Spartan University hosted its first fundraising venture last Saturday with an international dinner and pageant to launch the Omotayo Morrison Foundation. Present at the event, was Modupe Olaogun, mother of the deceased university student, whom the foundation is named after.
The grieving parent made her second visit from Canada following her son’s death to be at the event. Addressing the audience, she shared her family’s experience of dealing with the sudden and tragic death of their loved one and delivered a small tribute to him. Proclaiming her son’s love for Saint Lucia, she asserted that “Tayo is and will always be Saint Lucia’s son.”
Despite the sad circumstances, Olaogun was more than willing to engage The STAR in an interview.
STAR: How much of an impact has the death of your son had on you and your family?
MO: It’s been extraordinary. It came as a total shock for us because Omotayo was healthy and happy; he was doing very well in his studies, and I spoke to him just a day before the tragic news reached us. There has been tremendous support for our family both in Canada and in Saint Lucia. Spartan University has been there for us and we have been really supported and inspired by their initiatives, in particular choosing to remember Omotayo and to recognize his commitment to his studies, his enthusiasm, his willingness to help other students and so on. Creating this initiative has been a sort of inspiration for us and it is helping us in some ways to deal with the painful loss of his life, as Omotayo was my only son.
STAR: How much has being in Saint Lucia aided your healing process?
MO: It certainly has helped. I have felt welcome here by the Saint Lucians; I feel their sympathy, whether in public or private places. People have reached out to us expressing their sorrow that our son’s life was taken so suddenly. But I also feel a sense that Saint Lucians want more to be done. They all talk about traffic signage on the roads and the need for better traffic laws to remind drivers to be more responsible. They also express a longing for justice to be done; they want drivers who are negligent or careless to be curbed so they would know that life can’t just be disregarded.
STAR: How has your son’s case progressed so far and what is the status at the moment?
MO: It would be great to experience transparency with the case. We, as the parents of the victim, would love to be informed about what is going on. We would really love to hear from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). That would at least indicate that our son’s life meant something and that the government of Saint Lucia is protecting its citizens as well as its visitors. We want to be kept abreast of what’s going on.
STAR: What have the DPP said to you the family about the case?
MO: They haven’t told us anything. They just told us that the police report would be ready, so I asked them for a copy of this report and it has not materialized. I personally have written to the office of the DPP and I’ve not received any response. I phoned them on February 21, and the senior counsel who spoke with us promised that we can be sure that we would be kept abreast with what’s happening; nothing happened.
On May 6, a letter written by my husband and I was hand-delivered with a receipt by a friend of ours, requesting information about when the case would be heard. I followed that up with an email on May 8, and I am yet to hear from the office of the DPP.