12 Jan

Victim’s wife breaks down while recounting receiving news

first_imgLindo Creek CoI The wife of Lindo Creek Massacre victim Clifton ‘Berry’ Wong said she heard the news about miners being killed, but brushed it aside and went about her domestic chores, only to have her entire world collapse later that night.Collette Wong took to the stand before the Commission of Inquiry into the June 2008 Lindo Creek Massacre and tearfully recounted when she received the news of her husband Clifton Wong’s death.Clifton Wong’s daughter, Shaniza Romain, on the standThe woman related that prior to heading into Lindo Creek, her husband had been home to celebrate Mother’s Day and her birthday, and while heading into Lindo Creek, he had promised to send some money to celebrate their daughter’s birthday on June 13.The woman said the last communication she had had with her husband was when he stopped at Kwakwani before heading into Lindo Creek, and he had told her, ‘I love you’, and had asked her to take care of their five children.Collette explained that when she did not hear from her husband for their daughter’s birthday, she made contact with his boss, Leonard Arokium, and asked that he contact the camp, which he promised to do.Amidst tears, Collette Wong said her nephew-in-law was the one who had informed her of her husband’s death on June 21, at sometime around 12:30hrs.“I bravely said, ‘Hit me with it,’ he said, ‘You already heard’, and I said there was a newsflash. At that moment I did not panic,” she said. To confirm the news, she then called Arokium, and her worst fears became true.“Upon hearing that, I went upstairs. The children were already in their bed, and I woke them up and said, ‘He is no more! He is no more!’ ” the still grieving woman related before breaking down on the stand.She said her screams were so loud that they woke up the entire neighbourhood, and persons came over to enquire what was going on.She said that apart from media operatives, the family was visited by Social Welfare Officers, but she noted that they did not receive any form of counselling or therapy to deal with their loss.Collette Wong said she was also fearful of the heavy Police presence in her street during the wake held for her husband. She further related that her brother-in-law, Courtney Wong, was asked to provide the Police with an SNA sample, and that the family was never contacted about the burial of her husband’s remains.Also taking the stand was the late Clifton’s daughter, Shaniza Romain, whose birthday he was supposed to send money for. The woman related that when her father did not call her for her birthday, she sensed something was wrong.She said that her father was a family man and would never miss their birthdays, and she still remembers the last present he had given her before he was murdered.Romain recounted that, in 2007, her father had presented her with a pair of gold jingles (bangles) for her birthday, but after his death, the family had to sell those to supplement their finances.Sometime between June 12, 2008 and June 24, 2008, miners Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Compton Speirs, Horace Drakes, Clifton Wong, Lancelot Lee, Bonny Harry and Nigel Torres were shot and killed, and their bodies burnt at the Upper Berbice River mining camp being operated by Leonard Arokium.The Lindo Creek CoI is the first of what the coalition Government has said would be a series of inquiries into the hundreds of killings which occurred during a crime wave that began in 2002. The CoI was established to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of eight miners, and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger.last_img read more

11 Jan

Rain helps tame N.J. blaze apparently started by flare

first_imgNo deaths or injuries had been attributed to the fire, but at least 13 homes were damaged or destroyed and about 6,000 people were evacuated from 2,500 homes along the border between Ocean and Burlington counties. About 115 people were in shelters Wednesday evening, authorities said. “I didn’t grab anything but the cat and myself, and we scrammed,” said Helen Sura, who spent a sleepless night with her pet, aptly named Smoky, in a Burger King parking lot. A portion of the Garden State Parkway, one of the state’s main north-south routes, was closed briefly Wednesday because dense smoke made it difficult for motorists to see. It was reopened later in the day. Lt. Col. James Garcia, a spokesman for the New Jersey Air National Guard, said the fire was believed to have been started Tuesday afternoon with a flare dropped from an F-16 fighter jet. An investigation continued, he said. The Warren Grove Gunnery Range, about 25 miles north of Atlantic City, was also involved in the accidental strafing in 2004 of an elementary school during a training exercise. LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A rainstorm Wednesday night helped firefighters make progress against a blaze that apparently began when a military jet dropped a flare on a bombing range. Officials were hoping to determine at daybreak whether the blaze had been contained. The thunderstorm rolled into the region during the early evening, just after high winds associated with the storm pushed the fire eastward toward a highway, jeopardizing the road and thousands of homes east of it. “All the reports we are getting are that the fire is laying right down,” said Bert Plante, a spokesman for the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, after the storm began to subside. The fire, which began Tuesday, sent walls of flames 80 to 100 feet high racing toward senior citizen communities. Elderly residents grabbed their pets and fled. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more