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(SNO) – Many people in the south of Saint Lucia have been plunged into shock and mourning following news of the untimely death of Jeffa Belasse, who was very active in sports, education, pageantry, church, and every community activity you could think of.
Many tributes have been pouring out on social media since her death on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
President of the Vieux Fort South Football Association, Emmanuel Bellas, is one of the scores of people who are still in disbelief.
He told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an interview on Wednesday evening (Oct. 3) that Jeffa, who was his first cousin, passed away in the U.S., hours after giving birth to her first child.
Jeffa, who was an employee in the accounts department at St. Jude Hospital, gave birth Tuesday morning and is reported to have passed away in the late afternoon or evening, Bellas said.
According to the football official, he received the bad news around 7 p.m. Tuesday after a number of players from his football team called him to inquire if the news is true. He said he got the confirmation from a player who is very close with Jeffa’s live-in boyfriend, and popular national player, Titus Elva.
“Based on what I was told, as of yesterday the child (a girl) is ok,” he said.
Bellas recalled that his cousin was a beloved young lady, who supported the community for many years, in every activity, particularly culture, church, school, sports and pageantry/chaperoning.
She also wore many hats in the management of sports and sporting teams. At the time of her passing, he said she was vice president of the Vieux Fort South Football Association, manager of the senior Vieux Fort football team, and manager of the national under-15 female team.
She also served as treasurer of the Vieux Fort South Youth and Sports Council.
Bellas recalled that Jeffa, who lived at Calvary Hill, Vieux Fort, would get involved in every sporting activity in and around her community and would make her home available to anyone in that regard.
Describing her as a “real icon”, he said Jeffa was also a leading member of the Vieux Fort Constituency Council, also known as the ‘town council’.
Prior to giving birth, Bellas said “she raised many (children) like they were her own”.
What’s more shocking about her death is that she did not appear to be ill prior to leaving the island for the U.S. about five to six weeks ago, to give birth, Bellas said.
“That is what has shocked everyone,” he said.
SNO contacted Jeffa’s boyfriend, Titus Elva, who is in Saint Lucia, but he said he is not in a position to speak further, but promised to do so another time.
SNO expresses it’s sincere condolences to the relatives, friends, associates and acquaintances of a “real community icon”.