Members of the Jamaica Defence Force stay alert during the funeral of Donovan 'Bulbie' Bennett in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, yesterday. - NORMAN GRINDLEY
AN OVERWHELMING JOINT police/military presence maintained relative calm at the funeral of slain Clansman leader, Donavon 'Bulbie' Bennett. Though many high ranking Clansman members were said to be present, most remained tight-lipped on who would become the next 'One Don!'
An air of excitement loomed among the awaiting mourners at the De La Vega community centre, as Amplex Sound System kept the crowd entertained with Gospel selections. In fact, most seemed 'carefree,' as police and military units were posted at both entrances into the community, ensuring a safe and peaceful 'farewell' to Bennett.
'FULL GLASS' CHARIOT
Though slated to begin at noon, the motorcade carrying Bulbie's body didn't arrive until about 2:00 p.m.
Despite the late arrival, the motorcade was greeted with scores of wellwishers running alongside the 'full glass' chariot carrying the body, cheering and chanting the former Clansman leader's name. "One Don," was the repeated cry of most of the attendants, as some saw the body of the notorious gang leader for the first time.
By 2:15 p.m., the procession was underway with an opening hymn and prayer. A tribute from family member Camille Douglas, had the entire procession in an uproar of cheers. " ...Your leader, my father, Donavon 'Bublie' Bennett, One Don," were Douglas' closing words which received a strong crowd response.
After more hymns and song tributes, Bennett's childhood friend, Clive Ward, gave a humorous eulogy of the slain leader's life. He recapped Bulbie's school days at Mackaly All-Age School and being spoilt by his grandmother while living with her in Tawes Pen.
"My friend was not a criminal ... he was an active supporter of youth development in his and other communities, and he will be sorely missed," Ward told THE STAR. Bulbie was also said to have lived in Portmore, St. Catherine, where he and some friends formed a crew known as 'Bronx Crew'.
Family members were evidently distraught at the death of 'Bulbie', including his father,
"We all miss him, he was loved by all ... I don't know nothing about him being involved in anything illegal," lamented Mr. Bennett, who preferred not to have his first name printed.
Funeral services ended about 3:30 p.m., with about half of the estimated 3,000 attendants heading to Clarendon for the burial in Goshen.
"The day went extremely well and there were no incidents in relation to the funeral ... heavy police and military presence along with efforts of many senior officers allowed us to maintain peace," Inspector Derrick Champagnie of the Spanish Town Police Station said.
Though no politicians from the supported Peoples' National Party were present, Orange was still the preferred colour of apparel.
Born August 10, 1962, and laid to rest November 27, 2005, Donavon Anthony Bennett will be remembered by his seven sisters, one brother and his only child.