Final date set for Holt Funeral
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
Many were expecting to pay their final respects to reggae singer John Holt this weekend but may have to wait a few more days, as there have been more changes to the original funeral plans.
According to Tracey Hamilton, a spokesperson for the family, the new date for the funeral service is Monday, November 17. The National Indoor Sports Centre was the venue the family was hoping to host the service, but circumstances beyond their control also led to alterations surrounding that plan.
"That's where the family wanted it (the funeral) to be, but there were a few problems in making the final arrangements re booking, and so the venue was changed," Hamilton revealed.
The service is now scheduled to take place at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. There have been no changes regarding the burial site, which is still set for the Dovecot Memorial Park.
Other plans for the funeral includes a one-hour musical tribute organised by Lloyd Parkes from the popular Lloyd Parkes and We the People Band to be held before the funeral service. Several entertainers are expected to pay homage to the late reggae singer, including Freddie McGregor, Tinga Stewart, Errol Dunkley, George Nooks, Ken Boothe, Derrick Harriott, Luciano, and Karen Smith. Holt's son, John Holt Jr, is also expected to pay tribute with a performance. The musical tribute is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., and the thanksgiving service at 11:30 a.m.
The dπoors will open to the public from 9 a.m., and the body will be available for viewing during this time. The family has also requested that members of the public wear cheerful colours to the funeral, as the service is a celebration of Holt's life and legacy.
There have been speculations that the funeral arrangements have been stalled due to financial constraints, but Hamilton told The Gleaner that the family is doing everything they can. While she didn't deny these speculations, she revealed that people might be reading too much into the changes.
"When someone dies suddenly, it will always be difficult to finalise plans, especially when the person is a well-known reggae artiste like John," she said. "The family is doing all they can to give him the best possible send-off, and several outlets, including the Jamaican Government and royalty companies overseas, have reached out to them during this time."
Having fallen ill at the One Love Festival in August, Holt died on October 20 at the Wellington Hospital in London. He was 69. The cause of death was confirmed to be cancer-related. He is survived by his wife, Merl, and 23 children.
Holt found fame as part of the reggae group The Paragons, but got his big break as a solo act in the 1970s. His catalogue of hits includes Stick By Me, If I Were A Carpenter, Stealing, and A Love I Can Feel.