The relatively large crowd at his funeral reflected the popularity he gained in and around his Clarendon hometown as a wall builder, a party goer, and certainly a lover of motorcycles – especially fast bikes.
It, ironically, was a bike crash that killed the flamboyant Fitz-Gerald Black, also known as Shabba, on Shooter main road – not far from Kellits, about 5:30PM on March 21, 2019.
Member of Parliament for Clarendon Northern, Horace Dalley, who was among hundreds that attended the funeral service on Saturday, May 4, said he was left speechless by news that an expert rider like Shabba could have lost his life in a motorcycle accident.
“If it is one person that can ride a bike and ride it good is Shabba… You wouldn’t expect Shabba to crash,” he told the congregation inside Kellits New Testament Church of God.
The parliamentarian also apparently took note of the crowd inside the church, and the many people standing in the churchyard and nearby street. Vendors set up stalls outside the church to cash in on the huge send-off.
“If you want big funeral, you have to live good,” Dalley – the politician, told the congregation, adding that he knew Shabba for many years.
“He was a respectable [and] hardworking man [who] love him party, love him girls, and more than anything else love him bike,” he further said.
Shabba, throughout the funeral service, was also portrayed as a fast rider. Speaker after speaker declared that, as a result of his usual speeding, they turned down his invitation for them to become pillion riders.
His nephew, Anthony Murray, who also is Councillor for the Rose Hall Division in St James, recalled: “One Saturday afternoon Shabba carried me through Kellits square, and it was when I reached Rhoden Hall I actually realized that I passed Kellits square – at the speed at which Shabba was travelling. Because of that, I refused to ride with him many many times…”
The nephew further stated that his uncle was a wall builder extraordinaire. “I remember him as a very good mason. Many of you may not be aware that the walls from St John up to Mountain Road [in Clarendon Northern]; they were built by Shabba. All of those retaining walls, he was the contractor doing that work.”
He also remembered Shabba as a strict disciplinarian who was protective of his sisters. He loved food, and black and red clothing, the nephew added.
Shabba, born 15 May 1970, was the eighth of 10 children for his parents Urelda Black and Adolphus Black from Rhoden Hall, Clarendon.
Five of his siblings died in childhood.
He fathers four children.
Shabba attended Staceyville Primary School and Kellits High. After leaving secondary school, he fell in love with masonry and started to learn the skill.
Shabba went on to work on many buildings. However, in the latter part of his career, he specialized in the construction of walls.
Shabba was interred in the family plot at Rhoden Hall, Clarendon.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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