Wed | Dec 1, 2021

From Bob Marley to Reggae Boyz Pee Wee treated them all

Tributes pour in as Rastafarian doctor dies in Florida

Published:Monday | November 22, 2021 | 12:09 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Dr Carlton ‘Pee Wee’ Fraser (left) and Garath McCleary at the Jamaica National Football team in training at The University of the West Indies field in March 2013.
Dr Carlton ‘Pee Wee’ Fraser (left) and Garath McCleary at the Jamaica National Football team in training at The University of the West Indies field in March 2013.

Tributes are pouring in for Dr Carlton ‘Pee Wee’ Fraser, the Twelve Tribes of Israel member who was physician to many of the island’s entertainers, as well as the Reggae Boyz. He passed away at 4 a.m. on Sunday at the Florida Medical Center in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

The 74-year-old Fraser died from COVID-related complications at the hospital where he had been admitted one month ago, his lifelong friend, Allan ‘Skill’ Cole told The Gleaner.

Cole remembered him as a humanitarian.

“He was a special person. He was one of the most caring persons I have come across in life. I’ve seen patients come to him without money, and he fixes them up, writes a prescription and then goes into his own pocket and gives them money. He was a rare human being who gave it all to the people and asked for nothing,” Cole shared.

PATHS CROSSED AGAIN

Cole and Fraser go way back, as far as the 1960s when their paths crossed at the high-school level. Fraser was one of the top hockey players at Wolmer’s Boys, but he also played football, and it was at a practice match against Wolmer’s that the two first met. They would meet up again in 1965 while Fraser was at Howard University, and Cole, Jamaica’s star ‘baller, was in Washington.

“When Pee Wee finished his studies and came back home to Jamaica from university, I was the one who picked him up at the airport,” a distraught Skill Cole said.

“He was one of the militant supporters of the Black Power Movement and we, as young Rastafarians, saw in him someone who understood our ideals. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters and I met a guy who had the same outlook as myself and we spent a lot of time together,” Cole explained.

Artiste manager, Bridget Anderson, said that although her “friend Pee Wee” was living in Florida, he remained her physician.

“I spoke to him the Thursday and called him back the following day for some instructions on something he had told me to buy and I couldn’t get through to him. Then I was told that he was in hospital. We were all hoping that Pee Wee would have pulled through,” Anderson said.

Like Cole, she spoke about his generosity. “Funds was never an issue if you were ill. He also had the distinction of being Israel’s doctor [12 Tribes if Israel]. Pee Wee will be surely missed from the tribe of Joseph a fruitful bough.”

DOCTOR TO MANY

She noted that among the entertainers who had Fraser as their personal doctor were Marcia Griffiths, Tarrus Riley, Dean Fraser and the late Dennis Brown. He was also the personal physician of reggae icon Bob Marley, as well as a close friend who shared a love for football.

Fraser was, at one point, part of the Reggae Boyz medical team, and Roy Simpson, general manager, National Teams, unhesitantly gave the doctor his flowers.

“First of all, Pee Wee was one of those persons who gave everything and received less. I remember when he came as team doctor for the Reggae Boyz, he emphasised that the staff, too, needed to be treated. Pee Wee was willing to give anything he had to everybody. I was with him at his practice a couple times and I saw how people would just turn up and he would treat them without any payment. And when I asked, he would say, it’s okay because he was blessed.”

Simpson said that despite the fact that Fraser was no longer part of the programme, they kept a strong friendship.

“I knew that Pee Wee was ill because every month, he would tell me the colour for that month from the Joseph coat of many colours and I didn’t get one for November.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com