It was in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Dec. 2, and George ‘Ramo’ Alfred was sitting comfortably on a stool in front one of the canteens of the Vieux Fort Fisheries Complex.
He was watching cricket, his favourite sport. Several other men were nearby. One of them saw a man appear suddenly. He hailed the approaching man, who responded “irie”.
But the man did not act in an irie manner. What happened after was pure horror.
“I just see a rasta man come and start lash the man (George Alfred) with a piece of iron. I wonder what’s going on,” the eyewitness hysterically told St. Lucia News Online on Sunday.
Gesticulating, the eyewitness said Alfred was caught off guard and was beaten repeatedly on his head, neck, back and other parts of his body. Alfred fell in the canteen where he died.
The eyewitness further told SNO that the same attacker had allegedly attacked another man earlier in the presence of Ramo in the same area.
“The man ain’t say nothing. He just start lashing the man, lashing the man… haaa, if I know he do that before I woulda put him down,” the eyewitness said.
That man escaped, but according to other eyewitnesses, he was attacked again on the intersection of Commercial Street and Clarke Street.
SNO visited the area where the second victim, who is now hospitalized, was attacked. Large spots of blood were seen all over sections of the road and side walk.
Eyewitnesses told SNO that the alleged attacker, after beating Alred to death at the Fisheries Complex, met his second victim about a minute away on the streets and dealt him blows again.
No one could explain a concrete motive behind the attacks. A friend of the deceased said the attacker may have been infuriated because Alfred, his alleged cousin, did not intervene and assist him when the first attack was carried out in the canteen.
Others alleged that the attacker was recently released from prison, misses being bars, or he suffers from mental issues.
Police have not released much information about the incident except that Alfred of Hospital Road was stabbed to death at the Fisheries Complex at about 5:45 a.m. and one person is in custody.
The police report so far is conflicting. Checks by SNO revealed that Alfred had no fixed place of abode as he slept at different locations in Vieux Fort after his home on Garvey Street was reportedly demolished about three weeks ago. SNO visited the Garvey Street location and this was confirmed by a former neighbor and several other friends who showed us the demolished area.
Our news team was told that Alfred sometimes slept at the Fisheries Complex or by relatives and friends in Bruceville/Shanty Town.
Police first reported that his age is 60 then changed it to 54 in a subsequent report. A reader, claiming to be Alfred’s relative, told SNO on Facebook the deceased is older than 54, but she did not give a specific age, only mentioning that he was born in Castries.
The police reported that Alfred was stabbed but at least six persons who were interviewed by SNO claimed that Alfred was beaten with a piece of iron resembling a motor car axle. They profusely denied that Alfred was stabbed. Others say the attacker was allegedly armed with a cutlass and gun, which the police recovered.
None of those claims have been substantiated or verified as police have only released preliminary information on the homicide, and the lawmen have not mentioned anything about the second victim who survived and is now nursing injuries at hospital.
Despite the confusion surrounding exactly what happened, everyone SNO interviewed have expressed disbelief at the tragedy, saying they are shocked that someone would harm Alfred, described as “quiet” and a “loner”.
Jones Joseph, proprietor of Jones Bar on Clarke Street, said he is a very close friend of the deceased who not only watched television and drank rum at his bar, but provided security, and carried out ‘handy man jobs’ around his establishment.
Joseph said Alfred, as is routine, assisted him to close his bar around midnight Saturday. He said Alfred then proceeded to the Fisheries Complex. That was the last time he saw his friend whom he said became his closest companion since his fiancée died.
“I miss him like a son. He was very close to me,” Joseph said, adding that he helped Alred as much as he can, sometimes giving him food, drink and money.
“To tell you the truth, the only problem is, if he drinks he talks a lot and repeats himself… but if he doesn’t drink (alcohol) you will not know he is there,” Joseph recalls.
SNO will continue to update the public on this story.