Funeral home distances itself from Toots' burial foul-up

Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment

Saturday, October 17, 2020

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CAMILLE Buchanan, public relations director at Perry's Funeral Home, is distancing her company from the foul-up which resulted in legendary reggae pioneer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert not being interred in Dovecot Memorial Park in St Catherine on Thursday.

“No man, ah nuh we! The burial order is only issued to the family members or the person who the family has given the authority to handle it. It is presented to the pastor. We only get a mere copy and that copy cannot bury him. Section 32 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act speaks to that,” Buchanan told the Jamaica Observer yesterday evening.

“It [the burial order] is the family's responsibility. It is something that we communicate with them and we issued a reminder on Tuesday. On the morning of the service, we asked the question: 'Do you have the order and the answer was: 'Yes',” she continued.

After Hibbert's farewell service at Perry's Funeral Home Chapel, the procession waited for hours at the St Catherine cemetery while Hibbert's family members frantically tried locating the burial order. His widow left for her Kingston home in an effort to locate it, but was unsuccessful. The search was eventually called off and the body returned to the funeral home.

According to Section 32 of Registration of Birth and Death Act, “Every certificate of the Registrar and every order for burial issued under this section shall be delivered to the person effecting the burial of the body of the deceased person, and any person to whom such certificate was given by the Registrar who fails so to deliver or cause to be delivered the same shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars.

“The body of a deceased person shall not be buried before a certificate of the Registrar or an order for burial issued under this section has been to the person effecting the burial...”

Perry's Funeral Home, located on Brunswick Avenue in Spanish Town, has been in operation since 2006.

On Friday, CEO of the Registrar General Department Charlton McFarlane presented another copy of the burial order to Doreen Hibbert, widow of the late singer.

“We're happy it has been resolved because it is in everyone's best interest that this musical icon has a seemless transition. As I'm aware, this has been an extremely difficult period for the family,” Buchanan told the Observer.

No new burial date has been set.

Toots Hibbert was frontman for veteran band Toots and the Maytals. The 77-year-old died of COVID-19 complications, on September 11, in the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew.

He was one of the 10 finalists in the recently concluded Jamaica Festival Song Competition — a contest he has won three times.

Formed in the 1960s, his band Toots and the Maytals helped popularise reggae music. The group's 1968 single Do The Reggay was the first song to use the word “reggae”, naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.

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