Munro College Old Boys Association

Derrick V. McKoy, CD


Derrick McKoy was born in Kingston in October 1951, but grew up closer to Munro, and closer to Munro’s climate, in cool Mandeville, Manchester. His mother was from Westmoreland, and although his father was from the Cayman Islands, his father had Jamaican roots. In fact, like Munro College founder Caleb Dickinson, Derrick can, through his father, trace part of his lineage back to the British invading force led by Penn and Venables in 1655.  


A Modest Munronian 

Derrick was one of four brothers who attended Munro, and he continued the tradition with his eldest son. He modestly claims he “limped along” in academic subjects while at Munro, but that must have been some limping, because after leaving in 1970 he got into the University of the West Indies and gained his Bachelor’s degree in law (honours) from the Cave Hill campus in 1973. He got married in that year, while still a student, and that young love has produced four children. 

The modesty continues. In sports, he describes himself as a “moderately capable” long distance runner, but nonetheless received colours for athletics. He also received colours for rifle shooting, and along with MCOBA President Arthur Williams, represented Munro at a drama festival in Kingston. 

The Lawyer 

After Cave Hill, he returned to Jamaica and the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, from where he graduated in 1976 and was called to the Jamaican bar in that year. This means that he has been a practicing lawyer in Jamaica for forty years. He won a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1978 and went to University College London and graduated with a master’s in law (LLM), specializing in comparative and international economic law.  

Not easily sated academically, he went on to accumulate even more qualifications over the years. Next came an MBA from Barry University in Miami, then a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, and then a PhD from the University of Leicester in the UK, where he specialized in law but did his thesis on public sector corruption. In addition to these qualifications, he has continued to invest in continuing education, participating in various local and international training courses. 

The Officer 

From 1991 to 1999 he made the time to become a Commissioned Officer in the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard as a member of the army reserve, where he served as a Spare Boat Lieutenant and Welfare Officer for the reserve members of the unit.  

 National Attention 

After serving as a founder and secretary of the Jamaica Chapter of Transparency International from 1997 to 1998, Derrick came to national attention, when he was appointed Jamaica’s third of four Contractors General in 1998, where he served with fearless distinction until 2005. In 1993 he had enjoyed a stint as a radio commentary presenter on legal issues, but it seems that it is his stint as Contractor General that most Jamaicans remember him for.  

He returned to more national attention in 2007, when he was promoted from member to Commissioner and Chairman of the Fair Trading Commission. Not as well-known is the fact that he had already helped create the Commission, since from 1991 to 1993, he was part of the legal team which gave advice to the then Ministry of Production, Mining and Commerce, which facilitated the passage of the Fair Competition Act and the establishment of the Fair Trade Commission.    


Critical as those two positions have been, however, there is much more to Derrick McKoy and his exemplary record of public service. Never forsaking his core professional calling, he has been a lawyer and a university lecturer in law for almost all his working life to date. Like the Top Gun pilot returning to flight school, he returned to the University of the West Indies as Dean of the Faculty of Law in 2012, serving in that capacity until earlier this year, and having served as Deputy Dean for a year before. He is a Justice of the Peace for St. Andrew and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. 

He has consulted with the Barbados-based Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) on competition policy in the Cariforum region, and his findings have been incorporated into the CARICOM regime. In 1998, while Contractor General, he consulted with the Office of Utilities Regulations Implementation Unit, and so helped to establish the Office of Utilities Regulation, OUR. 

His consultancies, like his sundry Directorships and plethora of publications, are indeed too numerous and varied to list, but perhaps worthy of special mention is his 2012 book, Corruption, Law, Governance and Ethics in the Commonwealth Caribbean, which perhaps should be required reading for everyone entering the public service in the Caribbean.         


On reflecting upon his own life and on life in general, Derick McKoy once mused that “…as much as anyone would like to think that he is self-created, no one is ever really his own man. We are very much creations of our families, schools, communities, and even our friends. Some of us have had our personalities beaten into shape, or perhaps even misshaped, by our colleges and our universities…I am sure that I made mistakes along the way, but I do not wish that I missed any of the experiences that I got at these institutions…After I left university, I arrived at the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard. This was more than a university…I would have paid good money for the education I got there for free…” 

As for Munro, he says, “…long before I arrived at university, my character was shaped, in part, by Munro College. I really believe that my experiences at Munro have been the defining part of my character and fear that type of education is increasingly denied to young men. I suspect too many believe that a boarding school education is just too expensive for developing countries…”       

On the sixth of August this year, for his outstanding record in law and public service, Derrick McKoy was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD). The investiture will take place later this month.  

For these and other reasons, Derrick McKoy has been inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame. 

Posted on: June 2nd, 2021