Dr. DK Duncan, the iconic Jamaican member of parliament, has died at the age of 80. Duncan’s death came on September 17. His death comes less than a month after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Duncan’s death was announced in a Facebook post from Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Holness said, “It is with very deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Former Cabinet Member, Member of Parliament for Eastern Hanover, and East Central St. Andrew, Dr. D.K Duncan.” Holness added that Duncan was “known for his commitment and service to his country.” Duncan is survived by his wife, Beverley, and his five children.
A statement, via The Jamaica Observer, from the party, that Duncan represented during his political career, the People’s National Party, said that during his career, Duncan was “not afraid to challenge the status quo, speak his truth and stand for equality or all people.” The statement ended by saying, “He believed that collectively we could build a better Jamaica.” The statement also thanked the medical staff at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
Duncan Is Being Celebrated as Somebody With a ‘Profound Love for the Jamaican People’
The leader of the PNP, Dr. Peter Phillips, said in a statement that Duncan died due to complications arising from his COVID-19 diagnosis. Phillips said that he first came to know Duncan in the late 1960s following Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Phillips added, “There was no doubt that he had a profound love for the Jamaican people and he served them diligently, personally and professionally.” The Jamaica Observer reported that Duncan was given a COVID-19 case out of an “abundance of caution” after he exhibited signs of the virus.
During his political career, Duncan served at one time as a government minister, member of parliament, regional chairman and general secretary. In addition to his political activities, Duncan was a practicing dentist. In 1977, Duncan was appointed Minister of National Mobilisation & Human Resource. Previously, Duncan had been working as a campaign manager for the PNP. In August 2019, Duncan was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander Rank for his service to the electoral commission in Jamaica.
Duncan Passed His Love of Politics On to His Daughters
Thank you Daddy for a life well lived, for a legacy of Strength and Principle, for a whole heap of love!!!
Rest In Peace Daddy ❤️🕊 pic.twitter.com/9MvJJOHybW
— Patricia Duncan Sutherland (@patsutherlandja) September 17, 2020
In the September 2020 Jamaican general elections, two of his daughters, Imani Duncan-Price and Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, ran unsuccessfully. His son, Keith Duncan, is the head of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica. Patricia Duncan=Sutherland paid tribute to her father in a Facebook post that read, “Thank you daddy for a life well-lived, for a legacy of strength and principle, for a whole heap of love!!!”
Duncan Remarried in 2012 Following the Death of Grace Duncan in 2010
Duncan’s first wife, Grace Duncan, died on September 10, 2010, after being diagnosed with an unspecified terminal illness. Throughout her life, Grace Duncan had been a dedicated fighter for the right of the disabled. Her efforts were recognized in 2004 when she was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, by the Jamaican government. DK Duncan said at the time of his wife’s passing, “She had a profound love and respect for the Jamaican culture and people. Jamaica was her passion and she lived it in a practical sense.”
Duncan remarried in January 2012 when he wed Beverley Anderson-Manley in Kingston. The wedding was planned by Duncan’s daughter, Patricia, Jamaica Gleaner reported at the time.