Toots Hibbert to be laid to rest at National Heroes Park

Days after his burial had to be abandoned, reggae legend Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert will finally be laid to rest at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

Reggae icon Toots Hibbert died on September 11.

Toots, who died on September 11, was scheduled to be interred at the Dovecot Memorial Gardens on Thursday following at service inside the chapel of Perry’s Funeral Home in St Catherine.

However, those plans had to be aborted when it was discovered that there was no permit to authorise his burial.

Luckily, on Saturday, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, revealed that Toots would now be buried at the National Heroes Park at a spot that was originally made available for late actor and broadcaster Charles Hyatt.

Suitable burial place

She explained, in a statement, that the Hyatt family had requested that the actor be buried at Heroes Park following his death in 2007. However, no space was available at the time, and he was interred at Meadowrest Memorial Park. When a spot did become available, Hyatt’s remains were supposed to be exhumed, but that did not happen.

“Given the current need for a suitable burial place for the late Toots Hibbert, the Hyatt family has generously consented to allow the reggae legend to be interred in the final burial spot in the section for cultural icons in National Heroes’ Park,” Grange said.

Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange

She continued: “I have received the approval of Prime Minister Andrew Holness to proceed with plans for the interment of Toots Hibbert in National Heroes Park. I deeply appreciate the consideration of the Hyatt family in this matter. Toots is without question one of the pioneers of reggae music. He has even been credited with giving the genre its name. He is a national treasure whose humble demeanour and affable personality belied his towering global stature. Interment in National Heroes Park will suitably memorialise his contribution to Jamaica and reignite the unity in his family, among his peers and his fans which is required at this time.”

She also said that the current situation highlights the need for a memorial park for the interment of cultural icons. She said that a concept has already been developed and a location has been identified.

With a number of things out of the way, she said that the next step is to go to Cabinet with a proposal that includes a design for the space and a budget.