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Love in words, song for Romeo

JOHN SEALY, [email protected]

Love in words, song for Romeo

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A common theme running through the tributes for late calypsonian Charles “Romeo” Smith, who was laid to rest at the Westbury Cemetery yesterday, was one of admiration and selflessness.

The service was held at the Breath of Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Whitehall, St Michael, where Pastor Leslie Padmore in his sermon called on those present to get themselves right with God before it was too late.

His appeal came after the tributes in words and song from a cross section of the entertainment fraternity, who joined the Smith family for a final send-off of the 70-year-old “Love Man”, who died June 6.

Padmore said many people behaved as though they were made from a superior metal, but essentially were all dust.

Long-time friend and musical arranger Mike Sealy spoke of Romeo’s spirituality and passion for detail, while Minister of Culture John King, who in part spoke as a calypsonian, said that what stood out was Romeo’s dress, which was always resplendent.

King said his introduction to Romeo went back to 1982 when for the very first time, at the George Street Auditorium, he was properly schooled in calypso during a clash between his then tent Conquerors and Battleground.

“I was in for a surprise . . . . One thing that stood out more than the other was Charles Romeo Smith coming on to the stage in a white suit and white shoes. From then I understood what it meant to represent oneself as an artist,” he added.

The new minister and former Pic-O-De-Crop monarch said Romeo’s encouragement not to give up was instrumental in shaping his tenacity. If there was one person who would always pull him aside to whisper a word of encouragement, it was Romeo, King recalled.

“And for that I am thankful because not giving up has landed me where I am today.”

King also made a call for Romeo’s works to be documented, a sentiment endorsed by former Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, who was also present.

Among the entertainers present were Richard Stoute, Adonijah, George Jones, Terry Mexican Arthur and Andy MRBLOOD Armstrong, Mac Fingall, Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire, Smokey Burke, radio broadcaster Anthony Admiral Nelson and former Democratic Labour Party senator Maxine McClean.

Many paid tribute in song such as Gabby, Colin Spencer and Keisha Christian. (JS)