The children of reggae icon Bunny Wailer have settled outstanding hospital bills and have secured the death certificate and the documentation needed for them to start making plans for an appropriate and dignified send-off for their beloved father.
In a statement thanking “everyone for their continued prayers at this time”, the estate noted that “for future updates on the burial information and date, please check Bunny Wailer’s official social media handle @theofficialbunnywailer on Instagram and Facebook or bunnywailerlegacy.com”. It was specifically stated that Bunny Wailer’s son, Abijah Livingston, who is a trustee and also a director of Solomonic Productions Limited, is the official go-to person for any information dealing with the late Wailer. All legal correspondence can be directed to ASV Law, the firm appointed by the beneficiaries to act on their behalf regarding the Livingston Estate Trust.
“We, his children, have been working as a unit to resolve all matters relating to our father’s estate,” they said.
And, even as they breathe a sigh of relief that a boulder in the path of their progress has been removed, the children of the late Wailer took the opportunity to address what they termed “the confusion caused by third-party interference in our affairs”.
Making reference to numerous media reports about alleged disputes about Bunny Wailer’s Estate, and who was authorised to do what on his behalf, it was revealed that the debt was paid without the estate having to sign a much-talked-about licensing deal with a record company. Several sources have gone on record to state that this was the only recourse to get the funds to pay the outstanding hospital bills, and cover the cost of the funeral expenses for the reggae icon.
“We, the children of the estate, with no assistance from these individuals, have covered the outstanding hospital bills in order to release our father’s death certificate. We are embarrassed that it had been left unaddressed for so many weeks. This, again, brings into question the actual intentions of these individuals who could have easily done the same. Instead, they have been trying to force us into deals, all whilst our father was not even granted the dignity of a proper burial,” the joint statement declared.
It further added, “We have been asked to ‘smell the coffee’ in a recent article. This appeared at a time when we were trying to understand why hospital bills had not been paid, when the money clearly should have been there to that effect. Instead, we have been pressured to sign away long-term licensing deals. We find this to be extremely inappropriate and insensitive. Understandably, we refused to sign anything that was not clearly explained and detailed to us. This decision was taken unanimously by all beneficiaries of the trust that are related to our father.”
Undaunted as they seek to protect their father’s legacy, the children emphasise that they will not be side-lined, bullied, “nor let anyone dim our father’s name”.
Neville O’Riley Livingston, one-third of the iconic trio, the Wailer, which also included Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, passed away on March 2, while a patient at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston. He was 73.
On what would have been his 74th birthday on April 10, his children hosted a virtual celebration, Rootsman Skankin’, named after Bunny Wailer’s classic 1986 album. It featured performances from artistes including Macka Lion and Binghie, Chronixx, Zamunda, Tony Rebel, Popcaan, Bunny Wailer’s son Asadenaki, and the Solomonic family, as well as tributes from Ibo Cooper, Spragga Benz, and some of Jah B’s 13 children.
Spragga Benz, for whom the Blackheartman was a role model, stated in his tribute that “the last time I saw Jah B was in New York. He came specifically to see me perform at a show”. He added, “Jah B is an elder who I had the pleasure to know from a youth. Through him, I had the opportunity to see close up how a legend carries himself.”
Lecturer and former Third World member, Ibo Cooper, declared that Bunny Wailer was “a pioneer who charted new territory in music and left a legacy for our nation and the world. He capably played the supporting role when necessary but when his time came, he played his leading role with equal capability”.
The pre-recorded celebration concert was staged at Bunny Wailer’s St Andrew residence. For the month of April, the family will continue to roll out a series of tribute videos as they celebrate the life and legacy of Jah B, leading up to his memorial, his son Abijah stated.