Noel Thompson, Freelance Writer
MONTEGO BAY-based real estate mogul, Joe Whitter, has dispelled recent rumours about his death.
Mr. Whitter and wife, Angella, said he did suffer two heart attacks at his Fairfield home last Friday.
Claiming that he wanted to allay fears and to set the record straight, Mr. Whitter confirmed, in a telephone interview, that he and his wife had arrived back in Jamaica Wednesday.
"I was at home last Friday when I encountered chest pains. I telephoned my doctor and he said that I should rush up to the Cornwall Regional Hospital.
On arrival there, the doctors told me it was a slight heart attack and were contemplating transferring me to a Kingston-based hospital, but I told them I had three surgeons in the US.
"Arrangements were made and I was immediately air-bused to the South Miami Hospital. The following morning I had a successful operation. Someone may have seen me lying on the stretcher at the hospital and thought I was dead and blew it out of proportion," Mr. Whitter said.
Mrs. Whitter told The Gleaner: "He had a angioplasty surgery where they opened the arteries that were blocked. He eats well, so it could have been anything that brought on the attack."
"He is recuperating now. Nothing is farther from the truth that he had died. People had just misconstrued and should have checked the facts before getting other people hyped up."
"It was even announced at the Holy Trinity Church in Montego Bay, where he attends, that he had passed on. We just want to say Joe Whitter is alive and well," she stated. Mrs. Whitter said doctors have recommended that he should rest for at least a week.
The Whitters said since they arrived in Montego Bay Wednesday morning, they have been inundated with telephone calls from local and overseas associates, as people wanted to find out when the funeral would be.
"But the good Lord is not ready for me as yet," Mr. Whitter said.
Mr. Whitter, who owns several acres of land in and around Montego Bay, had had numerous fall-outs with both government and local residents concerning his land. Chief among them was the March 11, 1994 mass demonstration at Flankers in Montego Bay.
This was one of the worst public disorders Montego Bay had seen in recent years, which resulted in massive roadblocks, the partial shutdown of the Sangster International Airport and the city, the burning down of his Trans Caribbean office, among several other incidents.
Then Police Commissioner, Colonel Trevor McMillan, had to fly to Montego Bay by helicopter in a bid to bring back some semblance of order, and publicly announced that Inspector Steadman Roach had been suspended effective immediately. Mr. Roach, who is now retired, had led a demolition exercise at Providence Heights, Flankers, which resulted in the protest. He was reinstated sometime later.