Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is using diplomacy to try to secure early release from prison in Martinique for the father of the two brothers who died in the Rock Gutter tragedy on Jan. 12.
Jamlie Edwards and his brother, Jamall, were among five students who died when a bus plunged into the sea at Rock Gutter in north-eastern St. Vincent, killing three other students.
Two students are missing at sea and presumed dead, and several of the other 14 persons who were on board the bus were taken to hospital.
Gonsalves said on Tuesday that mother of the Edwards brothers, Jemma Edwards, has had a special loss.
“Her two children, Jamlie and Jamall, two boys, they are dead.
“Her common-law husband is in Martinique. He had entered Martinique illegally, and the French in Martinique don’t appear to take that matter as easily as we do. So he was sentenced to 15 months in prison in October,” Gonsalves said on Tuesday.
“She has to hold herself, her daughter, her other family members together without the support of Desron, her common-law husband,” he said at a media event were a CD to raise funds for the victims of the tragedy and their families was launched.
“I just want to say to the country I am using my best efforts to see if I can get an early release for Desron,” Gonsalves said.
He said he has written to the president of the Regional Council of Martinique, Serge Letchimy asking for an early release of the Vincentian prisoner.
“So, I am keeping my fingers crossed. I know it is a difficult hurdle we have to scale in that regard, but we have to leave no stone unturned,” he said.
Speaking to I-Witness News on Jan. 13, cousin of the Edwards brothers, Okeano Bowens, said he knows it is tough for their father to be in prison when his sons have died tragically.
“Right now, I know their father is in real pain, because right now he behind the bars in Martinique. So I know it’s real pain they feeling,” Bowens told I-Witness News.