The entertainment fraternity is in mourning over the passing of Oneil Edwards, a member of the dancehall trio, Voicemail. Oneil, who was shot on May 9, succumbed to his injuries yesterday afternoon, while a patient in the Kingston Public Hospital.
Immediately following his shooting, artistes had united for vigils at the Mandela Park in Half-Way-Tree and then at the KPH. Chief convener of the vigils, Mr Vegas, noted at the time that "the reason so many artistes have turned out at such short notice is simply because Oneil is a good guy. He isn't mixed up, he doesn't sing gun lyrics and he doesn't preach violence. The fact that this has happened to Oneil means that it could happen to any one of us."
When contacted by the Observer yesterday, Mr Vegas was in mourning.
"It's just real sad," Vegas said. "Craig, Alaine, Natel and I were at a video shoot for a tribute song to Oneil. It's a remix of the song Can't Even Walk, produced by me and Mikey Bennett. Craig had just done an interview and told the reporter that Oneil was doing better and five minutes later I got a BB message that Oneil was dead. I don't know what to say ... maybe my faith in God just wasn't strong enough," a sorrowful Mr Vegas related.
"Alaine broke down instantly ... we had to abandon the video shoot because we were all in tears. Perhaps God is showing us a sign," he said, on the verge of tears.
Deejay Macka Diamond, who was among the artistes as the vigil at the KPH, was equally filled with grief.
"We nah question God and we nah fly inna God face, but God know, me really feel it. Last night, me dream say Kartel come to me and tell me say take the show, 'because if you don't take the show hungry a go kill me'. And I get up this morning hoping that nothing bad happen to Kartel, because I know my dreams. And then later I get the call that Oneil dead. And when I look back on the dream, I realise that it was really Oneil me see ... with him hair out ... and not Kartel," Macka said.
"We just haffi look on this as a lesson and know that we can't go on as before," she concluded.
Meanwhile, reacting to the news, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, said she was deeply saddened. "We were all hoping and praying for Oneil's recovery. I share the deep sadness of his family, friends, group members and the wider entertainment fraternity. Oneil loved to entertain and he will be missed.
"Even as he mourn his passing, we must resolve to do all we can to stop the violence that is robbing us of young men such as Oneil," a release from her office stated.
Oneil Edwards was shot several times and critically injured at his home in Duhaney Park. One of his assailants has since been found dead and another held by police. A third remains at large. Born May 8, 1974, O'Neil a new father, is survived by his six-week-old daughter, his life partner, his mother, five sisters and four brothers.