Residents of Coolie Town, Marigot have been left in shock and fear following what government officials have described as the “suspicious deaths” of four persons who are rumoured to have ingested a toxic substance that looks like and smells like alcohol.
The Ministry of Health on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 issued a public health alert in which it advises persons against drinking alcohol, especially drinks from unrecognised sources, until investigations reveal the toxin.
Officials said the substance is rumoured to have been stolen and shared.
The deaths occurred over the weekend and early this week, according to media reports.
Officials said the “victims” — who are believed to be between the ages of 30 and 50 — were admitted to Victoria Hospital “at varying times with unusual symptoms such as sudden onset of blindness, abnormal abdominal pain, and in some cases, persons developed rapid unconsciousness and death”
Speaking to HTS in creole, a resident identified as ‘Matius’ said: “There is a rum, in a bottle, a dirty bottle, and when someone drinks it, that person is dead.”
Another resident identified as ‘Captain’ told the HTS team: “A lot of things happen there. Today one died, next day another one die, next day another one die, you understand. But it is sad. Very sad. They were not violent people. Just like that. No trouble nothing to say that one this and that one that. No, none of them.”
Lucy Charles, another Marigot resident, said: “I felt that strange to see so many people just dying and them people wasn’t sick to say and stuff like that. So I find that very strange. When the lady died, I cried a lot because I wouldn’t expect something like that because I know she wasn’t sick and I talk to her the Saturday. Yeah, I cried alot for her.”
The deaths are being investigated by the Ministry of Health and the police.
“The Ministry is advising anyone with information to come forward and share with us and the police, in order to prevent further persons from being exposed to this toxic substance. Persons who believe they may have been exposed should visit a health facility where they can be examined, tested and managed,” the Ministry stated in a press release.