After a three month respite, the sudden spate of violence continues with the murder of 18-year-old Marvin Anthony Augustin of Grand Riviere, Gros-Islet. The teen’s body was discovered on the Trouya Beach at approximately 1:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon after he was reported missing shortly before. Augustin was last seen on Monday evening and the circumstances surrounding his final hours are rife with speculation.According to a source who has chosen to remain unidentified, Augustin met a Jamaican male on a social networking site and made plans to meet at the beach on the evening of Monday April 20th. Before embarking on the encounter, he shared correspondence and a picture of his companion with his best friend, with the ominous instruction to contact his mother should he not return home at a certain time. When Augustin failed to materialize on Tuesday morning, alarmed friends went out in search and paid a visit to the Jamaican national he was believed to have met. Alarm bells went off when the Bois d’Orange resident denied any knowledge of Augustin but, when confronted with evidence and threats of the police, the man took off running. Law enforcement was contacted and a search of the beach led to the gruesome discovery of Augustin’s lifeless body, his throat slit.
New reports indicate that the young man was also stabbed over 50 times, adding another layer of mystery to the brutal crime. It is alleged that Augustin was “gay” and the heinous nature of his wounds point to a possible hate crime. Incidents like these are not unknown in Saint Lucia. Over the past ten years alone, several members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) community have met untimely demises in similarly macabre fashion.
In a 2012 interview with the STAR, Co-Executive Director of Saint Lucia’s United and Strong Inc and Eastern Caribbean Co-ordinator at CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities), Kenita Placide documented the list.
“Abuses have taken place. We have had deaths of gay men that are still unsolved or unresolved. We had the death of Verne Romulus, the death of Germaine Nestor, the death of Marcellus Augustin; we had the death of Ethelbert ‘Romeo’ Evelyn in Dennery. These were openly gay people and these cases were not cases where they were just killed. These killings were brutal, with multiple stab wounds and beatings. There have been gay people who have been beaten in the street. Society targets the highly effeminate guys and the butch looking women. Some have been raped. They get verbally abused on a daily basis. And what works against them is the fear of reporting these incidents. People are internalizing things, instead of seeking help.”
At press time, police have still not located their prime suspect or made his photo available to the public to expedite his capture.