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PM Gonsalves visits Chateau gunshot victims

PM Gonsalves visits Chateau gunshot victims

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by: Taranjah Yaw Fri Dec 28, 2012

Two of this country’s gunshot victims received surprise visits over the Christmas season; not from Santa, but from someone who bears some resemblance to the jolly old fellow from the North Pole.{{more}}

Last Saturday morning, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves journeyed to the north leeward town of Chateaubelair and visited 19-year-old Sweet-I Robertson and Corporal Milford Edwards of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF).

The two residents of the Top Sharpes area of Chateaubelair live 75 yards from each other, and were surprised just after 10 a.m. on Saturday when the prime minister dropped by to say hello.

Gonsalves’ first stop was at the home of Robertson, who was caught up in cross-fire and shot in the neck on October 30, 2009, while she was on her way home from a heritage pageant at her alma mater, the Petit Bordel Secondary School. She was left paralysed and only has limited use of one hand.

Prior to being shot, Robertson was a netballer, footballer and cheerleader. In 2011, with the assistance of a scribe, Robertson wrote five CXC subjects and passed four, receiving a Grade 1 pass in mathematics.

On December 19, at the close of the criminal assizes of the High Court, 23-year-old Shelton Hooper was sentenced to five years imprisonment for wounding Robertson.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last week, Robertson sister and caretaker, Racquel Robertson, shared how diffcult life now is, not just for Sweet-I, but for the entire family.

The prime minister, who was accompanied on the visit by members of his security detail and former North Leeward representative Dr Jerrol Thomspon, spent exactly half an hour with Sweet-I and her family.

On emerging from the dwelling, he told SEARCHLIGHT that he had decided to visit the teenager after reading about her plight in last Friday’s edition of SEARCHILGHT, as prior to that, he was not aware of how difficult her situation was. He declined to share what he discussed with Sweet-I and her family, saying that the visit was a private one. He however said that he brought her greetings and salutations.

The prime minister’s next stop was at the home of Corporal Milford Edwards, who was shot on December 5, in what police say was a friendly fire incident. Edwards, of the Narcotics Unit of the RSVGPF, was shot in the upper right arm while on duty at Rose Place in Kingstown.

Edwards, a 20-year veteran of the RSVGPF had been in the intensive unit of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, but had been released a day before the visit of the prime minister.

Edwards will be seeking further treatment overseas, a family member told SEARCHLIGHT. The relative also said he may have to have his shoulder socket replaced with a prosthesis.

Gonsalves spent some time between visits greeting and speaking to area residents. Annis Warner, who lives opposite Corporal Edwards in a modest dwelling, told the prime minister that her friend would like to have $50 for Christmas, but she would like to have a new house.

Pushing his hand into his pocket and pulling out cash, Gonsalves said, “Here’s your $50, and you will get your house.”

Pointing his finger in the air, looking around at the small gathering, with a large grin on his face, he added, “Remember the Comrade always delivers.”

The party left the area around 11:15 a.m.

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