The funeral on Sunday of the five students, who died when a minivan plunged into the sea at Rock Gutter on Jan. 12, will be a “big national event” and will see special logistical arrangement put in place to accommodate the thousands of persons who are expected to attend.
The students, brothers Jamalie and Jamall Edwards and their schoolmate, Anique Alexander, of the North Union Secondary School (NUSS), Racquel Ashton of the Georgetown Secondary School (GSS), and Glenroy Michael of the St. Vincent Grammar School, died when the minivan in which they were travelling careened down a hill and plunged into the sea.
Two students, Chanstacia Stay of the NUSS and Simonique Ballantyne of the Georgetown Secondary School, are missing at sea and presumed dead.
The students will be buried after a joint funeral service at the Fancy Hard Court at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Viewing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told the media this week that the Office of the Prime Minister, in conjunction with other agencies and the families, was at work having all the arrangement made.
“As you can appreciate, it is a lot of logistics to work out, and your mind can just roam, because you are going to have thousands of people, we anticipate, will be out there. We have to have seating under the tent — a big tent courtesy the Seventh Day Adventist Church, … National Lottery with supportive tent, we have to rent chairs, temporary toilets, Police Band, Traffic Police,” he said.
He said announcements will be made regarding transportation arrangements, adding that not everyone would be able to drive to Fancy.
“We are going to have maybe 12, 20 shuttle buses which are we going to have stationed at Owia, so people can park at Owia and we are going to transport persons and bring them back,” he said.
“We are trying to get all the logistics right. We are going to have doctors, medical personnel of one kind or the other out there, we are going to have ambulances, we are going to have the Georgetown Hospital being put on special alert and so on and so forth.
“And you can just picture, and I just give you some of the snapshot of some of the arrangements which we have to make in that regard, and I myself was involved yesterday, in a long discussion with relevant person in the state administration and with those representatives of the families with whom we have been discussing all these matters,” Gonsalves said on Tuesday.
“I want to assure you that we are doing all our best, putting as best we can all our efforts in, so that these children, these young persons, we can have something done in glory and to continue the healing process.”
He said that a new cemetery at Fancy will be consecrated in time for the students to be buried there.
In addition to the dead and missing students, 14 other persons were on the bus. Several of them were also injured in the incident.