(St. Lucia News Online) — A number of citizens in the Saint Lucian diaspora have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the Saint Lucia Diaspora Affairs Unit has confirmed.
Saint Lucia’s Ambassador for Diaspora Affairs, Dr. Jocelyne Clarke-Fletcher, revealed on the Unit’s official Facebook page between April 4 and 6, 2020, that at least eight Saint Lucians in the diaspora have succumbed to the virus. The deaths were recorded in New York, United States of America (USA); the United Kingdom (US) and Switzerland.
St. Lucia News Online understands that many more St. Lucians overseas have died from COVID-19, and the news will reveal more in the coming weeks.
To date, there have been no COVID-19 deaths in Saint Lucia, though the island has confirmed 14 cases, including two persons who were repatriated to the UK. Over 200 persons have been released from quarantine facilities on the island over the past few days.
Identities of the deceased
In her Facebook posts, Dr. Clarke-Fletcher was able to identify some of the deceased persons by their full names and others by whom they were related.
On Monday, April 6, the ambassador said Ignatius Xavier (USA), Parson Fessal (UK) and Corville Dujon (UK) passed away from the virus.
“I am told there is one more UK but will get details later,” she wrote.
On Saturday, April April 4, Dr. Fletcher Clarke disclosed the passing off Mafalda, the sister of Sarge Bruno, in Switzerland, as well as the death of “Martha Alexander of New York, wife of Junior Alexander in St. Lucia; and the brother of Perpetua Albert of St. Lucia” who died in New York.
In response to the ambassador’s post, a relative confirmed that the deceased brother of Perpetua Albert is one Francis Noel, who was the son of Rosemary Valere.
The ambassador went on to reveal that the “mom of Christine Kirton… died in New York on Friday”.
“My office is reaching out to the families of the bereaved. If you know them, kindly reach out with a word of comfort,” Dr. Clarke-Fletcher said. “Dear Lord this is so difficult, please hold them up in prayer. May God embrace them in love and mercy.”
She added: “Our heart goes out to those grieving families, if you know them, reach out to them. May God cover us all during this difficult period. May He embrace them in the arms of his ever-loving comfort.”
A look at the deceased: MAFALDA
Of the eight persons identified so far, Mafalda, the sister of Sarge Bruno, is one of the most notable persons in the Saint Lucian diaspora. Sarge is well known on social media circles. He works for a consulting agency in Zurich, Switzerland, according to his Facebook profile.
Sarge broke the news of his sister’s death on Facebook on Saturday, April 4.
“It is with deep sadness my sister was infected with the coronavirus and she has passed at 8:52 this morning. This is something her family and friends cannot understand,” Sarge wrote.
He described his sister in subsequent postings as “one of St Lucia’s finest” and “the best girl ever” — and for good reason. He said she was Saint Lucia’s first international supermodel, from 1965 to 1970, and she appeared on Revlon cover magazine two times.
Sarge went on to express his gratitude for the many well wishes and condolences he and his family received.
“Thank you massive and crew for your well-wishes and condolences to our family. We in Switzerland are very grateful and appreciative with love to you. Her boys and husband are very pleased although the well-wishes are through me.
“We have received love and comfort from the St Lucia Vagrant Association to the Governor General. Every colour, class and creed on the Island which is just amazing and represents the woman and person she was. We are still in the process and digesting stage and will inform when and where you can go to express your well wishes to us, and her journey to heaven which I have no doubt she is already.”
Ignatius P. George
Popularly known as ‘Iggy’, Ignatius P. George or Ignatius Xavier was a past student of Saint Mary’s College. He was from Castries but at the time of his death, according to Facebook, lived in New Windsor, New York.
He had been an employee of the US Postal Service (USPS) since January 1988, his page also stated.
His Facebook page also revealed that he was an avid biker and the “District Chapter of the Year coordinator at GWRRA – Gold Wing Road Riders Association”.
Reports are that at least two other USPS workers, close to ‘Iggy’, have died from the coronavirus.
Tributes have been pouring in on the Facebook page of the Saint Lucian motorcyclist.
One of the tributes that stands out is from one Joseph Morrison who said: “Thank you for the good times we shared growing up at Hospital Road. Ignatius you were my daredevil as a youth. It was a thrill to be riding a bicycle or driving at 100 miles an hour, or driving a car without brakes, or scaring me with that dog by Blue Danube, or going to Tapion beach and leaving me to swim. I am happy that a few weeks ago we spent hours on a video call with your siblings. Rest in perfect peace my bro. NCR. Will always have you in my thoughts.”
His wife Lloyda Brown-George also paid tribute to the man who was described as the “life of the party”.
“What is hardest to deal with the social butterfly that was my husband because of this dreaded virus he died alone and that is what I’m struggling with most is that he died alone and his BIGGEST FAN Raidiant BikerBob Overton was not able to say goodbye to him…This virus is a beast… RIP,” she said.
Better known as ‘Pads’ and ‘Pars’, this Gros Islet town native reportedly died in the United Kingdom on Sunday, April 5 at 1 p.m. British time, according to Gros Islet’s Therold Prudent, former leader of the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) political party.
Writing on the Proud Gros Islian Facebook Group page, Prudent said: “Those of us who knew him well, can attest to the fact that he was a very likable and genuine Gros Islian. We will forever cherish the memories. To his wife, his bother Peter “Levi “ Fessal and family, and the entire Fessal families of Gros Islet, we extend our sincere condolences. Rest In Peace Pars.
Parson was a former driving instructor and knew Gros Islet inside out.
Said Thaddeus M. Antoine: “He had such rich knowledge, particularly of Gros Islet and its people. Condolences to the family. May he rest in peace.”