Prime Minister Andrew Holness has led tributes to prominent businessmen and economist Dr Marshall McGowan Hall, hailing him for his “incalculable contribution to national development”.
Hall, widely recognised for his association with the Jamaica Producers Group Limited, where he served as director for over 40 years and as group managing director for 27 years, died on Tuesday morning. He was 88.
Hall is the father of the current Jamaica Producers Group CEO, Jeffrey.
Mr Marshall Hall passed away on Tuesday, November 23, 2022. He was 88 years old.
Holness said with Hall’s death, Jamaica had lost “one of its foremost academic thinkers and business leader”, adding that the country “will continue to benefit from his legacy for generations to come.”
The prime minister said while Hall served at Jamaica Producers, he “pioneered the large-scale modernisation of banana production in Jamaica which sustained the local industry and boosted national employment and export.”
Outside of Hall’s distinguished career at Jamaica Producers, Holness underscored his academic career as an economist who served as dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies, as well as head of the department of management studies.
“Among other significant leadership roles at UWI, Dr Hall was a widely published writer in the areas of micro and institutional economics,” Holness said, adding that Hall also served as chairman of several other entities and public bodies, including Jamaica Public Service (JPS) and National Commercial Bank and Mutual Life.
“I express my deepest sympathy to his family, friends, loved ones and colleagues in both the business and academic fields,” stated the prime minister.
The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) said it remembered Hall “as an inspirational leader who made outstanding contributions to Jamaica”.
The PNP added: “We are deeply saddened by his passing, as he was one of Jamaica’s finest economists and business development leaders.
“Dr Hall was a true patriot who believed in the upliftment of people through education and economic development,” the party shared in a statement on Tuesday.
For his part, Opposition leader and PNP president Mark Golding offered his sympathies to the family and friends of the businessman and economist.
“He was a gentleman and a brilliant scholar who loved his country and dedicated his life to contributing to the development and strengthening of private and public sectors in post-independence Jamaica,” said Golding.
In its tribute, the Keith Duncan-led Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) recognised Hall as “an astute businessman, who served his country with distinction in both academia and business”.
The PSOJ highlighted his passion for the growth and innovation of Jamaica’s banana industry which has been exemplified throughout his years as group managing director of Jamaica Banana Producers Association Limited (now Jamaica Producers Group).
“He (Hall) is accredited with spearheading the resuscitation of the banana industry in St Mary and Jamaica after hurricane Allen in 1980 and again (after) hurricane Gilbert in 1988,” the PSOJ said.
The powerful private sector lobby said Hall’s “unwavering commitment to the development of Jamaica’s private and public sectors is an exceptional legacy that has been etched in Jamaica’s history.”
The body noted its own honouring of Hall for his “invaluable role as an outstanding business leader by recognising him as the 2004 PSOJ Hall Of Fame inductee.”
Meanwhile, the PSOJ also recognised Hall for distinguishing himself as a “remarkable intellectual”, pointing to his extended years in academia locally.
His vast academic expertise, according to the PSOJ, has also extended beyond the shores of Jamaica, having served as Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Washington University and Makerere University in Uganda.
Equally saddened by Hall’s passing is the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), which said Jamaica had lost “one of its most fervent and formidable sons”.
“Marshall Hall’s lifetime achievements indicate that he believed in the principle of giving back and on institution-building.
“He served selflessly as a mentor and was an inspiration to many, spanning several generations and delivered such tangible contributions to Jamaica and the region that his impact will be felt far into the future,” stated the JCC.
In recognition of his lifetime of business leadership and public service, Hall was awarded the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander and was inducted into the Private Sector Hall of Fame.
Hall was born in Rollington Town, Kingston in 1934 and was educated at Kingston College.
He was a committed family man, married to Dr Jeanette Hall for over 60 years. He has three children (Dr Allyson Hall, Andrea Perkins, and Jeffrey Hall), four grandchildren, a close extended family, colleagues, and friends.