BY HG HELPS Editor-at-Large
Monday, February 22, 2010
CENTRAL Jamaica pastor Mark Stewart is calling for tougher punishment for those who kill, and in the process rob the society of some of its great minds.
Delivering the sermon at the funeral service for murdered Clarendon dentist, Dr Ricardo Patrick Fraser at the Blue Mountain United Church in Manchester last week, Rev Stewart said that those who killed the dentist should not be allowed to live.
"It is easy to seek revenge for his murder, and my Bible tells me about the wages of sin is death and an eye for an eye," Rev Stewart told hundreds of mourners crammed into the small church and spilling over into two tents on the outside.
"When you look on a man and stab him up like this, that man fi dead, man. A parson a say that, so oonu can say so... man fi hang, man," Rev Stewart said to thunderous applause.
Dr Fraser's body was found with multiple stab wounds close to the community of Toll Gate in Clarendon on the morning of February 2. His Honda Civic motor car was stolen and has still not been recovered. Police have also not arrested anyone in connection with his murder.
The 46-year-old had served Clarendon as a dental surgeon for eight years, having returned from the United States where he taught for more than six years.
Rev Stewart, whose comments are likely to reignite the contentious capital punishment debate, said that the crime situation had put Jamaica into turmoil, as ordinary citizens were terrified.
"There is a lack of security, and it has come to Jamaica in a very dangerous way. Bloodshed is a judgement on this nation," he said.
"Crime has got so bad that even when they put men as ministers of national security, them get sick, whether is toe, or hand, or something else, all a dem get sick. And when good people get up to fight crime, them retire them or put them in an office. People are being killed wickedly in this country," Rev Stewart said.
Dr Wayne Fraser and Dr Ray Fraser — both medical practitioners — while describing their slain sibling as the consummate gentleman, quiet achiever, humble and dedicated individual, dug deep to disguise the emotion running through a family still distressed by the killing.
"He wanted to give back and serve the poor. He was a quiet achiever and did things without fanfare," said eldest of the three brothers and Floridabased Wayne, in his eulogy.
"It breaks our heart to be giving a remembrance for a last child," said Ray, senior medical officer of the Annotto Bay Hospital.
"He was very quiet, respectful of others and multitalented. He lived a simple life, was not excited about the extravagances of life and was not concerned about money. He was not a talker, but a doer... a real workaholic who loved his profession and loved his job," Ray said.
"One of the reasons why he did not go into private practice is that he was concerned that he would not be able to service as many poor people as he would like. He was a very private person who was keen on education and sent a number of children to school.
"Whatever he did for people, rarely would he mention it to anyone. He spoke French and Spanish fluently and up to his death was concerned about the degradation of the district by the bauxite mining companies.
"Despite the vicious end to his life, which brings bitterness and anger, we will overcome," Ray continued in his remembrance.
Affectionately called Paul, Dr Ricardo Fraser attended Bellefield Primary in Manchester and Jones Town Primary School, St Andrew, before joining his two brothers at Kingston College. He studied dentistry in Cuba and was honoured last year by the Ministry of Health for outstanding work in Clarendon.
Speaker after speaker lauded Dr Fraser's life and work, many calling it exemplary.
"He was a tireless community worker who had a positive influence on the Blue Mountain community. He assisted children with lunch money, school uniform and books and approached life with humility and simplicity," friend Egbert Small said.
Close relative John Small described the deceased, among other things, as irreplaceable.
"He had an uncompromising commitment to his family that was extended to all individuals. He was humble, warm and caring, always wanting to give and not to get back. He was never a violent person and his murder is a sad indictment on this country," Small said.
There were also musical tributes from The Jamaica Symphony Orchestra, of which he was a member; Kingston College Chapel Choir, of which he was a part while he attended school, as well as spoken tributes from Clarendon health officials, the Ministry of Health and local groups.
Dr Fraser, who leaves behind 83-year-old mother Ivy Ducille, was buried in the family plot.