‘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.

Lloyd Brevett and his wife Ruth (Jamaica Observer photo)

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.

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 Nava-rone, 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.