‘We’ve given up on Jamaica’

-Former Skatalites member and his wife mourn their son’s murder

(Jamaica Observer) Former Skatalites band member Lloyd Brevett and his wife Ruth say they have lost faith in Jamaica and have decided to spend the rest of their lives in another country.

The couple said they came to the painful decision after the murder of their son, Okeene, early Sunday morning in their home community of Seaview Gardens.

Okeene was shot dead by thugs hours after he accepted a Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) award on behalf of the legendary Skatalites Saturday night at Emancipation Park in New Kingston.

Lloyd Brevett and his wife Ruth (Jamaica Observer photo)
Lloyd Brevett and his wife Ruth (Jamaica Observer photo)

Okeene had gone to the function to represent his father who, at 80, is not in good health.

“I have made the decision not to stay in Jamaica,” the distraught Lloyd Brevett told the Observer at his home yesterday.

His wife, who cried during the Observer’s visit, echoed her husband’s sentiments.

“We have given up on this community; we have given up on this place we call home. We have decided that we will not be staying here,” she said.

Mr Brevett said that he actually lives overseas, but had planned to live out the rest of his days in Jamaica where he and eight other talented musicians gained fame after forming the Skatalites in 1964.

Brevett is a co-founder and former upright bass player of the band, which has recorded over 20 albums and toured the world extensively.

Among their classic recordings are Guns Of Navarone, Confucius and Freedom Sounds. They also backed several top artistes of the day, including The Wailers on the 1964 hit song Simmer Down.

The band, regarded by many as the best musical aggregation to come out of Jamaica, was once managed by P J Patterson, a former prime minister who presented the award to Okeene last Saturday.

Yesterday, the Observer was unable to speak to Patterson. However, a close associate of his said he was distraught at the young man’s murder.

Okeene’s brother, Joshua, was angered by what he said was the attitude of the police in Seaview Gardens Sunday night.

“When my brother was shot and lying on the ground he was still alive, and despite pleas for assistance, the police who were on the scene kept ignoring my calls for help,” said Joshua.

Yesterday, scores of residents in the community remembered Okeene as a loving and peaceful person.

Yesterday, as well, JaRIA condemned the murder and described Okeene’s shooters as callous.

“It is with deep sadness that the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association publicly expresses condolence to the Brevett family at the untimely passing of Okeene,” said JaRIA.

The association said it believed that the lack of regard for life displayed by Okeene’s murderers was very unfortunate, and urged Jamaicans to be careful and conscious of their surroundings, even while at play.

The police have not yet determined a motive for the murder.



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