According to police press relations officer Trevor Constantine the police have launched an investigation into the death of Andrew Baptiste who was found lying at the entrance of a door to his home in a pool of blood by his common-law wife. While the police have issued the usual statement for persons with information about this latest incident to come forward, it appears passing strange that the police have openly declared that they have no leads on this latest case.
Baptiste, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the Victoria Hospital Wednesday evening and a post mortem was conducted on his body Thursday afternoon.
The initial word going around following the incident was that the victim had probably walked in on a robbery in progress but some neighbours place their suspicions elsewhere. Eyewitnesses have revealed that following the gunshots a motorcycle with two men were seen fleeing the scene, prompting speculation that this was nothing but another cold blooded murder case. Nothing in Baptiste’s home was said to be missing.
On Friday the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited (ECFH) parent company of Bank of Saint Lucia Limited issued a statement that all staff participated in a group-wide moment of silence at 11am on Thursday 6th December 2011 in recognition of Andrew’s service and friendship to the many staff members who were fortunate to have known him.
“Black ribbons are being worn by all employees in demonstration of our sadness at the untimely loss of our ECFH colleague and a condolence table has been set up for staff and customers of the bank in the Financial Centre lobby on Bridge Street,” the statement added.
Group Managing Director Robert Norstrom expressed the Board of Directors, management and staff’s deepest condolences to Andrew’s family and friends who are all struggling to cope with his passing.
“Andrew will be missed and remembered by us all,” he said.
Peter Alexander of the Kiwanis Club described Baptiste as a personal friend of more than thirty years. “The members of the Kiwanis club are understandably shocked by what has happened to our member and friend,” Alexander told the STAR. He recalled that it was just over the holiday weekend during their annual house to house that Baptiste’s presence became “the life and soul of the party.”
“Andrew was a quiet and reserved person, but during our get-togethers he had a very good sense of humour and would remind us of some of our past gaffs at our meetings. In fact just Monday he was telling me that he was planning on writing a book about some of our bad incidents and he started giving us some excerpts which kept us entertained for more than two hours,” Alexander revealed.
Baptiste had been a member of the Kiwanis Club for the past 25 years serving first as charter president for Kiwanis south, 1991-1992 and later president of the Castries Club-2001-2002. At the time of his death he chaired a growth and education committee which was responsible for a recent 25 percent growth in membership in the organization.
Another friend who did not want to be named told the STAR that Andrew Baptiste also had his concerns about the growth in violent crime here. “Just Sunday we were talking about it and he was telling me that it cannot continue like this in the New Year, something has to be done,” that friend told us.
Saint Lucia marked a record 48 homicides in 2010. In the majority of them illegal weapons were used to commit more than 50 percent of those crimes. Law enforcement here is also facing the challenging fact that most of those crimes were perpetrated in broad daylight and in the presence of eyewitnesses and innocent bystanders.
Editor’s Note: Andrew Baptiste was a sometime contributor to the STAR newspaper. His comment pieces were always balanced and showed that he was a concerned citizen when it came to issues that affected our nation. Andrew was especially vocal about St Lucia’s political landscape. In one article he wrote following the 2009 Budget debate he sent out a challenge to Saint Lucians: “It is my view that all of us patriotic citizens have a moral obligation to do something about ineptitude and corruption. To simply place an “x” beside a name or a symbol every five years and sit back and do nothing is to tacitly endorse the ills of the society and alleged corruption by well placed persons and their cronies.
“ . . . Regrettably we have a knack for quickly forgetting the issues that matter to us most, living from one festival to another . . . These hard times are calling for a hard-working and results-oriented government. Not a government of talkers and non-performers. We have to demand credible and well thought out programs for recovery and we need to engage the entire nation in conceptualizing and implementing those programs. Because it is clear that the politicians do not have all the answers.”
The STAR will miss his writing and hopes that his words of St Lucians working together are heeded.