Saturday 24 October, 2020

No 'country road' for Toots; reggae icon to be buried at Dovecot

In this July 13, 2019 file photo, Toots Hibbert performs with the Maytals in Grass Valley, California. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

In this July 13, 2019 file photo, Toots Hibbert performs with the Maytals in Grass Valley, California. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

There will be a private funeral service for global music icon Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert on Thursday at 11am at the chapel at Perry's Funeral Home on the outskirts of Spanish Town, St Catherine. Members of the public have not been invited to attend. 

Hibbert's body will then be interred at Dovecot Memorial Park in the southeastern parish.

Toots died at the University Hospital of the West Indies last month, 12 days after being admitted after contracting COVID-19. He was 77.

Members of the Hibbert clan in Clarendon took the news with equanimity even though they had expressed hope that Toots would have returned home via "the country road" to be buried in the district of Treadlight in May Pen

"I didn't know about the funeral, I wasn't invited. We had made an agreement to bury my uncle in May Pen and we have been waiting to see the grave start build, but nothing. If his wife doesn't want him to come home, and she wants him to go to Dovecot, we can do nothing about that," Wilbert Hibbert, the oldest-surviving male of the Hibbert clan, said. 

"I have nothing bad to say, anything God wants to happen, that is what is going to happen. God knows best."

Wilbert said that he will not be attending the funeral on Thursday. 

"The old people have a saying: 'where no dogs are invited no bones are provided'. No disrespect but I will not go where I was not invited," Hibbert said.

Since the singer's death, there has been an outpouring of support for the 54-46 singer with tributes from music stars like Ziggy Marley, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Massive Attack and many others who took to social media to pay tribute to the Toots & the Maytals frontman.

There is an online petition seeking the induction of Hibbert into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. It is a joint initiative between Mike Pawka of the niceup.com website in San Diego, California and reggae historian Roger Steffens.

Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff are the only Jamaican and reggae acts in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame which was established in 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio. Marley was inducted in 1994 while Cliff got his place in 2010.

Hall of Fame stipulations require that, “Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.”

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