The funeral for the founding fathers of reggae music, Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, was stalled on eve of the planned service after no could find the burial permit as the body made its way to the Dovecot Memorial Gardens in St. Catherine, in Jamaica.
It followed concerns from family members who were disappointed at him being laid to rest outside his hometown. Hibbert’s daughter Jenieve Bailey, previously announced the decision to have her father’s body to be laid to rest in May Pen, in Clarendon, where other family members were buried.
Toots’ nephew, Wilbert, said: “The whole family agreed for him to come back home to where his mother, father, three brothers and sister are buried. He needs to take the country road back to the place where he belongs. You don’t need anything plainer than that.”
But just days before the planned date of burial, the announcement was made about a change in the place of rest.
In defending his stance he went on: “He sings about the country road in one of his biggest songs, and he is always visiting us down here. He never left us out.”
He went on: “From the time Miss Doreen (Toots’ widow) and some of the children came down here and chose the land, we didn’t hear a word. No grave digging was going on down here and everybody — my mother, sisters and aunt — were asking me what is happening?”
The day of the burial saw the planned procession, with a private service for close family members which took place at Perry’s Funeral Home chapel.
Hibbert’s body was transported to Dovecot Memorial Gardens, but no one in attendance possessed the burial certificate, which is usually provided by the Registrar General Department when receiving a signed death certificate.
Without a signed burial order, the body cannot be placed in the grave.
Following the family being unable to provide the relevant documents, Toots’ body was returned to the funeral home.
The reggae legend, 77, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies after reporting concerns with his breathing before later passing away as a result of challenges brought on by COVID-19 last month.