Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Minister Grange in disbelief over driver’s death - Four losses over the last few days

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2020 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Recording artiste Feluke.
Recording artiste Feluke.
GRANGE
GRANGE
Raymond Roman
Raymond Roman
Beenie Man and Mama Lilieth.
Beenie Man and Mama Lilieth.
Minister Grange and Toots.
Minister Grange and Toots.
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Minister of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, is in disbelief as she mourns the death of her driver, Raymond Roman, who served in that capacity for decades. Reports are that Roman, who had been hospitalised with an undisclosed ailment, was well on the road to recovery when he suddenly passed away on Saturday.

Roman was 49.

Minister Grange made the announcement on social media on Sunday in the form of a letter. “Dear Raymond, I am still in disbelief that you are gone. You were here just yesterday, and now, suddenly, you are gone. You always say ‘maam me love you ... you know you can depend on me’... yes, Raymond, I know that and I love you too. Don’t worry. No one else can take your place in my heart, Raymond Roman,” she posted, along with photos.

There has since been an outpouring of condolences for the popular Roman, who many remembered for his humour and humility and always being marked present whenever the minister was on assignment. Miss World Toni-Ann Singh stated: “Raymond was so wonderful, kind and funny! I will never forget the short time we spent together. I am sending your family all my love, Aunty Babsy.”

Minister of Health and Wellness Chris Tufton, Macka Diamond, Ce’Cile, Tara Playfair and caterer Jacqui Tyson all added their words of comfort. “Oh no! This cannot be. He was like your angel – silent and strong – such a gentleman,” Tyson said.

It has been a challenging last few days for Minister Grange as she travelled the road offering her condolences. Last Thursday, she released an official statement following the death of musician Feluke. “It really breaks my heart. I am saddened that he lost the battle with cancer after fighting like a Trojan against the dreaded disease,” she said.

On Friday, Grange reached out to dancehall kingpin Beenie Man, who lost his mother. “I am saddened to hear of your mom’s passing. My deepest condolences, and I will be keeping you in my prayers. Mama Lilieth, sleep in peace!” Grange said.

Then, on Saturday, she was paying tribute to her beloved friend, reggae icon Toots Hibbert. “It is truly a sad day. Toots is gone! Our hearts are broken. Love you, Toots. #RiseUpJamaicans.

Another post on Sunday also remembered the legendary singer and musician. “I can’t adequately express how much this hurts. Toots was a product of the west Kingston cultural movement, and I have known him for decades. I remained very optimistic that he would pull through, but it didn’t end that way. I am praying and sending thoughts of hope and strength to his wife and family. Jamaica is grateful for his life and work and the contribution he made to the development of reggae music,” Minister Grange said.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com