SVG to honour promoter Junior ‘Soca’ Jones with motorcade from AIA
A motorcade will be held here tomorrow to pay tribute to Vincentian promoter Junior ‘Soca’ Jones, who died in New York on Friday, May 8 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
Wednesday’s motorcade is a welcome home for Jones and takes place from the Argyle International Airport (AIA), passing through Jones’ hometown of Calliaqua, then to Heritage Square in Kingstown, before heading to New Haven Funeral Home in Mesopotamia, where Junior grew up. The body will be held until Jones’ relatives can return home for the funeral.
Tomorrow’s event is a natural follow-on to an impressive send off held last Saturday in New York, when dozens of Vincentians accompanied the hearse carrying Jones’ mortal remains in a motorcade through the streets of Brooklyn to the Amerijet warehouse in Queens, from where the body was shipped to St Vincent.
Rondy “Luta” McIntosh, one of the organizers of tomorrow’s motorcade told SEARCHLIGHT that Wednesday’s motorcade will leave the cargo area of the AIA at 12:30 pm.
And last Saturday, when the hearse arrived at the Amerijet warehouse in New York, Jones younger brother Eneka thanked those who came out to be part of the farewell to his brother, who had spent the last 33 years of his life as a resident of New York.
“We just thank you and we appreciate the support, for coming and helping us send our brother, your friend, our father, your friend, off to his home, to meet his parents, where he wants to be. Thank you, we appreciate it, as we send our brother home.”
Eneka asked that those gathered pray for their parents, retired Anglican priest Ulric Jones Snr. and retired teacher Marilyn Jones.
“We are people of faith, and we keep faith, and we have faith. And we love our brother, our friend, our father, our son. I ask you to uphold my parents…, please daily in your prayers…. They need it. More so than anybody else,” Eneka said.
As a forklift removed the box containing the casket from the hearse, a flag of St Vincent and the Grenadines was draped over the box, while soca music written in tribute to Jones played loudly in the background.
Jones, 53, was vice chairman of the annual Vincy Day event held annually on the third Saturday in August, at Heckscher State Park in East Islip, Long Island. He has been credited with playing an integral role in its creation.
Saturday’s motorcade, which comprised about 70 vehicles, left from the funeral home on 46th Avenue N, travelled up Utica Avenue to Jones’ old stomping ground at the intersection of East 95th Street and Church Avenue, then from there, travelled to the AmeriJet warehouse in Queens.
Sharon, Jones’ younger sister, said in a Facebook post that St Vincent and the Grenadines has lost someone who loved the country dearly.
“You have lost a true patriot, you have lost a ‘statesman’, you have lost a son of the soil. He loved you dearly and you are now showing us how much you love him. Junior has left a legacy and I have to, in my own way, carry it on. I have some figuring out to do.
“Thank you for leaving me two beautiful children – you have made me an ‘overnight parent’ and I promise I will not disappoint you,” Sharon said in the post.
Jones is survived by two children, Yolanda and Jamar.
Kenley “Shortmus” John, a life long friend of Jones, was one of dozens who posted tributes to Jones on Facebook since his death on May 8.
During a Live Facebook broadcast on May 16, John that his friend always put SVG first.
“It was hard knowing that we could not do a physical church service, so the motorcade compensated. He’s on his way home to meet his parents. We have made the adjustment here in the diaspora to give him the best send off that we can give him.”
He said Jones lived with a sense of purpose, which was, that at all times, SVG must come first.
John related that Jones held the view when a Vincentian business failed, it was not the failure of that business owner, but a failure of SVG.
“We have to do it for the flag… the credit is always for the upliftment of our people and exposure of the nation,” John said was one of Jones’ mantras.
Well known for his legendary boat rides and the parties he hosted on Labour Day, John said Jones understood that he was helping the nation when he promoted Vincentian events and entertainers.
Outside of entertainment, John said Jones knew every Vincentian business place and businessperson in New York and would make it his business to make sure the community supported them.
“Soca would personally go and have events at their establishments to make sure those businesses got a good start. And this is without an invitation. Any organization that needed a start, Soca was there.
“He would just show up and present himself and then take it to the level it needed to be.”
John said in relation to Vincentian culture and entertainment, Jones was like an encyclopedia.
“He knew who sang every song, what year they sang it, then he would tell a story about the song. He had an eye for talent and he gave most Vincentian artistes who came to New York over the last 25 years their first stage.
“He never expected gratitude. It was all about exposure and keeping the flag flying,” John related.
As he ended his tribute, John said Jones was irreplaceable.
“This is going to be a hard one to replace. No one man can replace Junior ‘Soca’ Jones.”
And New York resident, Tricia Reddock, in a Facebook post said: “the New York social scene is never going to be the same for Vincentians again. The end of an era.”
[UPDATED on May 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm to include the 12:30 pm start time of the May 20, 2020 motorcade from the AIA, the name of the funeral home and the fact that Junior ‘Soca’ Jones grew up in Mesopotamia.]