For every pain we must bear
For every burden, every care,
There’s a reason
For every grief that bows the head
For every teardrop that is shed
There’s a reason
For every hurt, for every plight
For every lonely pain-racked night
There’s a reason
But if we trust God as we should,
It ail will work out for our good.
He knows the reason.
We are gathered here this afternoon to celebrate a mass of thanksgiving for the life of Senior Justice of the Peace, Hon. Mervin Horace Bennett, and also to mourn his passing.
He died in Belize City on Thursday February 23rd, 20l2 at 6:15 A.M.
He was born on 27th April 1941 to Austin and Myrtle Bennett.
A humble man from a humble family, he was educated at Salvation Army School. Merv, or Brother B as he was afflectionately called, was a person with a driving force. He was a part of the Bennett Palace Theatre Gang, selling confectioneries in the Palace Cinema.
When he was older, some of his friends used to tease him about the many times that they used to take some of the sweets from his tray without him knowing.
He was involved in community activities from his youthful days. He was a member of the St. John’s Boys Scout and performed with the great Orpheous Male Chorale Choir, in he days when Belize had many formal concert recitals. Merv was also a member of the then British Hondruas Volunteer Guard.
In 1961, he migrated to the United States of America during the mass exodus of Belizeans, following the devastation of the country of Belize by Hurricane Hattie. He lived a productive, successful life in New York City. He married the now deceased, Valerie and had one son, U.S. Police Sergeant, Mervin Bennett, Junior, (Malik).
Merv was trained as a Dental Laboratory Technician, and he was very popular, especially amongst Belizeans in New York. As a community-minded person, he was very active in the Annual New York City Caribbean Labour Day Carnival Parade. He was also a member of a number of Belize Associations in New York. Messages of condolences were received from some of the team members of the very successful Bronx Bombers soccer team in New York City. Merv was a founding manager and sponsor of the Team.
After 33 years, he eventually said good-bye to the United States of America and returned to live in Belize on the 22nd February,1994. He continued to do his Dental Laboratory Technician work from his home at #137 Albert Street. In Belize, he quickly got involved in Volunteer Work and Community Services. He used his skills and knowledge from his involvement in the New York City Carnival to develop and improve the Carnival here in Belize. He was instrumental in the establishment of the training for Carnival Band leaders, so as to improve the standards of the costumes for Carnival Kings and Queens. He worked very closely with President Tony Wright of the Association of Belizean Musicians Past and Present.
Merv was a founding member of the Belize Association of Justices of the Peace. He served on the Board of Directors for many years as Liaison Officer and assisted in the training of Justices of the Peace. He rose to the rank of Senior Justice of the Peace. He was a reliable and dedicated Justice of the Peace. At times, it seemed as if he was the only Justice of the Peace, who was prepared to witness caution statements of people arrested by the Police. He was called out like a medical doctor on call, at all times of the day, night and very early in the mornings. He was also there to witness the burning of confiscated illegal drugs. As a result, he was given an Award by the Belize Police Department Anti-Drug Unit. As a Senior Justice of the Peace, there have been many occasions when he would conduct Marriage Ceremonies.
In 2005, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Commissioner of Police for his service to Belize and the Belize Police Department. The Certificate read, and I quote “Presented to Hon. Merv Bennett in recognition of Outstanding and Reliable services provided to the Criminal Investigation Branch as a Remarkable Justice of the Peace”. He also received an Award from the Belize Association of Justices of the Peace. The Award Plaque read and I quote: “In Appreciation for your many years of tireless service and Loyalty to the Belize Association of Justice of the Peace, to your fellow Belizeans and to the Country of Belize.”
Service was always his motto. He was a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
In fact, even though he was very ill in New York, last December, he was worried he would not be back in Belize in time to do his turn with the Salvation Army Annual Christmas Kettle Appeal. That was the man Merv was.
A few weeks ago, gravely ill, he was asked if he could accommodate the Supreme Court at his home on a very important hearing. He did not hesitate. He opened his home to the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Hubert Lord, and his staff, the prosecutor and Defense Counsel. As always, he was duty bound.
He also served faithfully as a member of the Belize City Lions Club. He received an Award for his more than 10 years of Service to the Belize City Lions Club and the Belizean Community. He served on the Board of Directors and was Chairman for a number of the Belize City Lions Club Community Projects. He lived the Lions Club Motto of “WE SERVE”.
In his involvement in the various organizations, everyone knew Merv as an outspoken person, especially when he was in disagreement with something. On those occasions of disagreements, everyone would hear him say in a loud voice “ I NOH DE PAN DAT”.
Merv was also a member of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Perservance Lodge 2147, Friendly Society. He was one of the very few surviving members of the Lodge.
Merv loved dancing and he was good at it too, even teaching square dancing. I know that many of the younger people here will not know what is square dancing.
Merv also got involved in politics and was a stalwart member of the PUP Albert Electoral Division Committee. As a street Captain, he was very much instrumental in the successes of the Albert Division Area Representative, Hon. Mark Espat. On every election day, he could be seen walking around with a broom and saying “ We will sweep them in” referring to his political party.
Merv was blessed in sharing his life with his wife Valerie, now deceased, his son, U.S. Police Sergeant Mervin Junior, his common law wife for many years, Yvonne Pattico; his two other children, Bernard Bennett, Kenyetta Banks of the United States of America, his step children Yvette Mossiah, Michelle Mossiah of Belize and Kerwin and Dwayne of United States of America. They all loved him dearly just like he loved them. Special mention must be made of his step daughter Nursing Sister Yvette Mossiah, who did a herculean task to keep him comfortable during his final days of illness.
The late Hon. Mervin Horace Bennett Senior Justice of the Peace, is survived by his common-law-wife, Yvonne Children: Mervin Junior, Bernard, Kenyetta; Stepchildren, Yvette, Michelle, Kerwin and Dwayne; Grandchildren: Leshae, Raven, Anya, Ashia, Omari, Alex, Natalie, Jeffery, Keon, Great Grandchildren: Jeffery Jr., Raymond, Cherry and Zanaiya.
Brothers: Allan, Winston, Christopher, Edward, and Roystan.
Sisters: Jean Miguel and Loraine Bennett-Singleton, Numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends
I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT WE NEVER LOSE THE PEOPLE THAT WE LOVE, EVEN TO DEATH.
THEY CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN EVERY ACT, THOUGHT AND DECISION THAT WE MAKE.
THEIR LOVE LEAVES AN INDELIBLE IMPRINT IN OUR MEMORIES.
WE FIND COMFORT IN KNOWING THAT OUR LIVES HAVE BEEN ENRICHED, BY HAVING SHARED THEIR LOVE.
REST IN PEACE MERV.