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J'can dies after arriving in Cuba by boat

Friday, October 28, 2011


ANOTHER country has a dead Jamaican on its hands, the remains of whom relatives are being asked to come forward and claim.

Cuban authorities have appealed to Jamaica's foreign ministry for assistance in locating family members of the deceased, identified as Winston Vivian McFarlane, 49.

According to Cuban authorities, McFarlane, of Seaside Street in Priory, St Ann, died "apparently the same day he arrived or very soon after".

Based on information reaching the Observer, McFarlane arrived in the Spanish-speaking country by boat and "had no passport on him upon arrival". The death certificate said he died from acute anaemia.

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Officials at the Jamaican Embassy in Cuba, in communication to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here regarding McFarlane's death, said "it is critical at this venture for permission to be given to the Cuban Government to facilitate the burial of the body which has been made available for disposal since May 31, 2011".

Relatives of the dead man are being asked to make contact with Cuba immediately if they wish to have a say in the final preparations for the body. Failing that, the Government of Jamaica will be required to give authorisation in respect of the remains.

Contact can be made by dialling 936-0943, 926-4220-9 (Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department) or by e-mail dcamafaja@cwjamaica.com.

Earlier this month, Jamaican Patrick Spence -- who died behind bars in Panama -- was buried by the authorities there after appeals for family members to claim the body went unanswered. Spence, who was said to have died from 'a debilitating illness' at the end of June, was detained at the airport in Panama in October 2009, and was subsequently charged for trafficking in drugs. Spence died without ever having his day in court. The Panamanian authorities at the time said they were keen to bury the body which was placed in a judicial morgue there, but required the permission of the relatives or the Government of Jamaica to do so.

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