FOR approximately seven years the body of a Jamaican who is believed to have served as a pilot in the British Navy has been locked away in storage at a funeral parlour in downtown Kingston.
Doubt still surrounds when the man will finally be laid to rest, and speculation is that a legal procedure will have to be used to settle the issue.
The director of the funeral parlour holding the body, Michael Jones, claimed that he is planning to take legal action against the dead man’s family to recover millions of dollars he said are owed to him for storage of the body.
Jones claimed that for the past seven years he has been left waiting on family members to bring the necessary documents and payments to allow him to proceed with the burial, but they have failed to complete the transaction.
“The man died in 2007 and we made contact with family members,” Jones told the Jamaica Observer, adding that after a series of discussions, burial preparations began.
“The preparations were placed on hold as we had to wait on the burial order and other documents to allow for us to proceed,” Jones told the Sunday Observer.
He said that, despite the discussions, the family members failed to complete their end of the procedure.
Jones claimed that, at the time, family members requested that the man be buried and promised that payments would be made at a later date. But he said he refused to do that.
Jones said that, in the past, he had encountered cases where people were unable to pay for funeral expenses and he offered to cover the costs.
He said if that was the case in this instance he would have had no problem taking that route.
However, he said he was told that the man died leaving millions of dollars in both cash and assets to family members, to which they have access.
“Information we received is that the man passed away leaving more than $40 million and at least two properties valued at close to $15 million, and left instructions that funds should be used from his assets to cover his funeral expenses,” the funeral director said.
The Sunday Observer obtained a copy of the will left by the deceased man. It showed that responsibility was left to a nephew to complete the task of covering certain debts and funeral expenses.
“I appoint Winston Alberga Carby, driver of 10 Barton Aerie, Stony Hill, Kingston 9 in the parish of Saint Andrew ….to be the executor and trustee of this my will,” the document read. “I direct my executors to pay my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses.”
The will also stated that the man left behind two properties to his nephew, advising him to sell at least one of them “and from the proceeds of sale to satisfy all of my debts and liabilities whatsoever and wheresoever”.
The funeral director said he was concerned.
“This development has left us concerned that the deceased is being treated in such a manner,” he said, adding that this is the first such case he has encountered since he has been running his business for more than 20 years.
The son of the man who was left with the responsibility to bury the deceased confirmed the report.
“The funds were left, but what has happened is that all the funds got messed up,” he told the Sunday Observer. “The attorney who was appointed to deal with the case take all the funds and gone.
“This has placed the family in a spot. My uncle died leaving two houses and instructions to sell one of the properties and deal with the expenses. But one of the houses, my father and the family are living in; the other house is in the country and we are having difficulty selling that one as another uncle is living in it and claiming that my uncle died leaving him that house,” said the son.
“To see mi uncle who used to have him money have to face this after him dead is just sad,” said the son.