By Horace Mills, Journalist
It was an energetic and emotional send-off for Romario West, the murdered fashion enthusiast touted as one of St Catherine’s most acclaimed party promoters.
The funeral service on Sunday pulled a relatively large crowd of mainly young people from West’s hometown of Point Hill in St Catherine, and from neighbouring communities such as Lluidas Vale.
There was a minor earthquake, intermittent rainfall, weeping, fainting spell, glowing tributes, and – yes, a lizard scare beside the glass-top casket in which West lay in a white suit.
People watched from buildings and sidewalks as the white hearse – a Hummer with Dancehall music blaring, crawled on rural roadways following proceedings at Duxes Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Enroute to the family plot, the hearse stopped to create a party atmosphere at the gate to the home where West lived.
That’s the same area where a relative, on Sunday morning, July 22, last saw West alive, along with 20-year-old Daniel Jones who was otherwise called Gaza.
Hours later, the bullet-riddled bodies of West and Jones were found on Barry main road – more than a mile from the gate where the two were last seen hanging out after they returned from a party.
It’s not clear how the men reached where their bodies were found, considering that West’s Toyota Isis motorcar was at his home. The two apparently died together; Jones was buried days ahead of West.
Don’t judge my nephew
Christopher O’Connor, who spoke about West inside the packed church on Sunday, tried to sum up his 24-year-old nephew’s deep impact.
“He might have been young, but he left a lifetime of memories. This generation here today will keep your name alive,” he posited.
The uncle said West was called ‘Papa’ because of his mature disposition at a tender age, and he was called ‘Moggler’ because of his penchant for fashion.
He did not only wear fashion; he launched his clothing line weeks before being murdered.
West also loved football and was highly competitive, the uncle said.
He added: “One thing I can tell you is this: he was very competitive. He always wanted to be considered the best. Even when you taught him something, he will let you know he surpassed you. Such competitiveness transcended into different arenas; one such arena is fashion.”
O’Connor does not think people should judge his nephew.
“No one here today is fit to judge him but God himself…” he told persons inside the church.
West, who worshipped at the church where the funeral service took place, was baptized when he was a child – so young that his mother Lorraine Thomas initially objected to the baptism.
“But life changed drastically for Papa (West),” said Marlene Muirhead, who presented the eulogy on behalf of her brother Roy Pottinger, West’s uncle.
Muirhead suggested that the ‘drastic’ change to West’s life happened after his mother died in a motor vehicle crash on september 25, 2007.
“His mom died in a tragic accident that turned his life upside down,” she told the gathering. West was 13 at the time.
“Now he is with his beautiful mom once again laughing… We are left here grieving while he is having the time of his life,” Muirhead said.
She noted that West worked hard to – as he would say – rise from nothing to something.
“Papa was very ambitious and was always trying to make his life a little better,” Muirhead declared.
West attended Point Hill Leased Primary, Jose Marti Technical High, Lluidas Vale Vocational Training Centre, and Distinction College.
“He was a quick learner and always tried to do his best,” added Muirhead.
West’s aunt, Pauline James, spoke highly of the deceased.
While she read the ‘Second Lesson’, however, she screamed and shifted position behind the lectern because a lizard popped up beside the casket.
The lizard scare wasn’t a big deal for many people.
Persons appeared more concerned about the rainfall as well as the mud created in a seemingly must-go-to section of the family plot.
Meanwhile, police officers kept a close eye on the happenings, but there wasn’t much for them to do to a gathering repeatedly commended for good behaviour.