Late reggae icon Toots Hibbert is finally getting the send off he deserves.
Fans and family members of the late Toots Hibbert were not pleased with the botched attempt to have his body buried in the Dovecot Memorial Park in St. Catherine last Thursday. Thankfully, they should be able to now breathe a bit easier following the government’s decision to bury the icon in Jamaica’s National Heroes Park. In what could be seen as a move to also appease his family and friends, a monument of the reggae pioneer will also be erected in his hometown of May Pen.
Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange made the announcement in a recent press release. She explained that it was the government’s belief that the last remaining space had been used, but recent checks revealed that space, which was reserved for the late actor, media personality Charles Hyatt was never used. Hyatt’s family, who is in control of the empty lot, has agreed to offer up the burial spot body to the Hibbert family. The re-internment of Charles Hyatt’s remains has now been scheduled for a later date following the completion of another Memorial Park, which will be suitable for cultural icons.
“At the time of his death in January 2007, the family of our dear Charles Hyatt had requested that he be buried in National Heroes Park, but they were told that there were no more spaces available and he was instead interred at the Meadowrest Memorial Park in St. Catherine,” said Grange.
“It was later discovered that there was one final burial space available in the relevant section at National Heroes Park and the government went back to the family who decided that they would exhume Mr Hyatt’s remains and re-inter them in National Heroes Park,” the Cultural Mister further explained about the lot which remained unused.
Along with the consent of the Hyatt family, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also approved Toots’ burial in the National Park.
“He is a national treasure whose humble demeanor and affable personality belied his towering global stature. Interment in National Heroes Park will suitably memorialize his contribution to Jamaica and reignite the unity in his family, among his peers and his fans which is required at this time,” expressed Grange while lauding his work as one of the great reggae icons.
As for the new burial area to be constructed, Grange said, “we have developed a concept, identified a location where the relevant tests, including soil testing, have been completed. We will now move to develop the designs and budget to present a detailed proposal to the Cabinet.”
While the body of Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert will not be transported back to his community of Treadlight, where his other family members are buried, his family may indeed appreciate the monument which will be constructed to signal his presence.