Late Reggae Icon Toots Hibbert Funeral Derailed Amid Family Drama

Toots Hibbert

Toots Hibbert funeral did not go as planned amid some family drama.

Funeral services for one of the founding fathers of reggae music, Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, hit a snag on Thursday, after no one in attendance of the funeral could locate the burial permit following the body making the journey to the Dovecot Memorial Gardens in St. Catherine. This comes following concerns from family members who expressed their disappointment at the singer being laid to rest outside his hometown. Late last month, Toots’ daughter Jenieve Bailey announced the decision to have her father’s body sleep peacefully in May Pen Clarendon, where other family members were buried.

“The whole family agrees 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,” said Wilbert Hibbert, Toots’ 59-year-old nephew at the time.

Sadly, with mere days before the planned date of burial on October 15, it was announced that there would be a change in the singer’s place of rest.

“He sings about the country road in one of his biggest songs, and he is always visiting us down here. Him never leave us out,” said Wilbert as he reiterated his stance on Toots Hibbert’s proposed burial spot. “But from Miss Doreen dem [Toots’ widow and some of the children] come down here and choose the land couple weeks now, we don’t hear not a word. No grave digging not going on down here and everybody in Treadlight — my mother, sisters, my aunt — ah ask me what is happening.”

The day of the burial saw everything going as planned, with a private service involving close family members taking place at Perry’s Funeral Home chapel. Toot’s body was then transported to Dovecot Memorial Gardens in the same parish, where it was then noticed that no one in attendance possessed the burial certificate, which is usually provided by the Registrar General Department upon the obtainment of a signed death certificate.

“Nobody in the family had the burial order in their possession and without a signed burial order, the body cannot be placed in the grave,” one source told The Gleaner.

Toots Hibbert’s body was returned to Perry’s Funeral Home following the family’s inability to provide the needed documents.

Hibbert was born in the Treadlight district in May Pen, however, relocated to the musical Mecca of Trench Town following the passing of his parents while he was still a young boy.

The 77-year-old was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies after reporting concerns with his breathing. The reggae legend would later pass away as a result of challenges brought on by COVID-19 on September 11.