Former chairman of the Development Finance Corporation, Dennis Jones died on Monday night at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. Jones reportedly fell ill some months ago and had to undergo emergency surgery for a stomach-related problem. As recently as two weeks ago, his family was asking for donations of life-saving blood as he underwent a procedure at the Belize Specialist Hospital. Prior to his passing, Jones served as the managing director of the Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology (BEST), a post he held since 1997. The organization’s deputy managing director, Michelle Lindo-Longsworth spoke to us today via Zoom to remember her former boss, mentor and teacher.
Michelle Lindo – Longsworth, Deputy Managing Director, BEST: “Mr.Jones was a good man. He was really really dedicated to the development of Belize and he had the wellbeing of poor people and low income people in his heart. That is what he wanted to do and that is what he did. He helped a lot of people. Working with Mr.Jones was a joy for me because Mr.Jones was the kind of person who he had his door open at all times. He made you feel a part of the team and like most of our staff would say he made them feel not as if he’s the boss he really made you feel like part of the team and actually I think it was more a family at best. He was someone who, as I said, had the wellbeing of the Belizean poor at heart and he was someone who he had this vision and he went for this vision so he put in the work. He had this vision and he put in the work and I mean we have worked on projects from the south of Belize to northern Belize from Barranco to Sarteneja.”
Known affectionately by his initials, DJ, Jones was remembered by former colleagues and friends as someone who made them become better people by following his example. Lindo-Longsworth added that under Jones’s leadership at BEST, the organization was able to expand its micro credit program, providing funding for 2,000 low income individuals.
Michelle Lindo – Longsworth, Deputy Managing Director, BEST: “Funding became something that was not as easily available and he took the lead in writing projects, developing proposals. BEST had to transition from actually looking at donor funding to have to start bidding for projects and actually doing consultancies and so we actually had to really start in a sort of way earning our own income and I think that’s what he will leave with me. That you have to continue the work and it’s not easy to get these projects and to continue working with people and helping communities but that’s the mission of BEST and that’s what he would like to see us do and we will strive to continue doing.”
Jones’s extensive career in public service include stints on the Social Security Board, the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research (SPEAR), and the Belize Credit Union League. In his earlier years, he played multiple sports. He’s a graduate of the University of the West Indies. He’s survived by his wife, Candy and their three daughters, Danielle, Idahlia and Cheryl.