Outbursts of tears and pangs of horror filled the hearts of many Saint Lucians during the late hours of Saturday 29 April 2017. The grim news made its way to the homes, inboxes and phones of friends and families of two of the nation’s brightest, most vibrant, loving souls. Their lives were lost due to a gruesome vehicular accident on the Castries/Gros Islet highway near Samaan’s Park. A motor car travelling southward and a lorry truck travelling northward crashed head-on according to reports from the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. The truck was transporting two individuals who sustained minor injuries and the car was carrying three people including the now deceased Zhané Bianca Williams, eighteen years, and Zina Omega Anthony, nineteen years.
Zhané Williams and Zina Anthony were both students of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and previously attended Castries Comprehensive Secondary School and St. Joseph’s Convent respectively. Zhané was pronounced dead on the scene of the incident and Zina’s death was later confirmed at the hospital. Their driver, 20-year-old Allan Amos, was admitted to the intensive care unit where he underwent surgery. He is currently in a stable condition.
In the hours following the tragedy, traffic backed up on the highway, and motorists were redirected through a detour. But even those who’d managed to take the alternative route found themselves trapped in the sluggish “back road” traffic, only able to realize the magnitude of the situation on the highway through busy cell phone calls.
Saturday’s late night social media posts were only of the beautiful smiles of these two young ladies with just a few appearances of the weekend’s parties and events. The island of Saint Lucia was struck with sadness.
There were also friends of the deceased who could not fathom that their WhatsApp messages were read minutes before the reported time of the collision. Most devastating of all was that Mr. Donavan Williams, permanent secretary in the Department of Youth and Sports, was presenting at the National Youth Awards Ceremony when he received news of his daughter’s whereabouts and condition. Zina’s father, Trevor Anthony, is employed in Creative Industries, making both fathers employees in the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports and Culture. The families and friends of the two young women are not mourning alone; the nation grieves with them.
Staff at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College immediately notified the public when they opened their doors on Monday that they are ready to attend to their students and others affected by the tragedy. “In order to help loved ones to deal with the myriad of painful emotions which they are experiencing, the College has reached out to the families of the deceased to provide support. Additionally, the College counsellors assisted by counsellors from other agencies, are available to all our students and staff, to help them deal with this unexpected tragedy and to provide them with the support needed at this time.”
On Tuesday 2 May (also the scheduled date of the autopsy) Honourable Lenard Montoute publicly sent his condolences to his employees, firstly on behalf of his Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports and Culture and then the Government of Saint Lucia. “This was certainly a tragic incident. I would like to express deepest sympathies to the parents, family and friends of those who lost their lives and would like to continue to pray for the young man who was critically injured in that accident.”
Everyone who had close relationships with Zhané and Zina is carefully tending to their wounds of sadness, finding it difficult to talk about their loss. But those who knew them personally, sweetly commented on how unbelievable it seems that they will never see them smile again. One of Zhané’s former teachers said that she was a great team player and dedicated individual. “Everybody loved them! They were helpful and both had amazing personalities. It makes me sad to know that they’re gone,” one of their friends murmured through sobs.
Notwithstanding that he is alive, unlike his two passengers, the driver remains a concern to their friends as well. This young man remained in intensive care for a number of days due to major injuries suffered in the accident. Moreover, he is the only survivor from the car and will likely be tasked with dealing with emotional trauma. While the public has numerous speculations relating to the cause of the crash, RSLPF is currently investigating the matter and details about how the collision occurred are still unclear.
The Media Association of Saint Lucia (MASL) reached out to express sympathies on Tuesday 2 May, 2017. It also urged motorists to practise safety on the road: “As an Association, we believe that the matter of road safety should be made a priority at all times given the devastating outcomes that can result in its absence. We, therefore, urge all motorists to make it a rule of ensuring that they follow safety procedures when using the roads.”
Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Lenard Montoute noted on Tuesday, “At a time like this we need to reflect on, and take stock of, the fact that we are losing too many of our young people through violence and accidents.” He urged that we should do what is in our power to prevent accidents like these from occurring.
On behalf of Star Publishing, our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of Zhané Bianca Williams and Zina Omega Anthony.