Who­ever said Polic­ing was Strictly “Law & Or­der” was Ab­so­lutely Wrong!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

Ap­proach­ing the huge, stately build­ing on Wed­nes­day 16th Septem­ber, 2015, I was amazed at the mas­sive size and very ap­peal­ing fa­cade of the Babon­neau Po­lice Sta­tion. While I waited to in­ter­view In­spec­tor Terry Bradley, the po­lice of­fi­cer in charge of this par­tic­u­lar north­ern unit, I couldn’t help but no­tice, and was quite im­pressed by, the clean­li­ness of the Po­lice Sta­tion and the or­ga­ni­za­tion and ap­par­ent ef­fi­ciency of its staff.

Their first com­mu­nity polic­ing pro­ject had been the com­plete con­struc­tion of a house within the lo­cal area. Their sec­ond, ren­o­va­tions to a home in Gar­rand, was un­der­way. I asked In­spec­tor Bradley what inspired the latest pro­ject, cu­ri­ous to dis­cover how po­lice men and women were gear­ing up to leave the sta­tion and their reg­u­lar polic­ing du­ties in aid of a fam­ily who need bet­ter hous­ing.

He ex­plained that he first be­came ac­quainted with this fam­ily through the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the sud­den, un­ex­pected death of 17-year-old Sa­muel Thomas who was dis­cov­ered dead within the prop­erty ap­prox­i­mately three months ago. “Upon ar­rival at the wooden struc­ture, we re­al­ized there were no de­cent ameni­ties so the po­lice came to­gether to so­licit do­na­tions to ren­o­vate the house,” Bradley said. “We have al­ready be­gun putting new par­ti­tions into the struc­ture, re­pair­ing the floor­ing and to­day we will be paint­ing and start putting in win­dows” he added.

The house­hold in ques­tion con­sists of sin­gle mother of six, El­dra Thomas, who goes by the name of “Lady L”, and her two daugh­ters and young son. It was also the home of the late Sa­muel. The ren­o­va­tion plan is to cre­ate a com­fort­able three- bed­room liv­ing space.

I took time to speak about Sa­muel’s pass­ing with one of Lady L’s daugh­ters, who was present on Wed­nes­day. “He went to bed one night and early in the morn­ing I heard him cough three times. I fig­ured he was clear­ing his throat. At around af­ter eight, I re­al­ized he wasn’t up, which was quite un­like him as he is nor­mally up by six in the morn­ing. He was still asleep in the same po­si­tion. At that point I made a joke and said, ‘Aye aye, Sammy dead’, but just said to my­self maybe he is tired,” Lelia told me.

She then ex­plained that up un­til af­ter ten she be­lieved her brother was still asleep and at that point she be­came con­cerned. She went back to check on him, only to dis­cover that he was in the ex­act same po­si­tion as be­fore, his arm etched in a par­tic­u­lar way, against his hip. When she at­tempted to move it, his arm re­mained fixed. At that point she felt the back of his foot and it was ice-cold.

Lelia’s screams then re­sounded through the neigh­bour­hood and she says that be­fore she knew what was hap­pen­ing, all she saw were ‘’peo­ple all over his body.’’

Ac­cord­ing to Lelia, the pathol­o­gist ex­plained that at the point she heard her late brother cough, he was more than likely gasp­ing for breath. Lelia told me she took the in­ci­dent quite hard and so did her mother who was not home when we spoke. They do not know what re­ally caused the young man’s sud­den death; all they know is that his lungs were twice the size they should have been when he died. The au­topsy re­sults are not yet con­cluded.

The griev­ing mother, her daugh­ter stated, is still of­ten dazed by her loss and is strug­gling to cope but for now, at least, she can be com­forted by the hu­man­i­tar­ian ges­ture of the Babon­neau po­lice team, headed by In­spec­tor Bradley, which will make all the fam­ily that much more ‘at home’.

I looked on and mar­veled at see­ing the very same po­lice men and women I had ear­lier en­coun­tered at the sta­tion now with paint­ing poles and ham­mers in hand, ar­du­ously work­ing in­doors and out­side in a col­lec­tive at­tempt to re­store some joy to this fam­ily’s life. Lelia, for one, seemed de­lighted with the work they had com­pleted and, as she ex­plained to me, the ren­o­va­tions are help­ing them all to deal bet­ter with her brother’s pass­ing. She ex­plained that the phys­i­cal change to the house, par­tic­u­larly the back room in which he died, would help to re­lieve the mem­o­ries of that dread­ful and sad day.

In­spec­tor Terry Bradley, far right, and other of­fi­cers from Babon­neau Po­lice Sta­tion hard at work on ren­o­va­tions to the fam­ily home of ‘Lady L’ and her fam­ily.

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