Activity in cemetery was part of artistic expression – Luta
by BRIA KING
THE USE OF COFFINS has been a part of political culture for years.
So says local artiste, Rondy “Luta” McIntosh in defence of scenes shot in the Kingstown Cemetery for a video project that he filmed over the weekend.
Video clips of McIntosh and other men in red berets, with a yellow coffin placed over a hole dug in the cemetery, made its rounds on social media over the weekend.
The clips were filmed by radio personality and New Democratic Party (NDP) activist Laverne “Gypsy” Phillips, and posted to her Facebook profile with the caption, “ULP trying to bury the NDP in the cemetery right now. The only problem they were unable to bury the coffin. NDP forever. You can never bury us. Tek yo 4 and go”.
Several persons have opined that the use of the hole for purposes of the video amounted to desecration of a grave where a body was to be buried later that day.
“Where the NDP… fanatics are concerned, I am unbothered. I am not troubled by it one bit. Where people have genuine concerns because we live in a Christian society and people just have genuine concerns that a burial ground is a sacred place and you should not do that and should not do this, yes, to those people, I understand how they feel, I apologise for making them feel that way,” McIntosh said in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday.
He said however, what happened in the cemetery was part of his artistic expression just as other artistes usually do through different mediums.
“We do in music, we do in film, we do in drama. We create life. We re-enact scenes and stuff that happens in real life to bring it to life in our video,” McIntosh said. It had been said that as a result of Luta’s use of the dug grave in the filming of his video, a family refused to bury their deceased relative as intended on Saturday and sent the body back to the funeral home.
But the artiste said this was untrue, as he spoke with the daughter of the deceased woman, who told him that the reason for taking her mother’s body back to the funeral home had nothing to do with his video.
He explained the hole used in his video shoot was not where the woman was intended to be buried, as it was at the top of the burial ground on an incline.
McIntosh also stated that the deceased woman’s daughter was paralysed and in a wheelchair and the family had requested a plot that was easily accessible so that she would be able to witness the burial of her mother.
“That agreement was made by the lady and the funeral home. Now, after the service on Saturday and they went to the burial ground, that promise was not fulfilled, whether by the Town Board or the funeral home,” McIntosh said.
“It’s at that point that she said her mother is going back to the funeral home, she is not going to bury her mother because she is not going up to the top and they are going to take her back to the funeral home and the funeral home will have to sort it out, give an explanation, an apology and they would have to sort it out.”
A family member, who also spoke with SEARCHLIGHT, confirmed that the hole used in Luta’s video was not the one requested by the family.
The relative of the deceased said the family’s request for a burial spot that was easily accessible was eventually fulfilled and the burial took place on Sunday.
The NDP, in a release dated September 14, called on the ULP to apologise for “their disgraceful act in filming an election advertisement in a holy cemetery in Kingstown”.
But McIntosh, who recently debuted “Ring de bell”, the ULP’s 2020 campaign song, said the video was a project that he took the initiative to work on with the intention of pitching it to the ULP to be used in their campaign.
He added that the political party did not know anything about the filming of the video and was not a part of it.
While he did not specify, the artiste also stated that he received permission from “the relevant authorities” ahead of time, for the use of the premises and the dug grave.
SEARCHLIGHT understands that the Kingstown Board is the authority responsible for the Kingstown Cemetery.
Benson Plaugh-Feddows, the acting warden of Town Board said yesterday afternoon that he was in the process of gathering information in relation to the incident, and it was therefore premature for him to comment on the matter.
“…Until I can speak intelligently, I’m not going to be giving any preliminary information until my investigation is complete,” the acting warden told SEARCHLIGHT, when asked if the Town Board had granted permission.
He also reiterated that he was doing the relevant investigations into the matter when asked whether requests for permission had to be approved by him as the warden of the Kingstown Board.
McIntosh said he intends to release the video, if it is accepted by who he intends to pitch it to.
He noted however, that not all scenes shot in the cemetery may make the final edit and his team will make the decision as it relates to those scenes, as well as others shot at other locations.
“We are in the heat of an election campaign and this is something that was done…for years. For years upon years, we have always used coffins and you know, it’s like part of the political culture,” McIntosh said.
“What I think is happening now, is because Luta is doing this, and the opposition is aware and a lot of people are aware of my influence and what I do with my music, that I think some people are basically running scared so their response is to attack me.”