Edi­tor’s Let­ter

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

The re­cent dou­ble homi­cide in La Clery touched a raw nerve na­tion­wide. Es­pe­cially af­fected were peo­ple who lived close to the crime and were fa­mil­iar with the butchered vic­tims and their sud­denly or­phaned chil­dren. One in­di­vid­ual, a bus driver caught in the whirl­wind of emo­tions that fol­lowed the night­mar­ish dis­cov­ery by the young boy and girl, shared with me this week his own story. I had en­coun­tered him quite by ac­ci­dent as I headed back to my office fol­low­ing a press con­fer­ence. He was pulling out of a gas sta­tion near He­wanorra House, close to Pointe Seraphine.

I flagged him down and asked whether he was headed back to town. He said he first had to make a stop at La Clery. I de­cided to tag along, any­way. Just this week a young man was killed while cross­ing the bridge by Seren­ity Park, just 100 yards from where I was, so I wasn't about to take any chances!

Straight­away we started talk­ing about crime and the La Clery mur­ders, partly be­cause we were on our way to the com­mu­nity, and also be­cause nei­ther of us could get out of our heads the re­ported heart- wrench­ing screams of the mur­dered cou­ple's chil­dren upon dis­cov­er­ing their par­ents' stabbed and bloody corpses.

My driver re­vealed that he'd been through sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances. When he was still very young he had lost both of his par­ents and had been forced to make it through life on his own. He was just a year old when his mother died from com­pli­ca­tions af­ter she suf­fered se­ri­ous burns in an ac­ci­dent. His fa­ther, a taxi driver, was mur­dered years later while on the job; a pas­sen­ger had robbed him of his money and his life. The killer re­ceived a life sen­tence but was re­leased, af­ter serv­ing 30 years, for good be­hav­iour.

The for­mer con­vict had gone back to cut­ting grass and do­ing odd jobs for a liv­ing. But it wasn't long be­fore he struck again. This time his vic­tim was a woman, a non-na­tional who had hired him as a handy­man. All clues pointed to him and soon he was in po­lice cus­tody. This time he paid with his own life. He re­ceived the death penalty.

To my amaze­ment my driver said: “I don't be­lieve he did it. Not to this day. He killed my fa­ther but I re­ally do not be­lieve that man would have done some­thing like that again.”

While many may have long for­got­ten the par­tic­u­lar mur­der and the price paid, my driver as­sured me it was some­thing that would stay with him for life. “I've never seen a man hanged that quickly,” he said. “If the woman who died had been Saint Lu­cian, the case would not have ended as quickly.”

For years there has been lit­tle talk about the death penalty. But it came up re­cently in re­la­tion to the still un­re­solved death three years ago of hote­lier Oliver Go­bat. The UK gov­ern­ment has ex­pressed con­cern that the death penalty re­mains on our statute books, de­spite that no one has been sen­tenced to death in a long time. It has come to light that the UK gov­ern­ment re­fused to as­sist in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Go­bat homi­cide while the death penalty re­mained on our law books. Mean­while vi­o­lent crime in our re­gion is on the rise, par­tic­u­larly in Trinidad and in Saint Lucia. Might the death penalty be the an­swer? As for me, it is my fer­vent hope that in the lat­est case jus­tice will be done - and that in­cludes jus­tice for the chil­dren who lost their par­ents this week. It won't be easy eras­ing from their minds the worst night­mare imag­in­able!

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