There was one little postscript to this story that personally affected me. I was still dealing with Edsel’s untimely demise. A few months after my return home I was trawling through my lists of contacts and I found a friend of mine who lived in Antigua, Greg. Although a Trinidadian, he had lived in Antigua for many years and I had come across him at a workshop when I was working in BVI. He had invited me for a weekend in Antigua to lime and see the country. I jumped at the chance at the time. Antigua was a couple of hours flight from BVI (usually with only one quick stop in St Martin) and I spent several weekends over there; good to get a change of scene from my island. This guy took me around sightseeing and we visited Nelson’s Dockyard and spent a night on Shirley Heights at the usual weekend party up there. We got on very well – outsiders in someone else’s island – and I found him perfect company.
Antigua was a good place for me. When I got back to UK I started working in places like Montserrat and Anguilla. And Antigua was the place I would pass through en route. And it was good to meet up with Greg and even if I was only in Antigua a few hours, pop over to the Sticky Wicket pub next to the Airport and have a beer and a chat.
I’d not worked in the northern Caribbean for a few years. I’d not seen Greg for a while. I thought I would drop him a line, but I heard nothing back from the email addresses I had. So I searched his name on Google.
The second event touched me very personally. The advent of good communications almost anywhere in the world means that I was in contact with so many friends through Facebook and the rest. So many I do not hear from regularly but I got a message from a distant friend, Graeme, on the island of St Kitts – only a few hundred kilometres to the east of me. It simply said “Sorry to get in touch this way, but have you heard about Edsel?”
It’s never a good message to get, and I thought of all kind of reasons why he asked. I said no. I had talked with Edsel through Skype a few days before I left the UK. He was heading to St Lucia to talk to some clients there about a sort of sat nav app he was looking at. We were saying how we had not caught up in a while and were looking at a couple of options for new work together, as we often did. I’d said I would follow up with him after I got back from Haiti and we were planning to meet up in Jamaica later on that year at a conference.
Graeme replied “I’m hearing that he has died.”
Of all the scenarios that had run through my mind this was the one I had dismissed as being the least likely. Graeme himself had no confirmation but had heard something on the old familiar Caribbean grapevine. I reached out to Eduardo who was living in St Kitts at the time. After a couple more hours he came back and confirmed it to me. Edsel had arrived in St Lucia OK but had suffered an almighty heart attack; he never recovered.
Edsel in St Vincent