Most of us have become used to people staring into their phones at parties. We hardly talk to one another. The constant selfies and making sure we use the correct filter and catch the light just right is the predominant preoccupation. Why should you dance in front of your mirror when you can whine, tremble and work-work-work it for your selfie sticks—all for the approval of your hundreds of Facebook “friends”?
The barely-clothed crowd at Brazen, one of the hottest new parties of the season at Pigeon Island beach, was no different, at least for the first few hours. Then about 7:30pm everyone seemed to be staring in utter disbelief at their cell phones with the same image of a mutilated body in a mangled wreck that at one time may have been an SUV. Some huddled together in shock near the beach to get away from the music. People frantically made calls to relatives and regular friends.
“It is true? Is it really him?” Many were crying. Others packed up their coolers still filled with booze. The party was suddenly over.
“You will never guess whose body they say that is,” a friend told me, hands over her mouth, head lowered. “They say it’s Andy . . . Andy Delmar.” Just then, the deejay lowered the music: “We just heard we lost someone who is very close to the Carnival fraternity,” he said. “People, be careful on the roads.”
Mere hours before thousands of revellers were to take to the streets in the island’s largest festival, Andy Delmar – one of the founders and owners of the biggest carnival band in Saint Lucia – was dead.
Police are investigating the July 17th accident on the Millennium Highway, trying to piece together how it all happened. Just as pictures of the disfigured body of Delmar went viral on social media, so the long skid marks left by the truck in the collision that killed him have been making the rounds. Two other individuals suffered minor injuries in the same accident.
By Carnival Monday everyone knew Andy Delmar was more than Just 4 Fun’s nicest guy one could ever hope to meet. He was a father; he was a husband; he was the managing director of 1st National Bank Ltd, appointed in 2014. He was also the current President of the Bankers Association of Saint Lucia.
On Carnival Monday and Tuesday the Just 4 Fun Carnival Band was certainly not its usual lively self, although not for lack of trying. Hanging off the side of the music truck was a large banner that featured a very much alive Delmar’s smiling face. The deejay urged the revellers to “Do it Just 4 Andy. Take a Jump for Andy!”
Despite the pleas to keep the party going, Just 4 Fun just never hit its peak. Condolences continue to pour in: from the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Timothy N. J. Antoine who said, “Andy demonstrated strong leadership of the recently revived ECCU Bankers Association and had great plans. We regarded him as a willing and able partner and were looking forward to doing some progressive things together to take our banking industry to the next level.”
Director General of the OECS secretariat Didacus Jules called Delmar “a banker of extraordinary vision, sensitivity and imagination who viewed his profession as a facilitator of financial opportunity for persons from all walks of life. Andy was a professional of unmatched competence and a passionate person driven to excellence in all that he did . . . But above all he was a wonderful, gentle, joyful person, a loving husband and dedicated father.”
From the St Lucia Bankers Association: “Andy was well liked and respected, having provided dynamic leadership during his presidency. We will always be grateful for his contribution to the association and the financial industry as a whole. He will be greatly missed.”
A post-mortem on Tuesday revealed that Andy Delmar died from “traumatic brain injury secondary to traumatic head injury.” Thankfully, the ubiquitous horror images have been replaced by photos of the man who so many remember was “always smiling”.