Noel Alexander, community leader and president of the Jamaica Association of Montreal for 34 years, passed away Friday. Alexander was 85.
Current Jamaica Association of Montreal president Mark Henry posted a tribute on Facebook Monday afternoon.
"On Friday, September 10, 2021 we lost one of our notable leaders in Montreal’s community and of the Jamaica Association of Montreal," Henry wrote. "Mr. Noel Alexander, OD, was a staunch and passionate representative in our City and community for over 50 years. He was the President of the Jamaica Association for a total of 34 years over two terms (1980 – 1987 & 1989 – 2016). In this role, he was instrumental in establishing the organization to what it is today.
"During the 1980s through to the 2000s, Mr. Alexander was a key figure who championed the fight against police brutality and injustices against community members. He established bonds between the Montreal police force and the Black community, specifically the Caribbean community which also exists today. He was an inspiration to many of us as well as a source of great knowledge and direction and as such the Jamaica Association has become synonymous with his name. Furthermore, he was affectionately known as 'Prezy.'"
Henry asked the community to join him in "extending our deepest condolences to his wife Molly Young, his children and his entire family. We will keep them in our collective thoughts and prayers. Out of reverence for the family and their time of mourning at this incredibly difficult moment, I ask that their privacy be respected and that time is given for them to grieve, heal as well as to celebrate the life of their loved one, leader, father and husband."
George Grant, Honorary Consul for Jamaica at Montreal, posted on Facebook that "Jamaica and its diaspora have lost a true and patriotic son with the passing of Mr. Noel Alexander. On behalf of the people and the Government of Jamaica, I wish to convey our deepest sympathies to his family and express our gratitude for his lifetime of service to Jamaica and the Jamaican community in Montreal. May his soul rest in eternal peace."
Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand wrote to Alexander's family that the former association president, who Rotrand first met in 1982, "had a major impact on the neighbourhood and on our city.
"Noel was a giant in the community, recognized as the moving force behind the Jamaica Association of Montreal, and as one of Montreal's principal leaders of the Black community," the councillor wrote, adding that he worked with Alexander for decades. "Noel's ultimate goals were to fight discrimination, support legislation for civil rights and to promote academic success to ensure that a new generation of Jamaican Canadians would succeed financially, socially and politically. He was a spokesman at every press conference about police brutality and the need for minority hiring for decades, directly influencing municipal policy. Noel obtained funding for programs that promoted academic perseverance and success, changing the lives of many young people for the better."
During Monday night's Côte des Neiges-NDG council meeting, Rotrand urged that the new council elected in November "find an appropriate way to honour Noel's memory."