- “Has Rita lost her mind?” P. Chin wrote in a letter published Thursday in Jamaica’s most widely read newspaper, The Gleaner. “Bob loved Jamaica. He wouldn’t have made it his home if it were otherwise.”
….The announcement brought immediate controversy and confusion. In Kingston, the Bob Marley Foundation, a charity headed by Rita Marley, denied reports of her statement in Ethiopia, and a spokesman for the family later issued a statement quoting her as saying that Jamaica “will remain the resting place for Bob Marley for the foreseeable future.”
….Popular host Cliff Hughes voiced opposition to moving Marley’s body on his nightly show on Jamaica’s Power 106 radio.
“The Marley family is going to have to convince me that this is what Bob wanted,” Hughes said Wednesday. “He’s part of Jamaica’s national heritage. With the greatest respect, he belongs to the Marley family, and he belongs to the people of Jamaica.”
….Marley was given a state funeral and buried along with his Gibson guitar and bible in a marble mausoleum at his birthplace of Nine Mile, a rugged hamlet in the green hills of northern Jamaica that’s popular with tourists. A statue of Marley graces the entrance to the national sports stadium in Kingston.
….Rupert Lewis, a political science professor at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, said Marley is a crucial part of Jamaica’s identity and that any attempt to move his remains would be met by “serious hostility” on the island of 2.6 million.
“The people would not allow that body to physically leave Jamaica,” said Lewis. “He’s a focal point of the Jamaican identity. What it means to be Jamaican is inherently bound up in Bob Marley.” [AP]
Perhaps this is all some kind of political move to ratchet up the pressure on the Jamaican government to make Marley a national hero, Jamaica’s highest honor, or maybe, as P. Chin said, Rita has just lost her mind.