A time to heal
Two young people, who apparently committed suicide two days apart, were laid to rest yesterday.
With Barbados recording a spate of unnatural deaths in recent times, it was a time for the healing process to begin for the families of former police recruit Darwin Marx Lwanga Downes, 30, and 18-year-old mother Chevonne King.
In a service at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Bay Street, St Michael, Downes, who died from a bullet to the head of an M16 rifle on September 1, was remembered as a helpful young man by Commandant Sylvester Louis, of the Regional?Police Training Centre (RPTC).
He said “Big” Downes was a talented basketball player with an urge to serve his country.
Louis said the former Coast Guard officer was the “go to” man for any recruit experiencing difficulties, remembering how Downes once persuaded another recruit against resigning by tearing up the letter and demanding he stayed. He added Downes was often the voice of reason when recruits sought to challenge authority.
“We learned that in so many different ways, Darwin was special,” Louis said. “We also learned . . . there were layers of love, empathy, understanding, tolerance, helpfulness and a keen sense of humour. He was disciplined, well adjusted, focused and driven by a desire to succeed . . . .
“He was selfless, caring and your friend in so many ways . . . but sadly, circumstances we could never be able to understand intervened, interrupted and abruptly brought to an end a life filled with hope, promise and love.”
In his sermon, Monsignor Vincent Blackett said he had known the family for a long time and could not believe what had happened to Downes. He said death left the living with many questions.
The interment took place at Coral Ridge Gardens.
Meanwhile, at the Bank Hall Nazarene Church, also in St Michael, Pastor Anderson Kellman told those gathered for the funeral service of 18-year-old King that God had a plan for everyone which the tragedy of failure could not stop.
As he encouraged people to grieve for King, who was found hanging in her Grazettes, St Michael home on August 30, Kellman told them they could achieve the peace which surpasses all understanding that the Bible talks about.
“Even in the pain, you can have the peace,” he stressed.
Mourners packed the church and spilled outside in a final farewell to the mother of a five-month-old boy. They included former schoolmates and principal Shelton Perkins of The St Michael School.
King’s cousin, Shirley Burt, said she had a passion for boxing, she loved to sing and everyone in the family loved her.
That love for singing was fostered by her father-in-law, Peter Long Fellow Bryan, who encouraged her to enter the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition, and helped to prepare her for this year’s edition.
Bryan said his one word in tribute to King was “love”. He said the sight of her on August 29 would be forever etched on his brain.
He said she was “radiant” at about 2:20 p.m. that day when she sat on a two-seater in his home with him and his first grandson.
Having witnessed what he said were some of the most “cruel” and “vicious” things in the aftermath of King’s death, Bryan encouraged the mourners to be their brother’s keeper and to lend one another a helping hand.
King’s interment took place at Westbury Cemetery. (CA/YB)