Colin Steer, in his opinion piece "Well, whose funeral is it?" (February 22), reminds us, correctly, that funeral rites were intended to be an occasion for contemplation on the reality which everyone must face. It is symptomatic of where we have reached in a "new culture" however, that it could be even suggested by another of your writers that the last wishes of an individual should be overturned to pander to popular need for a big splash, as is the case with criticism of the funeral arrangements for the late Prof Rex Nettleford. So, not everybody could fit into the chapel but the crowds which came were enormous by any count.
The UWI authorities and the Government quite rightly did not yield to the pressure "to give the people what they want". Not everyone wants to be remembered by pushing, shoving crowds at the National Arena or around a National Heroes Park graveside. Prof Nettleford had long ago advised friends and family of his desire. Never mind that it was out of love, let us say, why the people wanted to see him in an open casket and a big session at the arena. He had the right to choose how he would like to be remembered.
The heirs and successors of Louise Bennett should not have to be made to feel guilty because they carried out her wishes to return her mortal remains to the Coke Chapel, where she and her family had found solace and peace over their many years of worship. It is crazy that this is still being trotted out for judgement.
Persons close to Prof Nettleford knew how much he valued quiet dignity over "nuff and plenty". If we really honour him, as so many are claiming to do, then let him rest in peace. There will always be more time for ostentation for those who are just dying to be the centre of attraction. Be patient. Your turn will come.
I am, etc.,