'High respect for Sir Howard'
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
The usually busy streets of downtown Kingston was almost brought to a standstill yesterday as persons turned out to pay their last respects to the former governor general of Jamaica, Sir Howard Cooke, who was laid to rest at the National Heroes' Park in Kingston.
Persons peeked through the windows of their business places and homes while others lined the streets taking photos, having discussions and watching the procession as it travelled slowly from the Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street in Central Kingston to the National Heroes' Park.
"People like Mr Cooke always look out for the youth. I hope him get a good send-off," said one resident who was looking on from the gates of Kingston College, located across from the church.
Yvette Riley, a resident of Portmore, St Catherine, said she would never forget the first time she met Sir Howard Cooke.
"I remember when my leg broke some time ago and I was at KPH (Kingston Public Hospital). He was visiting the hospital and when he saw my leg, he reached down and touched mi foot. I was so shocked because I never know that he would reach out to me in that manner, and from that day, I had high respect for him," she recalled.
"A work mi fi deh and all now mi nuh reach because I have to pay my last respect. Men like him help to build the strong foundation of the country, dem live a good life and dem know how to reach the poorer class," she said.
Persons from surrounding communities in central Kingston were even more excited to view members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and other marching bands as they made their way to the National Heroes' Park.
Many residents shouted the names of their favourite politicians and other dignitaries, as they made their way to the burial site.
"A di boss dat inno," one person exclaimed after seeing popular attorney-at-law and Senator, K.D Knight.
In the meantime, Dr Marion Bullock Ducasse, director of emergency, disaster management and special services at the Ministry of Health, said though there were minor incidents everything was under control.
"Our staff has been on the ground from morning and they are still busy at work. The sun is hot and persons are dehydrated so we had a few persons who experienced minor incidents but it's nothing that we couldn't manage," she said.
Major Basil Jarrett, head of Media Affairs at the JDF, had high praises for those who participated in the day's activities.
"Sir Howard Cooke had a lot of respect for the JDF and so we had to ensure that we did our best, and I think overall, we had a good day. I don't know of any glitches so far," he declared.