In a recent review of Morning, Paramin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016), Walcott’s final published work, I reflected on how difficult it can be to escape Sir Derek’s titanic shadow.
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Teen killed in boating accident
For 14-year-old Lilly Adiel Blaides, the last chapter in her “book of life” was written at 6.15 pm on Saturday. The teenager died of massive head injuries when a pirogue, driven by a Las Cuevas fisherman, ploughed into her. Up to late yesterday a 21-year-old Las Cuevas man was assisting police with investigations. Police said the teenager was bathing not too far from the shoreline when the pirogue’s propeller sliced her head and parts of the body.
Instead of assisting the teenager, the fisherman jumped ashore and ran into the bushes, police said. Lifeguards on duty pulled Blaides out the water and took her to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital in their ambulance. She died one hour later. An autopsy is expected to be performed today. The fisherman, however, was nabbed around 1.30 am after a team of officers from the North Eastern Divisional Task Force headed by Insp Roger Alexander got a tip.
The man was found hiding in a house in Las Cuevas. Blaides’ death, however, has been accepted by her mother, Arlene, who believed her daughter was in a better place. In an interview at her Tacarigua home yesterday, Arlene, who described herself as an ardent believer in the Lord, said despite the tragic circumstances it was her daughter’s time to leave earth.
“Everybody has a book of life and her book was written. Some people believe you have to be old to die but I believe my daughter’s time had come and she had to go. I am a believer and I have accepted what happened. “God is good. I’m coping,” Arlene said. She said she did not go to the beach on Saturday but her daughter went with other relatives including her brother Adam, 19.
Praising the lifeguards for their efforts Arlene said, “They really did all they could but I believed my daughter passed while she was in transit. When I saw my daughter her head was bandaged.” Blaides, a student of the El Dorado East Government Secondary School, was expected to enter form four in September. “She had already chosen her subjects and was supposed to collect her books. My daughter was looking forward to that.”
Describing her as someone who loved the water Arlene said her daughter learnt to swim “from small.” Blaides also loved art and her mother said the teenager also had a knack for computers. Asked if she believed the boatman did not see Blaides in the water Arlene said she could not make any pronouncements as she was not present when the incident occurred. She believed the police were treating the incident as a homicide.
But Arlene hoped such an incident never occurs again. “I believe things would be put in place for something like this not to happen again. They should really have limits to where the boats could come in because if you have bathers there you should not be allowed there.”
In August 2009 a US girl Paige Welsh and her mother Raquel were paddling in a two-man kayak when a 28-foot pirogue, operated by a soldier, collided with them at Scotland Bay, Chaguaramas. Raquel had part of her back (close to her spine) ripped off and bones in her left arm were also shattered. Paige’s arm was almost severed.
The accident involving the Welches was similar to that which occurred in Tobago in June, 2007. Yanik Quesnel, 17, of Cascade, Port-of-Spain, and his girlfriend, Carolino Barry-Laso, 16, of Spain, were seriously injured when they were run over by a pirogue. They were bathing several yards from the shoreline at Pigeon Point at the time. Yanik sustained a skull fracture, which resulted in brain injury, while Barry-Laso suffered a fractured skull, a broken arm and leg.