Julian Agard the man who was electrocuted during the first of three CPL cricket matches played here earlier this month was laid to rest on Monday August 26. So far family members say they have not heard of any investigation into the cause of their loved one’s death. There has also been no official statement from the chief electrician at the Ministry of communications, ports services and transport, whose job it is to certify establishments and events where electrical installations are concerned. The Saint Lucia Fire Service too, has also been mum on the matter. After the fatal incident at the Beasejour stadium which happened mid way during a game between Antigua and Saint Lucia, cricket action went on as normal. Two more matches were held at the same venue days later, with no assurance by the organizers or the authorities of the safety of cricket fans, where electricity was concerned.
Meanwhile just last week the mother of the twenty year-old aspiring actor who was electrocuted in a hotel swimming pool in Vieux Fort wept as a coroner heard that relatives had dived in to try to save her but suffered such serious injuries themselves they were unable to do so. This, according to The Guardian.
Hannah Defoe, the cousin of England and Tottenham Hotspur footballer Jermain Defoe, was killed when she went swimming in the pool of the hotel on July 25, 2012. Fearing any repercussions and with the foreign media bombarding local tourism and Government officials, the tourism minister was forced to issue a statement. Days later the hotel was shut down and a one-man investigation into the circumstances was instituted by the Government. A report, the Star has been reliably informed has been handed to the Government. By all we have been told it contains evidence that seems to suggest that successive Governments had sought to turn a blind eye on reported faults in the construction and by extension the electrical installation of that particular hotel. Still the Government continues to sit on the shocking report, whilst other incidents occur or are likely to occur.
According to The Guardian; “no findings from any investigation by authorities had been disclosed to the family, and vital documents pertaining to her death had not been received from St Lucia, a pre-inquest hearing in Barnet, north London, heard.”
Coroner Andrew Walker however was told the water in the pool registered 180 volts when tested the day after her death.
According to The Guardian story, Hanna Defoe’s parents had travelled to St Lucia the next day to meet the deputy prime minister, police and tourism officials. “They were told that the electricity board had previously informed the hotel owner of the existence of a fault, but that it had not been fixed,” Janice Brennan, the family’s barrister said.
Defoe received severe electric shocks as she plunged into the pool. Two relatives leapt in to save her, along with a stranger, but their “valiant” attempts failed and all suffered such serious injuries that they required hospital treatment, the hearing was told.
“It was an hour and a half before Defoe’s body could be pulled from the pool and It was sheer luck that no one else died,” said the lawyer.
Her mother read out an emotional email she sent to the St Lucian tourism authorities, in which she pleaded for action, saying, “We have been abandoned.”
“Hannah died because she took a swim in a hotel swimming pool. She was 20-years-old.We haven’t even been told if anybody has been charged.”
“Look your daughter in the eye and then imagine her electrocuted and lying in a pool, at the bottom, for an hour and a half while you and others are suffering electric shocks as you try to rescue her.”
“Now imagine nobody tells you how or why that happened but fobs you off with polite excuses.” She cried softly as she continued: “Are you imagining that? Are you feeling the rage and desperation?”
The inquest proceedings were adjourned until 3 March because crucial documents had not been received from the Saint Lucian authorities.
Outside the coroner’s court, Brennan said that until the full facts were established, “No one’s safety in St Lucia can be guaranteed. “If the Saint Lucian authorities want to encourage their tourist industry, then truth and justice should not be buried along with Hannah.”
Meanwhile Julian Agard who died doing what he loved best, providing fireworks and special effects for the joy an entertainment of locals and foreign dignitaries alike, died in an undignified manner. The death of the former police-man is being treated likewise as his family too awaits answers from the authorities.