Bunny Wailer's lawyer clears the air
Bunny Wailer

DAVID Baram, the New York-based attorney-at-law representing Bunny Wailer's Solomonic Productions Ltd, said that a commitment was made with the administrators at Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston for an outstanding bill of $5.27 million to be settled.

According to the lawyer, the tab will be paid from the proceeds of a music licensing deal with VP Records.

Despite the recent outburst by Wailer's family members, Baram believes that the commitment will be honoured if a deal can be hammered out at the 11th hour among the board members of Solomonic Productions.

“The money necessary for the hospital bill to be paid will have to come from the licensing agreement which was made with Solomonic Productions and VP before Bunny passed,” Baram told the Jamaica Observer.

“It is still possible, however, some members of the board of directors are not comfortable going forward. The record company is anxious to move forward, but until there is a consensus with the board, then the deal is in limbo,” he continued.

He declined to name or quantify the board members.

Several family members of the late reggae singer released a joint statement claiming that Bunny Wailer was being “held hostage”, as they were unable to get a death certificate from the hospital due to an outstanding bill owed to the facility.

Maxine Stowe, manager/caregiver of the late reggae icon, said for a period of 29 months Bunny Wailer racked up medical expenses totalling a whopping US$615,000 ($92 million).

According to documents obtained by the Jamaica Observer, the reggae singer was under medical care from May 2016, when he got ill while on tour in the United States. He suffered his first stroke two years later.

“His most increased costs started in October 2018 when he got his first stroke, until his transition in March 2021. That's 29 months of doctor/hospitalisation,” Stowe told the Observer.

Stowe said that during the period between October 2018 to July 2020, the monthly medical bill averaged US$15,000, and then after the second stroke in July 2020, the costs associated with eight months critical care in a private facility mushroomed to US$30,000, which included the cost of private doctors and nurses to provide round-the-clock treatment.

Stowe said other medical costs included physical and neurological therapies.

“In May to June 2020, when Sister Jean went missing, he had a seizure, and he was in a private facility for seven to 10 days. We were in Cuba for two months at a neurologic restoration programme that cost US$25,000 per month plus airfare, the costs just kept ballooning and ballooning, sometimes my head hurt me for days, sometimes I couldn't sleep, it was challenging to keep up with this crazy whirlwind of bills,” she said.

Sister Jean refers to Jean Watt, Wailer's partner for more than 50 years.

Bunny Wailer (given name Neville Livingston) died in the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston on March 2. The 73-year-old had been admitted to that facility since mid-December.

Hailing from Trench Town, Bunny Wailer was an original member of The Wailers, which also comprised Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, while Tosh was killed at his St Andrew home on September 11, 1987.

His albums include the outstanding Blackheart Man, released in 1976, and Rock 'n' Groove which came out five years later. His hit songs include Cool Runnings, Ballroom Floor, Crucial and Rock 'n' Groove.

In 2017, the Jamaican Government conferred on Bunny Wailer the Order of Merit, the country's fourth highest honour. The Government again recognised his contribution to Jamaican music in February 2019 with a Reggae Gold Award.

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