to pay their respects.