Rex should have been cremated here!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Kindly allow me space to express on behalf of the common Jamaicans how sad we are to learn through our daily news that the body of our beloved professor had been cremated and will be returning to us in an urn. Professor the Hon Rex Nettleford was not known personally to many of us ordinary Jamaicans but his name was legacy enough to endear us to him.
It was only today (8/2/2010) that I jokingly said to a fellow worker that I would be ushering at his funeral and, because I was so convincing, he actually believed that I had secured a place in this coveted procession. Can you therefore imagine how I felt when I tuned in to get information on the planning of the funeral and was greeted with the news that he was cremated in the United States and that his remain would be flown to his beloved Jamaica in an urn?
I cannot touch the depth of this man's ability, his contribution to the nation and nation building, the legacy that he alone accorded this island, my Jamaica. It is therefore upon this and more that I felt that his final departure should have included more of his ordinary Jamaicans. His course was charted by those many Jamaicans who paved the way for him, and as he aptly points out, he was just lucky to be in the company of those stalwarts. Therefore, Prof Nettleford might have given command that upon his demise his body should be burnt and, if that is so, that would be within his rights, but I cannot see the rationale of doing it in America.
I believe that he should have lie in state here at the National Arena where ordinary Jamaicans like myself could have got an opportunity to say their final farewell. I believe that if it was his desire to be cremated it should have been done right here on Jamaican soil.
Prof Nettleford instilled in us all the saying that we should be proud of who we are, and did so with fierce dignity. He knew that there were still inroads to conquer and barriers to break. He beat the odds and this was part of the legacy in which we could have used our one minute to file pass his coffin and declare that we could keep alive.
Why is it that in the end a man who excelled, breaking barriers/frontiers and yet remained humble in all his accomplishments was not brought back to us to say our goodbyes? I feel cheated, lost, disillusioned by the powers that be. I am angry because again you've taken from us grass-roots Jamaicans the final tread to greatness. This was truly our black legacy, spanning Jamaica, the Caribbean, the world. This man truly belonged to the massive.
You have taken our rights to say goodbye in a befitting manner, as only we Jamaicans can to a giant Jamaican. I feel and truly believe that other Jamaicans feel the same, that being cremated after our last farewell would not have robbed his wish for bowing out as he pleased in his style.
May I ask the powers that be - WHY?
I am, etc.,