What farewell ceremony for Guadeloupean artist Ibo Simon?

In February 2017, in a program on “Télé Antilles,” a channel based in France, the singer, actor, radio and television host and politician, Ibo Simon, had clearly stated that he did not want a “funeral” after his death. He wanted his body to be buried in the cemetery on the day of his death. In fact, “funeral” in Ibo Simon’s mouth certainly meant “big party”, “big wake” and “big mass”.

“The day I die, I don’t want a funeral (…) When I die, they will come to praise me, to say nice words, they will come to drink and eat (…)”, he said. He had then mentioned the case of the famous Guadeloupean percussionist Marcel Lollia aka “Vélo”, died on June 5, 1984. According to him, he had been a “tramp” all his life and had no friends but he had the biggest funeral of the archipelago because some had “monopolized” this event… “Vélo became international because his body was exposed in the Place de la Victoire, a forbidden thing, when the police arrived, if they had touched Vélo’s body, this would have caused the biggest civil war in Guadeloupe”, he had told the channel. The artist spoke forcefully to the media and to the population so that his last will be respected.

Finally, on September 24, in a special program dedicated to Ibo Simon’s death on Canal 10 where he had worked for years until his conviction in 2001 for discrimination and racial hatred, we learned that a great ceremony was being prepared. Indeed, Ibo Simon, when he could still speak despite his illness, had asked that his body be exposed under the kiosk of the Place de la Victoire in Pointe-à-Pitre, like the tanbouyé “Vélo” 38 years ago, so that the whole population of Guadeloupe could participate in his wake.

We also learned that contacts had been established with the city hall and the mayor’s response was expected very quickly. If the municipality refused, this ceremony would take place at Canal 10 in the Jarry industrial zone in Baie-Mahault.

Burial will take place in the cemetery of Basse-Terre, located not far from Bas-du-Bourg, the artist’s childhood district. Although Ibo Simon’s family is very religious, we do not known if the artist’s body will enter a church.

Three days after his death, there is no news about this “national funeral” but we imagine that preparations are well underway. In any case, according to the law, burial or cremation should not exceed 7 days after the death. One thing is certain, whatever the place chosen for this wake that will attract thousands of people, the public security authorities will not be idle in Pointe-à-Pitre and Basse-Terre.