KINGSTOWN – Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Monday led the tributes to three students who were killed in a vehicular accident in Barbados on Sunday, describing their deaths as “unfortunate”.
“It is really sad thing. I saw in the NATION [newspaper] online the mangled condition of the vehicle. It really shook me up. When anybody dies in an accident, it is a terrible thing,” Gonsalves said, adding that is it “absolutely devastating” when those killed are young people.
The students – 17-year-old Danee Deverey Horne, 18-year-old Carianne Lee-New Padmore and 19-year-old Aziza Awanna Dennie – were killed hours before they were due to return to St Vincent and the Grenadines on Sunday.
The three dead girls were part of a seven-member group who had been in Barbados since last December for an internship programme at the Crane Resort, St Philip. Police said the driver of the vehicle in which they were travelling, 23-year-old André Jabarry Gittens, also died.
Gonsalves, speaking in Parliament ahead of the debate of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, said that from all reports, those injured in the accident “are going to be ok”.
He said that the government has made “a whole array of counsellors” available to the families of the deceased and that a senior official of the Community College here travelled to Barbados on Sunday.
Opposition Leader Godwin Friday expressed “heartfelt, deep sadness” telling legislators “when I heard the news, it really was a blow”.
He said the tragedy brought back “some very painful memories” of the tragedy at Rock Gutter here in which seven students died when a minivan careened down a steep section of the roadway and plunged into the sea.
Friday said he is a father of children with the same ages of the students, adding “and I felt for the parents, who, as their children approach teenage years, 16, 17, 18, who must let them go out into the world but sometimes for the first time on their own and we do so always with a fear that something terrible could happen but you pray that the grace of God, that the guardian angels would guide them and bring them back safely, and sometimes, it doesn’t happen.
“And I feel so pained in my heart for those families, Mr Speaker, and whatever we can do to bring comfort to them, all of us should try to do,” Friday said.
Education Minister, Jimmy Prince said his ministry would continue to support the families, college and the students. (CMC)