Senate switch

Minister Andrew Holness on Thursday announced the appointments of Dr Dana Morris Dixon and former journalist Abka Fitz-Henley as Government senators in what the chief executive said was “part of a broader reorganisation, refresh and revitalisation” of the Administration.

Dr Morris Dixon and Fitz-Henley, who will be sworn in at today’s sitting of the Senate, replace Natalie Campbell-Rodriques and Leslie Campbell, who have resigned.

In a news release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Holness said that both outgoing senators will continue to give valuable service in other roles which will be announced soon. He also thanked them for their “impeccable service” to the country.

While the announced resignations confirmed news emerging in recent weeks that Holness wanted to make space within the Government to reshuffle the executive, the announcement of Fitz-Henley’s appointment to the Upper House left many Jamaicans wide-eyed and O-mouthed, despite the fact that his social media posts, for the most part, push the Administration’s position on a range of issues.

Fitz-Henley spent many years honing his journalism craft at Nationwide News Network, winning a number of awards in the process. During his first year in media he was recognised with the Young Journalist of the Year Award from the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ). In 2016, he was named Journalist of the Year by the PAJ.

He was co-host of Nationwide’s current affairs morning show, Nationwide this Morning until January 2022 when he left to pursue other interests, including as a communications consultant.

He was the final recipient of the prestigious Jamaica Broilers Fairplay Award for investigative journalism and also received the Caribbean Blog Award, as well as the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in Media and Communication.

Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.

Dr Morris Dixon is a 2004 Fulbright Scholar and an alumnus of The University of the West Indies (UWI), where she completed the BSc Economics (First Class Honours) and MSc Government (Distinction). She is also a graduate of Josef Korbel School of International Studies where she completed a PhD in International Studies, as well as Harvard Business School’s executive programme.

Morris Dixon has served as a senior executive of Jamaica National Group and managing director of JN General Insurance Ltd, one of the key subsidiaries of the group. She has executed numerous large-scale strategic projects, including launch of the first Caribbean bank to be authorised in the United Kingdom in 2020, as well as the reorganisation of the Jamaica National Group that created JN Bank and the new group structure in 2017.

While on secondment from JN Group to the Bank of Jamaica, she also led the successful completion of the National Risk Assessment for Jamaica in 2021, a key component of Jamaica’s Financial Action Task Force Action Plan.

Morris Dixon has also served in senior public sector roles in OPM and Jampro.

She started her career as an academic at The UWI where she taught several courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, during her UWI years she worked on the Jamaica Economy Project, the precursor to the Caribbean Policy Research Institute.

Morris Dixon also served on the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission, and on the Archdiocese of Kingston Education Commission. She is a member of the board of directors of Campion College, her alma mater.