| The Honourable Derrick Austin Rochester, O.J..
Former Trade Unionist and Cabinet Minister
Derrick Rochester was a former Jamaican trade unionist, parliamentarian, and Cabinet Minister.
Early life and education
Derrick Rochester, affectionately known as 'Daddy D', was born in 1940 in Jamaica.
Rochester began his political career when he was elected to the Saint Elizabeth Parish Council in 1969, a seat he held from 1969 to 1972. He first won the South East St Elizabeth seat for the Michael Manley-led People's National Party (PNP) in 1972, taking over from Vivian Blake. He held the seat until 1980 when the Edward Seaga-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) swept to power by landslide.
Rochester served as a member of the Senate of Jamaica from 1980 until 1983. He was re-elected in 1989 and remained until he retired in 2002.
Rochester served as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Labour, with responsibility for worker participation from 1976 to 1980. He was also Minister of State in the Ministry of Mining and Public Utilities from 1993 to 1997.
He is credited with playing an anchor role in the development of fast-growing Junction and for rapid infrastructural improvements in the constituency, in the 1970s particularly.
He was also a member of the National Executive Council of the People's National Party.
Rochester was also a trade unionist and served as President of the National Workers' Union from 1989-93 and Island Supervisor from 1986-93. Rochester was also the first worker delegate to head the union. Another achievement for Rochester was when as head of the union, he negotiated an initial 100 per cent increase for workers in the bauxite industry, followed by an 80 per cent increase, the release said.
As a trade unionist, Rochester was very active in the bauxite industry and worker negotiations. When bauxite infrastructural development and expansion was at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s with Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart), providing employment for thousands in St Elizabeth, Rochester, after winning the South East St Elizabeth seat in the 1972 General Election, quickly moved to establish the Junction Trade Training Centre, which was renamed in his honour in April 2013.
He also spearheaded the construction of the Junction Health Centre where he donated the lands and raised funds for its construction.
He became a councillor in the St Elizabeth Parish Council in 1969, serving until 1972 when he entered Parliament. He first served as a member of Parliament between 1972 and 1980, senator from 1980 to 1983, and MP again, from 1989 to 2002, when he retired.
Over many years, he served as a member of the party's executive and National Executive Council. He retired from active politics in 2002.
Honours and awards
Rochester was the recipient of national awards, including the Order of Jamaica in 2012.
Rochester was married to Beryl Rochester, the Custos of St Elizabeth.
Rochester famously established the trade training centre in Junction which was named after him in 2013. He also donated land and raised money for the medical centre in the town.
Derrick Rochester died at his home in Bull Savannah, south-east St. Elizabeth about 2:40 pm on Saturday, 9 April 2016 after ailing for some time. He was 76 years old. He was accorded an official funeral at the Munro College Auditorium, Munro Top Hill, St Elizabeth on Sunday, 1 May 2016.