From the NME, 24th September, 1983
“What kind of society are we that we stone our poets to death?” asked Rastafarian Dr Freddie Hickling at the funeral of dub poet Michael Smith.
Held at St Judes Church in Stony Hill, not far from where Smith had been attacked and killed, the large congregation of mourners included fellow poet Oku Onuora, Judy Mowatt and Mrs Michael Manley. A petition signed by prominent artists and musicians was read by journalist John Maxwell – who Smith was on his way to visit before being murdered – which called for justice and thorough police investigation.
Following the service a silent protest was held outside the church and placards declared “Who dead you dead! Investigation now!”; “Who killed Mikey Smith?” and “Murder in Stony Hill. Residents silent.”
On the following Friday a concert was held at the Little Theatre in Kingston to celebrate the poet’s life and to raise money for his family. The powerful line up included Third World, Mutabaruka and the Hi Times Band, Oku Onuora, up and coming dub poet Jean Breeze, Cedric Brooks and United Africa, and readings by the Poets In Unity group.
A similar tribute is being organised here for November by Creation For Liberation who plan to bring both Oku Onuora and Mutabaruka from Jamaica to perform.
It is felt both here and in Jamaica that the wave of international protest and media coverage of Smith’s death has forced the Jamaica press, all sympathetic to the JLP, to give more coverage of the tragedy. But if his killers are to be caught then the pressure must be maintained. To date only one the men identified by witnesses has been arrested, and it has been suggested that the murderers are being hidden in Boon Hall, in Stony Hill and in Tivoli Gardens in Western Kingston – the constituency of JLP Prime Minister Seaga.