IMPACS TO BLAME?

Wil­ton’s Yard As­so­ci­a­tion Leader, Ch­eryl Clarke, is Saint Lu­cia’s latest homi­cide vic­tim.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Toni Ni­cholas

Pal­pa­ble fear is in the city at­mos­phere fol­low­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of well-known Wil­ton’s Yard res­i­dent Ch­eryl Clarke, who was shot on Brazil Street on Thurs­day. She died the next day.

Three months ago Clarke’s hus­band, BJ, was also shot to death on Chaussee Road. Yesterday sev­eral Castries res­i­dents openly ad­mit­ted they are liv­ing in fear, know­ing not who will be the next ca­su­alty as things “get hot in de yard.”

Ch­eryl Clarke, along with Peter Reynolds, headed the Wil­ton’s Yard As­so­ci­a­tion, whose rai­son d’etre is to im­prove the im­age of the area once known as “The Grave­yard”, home of all things evil. Be­tween 2010 and 2013, the pair made con­stant vis­its to the STAR to dis­cuss, among other things, the fact that they con­tin­ued to be seen in a neg­a­tive light by some po­lice of­fi­cers.

In 2011 the STAR spoke to Clarke and Reynolds fol­low­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of Arthur Clarke, Ch­eryl’s brother. “Re­gard­less Arthur Clarke’s rep­u­ta­tion,” she said, “he had be­come over the years a peace maker.” She claimed he had far more in­flu­ence among young peo­ple than she, never mind that she was pres­i­dent of their as­so­ci­a­tion. She said he was al­ways beg­ging young peo­ple to stop the vi­o­lence and to learn how to deal with con­flict with­out harm­ing one another. Ad­di­tion­ally: “He was one per­son who could have gone to any ghetto. I mean peo­ple used to come to see him, re­gard­less of what bat­tles and what fric­tion were go­ing in the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties.”

Reynolds feared that “Arfo’s” mur­der would di­min­ish their ef­forts at bring­ing peace to Wil­ton’s Yard, say­ing, “Right now I am very fear­ful as to what will hap­pen as far as the crime sit­u­a­tion is con­cerned, be­cause he was re­ally hold­ing it down.” Ear­lier this year the ghost of Arthur Clarke came back.

Fol­low­ing the prime min­is­ter’s IMPACS ad­dress in March, Ch­eryl Clarke said she was con­vinced her brother was a vic­tim of the ex­tra ju­di­cial killings the prime min­is­ter had re­ferred to.

“Fam­i­lies are still hurt­ing and want clo­sure,” Clarke told re­porters, adding that the prime min­is­ter’s ad­dress had done lit­tle to ad­vance the heal­ing process.

At the time of the IMPACS ad­dress the is­land had not had one homi­cide in three months. But all of that would change a month later. Ch­eryl Clarke’s hus­band would be­come one of four in­di­vid­u­als shot and killed in the first week of April. BJ Em­manuel was gunned down in Castries on Tues­day, April 7. Em­manuel, 48, orig­i­nally from Bexon, Castries died on the spot af­ter he was shot on Chaussee Road, near the Les­lie Land in­ter­sec­tion, at about 11:20 a.m.

Re­li­able sources told the STAR that on Thurs­day Ch­eryl Clarke was at a bar on Brazil Street, Castries play­ing the video lottery games. As she made her way out in the com­pany of a fe­male com­pan­ion, she was al­legedly ac­costed by an in­di­vid­ual. Fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion, she was shot mul­ti­ple times be­fore col­laps­ing. She died while un­der­go­ing surgery.

Fol­low­ing her hus­band’s death, Clarke sent out this mes­sage, via the lo­cal media: “I am sorry to say to Saint Lu­cians ex­pect­ing the worst: the Almighty is not asleep. I strongly be­lieve in Him. I think I had more than one death to re­al­ize that. With the Almighty, ev­ery­thing, ev­ery­thing will be an­swered. He is the only one who has the an­swers.”

Ch­eryl Clarke, Saint Lu­cia’s latest homi­cide vic­tim.

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