The police’s decision to abruptly stop a pre-burial ceremony for Dexton Brown, also called ‘Lloydie’, did not go down well with some mourners, who descended on San San square in Croft’s Hill, Clarendon, to pay their last respect to a man they loved.
Brown, 60, died in a motor vehicle crash in Croft’s Hill on the afternoon of February 7, 2021.
He was traveling in the front passenger seat of the car when it, while negotiating a corner, crashed into a parked car and overturned.
The incident sent grief throughout Croft’s Hill, where Brown worked as a security guard at the Western Union outlet located at a hardware across from his house in San San square.
His corpse, on June 3, was brought back to his community for burial amid national restrictions, which are aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Among the restrictions is that burials should not last beyond 30 minutes, and no more than 15 people should be in attendance.
That did not stop more than 100 people from showing up – some attired in white T-Shirts bearing Brown’s portrait.
Persons gathered in four main locations, including under a relatively large tent, where the viewing and a pre-burial ceremony took place.
During the ceremony, one of Brown’s former classmates, Lenworth Douglas, also known as ‘Lenny’, described his late friend as a decent man.
“I remember vividly, Dexton and I went to Croft’s Hill [Primary] School 1967. We sat together in the same bench,” he said.
“We had good times together at Croft’s Hill [Primary] School and in Croft’s Hill until he went to America. Unfortunately, when he returned from America and I met him, he did not remember me, but I remember him. It took him some time to remember me. I am really saddened by his passing. He was a very jovial person – a wonderful person.”
Douglas further commented: “I am happy that Dexton was not cut down by gunmen, and he was not cut down by policemen, but it is an accident. So I say to the wife and all of us mourning the loss of Lloydie, be strong, be courageous, and I hope and trust that he is resting in peace.”
Following Douglas’ tribute, four male officers from Croft’s Hill Police Station showed up at the residence and ordered an end to the pre-burial ceremony. There was no time for the eulogy and sermon to be done.
Persons at the location accused the Croft’s Hill Police of being selective in their enforcement of laws regarding funerals at this time.
But the police, who said they were called to the location, reportedly were concerned mainly about the size of the crowd along the major roadway in the centre of San San district.
Amid the controversy, pall bearers took the casket from beneath the tent to the family plot at the back of Brown’s house.
While at the grave-side, Pastor Peter Lopez, who presided over the burial, told the gathering: “As hard as it is, all we can do is give God thanks for the life of Dexton Brown.
“Where we are now in the history of the world [in light of the COVID-19 pandemic], we can’t mourn as well as we used to. We can’t express ourselves as well as we used to. But we can at least say that it was good that we were able to be here with him (Dexton Brown),” the clergyman further commented.
A number of Brown’s friends hung out at the grave-side after interment. They chatted, drank liquor, part-took of the relatively large amount of food cooked, and reminisced about time spent together before death intervened.
They singled out an indigent man, Michael Wright, better known as ‘Mikey’, whom they said the late Brown cared for and was close to.
The high-spirited Wright, who agreed that Brown took good care of him, said: “He is a good person.”
Another man, Claude Reid, who is a friend and former co-worker of the late Brown, commented: “Lloydie was a good smaddy. Everybody usually walk up and down with Lloydie and drink [liquor] with Lloydie.”
The late Brown was also lauded by Angella Ellis, better known as ‘Miss Lu-Lu’, who operates a shop relatively close to where Brown lived in San San square. She recalls both of them hanging out and drinking liquor on many Sunday mornings.
“He is not a man who give any problem; him encouraging to everybody in the area; him a wi friend,” she told The Beacon. “Lloydie is very loving man, and him missing, and may his soul rest in peace.”
Members of the family, in the meantime, also spoken highly of Brown.
“Lloydie was not always a man of words, but his actions spoke volumes,” said Jannett Allen, cousin of the deceased. She, due to the police clampdown, did not get an opportunity to present a written tribute in which a number of relatives remember Brown in a good light.
Brown is survived by his wife, three children, one step-son, and several other relatives and friends.
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