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Roger Smart laid to rest
Former national cyclist and event promoter Michael Phillips is revealing a new fear of cycling on the nation’s roads citing the death of fellow veteran athletes Clinton Grant and Roger Smart. Grant died on March 29, while conducting a training exercise along the Audrey Jeffers Highway in Woodbrook. Smart, however, was in his car on Aripita Avenue and Petra Street in Woodbrook, when another vehicle collided with his on May 17.
Speaking to G-Sports at the funeral service for Smart yesterday, held at St Patrick's Church on Maraval Road in Newtown, Port of Spain, Phillips said, “I, as a cyclist and a citizen of this country feel more vulnerable than I ever had, when I see my friends being mowed over and the only difference between knocking us down and a dog, is that you have to make a report. I am really disheartened by that.” He added, “We were fortunate that in Roger’s case we got surveillance footage of the crash. Good people could do stupid things sometimes, but you have to be accountable. You now should dedicate your life to going and telling people what its feel like to kill somebody when driving at 135 kilometres per hour, in a 50 kilometres per hour zone. There is a price to be paid for doing something like that and it should be paid. We don’t need another issue of it wasn’t me in the video. We are tired of things like that. We want some accountability.”
Phillips who gave the eulogy recalled the awesome journey of his friend in the sport. He lauded Smart as a trailblazer in road cycling and citied that he was never afraid to position himself as a motivated and exemplary.
Phillips said this was an ideal role for the fallen cycling citing his positive disposition. “Coming on the heels of Clinton Grant’s death, both vehicular accidents, I am very disheartened as a citizen. I feel like we don’t get justice, whereas both of these drivers could be in a collision that killed someone and literally walk out of a police station and jump in a car again. I have a little bit of an issue with something like that,” he said. Cycling greats Roger Gibbon, Elijah Greene and Ako Kellar came out to pay their respect to Smart. Rowena Williams, president of the Cycling Federation of T&T expressed mixed emotions. She said it was a joyful day, but at the same time, a sad one. The death of Clint Grant and now Roger Smart, she said, was a big blow to the fraternity. “These guys had a lot to share with the fraternity. They had a lot of experience. They had a lot of love for the sport. They weren’t afraid to share and that’s what we need in life. Not just in sport, but in everything that we do. They always did it from their hearts. I hope people would remember that and take it with them. We have lost a great deal in Clinton and Roger, but we will fight the fight and move on,” she said.