Noel Newton Nethersole – Politican and sportsman

Then Finance Minister Noel Nethersole addressing luncheon guests at Courtleigh Manor Hotel.Then Finance Minister Noel Nethersole addressing luncheon guests at Courtleigh Manor Hotel.

Jamaican politician and avid sportsman Noel Newton Nethersole was a major force in the progression of politics and the development of the country’s economy. He also expressed tremendous interest in cricket, contributing to its evolution in Jamaica.

Born in Kingston, he attended Jamaica College. He later went on to receive a Rhodes scholarship to study law at Oxford University in England. This was a significant achievement as it saw him excelling during a period when skin colour could have proved a deterrent. He balanced his passions for academia and cricket, playing for Oxfordshire Cricket Club while pursuing higher education at the institution.

He returned home and began his sporting career as a left-handed batsman, and excelled, developing the nickname Crab. He was named captain of the Jamaica team and later a member of the Jamaica Cricket Board.

He became a member of the West Indies Board of Control and the House of Representatives in 1949, and played the presidential role for the Nation Reform Association. The year 1955 saw him marking a milestone in his career. He reached the pinnacle of his professional voyage when he became the first-ever minister of finance for Jamaica. This was a significant feat, as he was the second minister in the Jamaican Government.

He built his portfolio and developed Jamaica’s banking industry. His tasks involved him being in charge of finance on a public level, and having control over banking, and currency and exchange, local and foreign. He crafted a new system of organising finances; he developed new and innovative financial policies, and he institutionalised contemporary methods of managing finances.

Nethersole’s legacy lives on at the Bank of Jamaica, where a statue made in his image now stands proudly.

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