Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Toots’ granddaughter sets the record straight - Calls for end to ‘selfish motives, agendas’

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:16 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Cressida Rattigan with her beloved grandfather, Toots Hibbert.
Cressida Rattigan with her beloved grandfather, Toots Hibbert.

Ever since the passing of reggae pioneer Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, various members of his family and the entertainment fraternity have paid heartfelt tribute to the legend on multiple platforms.

The most recent comes from his granddaughter, Cressida Rattigan. Even as she fondly remembered Toots as “the best grandfather who fathered me,” Rattigan made a plea. She asked that “all selfish motives and agendas be laid to rest so that Toots’ wishes may be achieved and executed, and that his name will be honoured respectfully”.

A final resting place for the Grammy Award-winning singer had been the subject of much controversy since his September 11 death, following complications due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Some members of the icon’s family have called for him to be buried in his birthplace of Treadlight district in Clarendon. It was hoped that a mausoleum would have been built, similar to that for Bob Marley, in Nine Mile, St Ann.

However, a decision was taken by Toots’ widow, Doreen, to inter his body temporarily at Dovecot. Those plans were abandoned when the burial order could not be found. Minister of Culture and Entertainment Olivia Grange then stepped in and offered the spot at National Heroes Park in Kingston, initially earmarked for cultural icon Charles Hyatt.

Rattigan briefly mentioned the situation which unfolded on Thursday, October 15, which led to the body of the internationally acclaimed singer being returned to the funeral home. She said that she wanted to set the record straight.

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE

According to Rattigan,”I was not a part of the planning or the organisation of the funeral service at Perry’s and later internment planned for Dovecot,” she said, “But [I] attended out of respect for my grandfather and the family. But what happened was a blessing in disguise, as I know that this was not the funeral service that my dearly beloved grandfather deserved.” She said that it was always her intention to honour her grandfather in every way possible, as his life and legacy was that of giving freely to others. “He was kind, caring and loving,” she continued.

Rattigan said that when Toots’ widow, children and other family members heard that the National Heroes Park would be made available, her family, as well as his fans all over the world, were overjoyed.

“The entire Hibbert family wishes to convey our deep and heartfelt gratitude to Minister Olivia Grange for being there for us, and giving us guidance and support as we dealt with the loss of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend and a great musician,” she added.

She also expressed gratitude to Charles Hyatt’s family for giving up the spot. “We deeply appreciate your kindness and your good deed, which will be imprinted on our hearts forever, and inscribed on the soul of the Hibbert family,” she said.

Rattigan said that Minister Grange could be assured of the family’s support for the plans to execute the send-off for Toots.

She shared that up to the time of his passing, Toots was in studio recording music and had just released Got to be Tough, which she believed was his parting gift to the family, and she shared some of the words:

“Got to be tough when things get rough

You got to be tough, and this is a warning

You got to be smart, living in this time

It’s not so easy to carry on.”

According to Rattigan, her grandmother Doreen and the family will continue to honour Toots’ legacy with dignity and pride. “We are grateful to Jamaica, the world, and to everyone who gave their support in prayers or deed. To his band members, his team in Jamaica and around the world, we appreciate all that you have done,” she said.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com