The foster family of a Jamaican native, Wilfred Magnus Williams, is expressing shock and outrage that the young man’s biological family is yet to ensure his burial two years after he died purportedly of kidney failure in Trinidad and Tobago.
Williams, who died at 32 years old, is from Rosemount district in Linstead, St. Catherine. Both his foster family and biological family are also from the said community.
The foster relatives said, when Williams died in 2018, they tried desperately to have his remains brought to Jamaica for burial. However, they could not do so without written permission, because they are not related to him biologically.
They thought Williams eventually was buried until a few days ago when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a public appeal for William’s next of kin, who happens to be his biological mother, who lives at Rosemount, and who The Beacon has tried unsuccessfully to contact.
Our news team, on the weekend, met the foster family, including Joycelyn Francis, otherwise called ‘Miss Dorothy’, who took Williams under her roof when he was a baby and helped to raise him in Rosemount.
“Mi nuh feel good; mi nuh feel happy,” said the elderly foster mother, who added that it now appears Williams has suffered a second death. “From mi get the message seh him (Williams) nuh bury yet, mi weak. That a mi baby. From him a three days old mi have him. Mi grow him until him goh a Trinidad, come back, spend about six months, and then went back to Trinidad. A nuh mi own born, but mi love him.”
The foster relatives, who were willing to foot funeral expenses, have placed the blame squarely on Williams’ biological family, especially his mother.
They explained that, when Williams died, the biological family was informed that a relative should travel to Trinidad to identify the body and give the necessary authorization. The biological relatives reportedly gave various excuses as to why they could not travel.
Two of Williams’ foster sisters were willing to make the trip to Trinidad. However, the young man’s biological mother allegedly declined to give the necessary approval.
There are claims that the mother also did not give authorization for Williams’ body to be claimed by a room-mate that Williams had in Trinidad. That room-mate, who is a Trinidadian man, reportedly was listed as William’s next of kin in the twin island republic.
The foster family further disclosed that a United States woman, who is Williams’ sister by his father’s side, intervened and promised to ensure that her brother is buried. It is said that she later gave the impression that the burial had taken place.
The foster family is stunned that Williams’s mother and other relatives here in Jamaica did not ensure that the young man indeed was buried.
“His mother is a big sensible woman who is educated; she just don’t [seem to] care,” claimed Marva Alexander, one of Williams’ foster sisters.
Another of the foster sisters, Diane Smith, said the late Williams does not deserve to be treated poorly in death, considering that he took great care of his biological relatives while he was working in Trinidad. The foster relatives also noted that they carried no grudge although Williams did not support them financially.
“He was a good youth. Him mother give him weh [when he was a baby],” Smith reasoned. “When him goh Trinidad, every time him mother get money… Wi never have any problem with that because wi know him did a try lift up him mother in the community.”
Smith questioned if the biological family is not showing an interest because it is alleged that Williams, who was a chef by profession, was a homosexual.
“Dem shame of him, but glad fi get him things,” Smith wondered.
“Dem claim seh he (Williams) was gay and dem nuh really up with that. But wi live in a society where we just have to educate ourselves and live with people; that is the new norm now. Wi nuh put down anybody. His [foster] family love him bad.”
LIQUID AND BONES
Smith further told The Beacon that, since she became aware that Williams is yet to be buried, she has been in touch with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She said the authorities have told her that, because Williams has been at the morgue for two years, he is now mere ‘liquid and bones’. She added that the funeral home is reportedly stating that it is owed TT$20,000, which is equivalent to just over JA$400,000.
Smith, in the meantime, does not think the funeral home did enough to preserve the body or to alert Williams’ family in Jamaica that the burial did not take place.
“I don’t understand why after a year they couldn’t embalm him and look for his family like dem a duh now,” she said, adding that the foster family is now trying to ascertain whether the remains can be cremated and sent to Jamaica. She noted that the funeral home is contemplating disposal of the remains.
Smith further said she has been informed that the Trinidadian funeral home tried to contact William’s biological sister, who lives in the United States, and who promised to ensure the young man is buried. However, she reportedly stopped answering phone calls made by the funeral home.
Williams’ father is still alive, but he reportedly never had a close relationship with his son. He is said to be from the Guy’s Hill area of St. Catherine, but is often travelling abroad.
In the meantime, Stephanie Washington, who is a member of the foster family, told The Beacon that, based on dreams she was having, it is now clear that Williams was trying to tell her that he is yet to be laid to rest.
“Him dream mi so much like him a show mi sign seh him still out there – that him nuh rest yet,” Washington said.
She further stated that the foster family’s biggest wish is for Williams’s biological relatives to cooperate and allow the young man to be buried. “A jus that wi want so that we can feel better and him can feel better,” she added.
The Author: Horace Mills holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communications from CARIMAC – University of the West Indies. He is the recipient of various awards, including the prestigious FairPlay Award and the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award For Excellence In Journalism. Mills worked as News Editor in the British Virgin Islands, and as Senior Journalist in both radio and print media. During his teenage years, Mills was a Correspondent for Teen Herald, and Editor of The Eagle – a publication at Charlemont High School, where Mills also served as Head Boy. He is a journalist at heart.
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