Tue | Mar 28, 2023
The Classics

Woman says she has no need for money

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2023 | 11:45 PM
The Star, Tuesday, January 30, 1962.

Family and friends of labourer Ina Heath were extremely shocked when she refused to collect funds she inherited from her brother. The woman, who was described as a peasant, said she did not have use for the fortune.

Published Tuesday, January 30, 1962

The Star


By The Saint

AT A LITTLE HILL VILLAGE in the "far west" of Jamaica, a small-bodied peasant woman of sixty-four, who ekes out a precarious living as a casual labourer on a banana plantation and on small farmers' fields, has refused to sign a document that will enable her to receive a legacy windfall of nearly €9.000.

The reluctant legatee is Miss Ina Heath, who takes turns at living at a friend's home in Claremont, Hanover, and at her niece's home, Retrieve, another village three or four miles away in the same parish.

Miss Heath's brother, Thomas Heath, died last year July in Chicago, USA, where he had lived for many years and amassed a sizeable fortune.

He left an estate valued at $75,000 and the estate was taken over by the Public Administrator, who tried to contact the deceased's next of kin.

Cyrus' role

It happened that Mr Bindley C. Cyrus, prominent Chicago attorney-at-law, had been a friend of the deceased and he succeeded in contacting two of Mr Heath's relatives in his home parish, Hanover. These relatives are Miss Heath, a sister, and Mrs Madeline Buck, a niece.

The decision was taken by the Public Administrator that Miss Heath should be given $25,000 (£8,750) from their brother's estate and documents were accordingly prepared and lodged with the authorities. These documents were in due course sent to Mr Jack Duffus, city solicitor, by Mr Cyrus.

Subsequently, Mr Cyrus came out to Jamaica, and armed with the papers, he journeyed to Hanover with a view to getting them signed by Miss Heath.

He found her in Claremont, told her his mission, and asked her to "sign on the dotted line."

To the attorney's surprise and great amazement, Miss Heath, who he had expected to receive the news of her good fortune with jubilation and sign the document with alacrity, merely grinned and declared that she was not interested.

Said she: "That money for me? I don't want it .... . Gve it to my niece. She needs it more than me. I not signing ... ."

The baffled attorney's efforts to get her to change her mind about the legacy proved futile and he had to leave her, with his mission unaccomplished.

Not in need


The STAR sent to see Miss Heath on Sunday and found her at her Claremont "residence". She told the STAR that she was not in need of money and was perfectly satisfied with her present position. "What I going do with all that money?

"Them say that me brother dead. Well, what de use? Don' him leave it and gone?" she argued, with a mischievous smile  , somewhat bony face.

Then at one stage she seemed to change her mind and said that she would sign for the benefit of her niece, Mrs Buck. There was, however ,no Justice of the Peace available to witness the executing of the document by her.

The reporter left with the impression that Miss Heath, who appears to be a whimsical, tantalising individual to whom money means nothing, might one day change her mind and sign the document for the benefit of Mrs Buck, who she says she loves much.

In the meantime, the relatives of Miss Heath and the villagers who have heard of her rejection of the fortune are quoting freely the Jamaican proverb: "Have-i' have-i' don't want i', and want-i' want-i' can't get I'.

Mr Basil Rowe ,Counsel, has been assisting Mr Cyrus at the local level.