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Funeral programme for Balnarine "Balo" Bennie

In what was described as a ‘Big Hiccup’ the funeral of popular market vendor and COVID-19 victim Balnarine ‘Balo’ Bennie had to be postponed on Friday since he was not there.

Instead, the wrong body was sent for the service.

The service was scheduled for 10.45 am at Simo HSJ Simpson & Sons Funeral Home then to proceed for Cremation at Long Circular Road Crematorium at 2 pm.

However, Guardian Media understands that a mourner who came to pay his last respects to Bennie noticed it was not him and someone else inside the casket.

Speaking with the Guardian Media, Bennie’s son, Simeon said he did not know exactly what took place on Friday morning as he was not allowed to attend his father’s funeral since he is in quarantine. He added that his mother was also unable to attend since she is being treated at the Couva Hospital for the virus but was expected to be placed in a step-down facility by next Thursday.

“There wasn’t a mix up really but a big hiccup in my father’s funeral and we have to hear what the funeral home director has to say and he is expected to get in contact with us by 7 pm (Friday),” Simeon said.

On May 3, Bennie, 63, succumbed to COVID-19 at the hospital.

He was one of five people who died from the virus that day.

Efforts to reach the funeral director for comment, up to press time, proved futile as calls to his phone went unanswered.