The piercing screams of a grieving mother echoed through St Stephen’s Anglican Church Tuesday as the funeral service for 44-year-old Jerome O’Neal Wild Goose Bovell was being held, a short distance from where he was gunned down, execution style, on June 28 at Goddard’s Road, St Stephen’s Hill, Black Rock, St Michael.
The service began with a quiet, but seemingly disoriented Barbara Bovell being comforted by family members.
However, as the urn carrying what is believed to be Bovell’s ashes was being taken out of the church, his mother could no longer hold back, exploding into such sobbing that there was a momentary pause by mourners.
So overcome with emotion was Barbara that she fainted as she made her way down the aisle, leading to a desperate rush by family members to take her outside.
As the ceremony proceeded, images of Bovell’s bullet-riddled body became as vivid as that Wednesday afternoon when his lifeless body, clad in a white vest, black jeans and a Michael Kors belt, was left lying flat on his back in a pool of blood, with at least six spent bullets on the ground.
Delivering the eulogy, Bovell’s friend of 27 years, Andrew Connell, described the deceased of 2nd Avenue, Spring Garden, Black Rock, St Michael as a jovial and giving person who put his family first, and who “often spoke about staying away from trouble and doing positive things for his family”.
However, Connell also described a man who was flawed, and who he frequently encouraged to right his wrongs and ask God for forgiveness after his last run-in with the law.
“I recently asked him to drop to his knees and thank Almighty God for his wonderful and unending mercies where life was concerned. . . . I said, ‘nobody can win all the time, it wouldn’t be fair. Thank your Creator and ask for forgiveness,’” Connell said.
He expressed disappointment that his friend’s life had ended before he could encourage wayward individuals to take control of their own lives.
However, Connell hoped Bovell’s life would act as a catalyst for those who have lost their way to turn their lives round.
Speaking to the grieving family, Connell asked to them to celebrate Bovell’s life and legacy and forget any feelings of hate or anger.
“Let us look at Jerome’s life in the most critical ways possible and let us find joy from doing so, and not anger. Let us learn not only from the good he would have done, but from his short-comings and his mistakes. Let us pray and ask our Creator to heal our wounds, to leave the hate behind and move forward to the benefit of our country, our families and our friends,” he said.
With Bovell’s violent death leaving a gaping void in his family, Reverend Canon George Harewood, who officiated at the service, encouraged the community to unite during this period of bereavement and support and encourage each other.
“No man is an island, no man stands alone . . . . Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ expects us all to be vessels who will help each other. We must not concern ourselves nearly with finding the weak links in the chain of humanity. We should also want to offer the support that the weak links need so that the human chain will be become even stronger,” he said.