'A great day' for Toots
Despite the morning sun beating down on him, sweat beads lining his forehead, Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert was a happy man.
"Today is a great day," he said, as another set of old friends jostled for a picture with the entertainer. Hibbert was yesterday made a member of the Order of Jamaica (OJ). He was previously made a member of the Order of Distinction, Officer Class, but this honour was just as sweet.
"It's been something real special for me and my family," he said with a smile. "I never expect all these things."
He wasn't surprised that people, even the young, know his music.
"When I perform anywhere, not just Jamaica, the 16, 17-year-olds, everybody come to see me and they learn from me."
He said himself, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and other reggae acts from that time merely wanted to spread the music to as many areas as possible.
"The young ones of today have to learn from us. It's truly a great thing to be here today," he said. Hibbert's wife, Doreen, was also over the moon at the conferment.
"I'm not surprised people still remember him. He's a very nice person."
His granddaughter Cressida Rattigan was pleasantly surprised that after decades in the industry, the people still love and revere 'Toots'.
"It's just a great feeling to see him get the award, especially when it's coming from the Jamaican people. To be here to see this happening for him, is just great."
Family friend Pamela Watson, who was busily snapping away with her digital camera, chimed in.
"It's even more special that he's alive to see it. He can smell the roses," she laughed. As for their favourite Toots song, Rattigan had little trouble selecting just one.
"There are so many but definitely 54-46," she said.