"He had a golden heart" - Cleveland Smith's family says he was a brilliant man

June 02, 2017
The late Cleveland Smith Jr, holding his daughter, Italia.
Cleveland Smith Sr sheds a tear as he reflects on his son's murder.
Cleveland Smith Sr (left) and his brother Carlton Smith, go through some images of Cleveland Smith Jr.

Heartbroken over the murder of their loved one, and the insensitive way he has been depicted in the media, the family of Cleveland Smith Jr has come forward to paint a picture of the fulfilling life he led.

“Cleveland was a boy with a golden heart. He loved his family deeply. I don’t think I have any more tears. I wish I could find some tears. It’s just constant pain. It’s so hard that I would not wish it on my enemy,” his mother, Jacqueline Smith told THE WEEKEND STAR yesterday as she reminisced about the loss of her only son.

Smith Jr, 29, was shot and killed at a round robin in Jackson Town, St Andrew, on May 12. Entertainer Munga Honourable has been charged with the act. He is scheduled to make his first appearance in court today. 

Several reports have described Cleveland as a man of unsound mind. However his parents, Jacqueline and Cleveland Smith Sr, along with his uncle, Carlton Smith, came with numerous pictures and memorabilia to show he was a brilliant young man with great musical talent.

Jacqueline boasted that her son attained a 96 per cent average in his Grade Six Achievement Test, and was awarded a place at Meadowbrook High School.

He then went on to study mechanics at the Jamaica-German Automotive School. However, his passion was music. 

“He and his sisters entered the Tastee Talent Competition in 1996 as a group called C. A. S and they actually placed fourth in the finals,” Jacqueline shared while pointing out her son in a magazine from the competition.

He eventually went to live in the US, and went on tours as a selector for his famous uncle, Mr Vegas. There he fathered two children, seven-year old daughter, Italia, and four-year-old son, Genesis.

“He loved them so much. Even in April they came to Jamaica and they all went to Dunn’s River and had a great time,” Jacqueline said, adding the children do not fully comprehend what has happened to their father.

Jacqueline explained that her son returned to Jamaica to pursue his career some years ago. However, she believes he was given ‘laced weed’ which caused him to display withdrawal symptoms over the past three years.

In 2015, Cleveland chopped Munga Honourable, but the family said the matter has long been resolved between the two.

Up until the day before his death, the family had been trying to arrange for Cleveland to get treatment.

Jacqueline said she went to a police station and asked for the assistance of an officer to take her son to hospital, but the officers explained that Queensborough, where they live, was not within their policing division.

She then decided to go to another police station for assistance the following day, but Cleveland was killed before she had a chance.

The Smiths said they last saw their son at home around midnight, but were awoken just a few hours later with the terrible news.

They said the image of his body slumped over his bicycle still haunts them.


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