Tributes have been pouring in for a well-known Rastafarian who is suspected of drowning while swimming at Vigie Beach on Friday, August 7.
Howard Gibson, also known as “Howie” and “Prophet Howie”, is reported to have enountered difficulties while swimming and sank shortly after calling out for help.
His body was recovered the same afternoon, not too far from shore.
Friends and families have been posting messages on Gibson’s Facebook profiles, calling his death unexpected. They described Gibson, who was well-known in the north of the island, as a cool and humble person.
Below are some of the (unedited) condolences:
“Sad news today my breden Howard Gibson has passed on..about three months ago I saw you in town and you asked me for the crew we used to hang out with at the Barber shop, you asked for my fb name then you added me, we linked up on fb messenger a couple times and you seemed OK to me…safe journey my blood as we would always call each other, it was a pleasure knowing you…Jah Guide! R.I.P.”
“R I P bro… Life is so fragile yet it is over shadowed by things that take up space. Who knew this was coming at us? Let genuine love flow.”
“RIP our dear sweet Howie.. words cannot express how painful it is to lose you.. we have the memories of when we were young and wild and free.. and had the best years of our lives misbehaving in Castries.. love you always and miss you already xxxx”
“I completely lost for words. Howie was more than a friend. From my childhood crush to becoming one of my greatest supporters. I want to extend my condolences to his mom Paula, his brother Dane, his sister Lana and other family and friends. He was the sweetest and coolest guy I have ever met. I love you Howie. I will forever cherish all our wonderful memories.”
Eyewitnesses told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that Gibson arrived at the beach in a white Honda CRV and then sat under a coconut tree where he smoked – what is suspected to be marijuana – for sometime before going into the water.
Eyewitnesses said he was observed bathing in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes until they received reports by a couple that he had gotten into difficulty.
According to the eyewitnesses, a female said she heard the man shout but couldn’t make out clearly what he said, and initially didn’t suspect anything odd. The female, according to witnesses, then saw the victim go under the water completely and became concerned when he didn’t resurface.
She then alerted the boyfriend who then alerted other persons on the beach.
One of the eyewitnesses told SNO that she was shocked to observe the man’s lifeless body being removed from the water after seeing him alive not too long before, smoking by himself under the coconut tree.